Kodamo MASK1 Bitmask Synthesizer Coming Soon, Here’s A Sneak Preview

Kodamo – makers of the EssenceFM synthesizer – shared a sneak preview of their upcoming MASK1, a polyphonic synthesizer which uses Kodamo’s exclusive Bitmask synthesis, combined with resonant filters.

In addition to a unique sound palette, ranging from classic analog sounds to gritty digital textures, the MASK1 offers unique performance options, by allowing note slurring and different articulations, depending on how you play.

The MASK1’s design takes inspiration from the late analog and early digital synths of the 80’s, but with an easy-to-use interface, without deep menu-diving. It features a looper, an arpeggiator, built-in effects, sound layering capabilities and more.

Kodamo MASK1 Atmospheric Patch Demo:

Kodamo MASK1 Atmospheric Analog Pluck Demo:

Specifications:

  • Synthesis type Bitmask, subtractive
  • Polyphony 10 voices with optimized allocation
  • Multitimbrality 4 parts (5 in layered/split mode)
  • Oscillators 2 bitmask per voice with 256 masks each, transpose and detune
  • Noise 1 per voice with programmable sample-and-hold frequency
  • Filter 1 per voice, two poles (12dB/oct) state variable, self-resonant with pitch tracking and 4 modes (low, high, band pass, notch)
  • Envelopes 4 loopable ADSR per voice (osc1, osc2, noise, filter), 3 delta-decay (osc1 mask, osc2 mask, pitch)
  • LFO 2 per part with 7 waveforms and noise, delay, decay and 16 destinations
  • Arpeggiator 26 patterns with adaptive or fixed chords, latchable, retrig or pitch change modes. Arp do send note events to MIDI out.
  • Looper Up to 10000 events, unlimited duration, single track. Records notes, pitch bend, mod wheel, aftertouch and sustain pedal.
  • Effects Two stereo effects in series. First effect: chorus, phaser, distortion, bitcrusher, tremolo and ring mod (64 types).
  • Second effect: delay, comb filter, reverb, room simulations and distortion (48 types)
  • Modulations Velocity (6 destinations), modulation wheel (16 destinations), aftertouch (16 destinations), LFO1 and LFO2 (16 destinations each)
  • Play modes Polyphonic, monophonic, slurred, mono portamento on legato, paraphonic, hHybrid poly-mono on legato, slurred paraphonic, mono retrigger, poly retrigger
  • Split Configurable split point, balance between voices, transpose, panning and tuning
  • Layer Configurable balance between voices, transpose, panning and tuning
  • Misc Voice pan spread, polyphonic portamento, keyboard envelope rate scaling
  • Memory 120 factory presets, 400 user voices. EEPROM-based (no battery required)
  • Audio outputs 2 balanced 1/4 inch TRS jack, pro audio level with +/-12V internal power supply, 1/4 inch jack headphones
  • MIDI 2 DIN (in, out), class-compliant USB type B, SysEx voice transmit/receive, CC-mapped voice parameters
  • Keyboard 61 full-size keys, weighted Fatar action with 6 velocity curves and 6 aftertouch curves
  • Controls 23 buttons, 2 rotary encoders, pitch bend wheel, modulation wheel
  • Display 4-digit red display
  • Pedal input Sustain, 1/4 inch TS jack, adaptive polarity
  • Tuning 400-470Hz. 6 temperaments including arabic tuning.
  • Size 89 x 26 x 8cm including knobs and feet.
  • Weight 7.5kg
  • Power External 12V DC adapter, AC 100-240V in
  • Chassis Powder-coated, screenprinted steel. Light grey (RAL 9002) color
  • Sides Black ABS

Pricing and Availability:

The Kodamo MASK1 is expected to be available March 31, 2023, priced at €1908.

23 thoughts on “Kodamo MASK1 Bitmask Synthesizer Coming Soon, Here’s A Sneak Preview

  1. so, seen the tech write up, and heard a demo. idk why this is popular; pretty arbitrary method. just another UDO in my book. looking forward to sixteen review and demos posts in the next week though.

    1. We live in the golden age of synths. Congrats on sharing your complete lack of interest with the world. Considering how many people are on the Internet, your comment might reach someone who cares!

  2. That interface is brutal for that price. Wow, no thank you. I already lived through my JX3P with no programmer and my Sequential Max, would avoid no matter what the sound engine. Who wants to make sounds like you’re picking a lock?

  3. Oh, I dunno, that pluck sound rocked the bass before he moved the mod wheel. As usual, I’ll kick back and wait for the demos to roll in. The feature set and build seem creditable. Its in the same category with other focused synths at the price point, between Volcas and a Moog One.

    I appreciate the trend towards on-board loopers and multitimbrality. It makes for a fuller instrument with everything but the hassle of a full sequencer. It’ll look sassy over your Nord Wave 2, 3rd Wave, 4 Minimoogs and gold sequined Deadrat head, too.

  4. “easy-to-use” what ???

    The interface is that 1980s one knob, many buttons menu diving hell, every synthesist has nightmares from.
    I do not get why such impenetrable interfaces are used over and over again.
    A pity many beautiful sounding synths get restrained by such terrible Ui choices.

    What is so hard to understand about “one knob per function” ?

    Knobs and Faders FTW!

  5. As more has already pointed out, the outdated programming ability may make this item fail on a commercial and interest point of view.

    Despite this, it sounds great

  6. I can hear the potential for unique sounds, but I’m not sure what’s up with that display. I’m a big fan of the C15’s user interface, (and before that, the ESQ1), so I have no problem with a single knob to control the parameters – I just feel like it would be useful to see more information displayed than would be allowed by that display.

  7. I’d like to understand more what a bitmask is, in relation to synthesis, before I can be impressed that it has 256 per voice.

    1. You beat me to asking the exact same question. Also, doesn’t a 256 bitmask suggest an 8-bit oscillator? If there was even somewhat of a desire or need for this technology, whatever it is, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to offer it as a computer application for, maybe, $49? I can’t imagine anybody in their right mind choosing this over any of the multitude of more affordable alternatives that have oscillators that aren’t gimmicks to occupy the precious space required for a 61-key synth.

    2. in digital systems a ‘bit mask’ is a field of data intended to mask off bits in another field of data that are, or are not of interest; then you perform your operation on the remaining data. in music it’s a marketing term used to sell a synth like ‘binaural stereo’. seems like white is the color of choice for nonsense, in more ways that this.

  8. The sounds and specs speak to me on a really deep level, the interface and the price do not. Why did they take inspiration for the display from the Roland Boutiques?

    Stick it in a desktop unit for half the price and it might become more than an UDO-type ‘oh that’s really nice, wonder if i’ll ever see one in person’ thing. Better yet, put it in a rack, if the interface is only that many buttons, two knobs and some 7-segments you could probably fit in a 1U.

  9. Very interested in learning more about this instrument, hearing more sounds and getting a better understanding of what’s being offered here re ‘Bitmask’ synthesis as well. ‘Lack of knobs’, ‘oh no the 80s!’ and similar remarks, are the exact same reductive comments made on this site about the utterly brilliant Nonlinear C15, by people who have never played one. If you need more knobs, look no further than the group here who post based on their strong feelings and need to exercise their word skills, without adding to the conversation. “FTW!” 😉

  10. Very interested in learning more about this instrument, hearing more sounds and getting a better understanding of what’s being offered here re ‘Bitmask’ synthesis as well. ‘Lack of knobs’, ‘oh no the 80s!’ and similar remarks, are the exact same reductive comments made on this site about the utterly brilliant Nonlinear C15, by people who have never played one. If you need more knobs, look no further than the group here who post based on their strong feelings and need to exercise their word skills, without adding to the conversation. “FTW!” indeed;)

  11. Very interested in learning more about this instrument, hearing more sounds and getting a better understanding of what’s being offered here re ‘Bitmask’ synthesis as well. ‘Lack of knobs’, ‘oh no the 80s!’ and similar remarks, are the exact same reductive comments made on this site about the utterly brilliant Nonlinear C15, by people who have never played one. If you need more knobs, look no further than the group here who post based on their strong feelings and need to exercise their word skills, without adding to the conversation. “FTW!” indeed;)

    1. As I hope would be obvious, based on the two identical posts above that don’t bear my name, I have no connection with this post.

  12. First of all, for a small company like Kodamo, this is not a small achievement.
    I agree about the small interface. In reviews about the Essence people where very positive about its interface. I’m surprised it didn’t find it’s way to this new synthesizer.

    I am also surprised about the less interest for Essence FM synthesizer: on the internet.
    Or perhaps Essence-owners are humble or shy :p

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