Waldorf Music has announced a full production launch and general availability of Kyra — the world’s first fully FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) powered synthesizer featuring 128 voices (regardless of settings and effects), each with 10 oscillators per voice, and eight-part multitimbrality, based on the Exodus Digital Valkyrie previewed at Musicmesse.
Kyra is initially scheduled for full production launch at The 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California.
The company describes Kyra as “an extremely powerful Virtual Analogue synthesizer
— literally like nothing else out there — thanks to leveraging the latest FPGA technology to significantly outperform legacy DSP (Digital Signal Processing) powered competition, Kyra’s crowning glory comes courtesy of its state-of-the-art audio quality: think 32x oversampled hardware with dual wavetables providing over 4,000 waveshapes.”
The new platform is being jointly developed with Manuel Caballero of Exodus Digital, who demonstrated his “Valkyrie” synth concept at Musicmesse. Manuel also recently announced that “The Exodus Team would like to announce that Valkyrie is now a Waldorf Music product and will be released as the Waldorf Kyra.”
“After nearly four years in the making, I went to Musikmesse with the intention of finding an established partner for Valkyrie,” said Caballero. “There’s little doubt that Valkyrie’s reveal at Musikmesse caused quite a stir in the synthesizer world and I had set the bar high for potential partners to bring the instrument to market.”
“As a result of this, I’m pleased to announce a partnership with Waldorf Music. Few companies can match their track record of innovation and delivery spanning several decades. Working with Joachim Flor and his technical and design team to achieve this is an exciting and efficient partnership as we work together to launch the instrument at NAMM in 2019. Waldorf’s proven heritage in product design, manufacturing, and distribution leaves me to do what I do best, which is applying the most advanced technologies to the art of music, and I look forward to a continued deep working relationship with the Waldorf team.”
While the demo for Valkyrie looked a bit too much like an Access Virus, clearly the Kyra looks more in the vein of a classic Waldorf keyboard (from the single teaser image, at least).
The design spec of the new instrument offers 10 oscillators that can be doubled to 20 by using two voices; each offering a wide range of features, including true stereo operation, hard sync, FM (Frequency Modulation), and ring modulation.
Kyra’s resonant filters are accurate oversampled emulations of classic analogue ladder filters with 2- and 4-pole configurations (offering -12dB/oct and -24dB/oct of magnitude decrease, respectively). There are three envelope generators, three stereo LFOs with 64 shapes and MIDI clock sync, an arpeggiator, full keyboard microtuning, and true polyphonic portamento, as well as a comprehensive 18-channel modulation matrix.
Kyra will have four assignable, balanced 32-bit/96kHz stereo outputs, a headphone output, low-latency DIN MIDI, a fully class-compliant USB2 implementation for MIDI, and a stereo 24-bit/96kHz audio stream for each of its eight parts. Production-wise, there is also a USB (Universal Serial Bus) audio return feature, so Kyra can render final DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) audio under ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output). An ASIO driver is provided for Windows users while Mac support is out of the box.
Waldorf Music CEO Joachim Flor said, “It was more of a coincidence to have discovered Valkyrie during a tour of this year’s Frankfurt Music Fair, but I was immediately aware of the fact that this was probably one of the most exciting synthesizers of recent years.”
Kyra is initially scheduled for full production launch at The 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California, competitively priced at €1,899.00 EUR as a desktop/rackmount model (with a keyboard version to follow later in 2019).
Audio demos on SoundCloud for the Exodus Digital Valkerie might give us a clue to some of the sound capabilities, but this would before the Waldorf spin is added to the technology and so is not the final Kyra product.
*UPDATE: Exodus Digital removed the sound demos of the Valkyrie, and will use their SoundCloud page in future to promote commercial sound packs for the forthcoming Kyra synth. I removed the audio clips here since no longer working. –CS