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Kyma X.1 Released as Free Update


January 6, 2005

Symbolic Sound has announced that Kyma X.1, the next major update to the sound design environment, is now shipping. Kyma X.1 delivers its enhancements in threes: support for using a Wacom pen and tablet as a 3 dimensional control surface, 3 new kinds of oscillators, modules for turning presets into a 3 dimensional parameter subspace, plus other enhancements and improvements to the Kyma X sound design software.

Using a Wacom Tablet as a 3-D Sound Control Surface

Sound designers can use a Wacom pen and tablet to perform creature voices or match SFX to picture. Musicians can quickly and intuitively explore the parameter space of a patch or even perform the tablet as a new musical instrument.

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“Our goal is for sound designers and musicians to be able to shape sounds with their own hands. The human hand is virtually a direct connection to the human brain,” said Symbolic Sound president Carla Scaletti. “Using your ear and your hand, you can explore and refine sound design patches with incredible speed.”

With the Wacom Intuos3 or Graphire3 pen tablets, sound designers and musicians can use the eraser-end of the pen to simultaneously control up to 8 sound parameters using pen position plus (on the Intuos) pen tilt. You can map any sound parameter to pen orientation by using the Pen Status window.

By flipping the pen over, musicians can use the tablet as a continuous microtonal musical keyboard, sending KeyDown, KeyPitch (left/right), KeyVelocity (up/down), plus an additional key event called KeyTimbre (front/back). Sounds designed for the Continuum Fingerboard ( are fully compatible with Sounds designed for the Wacom tablet in keyboard mode (and vice versa).

You can see a video demonstratipn of the pen tablet in use with Kyma on the company's web site.

New Oscillator Flavors

The new Kyma Oscillator generates the full range of sound, from a single impulse, to a formant-shifted tone, to the classic continuous waveform oscillator. By giving you control over the duty-cycle of any waveform (independently of the fundamental frequency), this new oscillator can be used to synthesize anything from granular pops and pulses to the familiar continuous analog waveforms.

A new CrossFadingMulticycleOscillator allows you to smoothly interpolate between any two waveforms over the course of a single cycle.

Inspired by revolutionary composer/architect Iannis Xenakis, the XenOscillator lets you define a waveform by adjusting any number of “breakpoints” and interpolating between them with straight lines, curves, or if you prefer, “raw” with no interpolation at all. You can even use the Wacom pen to redraw the waveform of the oscillator while it is playing.

Sound Parameter Vector Spaces

Using the new PresetSpace module, you can define a 1, 2 or 3 dimensional subspace by placing the presets of a Sound on the vertices of a line, a square, or acube. You can then move through that space by interpolating between those endpoints.

A related module, InterpolatePresets, treats any number of presets as points in an n-dimensional space and then allows you to travel along a line connecting those points. In effect, you are controlling any number of faders with a single master fader that interpolates between presets. Use this module to perform your patches live on stage, sequencing through them in order or jumping from one patch to another as you improvise with other performers.

Combining these spatial modules with the Wacom tablet control opens up a whole new way of performing, composing, and improvising with sound. The tablet can detect the pen through a sheet of paper, so you can even create your own 2-dimensional scores or maps for improvisation, lay them on the tablet, and perform them live.

Timeline Controller Overlays and other additions

In the Timeline you can now view multiple automated controllers from multiple Sounds, allowing you to more easily coordinate controllers with each other.

Pricing & Availability

Kyma X.1 is now available as a free New Year's present to registered Kyma X owners.

Wacom Graphire3 and Intuos3 tablets are available direct from Wacom and can also be found in computer and electronics stores (both physical and on line). Registered Kyma X owners can purchase an Intuos3 4X5 pen tablet and wireless mouse directly from Symbolic Sound for US $198.

Tablets ordered from Symbolic Sound include a special plastic overlay providing an XYZ grid, polar coordinates, and the halfstep markers for a two octave continuous pitch keyboard.

If you already own a Graphire3 or Intuos3, you can print and laminate a copy of this template from PDF files supplied by Symbolic Sound (or use these templates as a starting point for designing your own personalized overlays and grids).

Kyma X.1 runs under Macintosh OS X, Windows XP, and Windows 98/ME/2000 and Macintosh OS 9.2. Wacom Graphire3 and Intuos3 USB versions are supported under OS X and Windows XP operating systems only (no support for OS 9 or Windows 98/ME/2000).

For more information, visit their web site at

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David Mellor