Review: Kaivo: Granular Super Model

Sometimes 'simple' is overrated. Especially in the world of granular synths, it can be more satisfying to spend time getting to know a synth in-depth as Noah Pred discovers with Madrona Labs' Kaivo.  

The refreshingly independent Madrona Labs have followed up their impressive Aalto virtual modular synth with a truly novel sound-design instrument built on a similar architecture. Employing certain components familiar to Aalto users'"the sequencer, gate, envelopes and almost entirely modular patching system'"it's based on a combination of two fairly esoteric (and rarely-used) synthesis technologies.

Kaivo in action.

Kaivo in action.

Physical modelling

Physical modelling is nothing new: utilizing complex mathematical formulas to mimic the natural vibrations of strings or reeds and the acoustic properties of various resonating structures, I first remember it coming to market in the late 1990s with Korg's much-hyped Prophecy monosynth. Since then, computing power has developed exponentially, allowing for ever more realistic acoustic models. The foundation for Live's Electric, Tension and Collision devices (as developed by Applied Acoustics), physical modelling technology has found its way into plenty of music production'"yet never quite caught on as a 'go to'

Noah Pred is a Canadian record producer, sound designer, technologist, DJ, and Ableton Certified Trainer living in Berlin, Germany. Releasing dozens of records and touring extensively since the '90s, he currently teaches a wide variety of techniques for stage and studio at the BIMM Institute. For more information, please visit: http://... Read More


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