hardware and software for electronic music 


Try Kaivo

Kaivo is a semi-modular software synthesizer that combines two powerful ways of making sound: granular synthesis and physical modeling. Click to download the demo and presets installers:

Mac OS

Kaivo Demo 1.2.1 [VST/AU for OS X]

Kaivo Samples and Patches Installer 1.2 for OS X


Kaivo Demo 1.2.1 [VST for Windows]

Kaivo Samples and Patches Installer 1.2 for Windows

All platforms

Read Me First!

Manual PDF

Both Mac and Windows versions are fully 32- and 64-bit compatible. The demo version is identical to the full version, except that a gentle reminder sound plays every 60 seconds or so, and patches made with the demo cannot be saved.

Kaivo's manual has over 50 pages full of Kaivo lore, tips and tricks, and a complete introduction to sound synthesis! Click the cover to download.

Buy Kaivo

US $129.00

Your download will be available immediately and include:

  • 32 and 64-bit AU and VST plugins for OSX
  • 32 and 64-bit VST plugins for Windows

The purchase price includes a license for Kaivo on both Mac and Windows, and all future formats and platforms as they are released.

Please Note:

To download your software, you will need to make an account on our website. If the email you use for your account is the same one you use with Paypal, the licensing and download should proceed automatically. If the emails are different, we humans will step in to complete the process. Your account lets you download your software any time you like, and post to the Madrona Labs forums.

To install the Kaivo presets, use the preset installers linked above.

System requirements

Mac versions requires OS 10.7 or higher. Windows versions require Windows 7 or higher. Windows XP and Vista are likely to work but are not officially supported. All versions require a 1.6GHz Intel Core Duo processor or better.

Kaivo is fairly heavy on the CPU. On a mid-range notebook from 2010, a dual core 2.4 GHz Core i5, four voices of a complex patch use around 30 percent of the CPU time. Results vary between hosts and operating systems—the best thing to do is try the demo before purchase.


Kaivo brings some of the latest academic research in physical modeling to a patchable package for the first time. Mathematically speaking, its finite difference time domain (FDTD) models let the player reach inside the instrument and affect the internal vibrations at any point. This allows for a fine degree of realistic detail, like the bridge rattles on a "gut string" model, for example. And while Kaivo is capable of making very realistic sounds, it is also designed to apply this subtlety to abstract creations.

Like a picture is sometimes worth 1000 words, a physical model is worth 1000 samples. Every time a model is triggered, it makes a slightly different sound due to the initial conditions when the sound starts. This subtle variety can quickly give a very lifelike quality to sounds that would be tedious to recreate with sampling. Kaivo has eight different types of tuned resonators, including strings, chimes and springs, each with its own complex response to sound. As for instrument bodies, there are four, including two wooden body models, a metal plate, and a frame drum---all true 2D models.

Expansive spatial sounds are possible in Kaivo, with independent panning available on grains, resonator, and body. Kaivo’s granulator feeds the models from a 2D map of sound with up to four channels. The body is a true 2D vibrating model of a physical object with left and right pickups that create a spatialized mix of all the frequencies flowing through it. Great for deep environments and filmic spaces.

License terms

Kaivo is watermarked but not copy protected. You can make any number of copies of the software for your own backup, and install the copies on as many computers as you like. If you want to run the plugin on more than one computer at a time, we require that you buy a licensed copy for each computer.

This license approach is designed to let legitimate owners get work done, whenever and wherever they need to, without worrying about authorization issues. When you buy a license, your name will appear in the UI of your licensed software as a reminder of your awesomeness.

We encourage you to try before you buy, so that you won't want to return the full version. But if you find unexpected problems within a reasonable amount of time, talk to us---we want you to be happy with your purchase.

A license purchased directly from us can be transferred once for a small service fee. Contact us for details.




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