hardware and software for electronic music 
Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 12:38

Kaivo 1.0 is here!

I've spent the last few weeks here in the labs fine tuning physical models for Kaivo, our new software synthesizer. “Kaivo” is Finnish for “well,” as in, a deep well of sounds, and I've been working on deepening that well over the last month or so. Kaivo's models include metal, nylon and gut strings, different sizes of chimes and springs (yes, springs), wooden instrument bodies, membranes and metal plates.

If you already know about Kaivo, you are probably ready to stop reading and head over to the product page. Feel free, the rest of this note will be here for you when you get back.

Today marks the release of this product I've been working on for two years, but only the start of its development. The current models only scratch the surface of what the underlying engine is capable of. I'll release some more models free of charge as time permits. I'm excited to hear what ideas Kaivo sparks when people really get into it, what new musical terrain it helps you explore.

I couldn't have done this without my peeps, so some shout outs are definitely due. Firstly to Eric Moon, who wrote the granulator and limiter, and put up gracefully with my many tuning requests. To Dan Godlovitch at U. Vic, who helped with the math. To George Cochrane, tech writer par excellence (now with adjustable metaphor dial). To David Chandler, for all the wonderful mutants. And to everyone who sent patches or samples or feature ideas, whether I had time to work them in or not.

Happy patching, and please keep sharing those crazy sounds and compositions via the
Madrona Labs SoundCloud page.

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 13:02

Congratulations! This is an exciting day!Great sounding Synth!

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 14:40

Hi Randy,
Bought and installed, but shipped with no presets? Just .dll?

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 14:59

Oops, my bad. I blame being too eager to get this beast running that I was completely blind to the separate presets installer

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 15:03

This is great Randy! Plenty of crazy sounds to be made with that!
Gonna hold till the budget is there but I'm definitely getting this!

@jbe I guess you just need to download the presets from the website where the demo is located. It should work for both demos and full version.

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 17:35

Oh yeah! Saving my shekels rat now!

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 18:47

Just excellent Randy and team. Worth the wait.

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 20:22

Fantastic work, Randy & team. This is exactly what I´ve been looking for for a long time.

Two niggles (so far):

GUI needs more contrast. Looks a bit "washy" now and is harder to read than Aalto.

In Ableton, closing and reopening the GUI resets the size.

Anyways, outstanding synth. Congrats!

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 22:42

Purchased without hesitation, glad I did, so much inspiration in the few hours I've spent with it so far, perhaps this warrants a thread to share multichannel samples and presets that folks have made for this.

Wed, Mar 05, 2014, 23:17

first impression... incredible!

Thank you Randy

Thu, Mar 06, 2014, 06:17

Very good !

Thu, Mar 06, 2014, 08:39

It's really really incredible... Congrats!

Thu, Mar 06, 2014, 14:35

I don't have any money this month... But I had to have this. Hope it was worth the wait!

Fri, Mar 07, 2014, 11:49

Glad to be a (new) member of the family!
Q: how long will it take you to send me the link to the real download?

Fri, Mar 07, 2014, 12:00

@uncle groove fixed: see your email.

Fri, Mar 07, 2014, 12:14

Hands-down the funnest software project I've ever been part of. Cheers, Randy!

Sat, Mar 08, 2014, 00:10

Running it in Audiomulch w/ a Monome patch (Decisions) triggering note and cc randomities... = Fricken awesomity + brainmelt #_#

MUST win some kind of 2014 award. If there is none available I'll just make one up for you guys...

Will test in Numerology as well to see if there is a way to overcome the 3 cc limitation with N4's built in modulation matrix (almost 199% sure it will work).

After-the-fact-edit: Oh yess my precioussss... and it's full of easter eggs... :-))

Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 11:58

Randy and George Cochrane: it must be said that your user manuals are the best. Not only very useful (and hilarious) but great at explaining Kaivo's design philosophy.

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 02:48

this software is amazing, thank you.
but I can't buy it, the demo's CPU usage is always 100% +, so I can't really use it. I have dual core 2.6 with Win 8.1 and Live 9.
I remember Aalto used a lot in the first times too, but after the updates that is okay.

Is it only my problem? What can I do to solve this?
I really want to have this software.

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 10:50

You should be able to run Kaivo OK on that machine. But there are a lot of flavors of processors in Windows machines, so it's hard to say. I'm gonna post a writeup about CPU hints very soon. Thanks for the feedback.

Sun, Mar 16, 2014, 03:57

thank you. I can't imagine not to have this one ;)

Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 15:33

A couple of sessions with the demo convinced me. I bought it! Congrats on an excellent virtual synth design. I'm just totally impressed. The manual is excellent, even… reminds me of the original ARP 2600 manual, which is where I got started in electronic music. I wish you a long and successful run with this product.

Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 13:14


I have the exact same problem, pins my CPU an I have an 8 core i7. Must be a windows thing. Too bad!

Sun, Apr 13, 2014, 20:21

If I run several voices in Ableton live and reaper, I get glitches. Looks like Kaivo is not using more than one core? Definitely not using a lot of CPU but I'm getting glitches if I go past 3 or 4 voices.

If I set to 8, playing one note is enough to get glitches on some patches. On default patch, playing for a bit or up to 8 notes, I get glitches.

Mon, Apr 14, 2014, 09:30

It's true Kaivo is using only one core. I expect to get a huge speed boost when I can do the work to allocate one voice per core. However, it's a non-trivial task and I wanted to get Kaivo out ASAP.

Please hang in there and look forward to speed improvements, as well as more body and resonator types down the road.

Thu, Mar 17, 2016, 08:54

I must admit today was the first time I started to read the Kaivo manual. The illustrations from David Chandler are terrific. And the text is so well written, which makes reading both a pleasure and a learning experience even if one 'knows' about physical modeling and granular sampling, and synthesis in general. Such quality manuals are rare.

While reading there was some Balinese Gamelan music playing on my computer, quite a perfect accompaniment. Starting Kaivo with the 'pan multi bells' patch, hitting or holding some notes from time to time was unsurprisingly a good match to the Gamelan music.

Since I have a faster computer Kaivo will serve me for a long time, and I only wanted to thank you and all others who have contributed in the making of this fantastic instrument.

Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 10:47

Thanks for the very nice feedback!