Home Forums Tips & Techniques Switching Kyma from Mac to PC – Success Story

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    Tom Tolleson

    After 25 years of working in audio studios on the Mac platform, I switched my own studio from Mac to PC, mostly for the ability to upgrade and modify the system (the new Linux kernel in Windows helped the decision along too). Here’s the high-level view of my steps to switch:

    1. I bought a Lenovo tower PC (Windows 10 Professional).
    2. Pulled out the motherboard, power supply hard drive, etc. and migrated it to a rack-mounted PC case.
    3. Added the Kyma-recommended Syba PCI express FireWire card
    4. Connected the Paca
    5. Downloaded Kyma 7

    Et voila! Up and running perfectly the first time Kyma 7 ran (see image).

    I honestly didn’t expect this to go as well as it did with all of my hardware fiddling but I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.

    I’m running on an AMD professor and plan to upgrade to an Intel 9 or Ryzen Threadripper (though I’m worried about the reports of latency at low ASIO buffer sizes). If you have any questions please let me know.


    Tom Tolleson

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    That’s very nice!

    How many rack unit-spaces is your pc taking in that rack?

    I have also migrated recently from a mac mini to an Intel NUC Hades, and Kyma 7 works really well! 🙂

    I connected my Paca to one of the 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports of the NUC by chaining these two adapters: 1x Startech TB3 to TB2 adapter + Apple TB2 to Firewire 800 adapter

    Everything works and it’s instantly recognised by the NUC Hades’ motherboard with no issues at all running latest version of Windows 10.



    Tom Tolleson

    Glad to hear yours is working as well! That NUC Hades is really cool. I’ve been using a smaller mini-pc for live but it’s reaching its limits. May look at an NUC next. 😉

    To answer your question, I’m using an iStar USA 3u rack. I would probably get a 4U if I had to do it over again because of the variety of power unit builds that are out there.  It does take up a lot of space but I bought it for the sole purpose of not having to buy a PC for a long time. I can upgrade all the components as needed.

    Congrats again and thanks!



    That’s really what made me to migrate to PC now.

    They are fully configurable inside, and obviously the price..

    I encourage you to test the NUC Hades for your live set up.

    Full of multi-processing power, it performs like a proper desktop computer.

    All components are fully tested by Intel.

    So the motherboard works wonderfully with everything.

    Especially the Thunderbolt 3 ports!

    The Graphics are amazing too because Intel work with AMD on this one!

    So the Radeon Vega Graphics Card with 4GB is ace outperforms by far the new mac mini..

    Plus it’s dead easy to upgrade the RAM and the two SSD’s inside..

    I got mine with 2x Samsung EVO SSD’s (1x 500GB + 1x 1TB) and 16GB RAM

    6x USB 3.0 ports, 2x TB3, 1x USB-C 3.1, 2x HDMI, 2x minidisplay, 2x Ethernet ports..

    The design of this compact PC is simply amazing.. infrared remote, optical digital and analog Audio port, SD card slot.. I just love this thing 🙂

    I’m now so intrigued to add a touch screen and test it with Kyma VCS! 🙂

    The Nuc also has a Vesa mount so it could be mounted behind the screen perefectly..


    Dusan Mihajlovic

    Are you using Thunderbolt 3 port with firewire adaptor for Paca?

    Which audio interface are you using? USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt?

    I am considering getting rid of the Firewire on my system altogether, but I would still like to use higher sample rates, which are not available on on approved USB interfaces.


    yes, i’m uisng firewire to thunderbolt 2 and then another adapter to thunderbolt 3

    my interface for kyma is a tc electronic x32


    Dusan Mihajlovic

    Thank you for the quick reply. Just one more question, if I may.

    What is the order in of the devices in your system – PC to thunderbolt adaptor to TC x32 to Paca or thunderbolt to Paca to TC x32?



    P.S.: where are you based? I am in London, United Kngdom.



    Hi Dusan,

    I have one firewire port of the paca connected to the tc electronic x32 interface, and the other firewire port of the paca connected to the PC [firewire cable to TB2 adapter to TB3 adapter]

    Are you having problems connecting your paca to the pc?

    what’s your actual cable chain, audio interface, etc..?

    BTW, I am based in London too! 🙂


    Dusan Mihajlovic

    Hi Eli,

    I am at the moment connecting to a PC which has a Firewire card in it, and using MOTU Fw/USB hybrid interface, which is only recognised by Kyma when I use Firewire.

    However, Firewire drivers are not that stable of late, and also I have a rather powerful laptop which has Thunderbolt 3, which I want to use in live situations – so far I have only used Paca in studio.

    Kyma is not my main environment, but I am spending more time with it, and would like to use it more in alignment with my other tools. My environment is based on Audio over IP (currently Dante devices, but I might move to RAVENNA)

    I just extrapolated myself that it should be possible to use Kyma with Thunderbolt 3, and your success with it is encouraging.

    At the moment I am in Norway travelling, but as soon as I come back to London, I’ll be in touch again.

    Is there any of your work available on the Web?




    in my experience running audio via the thunderbolt on pc’s is not always straightforward.

    I have an intel nuc and that’s why the Thunderbolt seems to be working fine with most of the audio interfaces i used with it as well as with the paca.

    what pc laptop do you have?

    do you know the model of your mother board?

    be free to get in touch when you are back to London Dusan.




    Ryan Ebeling

    Here’s a build idea. I tried to balance performance, price and size. This build can connect to your Paca/rana over ethernet or the case is big enough to accommodate a syba or siig firewire card.



    PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/GWdzsk

    CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($94.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9x65 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.95 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($153.46 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($64.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 250 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($67.93 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1 TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($39.88 @ Amazon)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (White) Mini ITX Tower Case
    Power Supply: SeaSonic 350 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular TFX Power Supply
    Total: $471.20
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-04-29 00:43 EDT-0400

    Simon Smith

    Has anyone used a LattePanda Alpha with Kyma? It looks small and compact, not powerful but enough to run Kyma.



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