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How can I use Kyma when traveling?

+3 votes
I find myself many times on the road, willing to work on kyma sound design projects that i have started, and not being able to because either my pacarana is in the bag and i cannot plug it in the airplane or train, or i left it at home in the studio because apart from my 10 hours travel within the next two days, I won't have any time to dedicate to kyma sound design.

So here's the question: Is there any chance to see at some point an 'offline' version of kyma, with some sort of paca emulation on the computer? I am sure I am not the only one who would welcome such an add with immense praise and gratitude :)
asked Mar 15, 2016 in General by malcolm-braff (Practitioner) (770 points)
I think this is completely against the Kyma design philosophy. We can't emulate a Pacarana, because it is a custom designed low level computation device - hardware. To emulate it wouldn't make sense, as the significant point of Kyma against everything else, is that it shares no resources with other processor cycles. I can honestly say that over 11 years studying and usng Kyma I never have the desire to setup my rig on a train, plane or otherwise and spend these times thinking about Sound and composition in Kyma, taking notes in a book and so on.
I do understand and love the Kyma design philosophy. When I suggest an emulation I never think of an emulation capable of producing useable sounds. Actually rather than an emulation, I think of being able to work offline, preparing sound designs, writing code, and so on...
This is an interesting question for me too. I do a lot of work on trains etc (probably my best work :), and it's a shame that Kyma is the one thing I can't work on that way.

A good comparison is with the Nord Modular G2 I think.

It is also a hardware / software hybrid where you have a special DSP hardware unit that is "programmed" using a desktop application.

The Nord does have that feature. It does have an emulation mode where you can programme it without the hardware. It's not as powerful or good quality but it is possible to do some work.

Interestingly the converse is also true - not only will the software work without the hardware, but the hardware also works without the software.

The Nord's version of a "sound" is downloaded into the hardware and recalled as a "patch", with no reliance on the host PC. This makes the Nord very reliable in a performance context as there's no dependency on a computer at all. Although I'm sure that comes with some limitations  - for instance the Nord has no way of playing back a sample from the host PC's hard drive.
@Malcolm, I keep coming back to this question. I agree with you, the ability to work off-line would be so useful.
While probably not what you're looking for, you may want to see if you can get my Paculator to do something useful for you: It's really a "mock-arana" -- or is that "mach-arana"? ;-) -- designed to allow me to develop code while disconnected from the Pacarana. It receives OSC messages as if it were a Pacarana, and responds with the appropriate Pacarana responses. It has the rudiments of a VCS as well. Start by using the "dump" command to create a pseudo-Sound from the currently loaded Sound. Then later, use either the "start" or "vcs" commands to crank up the pseudo-Sound and run whatever non-Kyma program that is intended to talk to the Paca.
I think it would be nice to be able to open Kyma, even without compiling anything. I wanted to learn the HMM-stuff today at home, and realised there is a lot to read in the sound documentation, but I can only access it via Kyma application.

1 Answer

+1 vote

A USB headset (especially one with a mic) is a handy device for travel since you can just plug into the Pacarana's USB port.  If there's no electrical outlet near your seat on the train or airplane, it becomes more of a challenge, but in theory one could use something like this even when camping, busking, or otherwise off the grid.  In a car, one could use an 80 Watt power inverter connected to the "lighter" outlet.

answered Mar 15, 2016 by ssc (Savant) (127,180 points)
Thank you very much for the usb headset trick. I will definitely use it every now and then :-)
However, pacarana and its power plug requires place, and cables, plus power for your laptop as well. It does not compare to the lightness of a single thin laptop you can keep in your coat! I am still convinced that an 'offline' solution would be very practical.
I agree malcolm. I would really like to be able to work with Kyma 7 in "no audio mode". I think it would be a timesaver and I really can't see why I can't open Kyma when my paca isn't connected.
I remember once I accidentally unplugged the Pacarana while Kyma was running and although Kyma was complaining the software was still running and I was able to work in the Sound Editor.
Heard the same experience from a friend of mine, but I'm not able to test it now because I won't see my baby Paca in 7 days..
Hi Malcom, I did this in Windows 7 and Kyma X.
I could open Kyma X in an older compatibility.
Kyma X started up with a few warnings but clicking through this it worked fine.
Without the hardware and no audio.
Now I have a Win 10 here but this trick doesn't work anymore.
My Kyma 7 PC is still on Win7.