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kyma standalone | future plans

+1 vote

i know kyma needs the paca/pacarana in order to create sound. even though iam curious if there are any future plans for a slim lightwight kyma version that works with a reduced bit- and samplerate. meant for: on the road/home patching and quick prototyping/testing.


ciao, johannes
asked Dec 5, 2016 in Using Kyma by x (Practitioner) (590 points)
If this feature existed I would use it all the time!

I'm literally packing right now for a two week work trip and debating whether to take the paca or not so I can learn and practice and develop some sounds I'm working on.... And I'm not going to take it because it's too big, heavy and expensive and I couldn't use it while travelling anyway. But if there was a software simulation version I would get a lot done over the next two weeks.

2 Answers

+2 votes

Hello Johannes. 

This question has been asked in many forms over the years. I am sure if it was remotely feasible it would already exist, but it always comes down to time.

  • Do we want the main software to evolve or SSC to get distracted with a whole subset of data.?
  • I imagine that even if such a system were to be created: keeping the two in sync would be a never ending task: One that would outweigh the benefits from multiple perspectives.
  • Precision is the name of the game, compromised systems will simply not do, you would be frustrated by the results, this is why we invested in the first place!
  • I have pondered this from time to time, but ultimately came to the conclusion that there are other ways you can advance your Kyma skills without being in-front of the system. It was about the same time I realised it was not my knowledge of Kyma that was holding me back, it was my knowledge of maths and basic programming concepts that I really needed to conquer. Learning Pure Data or MaxMSP (very portable) can be a worthwhile engagement. This certainly help cement some of my conceptual cobwebs into meaningful structure. Whilst they are very very different beasts, it can be approaching problems from another perspective can be very helpful. 
  • My next challenge is to learn some Smalltalk, but do this in time where I do not have access to Kyma, this will undoubtedly make better use of my time when I am in-front of the system. 

Random thoughts, perhaps they will help. 

TLDR = No. 


answered Dec 6, 2016 by charlienorton (Adept) (2,570 points)
Learning PD or Max in order to learn Kyma wouldn't really work for me. I have installed two smalltalk IDEs and I'm not finding them helpful yet in learning smalltalk because they have no context for me. Working in them is not goal directed as it is when I'm programming in Kyma.

I respect that SymbolicSound have their development priorities.

If I was listing my priorities for Kyma I would put this feature (the ability to program without the hardware present) above new prototypes or user interface improvements. I would use it that often - it would probably double the frequency of me using kyma (if not double the amount of time I use it) and so I'd get much better much more quickly.
thanks for your feedback guys.

straight outta nähkästchen:
i am a 90% max user. for me it was easier to learn max than kyma. learning max for me was like:
going to the studio.
start with a patch.
than do some work.
get childs from kindergarten.
than later continue patching at home…

with kyma its not that flexible. at least for me. my pacarana is installed in my studio. so my kyma experiments/test etc. are limited to the time i spend in studio. worst case scenario is that i didt even have to time to open kyma…

so yeah i also think a kyma standalone version would def help to learn it much faster.
+4 votes
Dear Johannes,
i hope my idea can help you a bit. I think it might be a good idea to remove your Pacarana from your fixed studio rack and buy a good laptop bag, at least for the beginning.

I don't know if the Tom Bihn Brain Cell bag for the Pacarana is still available but i am sure there is a similar regular laptop bag which fits well.

A Pacarana + power supply a Fireware and a USB cable plus a small USB audio class compliant audio interface (for example the Zoom H1 recorder can be used as an Input/output device) will fit easily into a mid sized laptop bag together with a small modern laptop and you then could take your Kyma setup home whenever you like.

It's really easy and quick to setup, similar to any other outboard hardware device like for example a hardware synthesizer or a hardware controller.
If you don't want to carry around the Studio Pacarana you could buy a 2nd one, maybe a Paca and place the Paca at home.

Later when you dive deeper into Kyma you will recognize that most things are done much faster then in Max because Kyma is in many aspects very different to Max.

Kyma includes very inspiring tools which alow you to come quickly to results on the beginner level as well as the intermediate or expert level. Those tools are easy and quick to learn and where improved with the recently released version Kyma 7.1.

If you are aiming for more complex sounds i can speak from my experience as a long time Max/MSP, CSound,VSIG and Kyma user:  athough on the surface they seam to be all very similar there are many differences in the whole process of making your ideas work.

By reading the Kyma X Revealed and Kyma 7 Revealed Books and by studying the old and new forum i improved my whole sound-design skills as well as my musical skills and i changed to a much faster and flexible way for working with sound and musical structures.

Today i am spending more time without a computer  "thinking about" and "designing" my sound ideas in my mind or in my "small black book" before i start actually programming the final solution quickly in Kyma.

Very complex structures can be build in minutes in Kyma which would take you in Max hours, days or even weeks because of the different nature of both.

Kyma is an object-orientated sound design language which does all its computations in real-time on a dedicated DSP based computer system. A software programm like MaxMSP is simply a different approach. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages.

Anyway i think it might be helpful to be able to "run" Kyma 7.1 without the attached sound computation engine to explore and learn the Kyma Environment as well as to evaluate simple SmallTalk - (CMD+Y) and CapyTalk code and develop "Tools" without actually compiling and running the final sound.

All the best,
answered Dec 7, 2016 by christian-schloesser (Adept) (2,880 points)
edited Dec 7, 2016 by christian-schloesser
thanks for your input christian,

thats exactly what i have done for a while: using a Tom Bihn Bag to carry the paca and a small audio interface from home to studio by bike. maybe for one month, everyday.

a second paca for home. i don't think so. my kids would smash it…

yes, max is a different horse, you are right.
what i meant was, that having permanent access to a program environment made it for me much quicker to get into and get used to. i could read books for ages, but would i understand the environment from it? not me. i definitely have to spend time with patching and bugfixing/troubleshooting.   

2 pfennige von johannes
That's a good point Christian, even if I couldn't hear the audio I could still get a lot done and learn a lot with a stand-alone version of kyma.

Even if just the 1000Hz capytalk control parameters ran, but not the audio rate signal path, I could get a lot of debugging done.

I could tidy up, refactor, encapsulate, rename, make better VCSs...
I am pretty sure that only SmallTalk code is evaluated on the computer before compiling a sound and that the real-time part of CapyTalk is also a part of the real-time processing on the Paca(rana).

Running the Enviroment and the SmallTalk part however with the ability to write and design you own tools which typically also run on the computer would be a nice thing to have.
Maybe together with the ability to do some basic renaming and re-formating code tasks and "syntax checking" and "evaluating" CapyTalk code, variables or renaming  etc. could be a good thing for the experienced users.

On the other hand it could be irritating to have a kind of "offline" mode as well.

Carla and Kurt have created such an complex, but still easy to use system and and i am sure there are some good reasons why there is no "offline" ability yet when you start Kyma.

But from my experience over the last 7 years as a Kyma user the SSC is very open minded and maybe our discussion will give some ideas for future improvements in this or that direction.

my 10 Pfennige = 5 Cent

someone who really knows kyma-specific capytalk and smalltalk could write a language definition for a text editor like sublime text. I don't know if it's called a "linter" or whatever, but that could be helpful in learning capytalk and smalltalk. I know that someone wrote one for Max GenExpr code. between that and say, drawing a basic flowchart of objects, you could at least jot down ideas when you're away from your studio.