There are a lot of hardware synthesizers available, both new and vintage, that you can purchase for your studio. There are even more virtual instrument software applications that you can buy for your computer. But at some point you’re going to run out of physical space for the hardware, and before this you’re probably going to run out of processing power to run all those neat virtual instruments in your DAW. In my case, I’ve definitely hit the wall on both counts.
Fortunately, there’s a very slick solution for this predicament. It’s the Kyra VA Synthesizer module by Waldorf. What makes this synth different than so many other hardware sound modules is that it can function as a sound card. Yes, you heard me right, a desktop synthesizer that also doubles as a 24-bit, 96 kHz sound card over USB 2.0. You can literally stream its sound engine directly into your DAW program and output your DAW program’s virtual instruments directly out of Kyra’s main audio outputs. Add to this its 128 voice polyphony and eight-part multitimbral operation and it’s like adding a powerful, dedicated synthesis DSP card to your computer.
With a retail price tag of nearly $2,400 Kyra isn’t some inexpensive tabletop sound module. But if sound design and massive synthesis capabilities is what you crave in your studio and composing rig then it’s seriously worth checking out. In this video I put Kyra’s multitimbral and multi-output sound card capabilities to the test.