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In-depth Feature:  Novation KS-4
Nick B writes: .

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Filters
The filter was one of my (few) criticisms of the original K – there being only Low Pass mode – although it was possible to simulate other filter types using the built-in EQ this was a bit of a faff. New modes are High Pass and Band Pass, all filter types offer both 12dB and 24dB slopes - these have dedicated mode switches on the front panel – which is nice. As a result the filter menu doesn’t offer much other than keyboard tracking, velocity sensitivity and Q normalise – perhaps the only one that needs an explanation, it controls the level of resonance in relation to the main signal - this, according to Novation allows the emulation of a variety of classic filters.

Envelopes
There’s not too much to say about the envelopes other than there are two. Both are ADSR types, Amp envelope controlling amplitude and the Mod envelope 2 modulating. For a more in-depth description see the K-Station review.

HyperSync
Novation are clearly proud of this new feature – it even has it’s own front panel logo! Hypersync is a simple but effective function allows you to ‘tempo synchronize’ up to 8 parameters. You can set a variety of beat divisions for separate parameters. Parameters available are: Arpeggiator, LFO1 speed, LFO1 delay, LF02 speed, LFO2 delay, Delay time, chorus rate, EQ rate (sweep) and panning speed. With all of that lot sync’ed to different beat divisions you can create a pretty wild amount of movement. These settings can be saved into one of the 8 user Hypersync memories.

The whole lot can then be driven from a master tempo from either the internally, using the tempo knob, or from incoming MIDI, so it’s quite a powerful feature.

Arpeggiator
Each of the four parts has it’s own arpeggiatior, the rate driven from the master tempo. You can run each one to it’s own bar division – 32nd, 16th, 8th note etc with a multitude available from 32nd notes to 2 bars with triplet and dotted for all. One nice feature is the Chord mode, this re-triggers notes held down rather than playing sequentially through them (Example) giving you amongst other things, those hard to achieve gated chord effects. As well as the straight beat divisions the KS has 32 additional rhythmic presets which add a bit of spice especially when sync’ed with delays – easy to do with the tempo sync - it’s a shame it isn’t possible to program one or two patterns of your own as this could help make the KS even more personal. With the latest software release, Novation have added 33 more patterns to work with the drum mappings providing useful beats without the need for an external sequencer.

With an arpeggiator on each part it is possible to create quite complex moving pieces without the need for an external sequncer although some operations such as Hypersync selecting can reset the notes held – possibly cutting you off in your prime.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • KS-4 @ zZounds.com
  • New Video flyby of front panel with audio (Real)
  • KS-4 On-board Demo
  • Download the Brochure (PDF)
  • Video flyby of front panel with audio (WMA)

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