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Black Corporation Kijimi
Old 26th October 2019
  #121
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Individual outs and stereo bus with panning for KIJIMI (DIY):

(Listen with headphones!)
https://youtu.be/cdmynTAp90M
Old 20th November 2019
  #122
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I know there's been a recent firmware upgrade, did they fix the filter issue that OGG described?
Old 20th November 2019
  #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
I know there's been a recent firmware upgrade, did they fix the filter issue that OGG described?
Yes. The filter cutoff and resonance now feel natural and behave as expected. They also added the ability to set differing amounts of modulation per destination and some other stuff. You can toggle between original modulation mode and the new one in the menus (so set and forget). However, I am still running into weirdness with the new mode.

There's still no official manual from Black Corp and it appears that they are not going to do one. They are relying on third party efforts to put something together. Basically the only support for it is via the closed Facebook group.

It really is a great sounding machine that is somewhat let down by the lack of support/attention. I would hope that at least one more OS rev comes out to address some things, but until that point it's still a very usable and good sounding synth.
Old 21st November 2019
  #124
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they also added:
- remapping cutoff to cc74 for seaboard/mpe purposes, but that is confirmed not working. (at first I thought I did something wrong :-) )
- 8 more use banks
- program change via midi
and other helpful stuff
Old 21st November 2019
  #125
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oh and re manual, I have a draft version. So if you want me to look something up, let me know
Old 21st November 2019
  #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgearguy View Post
Yes. The filter cutoff and resonance now feel natural and behave as expected. They also added the ability to set differing amounts of modulation per destination and some other stuff. You can toggle between original modulation mode and the new one in the menus (so set and forget). However, I am still running into weirdness with the new mode.

There's still no official manual from Black Corp and it appears that they are not going to do one. They are relying on third party efforts to put something together. Basically the only support for it is via the closed Facebook group.

It really is a great sounding machine that is somewhat let down by the lack of support/attention. I would hope that at least one more OS rev comes out to address some things, but until that point it's still a very usable and good sounding synth.
Oh cool. I've got to say that listening to online demos, it sounds a bit odd, which I don't quite get. By odd I mean, nasal, dark, clamped down, maybe overdriven or squashed, hard to say. I was figuring this is to do with the filter issue. But it's CEM 3340 oscillators, and SSM 2044 (I think?) filters, so it should sound so much more open, clear, vibrant than what I'm hearing in demos. Maybe it's just it was difficult to get the sweet spot open in the demos because the filter issue hadn't been resolved? Not sure. Any thoughts on this? The tiny bits of audio from the MFB Synth-8 sound more interesting so far, but I'm figuring there's got to be a reason why the Kijimi demos to date have had this odd congested sound. Or is that just the sound of the synth?!
Old 21st November 2019
  #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
Oh cool. I've got to say that listening to online demos, it sounds a bit odd, which I don't quite get. By odd I mean, nasal, dark, clamped down, maybe overdriven or squashed, hard to say. I was figuring this is to do with the filter issue. But it's CEM 3340 oscillators, and SSM 2044 (I think?) filters, so it should sound so much more open, clear, vibrant than what I'm hearing in demos. Maybe it's just it was difficult to get the sweet spot open in the demos because the filter issue hadn't been resolved? Not sure. Any thoughts on this? The tiny bits of audio from the MFB Synth-8 sound more interesting so far, but I'm figuring there's got to be a reason why the Kijimi demos to date have had this odd congested sound. Or is that just the sound of the synth?!
Probably mostly hearing the pre-updated stuff. Even after the update you have to go in and tweak the params since Black Corp. did their best to adjust the presets but your own patches and even the presets benefit from tweaking after the ranges are updated.

The top end is certainly more open now if you dial it in w. the cutoff and resonance at max and min respecitvely. I tend to back off the cutoff somewhat just to get that older smoother top end sound.

I also typically have the suboscillator involved to a degree most of the time which gives some weight as you play up the octaves and keeps the sound from thinning out too much.

Overall, it's got a wider range and you can venture outside the sweet spots if you want (more so than something like a JP-8 where you have to work to get it to sound bad). There's a tendency to whack the controls to max and turn on lots of modulations which end up making a demo sound like crap. Using a more refined approach to modulation amounts yields something that is very playable and pleasant to listen to in isolation or full context.

FWIW, I still can't sit here and fully recommend it w/o mentioning the caveats of no offical manual (there's an incomplete draft from a user on his personal share) and that there's still some bugs which I have no way of tracking the progress on (if any) since the only communication is via Facebook. No idea if any active development/refinement is taking place either. For $3700+, I expect a little better than that.

If that stuff doesn't bother you, it's a great sounding 8 voice analog polysynth that responds to poly aftertouch and MPE.
Old 21st November 2019
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgearguy View Post
and that there's still some bugs which I have no way of tracking the progress on (if any) since the only communication is via Facebook. No idea if any active development/refinement is taking place either.
I'm periodically chasing them about the cc74 MPE stuff being totally broken. Just this month I received a positive message that they should be on it soon, but I'm still moderating my timescale expectations on this one.
Old 21st November 2019
  #129
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pointsource's Avatar
 

I have just added this synth to my list, man it sounds good!
Old 21st November 2019
  #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markusschloesser View Post
oh and re manual, I have a draft version. So if you want me to look something up, let me know
Your efforts are much appreciated otherwise we'd all be cutting and pasting B.C. responses to our questions and creating random files full of text snippets.
Old 23rd November 2019
  #131
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Well based on OGGs statements about improved performance now that they fixed the filter issues with the firmware update, I'm curious to hear some new demos of it going more standard poly stuff. I'm guessing a lot of the demos max out the vcas as well by keeping vco level controls in the mixer too high, its nice to have the option to overdrive the filter but clearly not desirable on all sounds.

I've heard people say that when they put Baloran's River next to vintage poly synths that it sounds 'as good as the vintage stuff, but different' in a slightly cleaner and more modern but equally good and rich kind of way. would people say that about the kijimi?

one issue is that the black corp stuff is clearly pricey, though used they become more reasonable. BUT, this is really the first mass produced CEM3340 poly. If Kijimi sounds really good, that bodes well for the next generation of analog polysynths in general.

Demos of it doing bread and butter type sounds post filter fix, anyone? Some resonance sweeps, brass, non-resonant pads, bass, strings?
Old 23rd November 2019
  #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
I've heard people say that when they put Baloran's River next to vintage poly synths that it sounds 'as good as the vintage stuff, but different' in a slightly cleaner and more modern but equally good and rich kind of way. would people say that about the kijimi?
Baloran sounds vintage, period. Obviously depending on which true vintage synth you compare it to, this will vary, but there is none of the modern sheen and scooped, constrained sound that we associate with modern ana-polys.

I would also love to hear more bread and butter kijimi sounds (like, legit where are the demos for this thing?!). From what I can hear in existing demos, it kind of has a classic raw CEM/Prophet-5-esque sound, but that final 10-15% of sonics, i.e., the difference between modern/old is really hard to gauge from youtube demos alone. Maybe OGG can chime in on that.
Old 23rd November 2019
  #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
Well based on OGGs statements about improved performance now that they fixed the filter issues with the firmware update, I'm curious to hear some new demos of it going more standard poly stuff.
Here's a demo from Paul Schilling who replicated the sound of the original PolyKobol demo on YouTube (see his description in the link):

https://soundcloud.com/paul-schillin...ykobol-127-cos



Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthepuggle View Post
BUT, this is really the first mass produced CEM3340 poly. If Kijimi sounds really good, that bodes well for the next generation of analog polysynths in general.
Not the first, Deckard's Dream used CEM3340s as well. That one sounds great also.
Old 24th November 2019
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanneI View Post
Individual outs and stereo bus with panning for KIJIMI (DIY):

(Listen with headphones!)
https://youtu.be/cdmynTAp90M
Say what!?

So, I assume the (DIY) descriptor means that the warranty was voided?

I'd still very much like to understand what's involved. And, Kudos, for this!


I had wanted at least ONE Black Corp poly synth, but because they're all mono, I was left scratching my head wondering why, oh why, and went with alternatives for my synth rack.

Although, I do believe the Xerxes gets stereo treatment through the mono to stereo Chorus effect at the end of the signal chain, when it is engaged and in use.


Does this "stereo bus" also bode well for Deckard's Dream or Xerxes, or is it completely KIJIMI-specific?

Old 24th November 2019
  #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by string6theory View Post
Say what!?

So, I assume the (DIY) descriptor means that the warranty was voided?

I'd still very much like to understand what's involved. And, Kudos, for this!

Does this "stereo bus" also bode well for Deckard's Dream or Xerxes, or is it completely KIJIMI-specific?
It's for DIY model only (kit). Inside there is a connector for individual outputs, so this is a mixer circuit Janne and I put together. He's making a PCB for it. DIY doesn't have a warranty other than what the builder may provide.

Although it's technically possible to add it to the prebuilt model, it doesn't have a connector so you need to solder wires to the board and drill to the case so that will definitely void the warranty.

It's not possible to add it to Xerxes prebuilt model, there is simply no room. Maybe for a DIY, IF it ever gets released.
Old 27th December 2019
  #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandomonium View Post
It's for DIY model only (kit). Inside there is a connector for individual outputs, so this is a mixer circuit Janne and I put together.
Is Janne the same person that has recently started putting short Kijimi videos on youtube? Bravo!

Old 27th December 2019
  #137
Deleted b5734b5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pandomonium View Post
Here's a demo from Paul Schilling who replicated the sound of the original PolyKobol demo on YouTube (see his description in the link):

https://soundcloud.com/paul-schillin...ykobol-127-cos





Not the first, Deckard's Dream used CEM3340s as well. That one sounds great also.
This sounds really good!
Old 27th December 2019
  #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted b5734b5 View Post
This sounds really good!
Sounds really impressive indeed!
Sonically, for that kind of sounds and to my ears, it is some sort of Xpander meets the Voyetra 8 (saying this as I have no experience with the original Kobol)
Old 27th December 2019
  #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massimo View Post
Sounds really impressive indeed!
Sonically, for that kind of sounds and to my ears, it is some sort of Xpander meets the Voyetra 8 (saying this as I have no experience with the original Kobol)
Yes!!!
Old 1st February 2020
  #140
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Still feeling like there is not a lot of commentary/demos of the sound of this thing. Particularly curious how this compares to other CEM synths--it does seem to have that bright bite. But is this just the distilled modern version of that sound?

Anyone have one of these and some other vintage polys they can compare it to?
Old 2nd February 2020
  #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Ruff View Post
Still feeling like there is not a lot of commentary/demos of the sound of this thing. Particularly curious how this compares to other CEM synths--it does seem to have that bright bite. But is this just the distilled modern version of that sound?

Anyone have one of these and some other vintage polys they can compare it to?

You should drop down here some time and have a play for yourself.

I still hate the no manual, no bug tracking aspect, but to answer your question - I do think it sounds great and comparing it to other CEM synths, I'd say if you were looking for a better MKS-80, this would be it.

You can definitely get nice punchy arpeggiations out of it as well as sweet big string/pad type sounds.
It is a synth designed to be programmed/tweaked. Moving the detune knob a bit for VCO2 can make a world of difference in the movement and 'bigness' of a sustained sound.

There's still interesting omissions/limitations like the VCO frequency knobs have a range of -1 octave to +1 octave around the center point (no footage selectors), to hear VCO 1 SubOsc, you need to have VCO 1 volume up (and that's a strange 1/3,/2/3, 3/3 button selection), but there's a lot of controls for modulations (in addition to the 2 LFOs, 2 Envs), so using MPE or a polyAT controller, you can really bring out nuances by playing/sequencing those controls. Lots of MIDI CC response built in (but no manual documenting which CCs control what params).

Pretty much - if it didn't sound as good as it does and most panel controls (and menu options) can be figured out with some playing around, it would have been gone a long time ago.

Especially after the filter response update and by adjusting the front panel controls, it doesn't have that modern poly analog sound that you hear in a lot of new gear. The frequency spectrum doesn't have that scooped mid/high boost modern sound, and with tweaks, it sounds pretty darn good.

$3750 (or whatever the new price is) is a bit much, when the used versions are below $3k, it's a better value.
Old 2nd February 2020
  #142
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Il seems to sound excellent but is it available?
Old 2nd February 2020
  #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sextuor View Post
Il seems to sound excellent but is it available?

Seems to be:

https://www.deckardsdream.com/shop
Old 2nd February 2020
  #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgearguy View Post
You should drop down here some time and have a play for yourself.

I still hate the no manual, no bug tracking aspect, but to answer your question - I do think it sounds great and comparing it to other CEM synths, I'd say if you were looking for a better MKS-80, this would be it.

You can definitely get nice punchy arpeggiations out of it as well as sweet big string/pad type sounds.
It is a synth designed to be programmed/tweaked. Moving the detune knob a bit for VCO2 can make a world of difference in the movement and 'bigness' of a sustained sound.

There's still interesting omissions/limitations like the VCO frequency knobs have a range of -1 octave to +1 octave around the center point (no footage selectors), to hear VCO 1 SubOsc, you need to have VCO 1 volume up (and that's a strange 1/3,/2/3, 3/3 button selection), but there's a lot of controls for modulations (in addition to the 2 LFOs, 2 Envs), so using MPE or a polyAT controller, you can really bring out nuances by playing/sequencing those controls. Lots of MIDI CC response built in (but no manual documenting which CCs control what params).

Pretty much - if it didn't sound as good as it does and most panel controls (and menu options) can be figured out with some playing around, it would have been gone a long time ago.

Especially after the filter response update and by adjusting the front panel controls, it doesn't have that modern poly analog sound that you hear in a lot of new gear. The frequency spectrum doesn't have that scooped mid/high boost modern sound, and with tweaks, it sounds pretty darn good.

$3750 (or whatever the new price is) is a bit much, when the used versions are below $3k, it's a better value.
Thanks, that's really helpful (as always!). There is plenty of references for a CEM-based synth so it's good to hear real-world comparisons. And if the sound justifies keeping it around then that's really the bottom line for me.
Old 2nd February 2020
  #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Ruff View Post
Thanks, that's really helpful (as always!). There is plenty of references for a CEM-based synth so it's good to hear real-world comparisons. And if the sound justifies keeping it around then that's really the bottom line for me.
One test I like to do is to get an arpeggiation running and listen to the envelope response and the way the oscillators sound being triggered like that. The Kijimi really holds up in that test. I was listening to an arp I had running while doing some recabling and it never sounded boring, static, or irritating.

With the OS update, you can get even more detailed in the programming with separate amounts of modulation to each destination, so you can go crazy setting up subtle modulation amounts.
Old 15th February 2020
  #146
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To quote a new post by Roman on Facebook:

"We have a major firmware update next week, which will allow to assign completely full separate LFO and EG2 settings for each destination (amount, speed, waveform, eg), bringing 16 LFOs per voice.
A complex and sophisticated arpeggiator is also a part of the update.
+ a new presets bank, made with all new features.
I’ll follow up with a file ~end of next week."
Old 15th February 2020
  #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveElbows View Post
To quote a new post by Roman on Facebook:

"We have a major firmware update next week, which will allow to assign completely full separate LFO and EG2 settings for each destination (amount, speed, waveform, eg), bringing 16 LFOs per voice.
A complex and sophisticated arpeggiator is also a part of the update.
+ a new presets bank, made with all new features.
I’ll follow up with a file ~end of next week."
All well and good if it gets more people interested.

However, how are you actually going to be able to use this update? it's challenging enough with separate amounts per destination so I usually turn that feature off. The issue is since there's basically no screen to display all the current assignments, once you make all these mod destinations, you have no way to see what's in a patch when you recall it later or to see what the current amount or type of modulation is being applied. (or currently to clear out all existing modulations at once).

Yes, I know you don't have to use the new features, but it goes back to the issue of product design and initial concept/implementation. Extensive mod matrix designs need a way to easily see what's going on in a patch, and a way to zero out all modulations at once, otherwise you waste a lot of time trying to track down why you're hearing a slight pitch wobble in the release of a note (for example).

One of the benefits of the initial Kijimi design (and Xerxes) is that it's mostly a WYSIWYG implementation so it's really fast to make an adjustment to a sound.

Maybe I'm just an old grumpy guy that enjoys the speed and ease of patch creation/modification on simpler machines.
Old 15th February 2020
  #148
I think you have a good point. Is there a computer editor for the Kijimi? I haven't tried the DD editors available, but have heard good things. But I can see how it might be very useful on a much more complicated synth like the Kijimi.
Old 20th February 2020
  #149
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I will be exploring the possibility of making an editor, once the new firmware is out, but I suspect the task may be too much for me. I will post again about this when I've looked into it properly.

I have been told that CC74 MPE stuff will be fixed in the new firmware, which is music to my ears.
Old 20th February 2020
  #150
Ksp
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Hi is the low end on the Kijimi ?

The synth seems to have a strong character in demos and also a ton of creative potential but wondering where it sits in terms of its acoustic quality ( weight of the sound , where it naturally falls in a mix , or whether it can go from subsonic to bright sounds )
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