Novation KS4 / KS5 / KS Rack

Novation KS4 Image

Novation KS4

Using an enhanced version of the K-Station sound engine, the KS4 (four octave keyboard) and the KS5 (five octaves) offer many additional features and benefits.

The keyboards have aftertouch, are semi-weighted, and each of the 33 knobs and sliders transmit MIDI. There is four part multi-timbral operation with four individual assignable outputs. A big plus is a separate effects section for each part - a unique Novation feature from the Supernova. Also featured are 4 Arpeggiators and 16 note polyphony with a 16 band Vocoder.

Novation KS5 Image

Novation KS5

The KS-synths have 3 oscillators which provide sawtooth, triangle, sine, pulse width modulation and other waveforms. There's even a simple FM synth engine which can be dialed in for sharpening the sound. Oscillators may be set to Unison or Sync'd operation and a Noise source is also included in the waveform engine. There is a nice low-/band-/high-pass resonant filter with switchable 12 or 24dB/oct slopes and ADSR controls. A second ADSR envelope is available for the amp, as well as two LFOs with sample-and-hold and MIDI sync.

On-board effects include reverb and delay/chorus/flanger. Their send levels can be controlled by the Mod wheel which is a nice effect. A 12-band vocoder is also on-board for processing external mono sounds such as drum loops or vocals. Pads sound great when vocoded with external sounds. External sounds can also be used as an oscillator, run through the filters, envelopes, etc. with much better results than were possible on the original Bass Stations.

Novation KS Rack Image

Novation KS Rack

The K-Station was a great little keyboard, and the new KS4 and KS5 offer a much more professional package to stage and studio musicians! But for those who already have enough keys, a rack module was also released, the KS Rack. It came in a very professional 5-space rack / desktop module with all 33 knobs, sliders and controls as the keyboards. Full of clean analog sounding synth bass, punchy leads, pads, filter sweeps and more, the KS-synths have been used by Infected Mushroom.

Lookup Novation KS4 / KS5 / KS Rack Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Novation KS4 / KS5 / KS Rack? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

51 Visitor comments
May 24, 2009 @ 2:43 am
Got the KS Rack a couple of months ago, and have been having great fun with it ever since.Wide range of analog style sounds,very inspiring.Programming is real easy,with knobs and sliders for pretty much everything.I wish all synths were this easy to have fun with.
May 15, 2009 @ 3:32 pm
Had the rackmount version- its a good synth, wasn't a great fan of the filters or EGs (a bit too digital, and not snappy enough) but on the plus side they are quite cheap these days. Not too hard to program, though some things felt a little counter-intuitive.
Delirium Electric
January 14, 2009 @ 4:33 am
Yep I love mine! Excellent for trance or minimal techno or psy. Pick one of the bassline presets, tweak the oscilator, set the arp to random and there you go, instant psy heaven! use the hold function, press three keys, and tweak the filters for some deep minimal techno bassline. It's awesome, and haven't bothered to upload the new OS yet. Heaps better virtual analog compared to Rolands IMO
December 1, 2008 @ 7:32 am
As far as analog sound modelling goes this is great. Pick up a cheap one on ebay and just go ahead and play. Yes Nord and Access probably have the edge on sound but they also have the price. I've got the KS5 and just love playing all those keys and twiddling with the knobs :-)
Synthesizer Patel
October 15, 2008 @ 8:41 am
I've seen so much criticism of the KS4 that I was wary of buying one. But found one cheap, & gave it a chance. Am very glad I did. I’ve owned many analog synths in my time, & see this unit as a sonic equal. Perhaps it isn't quite as 'warm', but surely you'll be mixing with EQ?

Contruction is sturdy. Semi-weighted keys, smooth knobs & wheels. Nearly all controls you need have dedicated knobs, anything else is only a button away.

You can only really judge this synth once it has the latest OS loaded. Even the original Prophets/Minimoogs were unreliable. With the new OS, I’ve confidence in it & have used it no worry at gigs & recording session.

Check your OS by holding down 5 & power. If not 2.1.02, then go to & download the latest OS/Uploader. Power on whilst holding down 3, 4, 5 and upload the new OS.

It has limitations, but what synth doesn't? It's smooth, versatile & unmissable at the price. I love mine & won't be selling it, it's too useful.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.05 (387 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Hear the K-Station here. Hear its on-board arpeggiator, followed by an FM ringing bell-type sound, followed by some vocoder examples and some Juno pads.

    Manual - Download the original owner's manual from

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 16 voices, 4-Part multitimbral
  • Oscillators - 3 osc with Square / Saw / Variable Pulse / Tri / Sine / Double Saw / Double Tri / Double Sine waveforms. Osc 1-2 sync, FM, Ring Mod, Noise and external audio in (mono).
  • LFO - 2 LFOs: sine, triangle, saw, square, sample-and-hold, panning, with speed and delay parameters. Cyclic or 1-shot.
  • Filter - low/high/band, 12/24 dB switchable
  • Envelopes - ADSR envelope generators
  • Keyboard - 49-note (KS4) and 61-note (KS5), both with velocity, sensitivity and aftertouch.
  • Effects - 6 simultaneous FX per program: Reverb, Distortion plus tempo-locked Chorus, Phaser, Delay, Panner & Enveloped Filter with EQ, 12-band Vocoder
  • Arpeggiator - 4 independent in multi mode; up, down, random, chord modes; 32 preset patterns; range and latch mode saved per program.
  • Memory - 200 preset programs, 50 preset performances, 100 drum sounds; 200 user programs, 100 user drum programs, 50 user performances.
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU
  • Date Produced - 2003
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Novation

    Reviewed December 2007.

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