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

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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
Jimbo Jones
February 19, 2011 @ 9:28 pm
After a week of owning and fiddling with it, I like it. I also own a Supernova 2, which I love. The technology in this is descended from the Supernova via the K-Station, But it's different sounding enough to warrant me owning both of them.

It produces some interesting sounds that can't be produced on the Supernova. The extra waveforms are very usable. And it's a good all rounder. HOWEVER! The clicking Bug is still evident, even on the latest OS 2.1.02 Especially if you try and run 2 LFO's at different speeds on different Oscillators, That is the main cause of it.
January 17, 2011 @ 2:09 am
Oh, and battery power (6 C cells, lots of hours of playing) and USB power. Can't leave out real, actual portability. X marks the spot.
January 17, 2011 @ 2:02 am
There is one of these inside the X-Station alongside the MIDI controller and audio processor, on top of real aftertouch. The X is the best of all worlds. Expect a review soon.
September 25, 2010 @ 2:27 pm
My first ever synth bought new when first released. I don't play it as much these days, attached to it, so not going anywhere. Made in England, rare - we don't make anything here anymore!
One of the best when you consider how much you can get them for, I paid £400 new, so unbelievable value considering.
Liquid describes it well as you can get real wetness out of it, Novation certainly crammed in the features, except a sequencer. Running all 4 arpegiators can lead to note drop out but that would be the same with real analogs and you can always get around it.
September 10, 2010 @ 9:23 am
Got one of these based on the other Novation gear I have used (SN2, Bass Station, Nova, Drumstation 2).

Unfortunately, the sound was far too brittle and harsh for my liking and when I tried to tame it, is just sounded plastic and muffled. Had to get rid in the end.

If you can, get the Nova or SN2 - better specs all round and a much better sound despite their age. The Nova continues to fetch more money than this second hand, and that's the reason why, IMO.

Latest OS is a must, as it sorts out that horrible clicking bug.
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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