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
November 27, 2012 @ 6:27 pm
I have an X Station 49- similar to these in that it's pretty much a k-synth in a fully capable midi controller. so i'll talk about the synth. 3 oscillators! sweet! this thing was totally geared for the dancey, trancey- techno stuff. i like the sounds more than Korg sounds, IMHO. the synth is a little annoying to learn but it's actually easy. in fact there was nothing about learning the synth aspects of the X Station that was difficult. if you want the K-synth engine in a midi controller, look at the X stations.
Paul M
October 16, 2012 @ 12:04 pm
Picked up a good condition KS Rack for a song ($190!). Great sounds and very easy to program. The only major limitation I've run into so far is a lack of routing options for the LFOs (LFO1 always modulates pitch; LFO2 filter).
September 5, 2012 @ 10:35 am
Have had mine for about 3 years now and still love the sounds. Starting to use mine for dark evolving soundscapes. Layered under techno or on their own they sound amazing. It's a deep synth, but very straight forward to program - actually "program" sounds too complicated, maybe tweak is a better word.
July 9, 2012 @ 12:21 pm
hi there I actually need to replace a fader on the rack unit can anyone offer any help or advice? please email me on

thanks, Artemis
Casimir's Blake
January 28, 2012 @ 4:42 pm
Sam (and anyone else in a similar position with their Novation gear): Contact Novation support. Tell them what model keyboard or synth you have, which fader it is, and your address. They should send a replacement in the post. Be prepared to do some soldering!

As for the KS series, the KS4 has been my primary synth and master keyboard for many years. Its "liquid" sound won't appeal to everyone but it is capable of pretty much any type of sound, despite the fixed modulation routings. I find leads and basses fly out of this thing with ease. The aliasing above C5 is unpleasant though.
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Rated 4.05 (385 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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