Kyra is a hardware virtual analog synthesizer by Waldorf that was released in 2019. Just as Waldorf innovated with their popular Quantum synthesizer, the Kyra is another unique offering that forges a trail of its own.
The Kyra is not a small synth and takes up a lot of desktop real estate with its full metal chassis. This casing, which includes wooden end-cheeks also resulted in a synth with a substantial amount of weight. However, it has a high-quality feel with pots that are not just securely mounted and wobble-free but also feels like they can withstand heavy use.
The main draw of the Kyra is that it is a great option for people who want the capabilities and features of a software synthesizer, but who want to go dawless. Thanks to its integrated circuit design it has the speed and power of a soft-synth, but with more reliability, stability, and speed than what is possible with some computers. The design of the Kyra also eliminates the long boot times and cooling issues of using a computer.
With 128 voice polyphony and an eight-part multi-timbral design, the Kyra is a powerhouse. Although it has a restriction of 32 voices per part, this is still more than adequate for real-world use. Waldorf has also opted for a very practical knob per function layout for the Kyra. One interesting deviation from this is the value buttons located beneath the display instead of a more traditional value pot. Speaking of the screen, it is rather small and only monochrome, but functional enough. On the rear panel of the Kyra, you'll find a headphone output, eight quarter-inch analog audio outputs and 5-pin DIN In/Out/Thru sockets along with USB2. Finally, there's a socket for the 12V external power supply and a Kensington security lock receptacle.
In terms of sound, the Kyra sounds great and has the type of clarity and sharpness one would expect from a synth in its price range. This synth has an abundance of wavetable components, but thankfully Waldorf has neatly organized them all into categories for ease of use. Single and dual filter operations can be selected with a choice of six different filter types on offer. Its sound is also further rounded out by three envelope generators as well as three LFOs. With an entire alphabet of sound banks that includes everything from recreations of classics to all kinds of new sounds, the Kyra has more to offer than anything else in its class. Adding one to your line-up requires deep pockets and the fact that it is a virtual analog synth instead of the real deal might deter some users. However, take the time to explore what it can do and you'll find a simple, yet elegant synthesizer that is capable of powerful things.