KDFX Quick Impressions

C.K. Haun, Ravenware Music ck@ravenware.com

This KDFX thing is *WAY* powerful. And it's *WAY* WAY quality. And it's WAY WAY WAY deep.

I'll talk about the effects, the new programs, and using the thing.

The effects

I know one of the beautiful things about VAST and by inheretance KDFX is the ability to edit and create your own thing. I don't think I'll be doing that in the next year with KDFX. The "stock" set of effects is so rich that I won't be modifying a thing (except controllers) for quite a while. Hell, there are

KDFX gives me 4 new Laserverbs, and effect I didn't have before that I can guarentee you I'll be overusing. 3 basic gates. Bunchs of compressors. Filters. More flangers that you can shake a 4-track reel to reel at.

And that's the effects themselves.

Add to that that the sound designers built a load of studios that combine groups of effects across the 4 busses so you don't have to. AWK, it just too huge.

I will probably not be changing any effects for about 6 months. There is enough richness in the basic set to do whatever I need.

Dive into any effect and tweak whatever you want. Lets look at just one. It's got a nice ring modulator (my little 1977 Korg 770 on the top of my studio stand snickers at that every time). What can I adjust? Can I do the same thing I can on my old analog? NO! I can do tons more, easier than I can by twiddling knobs and *trying* to get frequencies to meet just right. Lemme see

I've got 4 sine waves to resonate against, each with depth and frequency control

basic osc level and frequency

wave shape, sine, saw up, saw down,pulse,triangle, exponential

pulse width and smoothing

And dammit, the mode, I can act against the sine or L*R. And it sounds dead good. Its a real ring mod.

I could go on and on about each effect, but there are hundreds (or so, I ain't counted). And each can be changed and tweaked so much that you have millions of real effects you can get out of KDFX.

And again, they sound really good. I don't know about the reverbs (never use 'em) but the flanges and phasing are suberb. Choruses good. Many taps, so controllable as to allow you to create new instruments by creative use of the taps.

Look at 902, the lfo sweep filter. I mean, really. Easy, too easy, analog monsynth filtering and envelope control on any K25K program without any VASTing. Just pick a program (I'm using the thin basic piano right now) and use the lfo sweep filter as your effect and you're jamming tweaked sounds that will fit easy in a dance mix.

And you want crunchy? Want dirty? Want gritty? The polyamp and tube amp stuff is very very very excellent. I'm not ususally a grunge maker, but these effects may make it happen. And again, so modifiable. What size speaker cabnet are you modeling? Want to change the punch of the bass or midrange speakers? Add an lfo? Anything? It's all there. too much for me, when I get to the 4th parameter page for this one effect and start seeing all the phase changes left-right feedback settings and so on my eyes glaze and I go back to the presets the designers made for me.

I could go on and on about the effects, but you have to hear 'em yourself,

Just be assured, no matter what kind of music you make now or plan to make, or will suprise yourself in making in the future, KDFX is there. Grunge, techno, serious ambient, subtle concert hall reverb for classical, twangy echo for country, you can do it.

The programs

OK, to use all this the sound designers re-did ALL the programs in the K2500 to take advantage of KDFX.

Good? Yes and no. Yes, in that they did an excellent job, the new programs are so totally cool as to make you very glad you bought this 'board. Bad? Well, yeah. The programs are now different, sometimes hardly noticable, some rather extreme. This means that you may have to re-do stuff you already have done. Reloading some of the songs from my last CD into a KDFX-ified K2500 caused me to frown at some points. The new effects change the instruments, change the interplay between the instruments. Some of these changes are good, some made me wince and get grumpy.

And (gawd, the Kurzweil folks have heard this too much from me) some of the accoustic instruments are too wet. I like almost no effect on accost..

Setups same thing. You'll find everything mostly the same, but different.

Don't think this is major bad, however. In general the KDFX-ifying was bettermaking. Try AlaZawa, for example, I play that now just to rock out with the tweaking and far out sound it does now.

OK, another thing to consider. Remember when there was only one effect? That generally meant (at least to me) that I was going to ignore the effect until mix time. Not possible now. When you preview a sound and then drop it into a sequence you may get suprised. The interplay between SONGs, programs, studios, and effects is much more to manage now than the old single effect.

What will end up happening if you multitrack the K2500 (either externally or internally) is that you will duplicate the stock programs into P/RAM to set them up to be used with the effects studio you're using for a particular SONG or gig. It's the only way to get the effects right. Say you're doing a techno track using 14 different programs in your K25K at once (a common scenario) It is possible for each prgram you've selected to use a different effect or studio, each one unique from the other 13 programs you're using. This can really cuase you frustration as you try and get your sound just right.

So, if you haven't stuck a KDFX in your board yet, BUY P/RAM! Do both at once, you will be much happier.

Again, you will have to do more effects management than before, but hey, that's a good thing, right?


The MIDI control

I've never purchased a MIDI controllable multieffects box before because they were all lame and hard to use. KDXF ain't. It's easy. Again, my sample SONG on my web page


and the text to go along with it covers this in detail. But the bottom line is, if you want to have variable effects in a sequence it's dead simple with KDFX, and it's integrated with your rig. I can now do very very good filter sweeps and record them, as well as driving 17 other effect mods for the same or other effects.


KDFX is worth the price. It's as good sounding as a high-end Lexicon and it is totally integrated into your rig, both in control and in having your presets already know about it. Very cool.