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Synth FAQ

Common questions about our synth products.

I think I found a bug in the firmware of a product.

Many of our products benefit from embedded firmware for advanced functionality. Since all software has some bugs, there are probably a few lurking inside. We do careful coding and extensive testing to make sure that our products are as bug-free as possible, but it's still possible that you might discover some. All our products can have the firmware updated, and we would be happy to help you do this. Please see: support for more information. Note that some products require factory updating.

Your product should have [somefeature]! Why doesn't it?

There are many factors that determine the eventual outcome of a product. As any designer will tell you, there are often features that simply can't be added for one reason or another. We do our best to balance all of the opposing forces in every design and hope that the result is something elegant, logical and fun. There is a growing DIY community of enthusiasts hacking and building their own musical devices. We would encourage those of you who have specific modular idea to find a local hackerspace, join a DIY forum, study electronics theory, and start experimenting!

How do the K4815 (or K2579 or other MIDI-capable module) and K1600 (or KMIDI) work together for MIDI functions?

The K1600 comes with a cable included which can be used to connect a K4815 or another modules that support MIDI expansion. Do not use the cable to connect to another K1600. When a K1600 and K4815 are connected together, the K4815 will be able to send and receive MIDI using the ports on the K1600. It will also send and receive MIDI clock messages. Make sure the MIDI OUT switch is set to OUT on the K1600 if you want to get MIDI output from the K4815.

Alternately the KMIDI is a low-cost MIDI expander for K4815 and K2579. It is powered by the host module and comes with a single 10 pin cable which is all that is required.

Can the K4815 have user patterns uploaded?

Now you can! Please see the: KPatternEdit WebMidi-based editor for K4815.

After installing my module in another case, it doesn't power on!

If your module requires +5V check to make sure that you have a +5V supply available on your busboard. Some models (K1600 and K4815) require +5V in addition to +12V and -12V.

The LEDs are is too bright / dim! / I want X thing adjusted!

It's difficult to please everyone. As we are constantly trying to improve our current and new products we welcome your input on things such as the brightness of LEDs, the feel and spacing of switches and other controls, and so on. In some cases we can offer free or low-cost modifications of our modules if you have a specific need. Let us know.

I think I blew up my module!

Early versions of some Kilpatrick Audio modules (K4815 and K1600) draw +5V power from the busboard. This was done to make use of the Doepfer power wiring standard that contains a dedicated +5V line for digital circuitry. In theory this should provide lower noise and better efficiency when using digital modules.

Unfortunately because of the Doepfer pinout, wrong wiring connections can force +12V onto the +5V supply line, effectively causing the +5V supply line to shoot up to a higher voltage. Most modular power supplies don't protect against this, and providing this kind of protection on a module is not very practical.

Need repair? - We offer a low-cost repair service for these early modules damaged by incorrect wiring by the user. This includes an upgrade to no longer require +5V power. Please contact us with your serial number for details. All modules shipped from us as of February 2011 no longer require +5V.

Summing outputs from your module with others doesn't seem to do what I expect. Why?

Outputs on our modules that are designed as pitch CV outputs use low impedance drivers for good tuning accuracy and should not be passively summed with other modules. We recommend you use a buffered mixer to add all types of output signals. See the manual or ask us and we would be glad to help you with specific setup questions.

My K4815 gate / external clock doesn't work properly. Is my module broken?

There is nothing wrong with your module. There are a few things that you need to understand about the clock and external gate:

The GATE TIME control adjusts the length of the gate. It is possible to make gates that are longer than a single step on the LED grid. If each sequential step is lit and the GATE TIME control is set to a high setting, the gate will stay high between notes. This is not a malfunction.

With EXT clock mode, the resolution of your clock will affect how much control you can have over the GATE TIME. In this mode the CLOCK SPEED control affects how this signal is divided down when being used internally to advance the sequence. Using a higher speed clock and dividing it down more will enable more fine control over the GATE TIME. Using a slower clock (i.e. one pulse per step) will not permit much / any control over the GATE TIME.

A somewhat related problem often relates to the envelope settings used with the GATE output. If your envelope settings are too long it may not be possible to hear the gate going low.

Need more help?

Please see: support for more information.

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