KodamoEssence FM MKII Digital FM Synthesizer Module


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Kodamo Essence FM MKII

Kodamo's EssenceFM MKII is one of the most powerful and easy-to-use FM synthesizers of all time, using an intuitive touchscreen interface to make FM programming fast and simple. Overcoming the many headaches of 1980s FM synth UI, this makes experimentation with FM faster and simpler than ever before—turning a previously impenetrable technique into something fun and inspiring. Kodamo is a six-operator FM synth with 300-voice polyphony—making it possible to create intense layers and splits for huge, completely new sounds.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Kodamo's FM design is the fluidity of algorithm design. Gone are the days of fixed FM algorithm routing; with EssenceFM, you can freely design your own FM algorithms by connecting operators together on the touch screen. Similarly, the touchscreen can be used to draw custom waveshapes, to control complex envelope shapes, and much more...making all the traditional pain points of FM synthesis easy to control.

EssenceFM provides many complex options for multitimbral behavior, including the option to split and layer sounds, separately detune timbres, and control via MPE. Layers and splits can be set to multiple polyphonic behaviors, set to specific key ranges, set to respond only to particular velocity ranges, and much more, making for an exceptionally dynamic playing experience.

The integrated modulation matrix makes it easy to use external controllers to control all of the most critical aspects of the sound. Given support for MPE control, this means that you can use your MPE-capable controller (such as the Sensel Morph, Roli Seaboard, Keith McMillen K-Board Pro 4, or Roger Linn Linnstrument) to provide expressive control of this deep FM synthesis engine. It even provides a USB-A MIDI Host port in addition to standard 5-pin DIN connections, making it easy to integrate any style of MIDI controller. Additionally, EssenceFM provides full support for custom tunings, making it easy to experiment with microtonality, early tuning systems, non-equal temperaments, and more.

For the MKII version, Kodamo was sure to include some highly-appreciated quality of life improvements from the original. For starters, the overall construction is a bit more robust, making use of higher quality potentiometers and encoders to improve the feel of working with the instrument. The rack ears are now also removable, for a cleaner look when using Essence FM as a desktop instrument, and the output level was boosted for healthier signal levels and improved signal-to-noise ratio. There's also a new firmware update (which is backwards compatible with the Essence FM MKI) that adds a slick new multi-mode filter, and doubles the editable wave memory from 24 to 48 different waveforms.

Add a healthy helping of internal effects, flexible external signal routing, and a slim form factor, and the Kodamo EssenceFM quickly becomes one of the best FM synthesizers ever developed.

Essence FM MKII Features

  • 6-operator rack FM synth with extensive sonic customization
  • 300 voice polyphony with flexible layering options
  • Touchscreen UI for easy and intuitive sonic customization
  • Design your own FM algorithms
  • Draw your own waveforms or import waveforms from WAV files
  • Draw complex envelopes and define complex internal behaviors
  • Layering and splits with advanced voice addressing options
  • Support for microtuning, including exotic scales, alternate temperaments, and more
  • Modulation matrix for designing complex sonic interactions
  • Internal effect processing
  • Eight assignable audio outputs
  • Outputs: 8x 1/4"
  • Headphone output: 1x 1/4"
  • MIDI: In/Out/Thru via 5-pin DIN, USB device, USB Host, RTP-Ethernet
  • Dimensions: 133 x 482.6 x 58mm
  • Power: AC in via IEC (100–240V)
Product Demo Videos
Kodamo Essence FM - 6 Operator Touchscreen Multitimbral FM Synth Jam
The Kodamo Essence FM is an interesting new FM synth with impressive amounts of polyphony and it is also multitimbral, all of the sounds in this video are coming from the Essence FM. The synth engine is six operator FM based, but instead of having fixed algorithms you can move operators around with the touch screen to rearrange them into whatever algorithm you choose. The waveforms are not just fixed to sine waves and each operator has a powerful envelope generator with an intuitive visual representation.

Since the Kodamo has 300 voices of polyphony you can load 16 instrument patches at once and they can all respond to different midi channels. Each of the 16 patches can be multitimbral and they can be pitched instruments or drum tracks where each key plays a different drum sound. There is also a built in mixer with send effects and there are four pairs of stereo outs, you could really use the Kodamo to produce all of your sounds. It does have a built in sequencer as well, but here we used an Arturia Keystep Pro to sequence the drums and multiple voices on the Kodamo.
Kodamo Essence FM MKII Digital FM Synthesizer Module Reviews