5 Women In The Synthesizer Industry: Kris Kaiser, Noise Engineering

For Global Women’s Working day, we talked to five gals engineers performing in the synthesizer market. In portion one particular, we converse with Kris Kaiser, the co-founder of Noise Engineering.

No make any difference which way you cut it, engineering is a male-dominated industry. This also consists of the musical instrument industry. On common, the proportion of girls doing the job in engineering fields is underneath 20{1668a97e7bfe6d80c144078b89af180f360665b4ea188e6054b2f93f7302966b}. While this volume has promisingly amplified over time, it nevertheless stays small in comparison to men. 

Nonetheless, numbers never seriously convey to tales, persons do. What is it seriously like for women of all ages performing in the hardware synthesizer market, a usually male-dominated subject?

For this year’s Global Women’s Working day, we talked to 5 women of all ages who design and style and engineer synthesizers – the two traditional and modular – to listen to their tales.

For this, very first interview, we spoke to Kris Kaiser. She’s the co-founder of Sound Engineering, 1 of the very best-recognized modular synthesizer providers. They’ve also contributed oscillators to Arturia’s MiniFreak and MicroFreak and make software package plugins as nicely. They’re busy folks.

The interview was edited for clarity and brevity.

Kris Kaiser Interview
Kris Kaiser (Picture supply by Kris Kaiser)

Attack Journal: What is it that you like about synthesizers?

Kris Kaiser: I really like the versatility. The way we can condition appears on a synth is unlike just about anything else – and no two synths are definitely the exact same. There is so substantially design and style in the options that the developers make in what to floor for consumers.

I love a conventional synth with a preset architecture for the constraints it gives me, and I really like modular synths the place absolutely nothing is fixed and each and every time I patch it, it gets a diverse instrument.

I can swap out any of the bits if I get bored and get a little something even far more distinct! Really do not get me erroneous, I really like acoustic instruments, too. I just wouldn’t know where by to start out how to build a enterprise centered on producing them!

Is there something you really do not like?

The key thing is almost certainly the cost!

Synths in general are fairly expensive acquiring into modular synthesis gives outstanding versatility but the expenditure is not trivial. The components shortages of the previous couple several years have only created it even worse. It prevents a whole lot of consumers from diving in. On the other hand, it also keeps me from hoarding a good deal much more synths than I do.

How did you get started off performing with synthesizers?

A when back, my partner Stephen and I had been in wholly distinct careers and doing the rat race. I was a biology professor doing work stupidly prolonged hours. At some issue, we recognized that we actually appreciated each and every other and assumed it would be great if we could commit some time together.

Stephen experienced been producing modules below the Noise Engineering title as a pastime for a very little although … so we assumed, what if we could just do that?

I have experienced mixed activities, so I actively do the job to surround myself with men and women who believe that that gender is irrelevant with respect to capacity.

What do you do at your career?

Officially my title is ‘Doer of Quite a few Things’, which claims it all.

I style our components, from schematic to PCB layout, and routing, and do the purchasing. I interface with our manufacturer/distributor day by day. I am also part of a workforce of two who response purchaser email messages.

I do the economical stuff, a whole lot of wrangling of factors like beta screening for our computer software, a very small little bit of project management, some products tests, and actually a small bit of virtually anything else.

What is it you like about your work?

I like my team. When issues have gotten wonky listed here, this staff has stood up and gotten it done. I love how diversified my days are. I love the overall flexibility. But most of all, we get to make the tools that musicians use. I will hardly ever, at any time get tired of listening to parts that use our solutions.

Is there anything you never like?

I have arrive to very dislike elements shortages.

Would you say that the synthesizer business is a commonly accepting put for women?

I have experienced mixed encounters, so I actively do the job to encompass myself with individuals who think that gender is irrelevant with regard to capability.

Inside the greater Noise Engineering local community, individuals have been very accepting. We do our greatest to associate with and showcase other gals-owned brand names as well. Be the alter you want to see, ideal?

Really do not be afraid to make blunders, talk to issues, and learn. Seek out out a aid community of men and women who you trust, regard, and can learn from, lean on, and request for aid when you need it.

Have you ever encountered chauvinism in your marketplace?


A ton of the women of all ages we’re talking to operate in the modular synthesizer business instead than the standard synth 1. Why do you assume this is?

Such a fascinating question!

I suspect a large amount of this is record: the conventional synth environment is ruled by extended-standing companies and historically, that is a pretty male-dominated environment.

It is possibly feasible to do, but I have a tough time wrapping my mind all around how a solitary man or woman of any gender would easily crack into (it) thanks to the massive expenditure and all of the operate concerned from prototyping to manufacture to distribution to advertising and so much far more.

Let us contrast that with a modular synthesizer. A single human being can breadboard a circuit and examination it at property. When she’s snug with the way it performs, she can order a prototype and hand-solder it, check it, and tweak it.

Modules can be bought as kits, designed by hand, or can be outsourced to a contract company. In any scenario, the barrier to entry on all of these is substantially decrease.

What advice would you give to youthful women who want to do what you do?

Never be fearful to make errors, talk to issues, and master.

Seek out a aid community of men and women who you believe in, regard, and can learn from, lean on, and ask for assistance when you will need it. Create a incredibly thick pores and skin, simply because customers are not shy about voicing their opinions no subject who makes the products. Most of all, have entertaining

Locate Sounds engineering on the net.

Subscibe to Attack to browse Component 2 with Sandra Sims of SDS Electronic Modular.

Adhere to Attack Magazine

Writer Adam Douglas
8th March, 2023

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