Kinotone Audio Sparks, stereo overdrive, wavefolder, filter, and SID synth in a pedal

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Kinotone Audio Sparks is a new stereo analog harmonic processor with overdrive, wavefolder, multimode filter and a SID-inspired synth in a pedal.

Distortions are super popular with guitarists, especially in rock and metal music. They also harmonize beautifully with synthesizers and drum machines. They are great if you want to add harmonics to cleaner sounds to achieve warmth and character. You can also use it as a shaper in less subtle situations.

Kinotone Audio, who first came into focus with the Ribbons pedal, a stereo magnetic tape emulator, have today released a new flexible stereo overdrive module that can also be exciting for electronic sounds

Kinotone Audio Sparks

Kinotone Audio Sparks

Sparks is described as a stereo analog harmonic processor with an all-analog signal path and modern digital control. It’s not just a stereo overdrive; it’s a multi-function processor. 

It starts with a stereo analog waveshaping circuit that can produce warm, soft clipping drive effects and wilder wavefolding (4-stage) results. With the crossfader, you can morph from one state to the other. It also offers a noise gate for additional flexibility and a blend knob to mix in or boost your dry signal.

Then, it hosts a 12dB/octave state-variable filter that offers continuous shaping from lowpass to bandpass, to highpass, or anywhere in between. It has classic cutoff and resonance controls with self-resonating.

A highlight of the new Sparks pedal is the built-in modulation engine with a morphing multi-wave LFO (sine, triangle…) and an envelope follower that can be mapped to multiple parameters simultaneously. For example, you can archive creative results with the envelope follower, including moving parameters, ducking effects, or compression.

Kinotone Audio Sparks

Kinotone Audio Sparks Has A SID Synthesizer

It’s unusual for an effect pedal, especially distortion, that the Sparks pedal hosts a Synthesizer, allowing you to play it as an instrument. According to Kintone Audio, it’s a 4-voice polyphonic SID chip-inspired Synthesizer that recreates the warm and gritty lo-fi sounds of it. 

The synth signal is fed through the pedal through the waveshaping and filter controls to add an extra layer of crunch.

It offers various waveforms (sine, triangle, sawtooth, pulse, and 23-bit Fibonacci LFSR noise) with hard sync, ring mod, and an ADSR envelope.  You can also control the bit depth, pulse width modulation, pitch modulation, and glide.

Storage & Connectivity

Sparks features six factory presets. Alternatively, you can also use the slots to save your own settings. On the connection side, it features stereo input and output on a single 6.35mm socket, a TRS MIDI type A/B/CBA compatible socket, a CV/expression pedal support, and a power supply input. 

Important to know is that all parameters are fully controllable via MIDI, CV,  or an expression pedal. Moreover, you get a free Max for Live device to control Sparks with MIDI in Ableton Live.

First Impression

Overdrive/distortion pedals are often too focused on the guitar and bass-playing environment. The new Sparks pedal is different, and I really like it. It’s stereo, fully MIDI-fied, and offers CV compatibility. So, everything that we need to use is pedals with synths or drum machines.

A very exciting stereo overdrive pedal that I’m looking forward to further demos.

Kinotone Audio Sparks is available now for pre-order for $399. Shipping starts in 8-12 weeks.

More information here: Kinotone Audio

Hardware Effects News


  1. I just looked up Kinotone, and the owner Jaak says on the website that eventually all his designs will go open source. Respect

  2. Interesting box with plenty of options. It looks like a possible result of a romantic evening out by Source Audio’s C4 and Ultrawave pedals.

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