Being both a guitar player and someone who loves synths, I've found the Misa Digital Kitara to be a unique and useful tool, whether it is in the studio or playing live. Having a "guitar" MIDI controler has been great, but since it also has a synthesizer built in, I also use it just plugged into my amp!
As a guitar player, I've found the Misa Digital Kitara to be the perfect marriage of guitar and synthesizer. And as an iPad user, the display makes me feel right at home when tapping out beats, manipulating filter sweeps, and doing pitch bends. There are also a myriad of options that live inside the display's menus - everything from string tuning to control of the onboard synthesizer. There's more than 40 presets, but since you can layer up to five sounds per string, the tonal palette is wide open. Plus, the effects are highly tweakable with lots of options. I've lost hours experimenting with the vast array of sounds. I also use the MIDI out port a lot: The ability to play virtual instruments, analog synths, and integrate it with Ableton Live has really opened up a lot of creative doors for me.
A new world of sound possibities
I bought the Kitara in hopes that I could create new sounds and go places no guitarist has gone before. The Kitara delivered. I work in ambient/electronic music and have used midi guitar/guitar synthesizers in many ways. But, the tracking of guitar synthesizers has always been slow and sloppy. The Kitara has no physical strings, it has midi sensors on each fret on each virtual string so the tracking and response is immediate and accurate. I've experimented with the internal synth sounds, I've run it via midi to external sound modules, the possibilities are mind blowing. For the price, this is a must buy for any guitarist who wants to take their sound possibilities to vast reaches of the sonic universe. I'm sure Robert Fripp is noodling with one at this moment.
I have had my Kitara for a couple of months now and it is an incredible instrument. I have been a guitarist for many years and have owned (and been frustruated by) many generations of other guitar synthesizers (I have owned four generations of one particular guitar synth). The Kitara gives you real time control over your sound, unlike most current guitar synthesizers and provides endless options to change or refine sounds obtainable through the Kitara. The Misa Digital customer service team is fantastic, and, unlike other brands of guitar synthesizers that provide no customer service and require that you buy newer units to get newer sounds or features, the firmware upgrades are available online (I have done four firmware upgrades in past month). The programs are very intuitive and I have adapted to play via the touch screen user interface. The Kitara is a must-have for anyone interested in exploring new synthesis territory who is tired of the "processed cheese" nature of other guitar synths out there!
Kitara the guitar of the FUTURE!!
I preorder the kitara from misa digital 6 months ago, received it about two months ago. It is awesome, worth every single penny!! The capabilities are end less. I am a seasoned guitar player, with minimal keyboard skills. I am now able to bring synth sounds to my recordings. With this you can do anything!!! At first it is very overwhelming, but in a short amount of time you'll get it. I own number 74 :)
The digital kitara is a true guitar with some serious fun attached. Best thing is that I do not have to tune the thing before I play, which is real plus when you just want to play.
Many different configs for the sound and You have options for everything.
Simple setup and everything.
Takes very little time to setup.
Amazingly Powerful as a midi controller
I am a musician and audio engineer; running a macbook pro with pro-tools, logic, qlab, and a few others. My primary instruments are various stringed varieties, so I was very excited to find out about the Kitara when it was unveiled earlier this year at Namm. I've had mine for about two weeks now, and I'm still working out some of the playing technique. Like it says - it is definitely not a guitar, and you'd better be prepared to spend some time programming if you want to take full advantage of this device.
My interest in purchasing the Misa Digital Kitara was multifaceted: I was interested in use of the device to expand my own music, as well as utilization in collaborative projects with other studio musicians/engineers. Lastly, I hoped to use the Kitara as both an instrument and control surface simultaneously in a live environment.
My first impression upon receiving mine, was that the on-board synthesis was a little lacking. The presets that come with the Kitara aren't anything to write home about; HOWEVER: if you get into the synthesis engine, it goes pretty deep. For each "string" you can build up to 6 layers of synthesis, thus providing a vast number of voicing possibilities for each and every patch. Secondly, the Kitara also supports modulation of just about any parameter via one of several avenues. (Touch X, Touch y, Drag X, Ball X, Ball Y.) Which means you really have absolute control over both the voicing and performance possibilities of each patch you create.
Where the Kitara really shines is in the ability to utilize the device as a midi controller. Each "string" can be customized to send midi data on discrete midi channels. (IE - I had a drum machine (Ch1) hooked up to the top "E" string, the middle 4 (Ch2) were playing a pad, and the bottom E (Ch3) was routed to a bass patch.) Furthermore, the Kitara can be customized to allow a user to have up to 6 "Scenes," available at the touch of one of the buttons on the 24th fret. Thus, if properly configured, this device is capable of FULL show control in a live environment.
Furthermore, coupling this device with outboard synthesis engines such as Omnisphere, Kontakt, Absynth, or even the ES2 is guaranteed to give you amazing sound possibilities with a great performance device.
My only qualms with the Kitara thus far are minimal. If you desire advanced midi configuration; and create, for instance, a cc message for some expression parameter. Then you realize that the synth has that particular CC message assigned to another non-editable parameter, you have to delete your cc message in the midi configuration menu on the Kitara. There is no edit button. Secondly, there is no usb-midi support as of yet. I've contacted the developer about these things, and it looks like there will be software fixes for both of these things in the future.
So: If you're looking for an amazingly powerful midi controller that also happens to have some onboard synthesis: buy this thing. It freakin rocks.
Brave New World
The Kitara is an amazing guitar-like interface that catapults string players into the new world of digital synthesis. Guitarists looking for a 'space-aged guitar' might be disappointed because you have to really know what you're doing to program the Kitara to take full advantage of it's list of capabilities.
I don't use the on-board sounds. To me, they are less than stellar programs (a firmware update with some truly beefy sounds would rock, guys...) even though they have been 'optimized' to be manipulated by the device. Instead, I slave my own sounds created in the massive soft-synths within Reason 6. Depending upon the sounds you choose, you'll probably want to totally customize the parameters that you are manipulating in the left-hand pad. (yes, you can change the kitara to left-hand mode in the menu easily) The Kitara is really only as powerful as you program it to be. So if you're a nubie when it comes to MIDI expect a learning curve. but make no mistake, once you've taken a single complex sound and have programmed the parameters to taste you will be blown away by what you can do. It will never take the place of my Parker, but the Kitara will definitely become a showcased instrument in all my live performances with my new band...
Not too Bad
With a lot of patience, anyone who plays a guitar should be able to handle this rather unique device. Itís for sure not a guitar, but it is for sure a really cool idea.
There is no manual with it, instruction being handled by lots of online YouTube videos.
The Built in Synth is OK, but the choice of sounds for it is all wrong for a new guitar player trying to learn it.
Its real strength comes in controlling sofsynths on your computer and in applications like Live or Reason. Here it excels.
Its a real fun device and I am glad I was told about it, and judging by the online support and constant Firmware updates, it is going to become a PowerPlayer, given a little more time.
It has a USB connection for updating registering ETC, but does not play audio directly itself into your system. All Synth control requires a MIDI interface, even a small one is sufficient. I think it will likely earn 5 stars eventually something i give out rarely.
Good device but still feels Beta
I have very mixed feelings about this instrument. The good things are very good, but the bad things really sour the awesomeness.
Pros: Good construction, feels good, plays well once you get used to it, lots of presets, comes with midi/audio cables, MIDI works great with my synths, flexible setup easily suits my needs, frequent updates to the OS, I can finally play eruption on my Moog!
Cons: The power cable is way to short, about 6 feet with a power brick in the middle that sits at your feet while you stand (no battery pack), "plucking strings" is very difficult when you are not looking at the screen, buttons are very sensitive and sounds wrong notes easily (I have to use string mode to not hit wrong notes constantly), for full function you will need to have 3 different cables plugged in (audio, midi, power), the instrument does not play like a guitar and you will have to adjust your guitar playing style to suit the instrument, open notes can only be sounded in string mode
Because of the power cable I am going to have to make a battery pack or make my own extension. The power cable as is will simply not work on stage. They do not currently offer a battery pack though on the forums they mention that a 9v battery will power the instrument for 2-3 hours.
All that being said it still functions 1000 times better than my Roland GR-33. The instrument is well built, feels and looks great. Misa constantly (about every 2-3 weeks) updates the OS of the instrument to add functionality and they are very active on their forum. I believe this instrument has great potential but there are still a few bugs to work out.
Now even idiots can play
Now even idiots who played guitar hero can play music. God help us all!
Not a fan...
I played the Kitara at NAMM and was impressed. So, I bought it when they dropped the price, but I was not impressed anymore. The first unit I received was broken in several ways (whole fret of buttons not working, MIDI not working). So, I got another unit and it was working, but just like the other, was not very responsive. I could almost swear that the model I played at NAMM was a different one than what I bought because I could barely play the one I owned, while I was shredding on the one at NAMM. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't, either way, I'm not a fan of the Kitara any more.