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Kenton Pro 2000

MIDI-to-CV Converter By Paul Ward
Published June 1997

Integrating old synths into a modern MIDI‑based system can be a pain. Paul Ward finds out if Kenton's Pro 2000 interface can kiss it better...

Kenton Electronics began as a company specialising in MIDI retrofits but, in 1992, the introduction of the Pro 2 interface quickly established them as respected hardware suppliers. In 1994 Kenton's second interface, the Pro 4, was launched to great acclaim. Where the Pro 4 scored was in that it was able to mix a variety of pitch‑based MIDI control information and make it available at a single CV output. Not only that, but Kenton had also made the smart move of adding internal LFOs. The Pro 2000 can essentially be thought of as one half of a Pro 4, although it features several refinements of its own.

Instant Appeal

The Pro 2000 comes in a two‑thirds rack‑width box, which feels solid, reliable and well up to the rigours of regular gigging — although I'd strongly advise the purchase of the optional rack ears for such use. A quick glance inside the unit shows that its beauty is not just skin‑deep. Neat job, Kenton! MIDI In, Out and Thru are included. One of the nicest things about the Pro 2000 is that, despite its size, it features an internal power supply — no wall‑warts or line‑lumps here. Power arrives from a standard IEC mains connector; the CV outputs are all of the mini‑jack variety.

Programming the Pro 2000 is extremely simple. In 'Parameter' mode, the Inc/Dec buttons scroll through the available parameters. Once the parameter to be changed is displayed on the backlit LCD, pressing the 'Select' button then allows that parameter's value to be edited by the Inc/Dec buttons. This is all a bit fiddly, but it's unlikely that you'll have to do much heavy editing once the Pro 2000 is set up. I was uncomfortable with the Inc/Dec buttons being placed side by side rather than one above the other, which somehow seems more logical, to my way of thinking — others will disagree, I'm sure.

If there was anything that troubled me about my Pro 4 interface it was that, despite all its technological wizardry, I still had to resort to a screwdriver to set the tune and scale voltages. Not so on the Pro 2000 — like the Pro Solo before it, it's designed so that all the calibration is done with software. The Pro 4 also offered Hz/Volts output as an optional hardware upgrade. The Pro 2000, on the other hand, provides this facility by the merest toggle of a parameter. Now that's what I call progress.


The range of control offered by the Pro 2000 is extensive. Each of its CV/gate channels is completely independent, with parameters for MIDI channel, note priority (low, high or oldest), single or multiple trigger mode, ±24 semitones transpose, ±12 semitones pitch‑bend, portamento rate, and portamento controller (including a permanent 'on' setting). The Pro 2000 will work with most synth gates, including Moog's S‑trig system, and it allows for 5V or 15V pull‑up triggers.

Kenton have endowed the Pro 2000 with two internal LFOs, which may be freely assigned to modulate the channel CV outputs or any of the Auxiliary outputs. The LFOs sport a selection of nine useful waveforms, including triangle, sawtooth, pulse and 'sample and hold', although I would like to see a noise modulation option to get that distinctive MiniMoog screech. Each LFO will happily sync to MIDI clock messages, with a variable divide ratio for synchrosonic sequencing between a semibreve and a demisemiquaver triplet!

Someone at Kenton Electronics was obviously in a generous mood on the day that the Auxiliary Outs were discussed, because the Pro 2000 has no fewer than six of them! The amount of control that the user has over these auxiliaries is generous too, with options for minimum and maximum controller voltages and the reset level. Either of the internal LFOs can be defined as a modulation source, with a definable controller number for LFO depth and a maximum modulation level. The only option I'd like to see added is for any auxiliary to copy one of the main channel CV outputs — for use in filter tracking, for instance.

And There's More...

In addition to the CV/gate channels, a further two channels are also implemented, to ease the connection of digital devices. The MIDI channel filter enables the connection of older MIDI synths that will only receive in Omni mode. Alternatively, this feature could be used to re‑channelise a DX7 that can only transmit on MIDI channel 1. The Pro 2000's fourth channel is dedicated to the optional KADI (Kenton Auxiliary Digital Interface)/Wasp port or the optional DCB port. Kenton supplied me with the DCB port option, which was easy to fit and worked as expected.

If the above covered all that the Pro 2000 were capable of, then it would be an impressive device. Kenton have seen fit to push things further. For a start, there's the Sync24 output for clocking older Roland machines, such as the TB303, TR808 or MC202. A separate (positive or negative pulse‑voltage) clock‑pulse output with clock‑divide capability also allows for the synchronisation of arpeggiators, step sequencers, and some vintage drum machines. The Pro 2000 will even act as a MIDI diagnostic tool for troubleshooting duties.


I'm impressed. Very impressed. OK, it's not perfect: I've mentioned the fiddliness of the user interface and I've touched on one or two features that I feel would enhance the overall package. But Kenton really have understood what a musician wants from a MIDI/CV interface — and have included a small bucketful of useful extras into the bargain. Once the Pro 2000 is in place it's easy to forget you have a MIDI/CV converter in your system at all — which must surely be the best accolade that any interface can hope to attain. If anyone knows of a better alternative to the Pro 2000 then I'd love to see it. Until then I'm nailing this into my rack...


  • Two Gate/CV outputs
  • Six auxiliary outputs
  • Sync24 output
  • Clock‑pulse output
  • Optional expansion port (KADI/Wasp or DCB)
  • Optional rack‑mount ears
  • Dimensions (mm): 280 x 132 x 42
  • Weight: 2.5kg


  • Solid build quality.
  • Extensive control options.
  • Six auxiliary control voltage outputs.
  • Separate clock‑pulse output.
  • Hz/Volts capability included as standard.


  • Editing system slightly fiddly.
  • Rack‑mounting ears are optional.


I can think of no other MIDI/CV interface that comes close to those produced by Kenton — and the Pro 2000 is the best of Kenton's range. Performs the maximum amount of work with the minimum amount of fuss. Anyone still struggling with a variety of cables and boxes to get vintage gear running in their rig really ought to take a look. Highly recommended.