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Kurzweil K2000/K2500 differences in tone..
Old 26th May 2017
  #1
Kurzweil K2000/K2500 differences in tone..

hi chaps,

considering how cheap they are nowadays, i'm considering one of the older Kurzweils.. what resparkled my interest is:
  • somewhat dark 90s digital tone, complex engine
  • mangling options for samples, dialogue clips, loops etc
  • reads akai, transfer stuff from daw & scsi2sd options

now here's my dillema,,would love some confirmation or correction on my findings btwn various models:

most demos i found that tickle my fancy were done with K2vxS. what i found out is that, compared to original K2000/R/S, the later VP and K2vxS models, had their effects upgraded to Digitech from K2500, and possibly converters too.

bar the 48 poly and other differences, does this mean that the basic tone character of K2500 is virtually identical to K2vxS and VP ?


things is, i can get a K2000VP with pram, or a K2500R with scsi/128mb/no pram, for about the same price locally. leaning towards latter, due to less space constraints, and of course double polyphony, if they sound the same.

i've seen that 26xx serie betters the 2500 in some ways, with onboard kdfx and triple vast. but their price moves it out of the interest zone. and, i'm not even sure if they sound identical or little cleaner/hifi - so few demos of them doing interesting sh1t like you can find for k2000, so its hard to tell. its all mexico wedding pianos and jordan rudess crap.


thanks
Old 26th May 2017
  #2
In my experience the 2600 series is a bit more hi fi and open but the greatest difference is really in features over sound, it's a subtle difference to my ears. I think you should get the option that suits you best.
Old 26th May 2017
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
its all mexico wedding pianos and jordan rudess crap.
+100000000000
Old 26th May 2017
  #4
There was a great video series of a guy using the 2600 sample engine to run audio into and out of the K in realtime, he is a noise artist. I can no longer find the videos though.

my understanding is this is pretty much all the k2500

Old 26th May 2017
  #5
I believe there is a K2500R locally you can grab. Or at least there was. Anyway i totally like the K series for experimental stuff. Actually stock Digitech effects on K2500 aren't that bad. I remember getting some juice outta them. Heck i expected KDFX reverbs to sound 1000 times better. But in fact, they do not! In fact i was a bit frustrated by some of the reverbs on my K2600R. Didn't tried them all yet. In fact the KDFX comes with its own manual (big book).

You will need max RAM and a SCSI CD ROM or a SCSI2SD solution and images of Kurz CD ROMs. Some really nice stuff in there.

Sound: very very good. Some of the filters are quite tasty. While on paper, the specs of K2500 series might look impressive, for any more complex routing you would need K2600 series. i.e You can't emulate classic JD type of patch routing, despite K2500 having all those fancy modules. They got eat up as soon as you step on a throttle pedal.

Downside: IMO, it has to be your only synth to explore full potential. Seriously. Otherwise you get distracted pretty easy (hey i can do this there, and this there). The point is, it can do A LOT of different things. There used to be HUGE HUGE tips and tricks which i've lost on a hard drive, back from 2007, now all gone form interwebs. Also there used to be a large forum with even more tips and tricks, also gone. I remember one guy writing big post with what you can do with just FUNs. I was stunned. In fact i gave myself task to try to find those posts in the webarchive if these even exists. I no longer remember the forum name.

For basic synth stuff programs a K2500 will do just fine.

In a nutshell, Kerzwhile is sorta an isolated island. You either dedicate yourself, go full in, or you end up as mexico wedding pianos and jordan rudess crap. There's also this large Pink Floyd community out there. Heck this woman who sold me her mint K2600R only had Pink Floyd programs in it. They survived all 60 seconds as soon as i got the machine.

I remember one guy wrote a detailed program on how to fully emulate vector synthesis on a Kerz, something i thought was impossible. A few lines of "code" and it was all in! A full SY-22 vector synthesis emulation.

Too bad i never went into community - at least i would now have all those posts archived. But now it's all gone. All those moments are lost in time, like tears in rain.
Old 26th May 2017
  #6
Deleted baa19f3
Guest
To my ears I've always liked the sound of the earlier Kurzweil synths, like the K2000/2000S. Something very warm and analog sounding to me coming out of those early beasts.

Whenever I'd get the urge to scout out the new Kurzweil keyboards, I'd visit their site, and I don't know why but their audio demos always sound like crap to me.
I don't mean the playing style or instrument/synths, but the actual audio.
For some reason 128kps mp3's or YouTube demos sound sound better by comparison, at least to me.

I'm sure playing one live would be a totally different listening experience.
It's just it's happened every time I've auditioned the sound demos over the years, same audio experience.
Old 26th May 2017
  #7
The ability of VAST to make the synth sound however you like will far, far, far, far, far outweigh the effects of the converters. Far outweigh. You have approximately 10^gazillion ways to address "tone" in VAST, and emulate any and every thing that might affect said "tone". So, go for the thing that does what you want. The sound part can be worked out, really it can. Everything else is audiofoolery.
Old 26th May 2017
  #8
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EvilDragon's Avatar
KDFX is awesome. You should go with K2500R IMHO. Perhaps later try and find a K2000R fully expanded and compare them. But yeah, K2500R.
Old 26th May 2017
  #9
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In the K2000 line there were two hardware revisions--Calvin and Janice--but I don't know what was different, and if converters were at all different. Supposedly the later models like the K2vx had revised ROM patches that were more stage-piano-esque. The original 199 patches from the early models were released as the "farm" disks. The actual samples were identical.

I would definitely get the K2500. Double the polyphony, live mode (with sampler option), KDFX option, better piano samples (with the rom blocks), KB3 mode. I have a K2500R that I bought new with no options, and over the years, I've added every option so now it is completely loaded, and it is a beast. I prefer the K2600 because you get triple mode, but both are great. There are also some hardware revision on the K2500 as well. Some have 2 72pin SIMM slots, and some have 8 30pin SIMM slots (mine is the 30 pin model.) though I don't know if there are other changes.
Old 27th May 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
To my ears I've always liked the sound of the earlier Kurzweil synths, like the K2000/2000S. Something very warm and analog sounding to me coming out of those early beasts.

Whenever I'd get the urge to scout out the new Kurzweil keyboards, I'd visit their site, and I don't know why but their audio demos always sound like crap to me.
I don't mean the playing style or instrument/synths, but the actual audio.
For some reason 128kps mp3's or YouTube demos sound sound better by comparison, at least to me.

I'm sure playing one live would be a totally different listening experience.
It's just it's happened every time I've auditioned the sound demos over the years, same audio experience.
I was actually really impressed with some of these sounds


I've been a bit tempted by the pc361 for the VA engine.
Old 27th May 2017
  #11
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
In the K2000 line there were two hardware revisions--Calvin and Janice--but I don't know what was different, and if converters were at all different. .
It's just the sampling chip and circuit board that are different. They Changed for manufacturing reasons. There is no difference in sound or features.
Old 27th May 2017
  #12
Ksp
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[QUOTE=clusterchord;12645262]hi chaps,

considering how cheap they are nowadays, i'm considering one of the older Kurzweils.. what resparkled my interest is:
/QUOTE]

got to say i have a 2600 rack sat alongside a nice choice of new and vintage top end sounding gear and the Kurzweil wont ever be sold here , the weight and depth the convertors add to a bland wav file is amazing and the kurzweil has still now a sound to die for in its own way , its hard to explain but its just totally unique in how it sounds , i still have not found a sample library in any format that can emulate some classical sounds like it or give off such a rich deep and ' effecting ' sound....just wacked a sd card reader in mine .

Thats just the traditional sounding side though , the things insane at an experimental level , every time i turn it on in a session and trigger it i get this kind of ' why the **** does this sound so much better than any other sampler or synth ' moment a bit , i get the feeling it used some very high spec parts or something in the da convertors or some magic as i did a/d tests of a basic wav tone fired from a pc into a mixer and then the same from the kurzweil and its Really night and day, the kurzweils just add something totally desirable to the ears when you trigger your own samples in them but thats half the story , the built in waveforms and massive user library have some of the most moody and evocative sounds ever made.

I would see it as an extra pallette of tonal colours and also a black box if you want to get synthesis freaked out , add sounddiver and its an insane deep magic box of sfx trickery and at a fundamental level this thing has some of the most luscious pad and key sounds i have ever heard and i owned way way to many vintages and digital synths , nothing comes close to a Kurzweil on some level and every studio should have one.

went from the k2500 to the k2600 and didnt hear any difference at all and i spend years wining on about how ****e many other manufacturers made the newer model sound progressively due to ' improvements ' ...
Old 27th May 2017
  #13
BTW one thing that should be mentioned. On K2600 series, internal waveform set is kinda....old and not so cool. i.e JD-990 ROM is heads and shoulders above. So if you come from JD background you will be disappointed. In fact i was surprised when i got K2600 i expected they added some extra modern stuff, but not. Same old K2500 ROM with some minor addition (afaik).

However, that SCSI port on the back and a large RAM area is a giveaway about what its designers had in mind. There are some really good sample CD roms for Kerzwhile. Second hint why you should not worry about old ROM is super deep synth engine. I got some factory floppies with my K2500R, each with i don't know how many hundreds of patches and banks. In fact i still didn't tried them all, and they take just 3-4 floppies. One name should be enough to mention: Daniel Fisher
Old 27th May 2017
  #14
BTW Cluster if you want to mangle samples, why not trying A4000 series? It doesn't require you to go deep. Yet it can do a LOT just just little:

Yamaha A4000/A5000 Review | donsolaris.com
Old 27th May 2017
  #15
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
BTW Cluster if you want to mangle samples, why not trying A4000 series? It doesn't require you to go deep. Yet it can do a LOT just just little:

Yamaha A4000/A5000 Review | donsolaris.com
Yeah these are great. I'd also recommend EX7/5 as they feature 90% the same engine and effects. You lose the xfade loops from the A4000 and certainly in the EX7 there's only 2 insert effects instead of 3, but you do get the cool FDSP stuff like waveshaping, FM, Polyphonic Ring MOD etc.

Ever FM'd a speech sample against itself? It's a trip!
Old 27th May 2017
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
I believe there is a K2500R locally you can grab...
You will need max RAM and a SCSI CD ROM or a SCSI2SD solution and images of Kurz CD ROMs..
yep. talked with him 2 days ago

its god max ram, scsi, and i have a few scsi cdroms laying round since my eos times. if i get it, i'll look for images. might buy pram from polish guys. 80 euro ouch. unfortunately no kdfx. i dont think there are any for sale anyway.

i could only get that to spring for 2661... found one also locally full loaded, but costs exacty three times more. naah.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Anyway i totally like the K series for experimental stuff. Actually stock Digitech effects on K2500 aren't that bad.
i see it as part of the charm of the dark "obsolete" sound i am chasing. got other toys for state of the art effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
While on paper, the specs of K2500 series might look impressive, for any more complex routing you would need K2600 series
i know 2600 has more but listening to what that Oscillator guy did with vocals and dialogue on k2000 think its going to be enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Downside: IMO, it has to be your only synth to explore full potential... In a nutshell, Kerzwhile is sorta an isolated island. You either dedicate yourself, go full in, or you end up as mexico wedding pianos and jordan rudess crap.
this is my only worry. i have too many synths already - just sold my nord modular 2 days ago due to lack of time to devote to it. or be in a "community". synths that require a "community" scare me

but i do like standalone machines, wihtout dependance on OS compatibilities and other problems. maybe i download some more experimental sound designer-ish programs for kurz and start from there tweaking, sampling,, like i always do. its bare rompling is of less interest to me.

well talk about those daniel fisher floppies, if i buy one
Old 27th May 2017
  #17
Gear Guru
 
EvilDragon's Avatar
Let's say it this way. Did you ever reach the full depths of what you can do with your Orville - I mean deep, deep down, into custom algorithms and all that crap? Well Kurz is the same but with synthesis... It's a Nord Modular before there wasn't any Nord Modular (with the caveat that you cannot do feedback in algorithms, not sure if you could do that with NM). So if you've sold your NM2, I'm kinda seeing the same scenario... I give it a year, or less. Unless, of course, you dive right down into it and we don't see you on these forums for a long, long time!
Old 27th May 2017
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
BTW Cluster if you want to mangle samples, why not trying A4000 series? It doesn't require you to go deep. Yet it can do a LOT just just little:

Yamaha A4000/A5000 Review | donsolaris.com
ha ha you hit the nail on the head - its so happens i've been in a5000 "phase" for last month or so. read all about it ,, how to fix encoders, cheap cf card options, sd card the works.. its sound is very close to ideal of flexible rompler that happens to be a samper too. effects are nice etc. sounds like something btwn sy85, jd990 and ex5. nice bright sheen. its just there is so few demo tracks that shows any deeper capability of its engine.


while they sound very different, at this point, it is somewhat of a tossup btwn yamaha and kurz. i mean, hypothetically i could get both, but doubt i'll be able to devote reasonable time to both.


edit: as far as sample processing,, think yamaha does not have the lofi ringmod/am and waveshapers like k2000 has. latter might be better for dirty mangling, and yamaha perhaps for nicer mangling - better, more hifi filters and reverbs/effects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Let's say it this way. Did you ever reach the full depths of what you can do with your Orville - I mean deep, deep down, into custom algorithms and all that crap? Well Kurz is the same but with synthesis... It's a Nord Modular before there wasn't any Nord Modular (with the caveat that you cannot do feedback in algorithms, not sure if you could do that with NM). So if you've sold your NM2, I'm kinda seeing the same scenario... I give it a year, or less. Unless, of course, you dive right down into it and we don't see you on these forums for a long, long time!
sane advice indeed.

my logic went this way; perhaps i don't need to become worlds greates kurz programmer - i am in business of making finished tracks for scores, and sometimes have to work quick while inspiration is high (or deadlines short) so if i stumble on reasonably complex sound, and something sits well in a track, i can learn enough to tweak it to a point its perfect. true, if i want advanced mangling over samples n loops, i might get in over my head.

im definitely weighing my options, and realities. dont want it to gather dust, thats for sure.

Last edited by clusterchord; 27th May 2017 at 08:21 PM..
Old 27th May 2017
  #19
Gear Guru
 
EvilDragon's Avatar
K2500/K2600 vs. K2000 | Kurzweil

Here's some more info from the horse's mouth. Some of this stuff might be important to you (like for example the envelope attack time being either 0 ms or 20 ms with nothing in between being a possible deal breaker for the K2000.)

That said envelopes ARE a bit weird on Kurzweils (stages are 100% linear until you mess them with FUNs)... And LFOs alias (!) when you push them over 8-10 Hz since the microcontroller they use refreshes only every 20 ms or so :/
Old 27th May 2017
  #20
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Actually stock Digitech effects on K2500 aren't that bad. I remember getting some juice outta them. Heck i expected KDFX reverbs to sound 1000 times better. But in fact, they do not! In fact i was a bit frustrated by some of the reverbs on my K2600R. Didn't tried them all yet. In fact the KDFX comes with its own manual (big book).
I think the main problem with the Digitech processor is that it only has a mono input, not a lot of delay time, no exotic algorithms, and not enough processing power to make a chain of good quality effects. The reverbs are actually pretty adequate. It's not awful so much as it's just boring. Also they tend to die. The processor in my K2VX died.

Quote:
Sound: very very good. Some of the filters are quite tasty.
A downside is that there's a lot of aliasing if you try to do anything weird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
And LFOs alias (!) when you push them over 8-10 Hz since the microcontroller they use refreshes only every 20 ms or so :/
The nice thing is that all the modulation is smoothed before it's applied to the audio, so there's no zipper noise. But the modulation rate is a rather miserable 50 Hz. If you try to modulate pitch with a square wave LFO, it has a characteristic "portamento" effect.

I'm attaching an excerpt of a thing I recorded with mine. It's all K2VX and a Roland TR-77 with external effects (Tapco 4400 and Ibanez SDR-1000). It's heavily multitracked. I programmed all the patches and used only the internal ROM waveforms.
Attached Files

k2vx.mp3 (5.99 MB, 6702 views)

Old 27th May 2017
  #21
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Quote:
the lofi ringmod/am and waveshapers like the K2000 has
Does the K2500(R) also have this lofi/mangle capacity in equal measure?
Old 28th May 2017
  #22
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Yes, they're the same thing as far as synthesis goes, only K2500 has more stuff.
Old 28th May 2017
  #23
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The k2000 must have different converters, as it sounds to me more like synths of a similar era, like the JD-800. The tone is a little darker but also warmer, but the features are also much more lacking.

Last edited by wendell r.; 28th May 2017 at 12:58 PM..
Old 28th May 2017
  #24
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EvilDragon's Avatar
I think they all have 18-bit DACs, from K2000 to K2600. K2000 for sure has 18-bit DACs, but here's what's listed for K2600 in specs. 18-bit DACs! Probably the very same chip, even.

http://kurzweil.com/product/k2600/specs/
Old 28th May 2017
  #25
Gear Head
 

I got a K2000RS for pennies and, like in the marketing, fell in love with the sound. It wasn't long before I upgraded to a K2600XS and the K2000RS doesn't get much use although some of the original patches are classic and great starting points for experimentation. There's no doubt that a K2000 is easier to find your way around though. You'll scratch your head a long time before you figure out how to route stereo through a Live Mode Triple and into KDFX on a K2600. (Hint...you need two triples). I have literally read both of the sizeable manuals 4 times cover to cover and unearthed deeply obscure hints and tips from list serves and garish old websites and yet there is a hunger for more. Too much expertise has been lost. Sonikmatter is gone and wayback machine is no help there. As Lune has said on the other Kurz thread, it'd be great to have a document that gave more pointers about what you can do with it all. Mastering Vast is a fantastic resource but the number of experts and the time they can commit is limited.

Don't get me wrong, experimenting with multiplying various FUN's Together is often fruitful in finding the wildest modulations imaginable. learning how to tame some of the non-linear DSP's can be very rewarding too but the sad state of affairs is that there's only a handful of people out there interested in getting deep into VAST at present. We need more Jedi's so ideas can be bounced around like they were on the old lists. You can still pick up a K2000 for less than 300 dollars if you yearn for a bottomlessly creative machine to become truly obsessed with.

Imo one of the biggest mistakes Kurzweil made on their way to near bankruptcy was not sending a K2600 with sampling option installed to Sound on Sound for review so all SOS had was a machine pretty indistinguishable from the K2500 as triple mod wasn't out at that point either. If the Sound on Sound reviewer had been able to dig into Live Mode then they'd have uncovered some of the crazy stuff that's possible and we'd have all known about it. Perhaps Kurzweil were scared of the glitches. Don't be scared of the glitches. Worship the glitch.
Old 28th May 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
I think they all have 18-bit DACs, from K2000 to K2600. K2000 for sure has 18-bit DACs, but here's what's listed for K2600 in specs. 18-bit DACs! Probably the very same chip, even.

Product: K2600 | Kurzweil
Who knows what the change was, but I don't think it was the effects that made the difference, because even if you turn the older and cheaper digitech chip on the K2000 off, this line of synths still sound different to the K2500/2600 etc. To me that only the leaves the converters if the internal architecture is the same, but who knows.
Old 28th May 2017
  #27
Gear Addict
I used to have a k2500R, with added expansion cards sample + KDFX. The sample option was a mistake, kind of, but if i recall correct it gave me the separate outputs as digital via ADAT, into my digital mixer - a 02R if i remember correct.

A great machine and i really wish i could have it back. At the time, too much of a synth for me, but now i would find some proper use for it.

The KDFX added some amazing FX to the equation, and it was way better than any other effect i had at my disposal then. It really brought the synth to life, and i used the external inputs to route / resample other gear through it. Made a lot of difference for me and my music and the synth was probably one of the best purchases i ever made.

I would gladly pay up to get a K2600 especially since the KDFX is pre-installed. I´m actually considering getting a PC3* if i can find one to an ok price. This, and the K series are great workstations and i think for the right person some amazing music could be made with it.

As for Mr. Babicz music it´s already great (big fan! ) but i think that with your skills you could really 1. have a good time diving deep into the sound architecture, and 2. use the synth for what it is - an advanced workstation capable of creating a very wide variety of sounds.

I would go for the K2500R and if possible find a KDFX chip to complete the equation. Now, i suppose you already have plenty good fx already, but the synth and effect board really complete each other. I made some crazy good sounds back in the day just by chance, i can´t even imagine how what would be possible in the right hands.
Old 28th May 2017
  #28
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Muser's Avatar
I used a K2000 a fair bit and imported a few of the first K2500's into the UK for a few people who wanted them. I used to use a CR1604 with the dedicated 1604 automation system along with a programable audio and midi interface unit. connecting up a k2000, zoom 9010, DP4 with a Peavey controller it was set up as a full recall system around the mid 90's. it could effectively recall and record and playback automation from inside a custom Logic environment.

I used the FUN's to get a 16 layer drum kit setup with independent volume and pan and pitch controls per drum as part of the recall. I don't use that gear now but I still use the model as a basis for choosing gear with similar operational features. much of which isn't even achieved never mind exceeded by most subsequent equipment. in hardware operational terms that is. though it might be starting to get there.

I preferred the K2000 usewise and soundwise even though it wasn't as powerful or as flexible as a 2500 Rack. powerful and a little complicated even using a galaxy editor. very controllable though. I still also use their Disk object paradigm as a model for managing and re-tasking assets. I wouldn't really want to use it again, but saying that I'm hard pushed to figure out if was any more difficult than what I do now. maybe not a whole lot in it. especially if you include the Disk Object system as part of an equation.

the K2 keyed had outputs which had the the Ring of an inserted TRS as a return path. that would then sum to the master outs. can't remember if the racks or subsequent units did that.
Old 28th May 2017
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by acreil View Post
I'm attaching an excerpt of a thing I recorded with mine. It's all K2VX and a Roland TR-77 with external effects (Tapco 4400 and Ibanez SDR-1000). It's heavily multitracked. I programmed all the patches and used only the internal ROM waveforms.
wonderful track, the harmony/counterpoint reminds me of Ravel. like electronic impressionism of sorts . it was quite present in some late70s/early 80s albums and electronic film scores.


PS i forgot if i commented aleady or not, but you posted a wonderful rendition of Inoyama Land on Keytek recently, that blew my mind . very Vangelis-que, full of grandiose and nostalgia.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Let's say it this way. Did you ever reach the full depths of what you can do with your Orville - I mean deep, deep down, into custom algorithms and all that crap? Well Kurz is the same but with synthesis... It's a Nord Modular before there wasn't any Nord Modular
re-thinking your post again;

i'd say, not digging in was never entirely about dedicating time or complexity. i've done things in physical modulars that surpass NM or Orville, in its complexity. spent quite some time perfecting that too in context of film sound design. but where's the catch?

i enjoyed doing it to no end - user interface is different: fast. tactile. you see everything. also, no issues with OS and midi interface compatibility (like with NM), or convoluted editing sofware like VSig, that i couldn't get to work (should give it another go).


alternatively, a multitouch interface like iOS Lemur, Patch Base or Midi Designer 2 is next best thing for me after physical control. alas nobody supports k2xxx series as of yet. Eventides only get panel display control but no vsig.
Old 28th May 2017
  #30
Gear Guru
 
EvilDragon's Avatar
I would say as far as OS complexity, Kurzweil created a pretty great interface for extremely FAST menu jumping (instead of diving). Need to check out a modulator? Select it in the slot, press Enter and you go to the ENV/LFO/FUN page, instantly. Want to change a modulator? Hold Enter and play a key (the list of which modulators belong to which keys is in the manual, takes a couple of days to memorize it but after that you're FLYING). Hell, naming patches, you can even use the keyboard for that instead of whacking away on the numpad keys. After a bit of time it becomes second nature and almost like a computer keyboard (but not quite - still cool though). Oh, also. Need to search for something? You can. Everything is text searchable: programs, setups, keymaps, samples.

So as far as menu diving, it's the best it could possibly be, and many other menu diving synths (ahem, FS1R) miss that kind of flexibility in usage. I don't think you need a Lemur (or somesuch) controller for wrangling the Kurzweil.
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