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Kurzweil PC4 Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 2nd April 2019
  #61
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
It’s good to see Kurzweil bringing some of the Forte goodness to a wider audience. PC4 is to Forte as MODX is to Montage? Not exact, perhaps, because the PC4 has some nice extras (1/4” inputs, ribbon input, and reallocation of KB3 voices to double the VAST voice count), but still seems to capture the flavor of it.

I wonder if the new focus on audio in suggests that we will see onboard sampling or a revival of live mode in future firmware?
Old 2nd April 2019
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unease View Post
Hmm, I would think the processing power should be enough but maybe it just didn’t fit in with the concept of chains of descrete DSP blocks. They need to handle feedback for proper FM so that might be one such problem..
Precisely, that might be one of the computational power restrictions, not that it requires any computational power per see, basically a mul by a constant into phase register but they might be out of RAM/registers whatever per computational block so they would be limited to DX7 model and not to the full detail of a SY99 PM block which is larger and higher data resolution, not even mention the block required by the FSR1.

Lets wait and see, maybe Kurzweil will in the end surprise us all!
Old 2nd April 2019
  #63
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bobule's Avatar
 

2gb sampling ram? Oh man it might be time to finally upgrade from my PC3!! So excited for this release, pc3k sample speed was awful, I have never tried the forte but I am hoping this is the replacement k26x I have been waiting for.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klonfocius View Post
So, its not until Forte OS4 and PC4 there is PM in a block, i assume on the picture you posted is per layer?! Does this suggest like 5layer DX7's and still full polyphony?
Not sure, but the "DX7 engine" in Forte OS 4.0 does take polyphony from VAST, 4 layers per voice.

You cannot have layers in DX7 mode - that's why it says layer 1/1. You cannot mix VAST layers with DX7 engine layers, it's a separate program type.


This is all info from Barb, who is alpha/beta testing Forte OS v4.0 and posted this info on Mastering VAST forum.
Attached Thumbnails
Kurzweil PC4-forte-fm.jpg  
Old 2nd April 2019
  #65
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Klonfocius's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post

1:Not sure, but the "DX7 engine" in Forte OS 4.0 does take polyphony from VAST, 4 layers per voice.

2:You cannot have layers in DX7 mode - that's why it says layer 1/1. You cannot mix VAST layers with DX7 engine layers, it's a separate program type.
1 and 2 contradicts each other! But ok then, we assume only one layer DX7 and not multiple layer DX7, but surely one layer DX7 + multi layer rompling is possible + voice count reduction?
Old 2nd April 2019
  #66
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Mastropiero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
The specs say: "2 GB of factory sample content + 2 GB of user-loadable space"

User-loadable space sounds like sampling to me.
It'd be OK to sample with a computer and be able to load it in and run it through VAST too though.

I'm also wondering if one of the current editors will work with it too.
I don't think user RAM means sampling; most Kurzweil models have that user sample RAM but none of them have real sampling capabilities nowadays.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #67
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Mastropiero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klonfocius View Post
Nope , they said ""90'eis sysexlusive"" which is SY99 PM which is entirely different chips then DX7.
They could just skip the ROMple replay part, easy peasy! The ROMple chips is separate from the PM chips in the SY's.
The EG and LFO and sound gen is quite different compared to SY's as any DX7 sound has to be translated into SY format and its not 1:1 in sound reply, many lengthy threads describing all about that here and elsewhere.


Superb, a major rework of the whole garabage, that means SY99 and DX7, DX7II and FS1R PM capability! Whohoo!
Finally millions and millions of Rohdes Epiano sounds to chose from!
Don't expect such a FM engine here; the announcement says it's a "6-operator FM engine". The FS1R has 16 operators in total (8 formant op + 8 standard op). Different beast.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #68
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klonfocius View Post
1 and 2 contradicts each other! But ok then, we assume only one layer DX7 and not multiple layer DX7, but surely one layer DX7 + multi layer rompling is possible + voice count reduction?
Sure you could layer multiple DX7 patches along with regular VAST patches in Multi mode. 16 parts.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mastropiero View Post
I don't think user RAM means sampling; most Kurzweil models have that user sample RAM but none of them have real sampling capabilities nowadays.

So....what's your guess on what to do with the two 1/4" inputs?
Old 2nd April 2019
  #70
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syntonica's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by felis View Post
So....what's your guess on what to do with the two 1/4" inputs?
1. Sampling
2. Live mode
3. Vocoder

Hopefully, all three and we can all breathe a sigh of relief as we don't have to use the now underpowered K2661s!
Old 3rd April 2019
  #71
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
You cannot have layers in DX7 mode - that's why it says layer 1/1.
It will also say 1/1 in VAST when you only have one layer defined, so that constraint may exist but it can’t be inferred on the basis of just that observation (all 1/1 means is that you’re looking at the first layer of a program that, at the moment, contains only one layer.)

Quote:
You cannot mix VAST layers with DX7 engine layers, it's a separate program type.
That would be disappointing but not entirely shocking. I look forward to formal confirmation one way or another when the firmware rolls out. Does the PC4 announcement provide any real hints one way or another regarding timetables?
Old 3rd April 2019
  #72
I'm excited to get v4.0 loaded on my Forte, it should be cool. There's at least another new DSP block that I've heard mentioned (called "BOXCAR"). The main issue with FM/PM to date in VAST is how the tuning works, namely, everything in VAST is generally done in cents. However, FM works off of hz, which implies a different scaling for pitch. My current operating theory is BOXCAR may be related to how they got that to happen, and based on what I've been able to tease out by asking questions it seems like it could be interesting...

The main issue with envelope/fun/lfo clock speeds is the microcontroller that controls the O.S. To keep things manageable, to date they've used the same chip so writing new code (for things like UI management) isn't more complicated than it already is. My understanding is the VA-1 used some form of CLARA/MARA dsp to run envelopes and LFOs too, but because of that it only had 8 notes of polyphony (or maybe 16?). Those chips are highly optimized for audio DSP, as opposed to general-purpose DSP (like a TigerSharc and descendants), so my understanding is it takes some shoe-horning to get them to poll the physical controllers/state of various digital modulation sources, which is what the microcontroller does.

I've made small efforts towards doing some of the things that I can do in VAST using Pd, but really it's quite a lot of work to implement things so that they sound and/or act the same. The really great thing about VAST is it sits in that happy place between pure physical control over a fixed number of parameters and writing your own code. Since you never "use up" a control source in VAST, the engine has to be ready at any time to parcel out control source data to every destination that may be requesting it. That's one of the ways in which the Kurzweil DSPs are superior -- they do the heavy-lifting once you have the values.

And, on the Forte-generation instruments, something also has to manage FlashPlay, which is its own world unto itself. In my day-job world of database programming, I'd kill to be able to use flash memory like RAM and have it perform that well. It's pretty amazing what they've done under the hood to get that to work. There are other machines that stream off of flash, but not doing 128 voices at a time (plus whatever VAST shenanigans might be going on).
Old 3rd April 2019
  #73
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Here's some pics and comments on the PC4 at Musikmesse 2019

Musikmesse 2019 | Musiker-Board
Old 3rd April 2019
  #74
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
There are other machines that stream off of flash, but not doing 128 voices at a time (plus whatever VAST shenanigans might be going on).
Kronos can stream up to 100 dual-stereo samples (equivalent to 400 mono voices), straight off SSD, in their SGX-2 engine and do sympathetic resonance modeling AND all of its effects AND smooth sound transition at the same time...

And this is before you hack it with a Skylake based chip giving a maximum of 200 voices of polyphony to every engine simultaneously and that CPU not even breaking a lot of sweat. (And cut the boot time to less than 30 seconds while at it.)
Old 3rd April 2019
  #75
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syntonica's Avatar
No MIDI Thru. Apparently, they are extinct...
Old 3rd April 2019
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
No MIDI Thru. Apparently, they are extinct...
Forte has MIDI through, so it's only extinct in low and mid range gear.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psionic11 View Post
Here's some pics and comments on the PC4 at Musikmesse 2019

Musikmesse 2019 | Musiker-Board

A bit lower end than I thought at first - external power supply, plastic case,
Medeli keys instead of Fatar, no midi thru, and so on.
At least they got the weight down compared to their old stuff,
at 12.3 kg (27.12lb).
I could live with it if the price is right.

Last edited by felis; 3rd April 2019 at 03:58 PM..
Old 3rd April 2019
  #78
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Looks like they wanted to create a Casio PX-5S killer if weight is to go by, but let's see the price. Also I'm pretty sure that won't be a triple-sensor action on PC4, so... Meh. :/
Old 3rd April 2019
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Looks like they wanted to create a Casio PX-5S killer if weight is to go by, but let's see the price. Also I'm pretty sure that won't be a triple-sensor action on PC4, so... Meh. :/

This one's got the sensors you're after: Nord Grand | Nord Keyboards

It's going to be very pricey though. I'm sure there are much better deals around.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #80
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Yes, I assume that's the action from VPC-1. If that's the case, I'm not too fond of it. RD-2000 feels better to me. (PX-5S also has triple sensors, at <$1k...)
Old 3rd April 2019
  #81
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syntonica's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedlekin View Post
Forte has MIDI through, so it's only extinct in low and mid range gear.
Endangered species?

Also, with the external power supply, no hook to wrap the cable around so it's not accidentally pulled out?
Old 3rd April 2019
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
Kronos can stream up to 100 dual-stereo samples (equivalent to 400 mono voices), straight off SSD, in their SGX-2 engine and do sympathetic resonance modeling AND all of its effects AND smooth sound transition at the same time...

And this is before you hack it with a Skylake based chip giving a maximum of 200 voices of polyphony to every engine simultaneously and that CPU not even breaking a lot of sweat. (And cut the boot time to less than 30 seconds while at it.)
Huh, I thought the sympathetic resonance used a sample set, but perhaps this is older:

Korg Forums :: View topic - SGX-2 in Kronos OS v 3
Old 3rd April 2019
  #83
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Kronos sympathetic resonance is calculated so it uses CPU cycles. When voice stealing becomes an issue on your Kronos, this is one of the first things you can turn off to eke a bit more power out of the K.

Kronos SSD streaming is great. Instead of loading an entire multisample into RAM, which is limited to a couple gigabytes, the Kronos will load just the initial "attack" portions of your multisamples into RAM, giving it time to fetch the rest of the of your sample from the SSD. This allows multi-gigabyte expansion libraries to be played, and switched instantly between patches on the fly.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #84
Quote:
Originally Posted by psionic11 View Post
Kronos sympathetic resonance is calculated so it uses CPU cycles. When voice stealing becomes an issue on your Kronos, this is one of the first things you can turn off to eke a bit more power out of the K.

Kronos SSD streaming is great. Instead of loading an entire multisample into RAM, which is limited to a couple gigabytes, the Kronos will load just the initial "attack" portions of your multisamples into RAM, giving it time to fetch the rest of the of your sample from the SSD. This allows multi-gigabyte expansion libraries to be played, and switched instantly between patches on the fly.
Ah, cool, that's a good approach. AFAIK, the Forte has no RAM and does it all via flash.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #85
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I've never owned a Kurzweil (except an ExpressionMate and ribbon controller). What are the differences between the various models?

This Kurzweil comparison chart lists the more full featured boards on the left, and as you go more to the right you get to the more inexpensive versions.

Flash Play is available only on the Fortes or SP6.

Sequencer and RIFFs only on the Forte or PC3s.

Do all of the products have the same multisample sets? The KB3 engine is only mentioned under the Forte column, but is it available on the PC or SP models?

What is KORE64 vs K2 or PC3 compatible? Where do the old K2500 series fit into this scheme?

I assume the new PC4 will basically have the PC3 featureset, but with the addition of the big LCD screen and FM cabability.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #86
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Old 3rd April 2019
  #87
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by poserp View Post
Ah, cool, that's a good approach. AFAIK, the Forte has no RAM and does it all via flash.
I'm sure it has SOME RAM accessible by MARA/LENA but not enough for DFD streaming
Old 3rd April 2019
  #88
Quote:
Originally Posted by psionic11 View Post
I've never owned a Kurzweil (except an ExpressionMate and ribbon controller). What are the differences between the various models?

This Kurzweil comparison chart lists the more full featured boards on the left, and as you go more to the right you get to the more inexpensive versions.

Flash Play is available only on the Fortes or SP6.

Sequencer and RIFFs only on the Forte or PC3s.

Do all of the products have the same multisample sets? The KB3 engine is only mentioned under the Forte column, but is it available on the PC or SP models?

What is KORE64 vs K2 or PC3 compatible? Where do the old K2500 series fit into this scheme?

I assume the new PC4 will basically have the PC3 featureset, but with the addition of the big LCD screen and FM cabability.
So, roughly speaking, here's the order of major releases, with "minor" related releases in brackets:

K250 [K1000]
K2000
K2500
K2600 [PC2]
...[a "pause"]
PC3 [SP4, PC3LE, Artis]
PC3K
Forte [ForteLE, SP6, PC4]

With other various models sprinkled in there.

Basically, here's a rough version of how these compare w.r.t. features (starting with the K2000) off the top of my head, so anyone is free to jump in and correct errors:

K2000 -- V.A.S.T., 24 notes polyphony, sampling (via Sampling Option)
K2500 -- V.A.S.T., 24 notes polyphony, sampling, KDFX via expansion which also added "live mode".
K2600 -- V.A.S.T., 48 notes polyphony, sampling, KDFX, "live mode", introduction of KB3
PC3 -- V.A.S.T., 128 notes polyphony, KDFX, "VA" digital oscillators, some new samples w.r.t. K2600, KB3
PC3k -- V.A.S.T., 128 notes polyphony, KDFX, sample loading, "VA" digital oscillators, KB3
Forte -- V.A.S.T., 128 notes polyphony + 128 notes exclusively for KB3, KDFX, sample loading, "VA" digital oscillators, FlashPlay, all-new sample set, string resonance in KDFX, aux input with KDFX.


There are expansions available for some of these models: Kore64 is available for the PC3 and contains new drums and other samples, along with K2xxx compatibility samples. There is a "PC3A" which includes a new piano sample set on a ROM along with the Kore64 ROM. The piano ROM contains a subset of the samples created for the Artis, which is related (I believe) to the new samples done for the Forte. IIRC, the Artis also includes the Kore64 ROM sounds in its base sample set.

The PC3K does not have space for expansion ROMs, but there is a sample set available for download which adds K2xxx compatibility. I think you can also add the Kore64 samples to the PC3K, but I don't have a PC3K so I don't know for sure. IIRC, Kore64 is also available in the factory portion of the flash memory on the Forte. The Forte also includes the Kore64 ROM samples in its sample set.

My understanding is that the PC4 will have a similar base sample set to the ForteLE, which is a cut-down version of the Forte sample set.

The Forte also introduces the ability to have an Arpeggio pattern defined per Program, and you can use the "step sequence" editor to create the pattern, or pick one of the built-in arpeggio patterns.

Starting with the PC3, there are "official" software editors available for all the major models and at least some of the "minor" models. The editor is made and supported by SoundTower. For some of the minor models, you have to purchase the editor separately, while for all the major models the editor is free. IIRC, the editors are available for Mac, PC, and iOS. I personally don't use the editor as I prefer to work on the keyboard itself.

The upcoming 4.0 O.S. release for the Forte (and which will be the base O.S. for the PC4) adds CC sequencing to Programs, "real" FM in two forms (one is a VAST block, the other is stand-alone mode that emulates Yamaha FM a-la the DX7), and better object management, among other things. My understanding is all development for PC3-related models is now at an end.

Another thing worth noting, some of the VAST blocks and how things work in VAST (such as gain-staging) changed between the K2600 and the PC3 and later models. So, with the K2xxx compatibility samples you get the necessary samples to load those Programs into a PC3xx [outfitted with Kore64 or with the samples loaded into a PC3K] or Forte, but some work is required to get them to sound the same. Some may load, for instance, with missing or different DSP layouts. Improvements have been made over time, i.e. finding alternates for some of the missing/changed DSP blocks and automating gain-staging adjustments, but it's still a bit of a manual process. If you have an add-on K2500/K2600 library, it can be converted but it may take some time.

Last edited by poserp; 3rd April 2019 at 06:40 PM.. Reason: accuracy and clarity
Old 3rd April 2019
  #89
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Mastropiero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psionic11 View Post

Do all of the products have the same multisample sets? The KB3 engine is only mentioned under the Forte column, but is it available on the PC or SP models?

What is KORE64 vs K2 or PC3
KB3 is available on the PC3 series (including the low-end models PC3LE6/7/8) although it steals voices to the main VAST engine so total polyphony is reduced. This is also true for the new SP4.

The KB3 engine is totally separate on the Forte so you can still get full VAST polyphony when using KB3 programs.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #90
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Yes, but if you don't use KB3 at all, that one MARA chip lies there unused completely by the rest of VAST... PC4 is more flexible in this regard (KB3 steals voices from the total of 256 poly), which to me is a better option. I'm not sure if this is somehow hardcoded in Forte so that MARA dealing with KB3 could be repurposed for VAST, but I sure wish it was possible in an OS update...
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