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Does anyone in the world still use Kawai? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 26th May 2014
  #1
Does anyone in the world still use Kawai?



Case in point: Kawai K4 and K4R! :-)

(But if you use other Kawai synths, feel free to chime in!)

The reason for my question is that I picked up a mint K4 key the other week and decided to start playing with it and I had a ball.

What I did was to load in my old sysex banks one after one - those banks has sounds that I made myself back in 1990 to 1993. Some of those sounds still sounds absolutely gorgeous. Sending out my best wishes and thanks to that young version of myself. A guy that, I can assure you, spent hundreds of hours programming that "boring digital synth" and transformed it to something completely different.

Now, what I did; because I'm like a nutty old professor with synths and I just can't stop; was to pick out the best sounds from those banks. When I had done that there was plenty of space left among the 64 memory slots. So I started making brand new sounds, utilizing my additional +20 years of synth programming knowledge.

Didn't take long until that darn old "rompler", as they say, engine really started surprising me.

Feel free to check out the sound demos at my site. I'm asking a little money for the sounds, because they've really cost me friendships, blood sweat and tears. When you're a guy dedicated to really re-program a synthesizer from scratch you are going to make so many sacrifices in life it's rather mad.

Another factor is that I would not like them to end up on any filesharing sites because they are truly worth a better destiny than that.

Enjoy - this time I'll let my K4 stay - in fact, I've also got a K4R and that one will sit safe here as well.

If I get a bit of feedback from this thread I might feel inspired to do some new demo music with the sounds as well.

Site: BITLEY™ Sounds & ReFills - K4 sounds: scroll all the way down
Old 26th May 2014
  #2
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I really love my XD-5, and like my K4R quite a bit but need to spend more time with it. Great for making strange percussion and pads. I might be interested in checking out your patches, but I'd like to hear a demo or two first.
Old 26th May 2014
  #3
Yeah, go ahead. As said, they're on the site linked above. Four demos in all, going through each single patch.
Old 26th May 2014
  #4
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Ahh, the audio clips didn't appear on my ****ty work computer. I'll give them a listen when I get home.
Old 26th May 2014
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
CODEC's Avatar
 

You bet! Got it when it came out, LOVE IT TO BITS
I also really like the XD 5, they kick but together.

75% (roughly) K4 on its own, and sampled to Akai S1000.
And 25% korg MS 20 also sampled to said sampler

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkM1xUaVA7M

Great patches by the way
Old 26th May 2014
  #6
Gear Addict
 

....a k1 was my very first digital synth....

and damn, now i miss it....where is it gone?...i got no idea....can only remember i had one...and that it was pretty twiddely to program....

keep going....
Old 26th May 2014
  #7
Ok! You might have better luck with the direct links here. I wrote a news post on it the other day but I guess exactly nobody knew wth I was talking about. People are more interested in reading about Priss-Tine™ Linx Ultra 192 Converters (sic) I guess.

Another thing: The demos were made with my K4 which has OS rom 1.2 - with some audible artifacts going on. A K4 with 1.3 - which was the last OS to my knowledge - sounds cleaner and less "clicky & artifacty". To check your K4's / K4R's OS version hold down the SYSTEM button while powering up your synth.
Old 26th May 2014
  #8
Hey Codec!



Awesome track Those days were so inspiring!

We had a K4 discussion on another site the other day so I brought up some of my older K4 tracks, enjoy:

1. "Ain't 96 Yet", made in 1993, inspired by U96



2. "Harmonicum", made in 1990, 100% K4 midi-controlled from KCS!



3. "Dreamscape", made in 1991, a quite cool theme in this one imho.



Further details on the tracks on the Soundcloud site
Old 26th May 2014
  #9
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
I have a K1r, but that's it for Kawai stuff.
Old 26th May 2014
  #10
The AM / ring modulation (or amplitude modulation really) makes it possible to create fantastic sounds on the K1's as well.
Old 26th May 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
Another thing: The demos were made with my K4 which has OS rom 1.2 - with some audible artifacts going on. A K4 with 1.3 - which was the last OS to my knowledge - sounds cleaner and less "clicky & artifacty". To check your K4's / K4R's OS version hold down the SYSTEM button while powering up your synth.
You've done well programming around all these glitches. The K4 effects sound better than I remember too. I've got a K4R now, definitely a lot of uncharted territory with these synths. Back when I had my K4 these glitches were very frustrating. One trick I used to use to avoid clicks was to set a delay on each oscillator, that sort of worked but really fouled up the MIDI response. Version 1.3 is still glitchy though IMO, if anyone is hoping it fixes things.
Old 26th May 2014
  #12
I just saw kraftwerks equipment list and they're using 4 kawais
Old 26th May 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaeground View Post
I just saw kraftwerks equipment list and they're using 4 kawais
Whaaaääääeet? :D Which ones? URL!
Old 26th May 2014
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmanrock View Post
You've done well programming around all these glitches. The K4 effects sound better than I remember too. I've got a K4R now, definitely a lot of uncharted territory with these synths. Back when I had my K4 these glitches were very frustrating. One trick I used to use to avoid clicks was to set a delay on each oscillator, that sort of worked but really fouled up the MIDI response. Version 1.3 is still glitchy though IMO, if anyone is hoping it fixes things.
Thanks a lot. Yes, one way was to just use 2 osc's to get more polyphony. I've actually come to think the glitchiness is quite unique for this synth and might even be used creatively because it's not an unmusical glitch - at least not if put through a compressor. Can even add some life to certain sounds.

But that's positive thinking of course.
Old 26th May 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
Thanks a lot. Yes, one way was to just use 2 osc's to get more polyphony. I've actually come to think the glitchiness is quite unique for this synth and might even be used creatively because it's not an unmusical glitch - at least not if put through a compressor. Can even add some life to certain sounds.

But that's positive thinking of course.
Yes, part of the synth's character really. I can appreciate it now but back in the early 90s it was maddening. I wanted a simple "analogue" bass sound and all I could get was this horrible clicking at the start of the note! I can hear it slightly on your bank B synth basses but overall they sound good. I remember going into a music shop to try a Boss Dr Synth DS-330 and being astounded how much better behaved the filters were. The Kawai ones sound good though, they sound quite authentically analogue and characterful when they're not clicking.
Old 26th May 2014
  #16
Yes, don't get me started, the K4 was my third synth and I've used absolutely everything since then. Feels fantastic going back to it though and going hey, fokk, it actually factually sounds pretty unique still today. With tweaks that is. The factory presets and most banks I've ever checked out (except those from Sound Source Unlimited) are absolute rubbish.
Old 26th May 2014
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
(except those from Sound Source Unlimited)
Where did they go btw? Bankrupt? I have licenses for their D-50 and M1 impressions (both for K4) bought on Atari disks back in um 1991. I'd like those two banks as sysex again. Anywhere? I also had (have!) license for Geerdes' K4 Softworkstation, the best K4 editor / librarian ever made.
Old 27th May 2014
  #18
Here for the gear
 

The K3 had analog VCFs and VCAs, with digitable wavetable synthesis. Sounds pretty great, and they are a steal. A friend picked up an SX-210 a few months ago, one of their analog polys. Incredible sound, and they don't have MIDI so they can be found very cheap as well.
Old 27th May 2014
  #19
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Never used any of them but I've always been intrigued by the K3 and K5000.
Old 27th May 2014
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
Where did they go btw?
Sound Source Catalog looks um... very sketchy and like a webpage from 1885, sorry 1995... But I emailed... and it bounced... and I mailed again, this time on the Gmail addy.
Old 27th May 2014
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
Whaaaääääeet? :D Which ones? URL!
He probably means the K-5000, listed here: Equipment / The Kraftwerk FAQ - Kraftwerk Frequently Asked Questions
Old 27th May 2014
  #22
Ok! I'm sure the K5000 is great but they're quite rare over here, I've only played them breifly (but I did test both models though)

For me it's always been a sport with the K4, like the C64 was for computer kids; "it HAS to be able to do this.... I'm gonna MAKE it do this!". When money is dead tight, you're simply a more versatile creator with what you got.

Your two hands, your mind and that dead piece of clay in front of you that needs to be shaped up to match your beliefs
Old 27th May 2014
  #23
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Spectralwaves's Avatar
K5000S owner & admirer here.

oh & Hi bitleyTM ! glad you are loving your K4!

Last edited by Spectralwaves; 27th May 2014 at 04:35 AM.. Reason: as below/ 5x post error
Old 27th May 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectralwaves View Post
K5000 owner & admirer here.

oh & Hi bitleyTM ! glad you are loving your K4!
Quite a few posts there, thought you were in regret, big time. Post something with the K5000 and tell us why we should learn more about it.
Old 27th May 2014
  #25
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EvilDragon's Avatar
K5000R owner here!
Old 27th May 2014
  #26
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Dpro's Avatar
k5000S owner here as well.
Old 27th May 2014
  #27
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Spectralwaves's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
Quite a few posts there, thought you were in regret, big time. Post something with the K5000 and tell us why we should learn more about it.

nope, my original post copied & posted 5 times when there was a momentary server glitch or wormhole between dimensions.

Da K5000 is a beautiful etherial sounding synth, though it can do a lot of acoustic &
electronic emulations very well.
Theoretically additive synthesis can reconstruct any sound that exists. (as is part of the sales rhetoric)
I am not an expert when it comes to programming the K5000 ,but I love its character & the sounds I have gotten.
It is a very special & playable instrument.
Mine came with a few banks of classic Moog, Oberheim, Prophet & early keyboard sounds on floppy & I was surprised at how authentic some of them sound .
Someone went to a lot of trouble probably converting them from the actual sample waveforms to additive waves. ( I haven't charted those territories yet on my K5000..I think Soundiver is a necessary part of that process.)

I personally think it is the modulation of the formant filter that gives the K5000 its most interesting & charming character. I don't really like the resonant filter, the way it distorts & becomes unpleasant too easily, though I would say many love that quality. Its
dangerous.
A totally unique sounding synth.

Last edited by Spectralwaves; 27th May 2014 at 08:00 AM.. Reason: 6
Old 27th May 2014
  #28
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K5000S and K5000R

(never selling)
Old 27th May 2014
  #29
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
K5000 - tell us why we should learn more about it.
Because it is a weird synth that doesn't really sound like other synths - it has its own personality, so to speak.
I wouldn't recommend it as a single "workhorse" synth though - it could probably do in a pinch, but i feel it is best suited within a collection of various synths where it can add that particular sparkle thing i feel it does best.

Also, the K5000S has the most playable keys, including a very controllable aftertouch response, of any synth i have tried.

However, it has a few drawbacks - one being the programming which is rather convoluted and the second one being a mysterious midi implementation.
In my case the constant midi data it spits out (with no way of stopping the data stream) prevents me from using it as a master keyboard, since it confuses some of my other (older) midi gear resulting in "midi error" messages and "locked down" modules...
Old 27th May 2014
  #30
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the donal's Avatar
K1-II was my first 'proper' synth. I sold it eventually, but did a lot with it.

I do miss it's fuzzy, fizzy sounds a bit, but I am generally stuck in the 80s/90s with electronic music! :p

I'd love a K5000 though.
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