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Kawai K3

   (1 review)

A New Approach to Sound Synthesis

The Kawai K-3 synthesizer combines wave sampling technology with true synthesis ability for a totally new approach to sound generation It starts by constructing the waveform for a digital sound source from its harmonic components. (There are 32 such waveforms built into the synthesizer, but you can program your own by assigning relative amplitudes for any 32 of the first 128 harmonics.) The audio signals from each oscillator are then combined and passed through filters, LFOs, envelope generators, and other components usually found only in today’s more advanced analog synthesizers.

Wave sampling yields very faithful reproduction of the original because it produces a highly accurate description of sound produced by a piano, trombone, bass guitar, or any other instru- ment. The technology used, however, calls up a fixed sample and plays it back in a fashion not unlike a tape recorder. Using such a fixed sound source sacrifices control over the articulation, the way in which the sound varies over time after the musician first strikes the key. Analog synthesizers, on the other hand, generally provide greater control over articulation and other parameters required to produce a more "live" sound — only to lose sampling accuracy and the ability to easily program the synthesizer to emulate an existing instrument. The Kawai K-3 synthesizer's digitally programmed sound sources give you the best of both worlds: lifelike samples and complete control of articulation.

Other Features

The Kawai K-3 synthesizer has several other advanced features as well:

+ Programmable velocity and aftertouch (pressure), that allow you to personalize keyboard response for each tone patch.

+ Programmable stereo chorus and delay for creating tone patches with realistic, studio quality effects.

+ Weighted keyboard for a professional “feel” and accurate touch response.

+ Slot for a removable memory cartridge, an external storage device which holds 50 additional tone patches.

+ Advanced MIDI implementation including support for “system exclusive” messages which expand the control possible with this world standard interface.

+ Analog and digital sound synthesis — the best of both worlds!

Do not let all these advanced features overwhelm you. The Kawai K-3 synthesizer also has many of the standard features which you already know how to use. (See “In a Hurry?" below.) We do suggest, however, that you study this manual and keep it handy as a reference so that you can get the most from the wide range of advanced features available to you.

Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: Additive, Subtractive, Wave Table
Oscillators: 2
Waveforms: Additive, Wave Table
Osc Modulation: After Touch, Envelope, Glide / Portamento, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Mod Wheel, Oscillator, Sync Hard, Velocity
Oscillator Notes:
Additive User Wave:
+ Select 32 of the first 128 harmonics.

32 stored waveforms:
grand piano I, bell, strings, E.bass, oboe, E.piano I, organ, brass I, digital bell, slap bass, plucked string, classic guitar, hammered tine, metallic wave, vox humana, sharp wave, digital harmonics, pipe organ, wood bass, resonant strings, E.piano II, jazz organ, glocken, oriental bell, harpsichord, trumpet, sax, grand piano II, square, sawtooth, sine and white noise.
Envelopes: 2
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Filters: 1
Types: 12dB Slope (2-pole), High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance
Filter Modulation: After Touch, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Mod Wheel, Velocity
LFO: 1
LFO Parameters: Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Square, Triangle, Delay
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 6
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Patches RAM: 50
Storage: Internal, RAM Cartridge
Editing: MIDI
Case: Keyboard
Keyboard: 61 keys, Non-weighted, Plastic
Controls: Aftertouch, Velocity, Knobs, Mod - Wheel, Pitch -Wheel, Pedal - Patch Change, Pedal - Sustain, Pedal - Volume
Display Type: LCD, Numeric
Weight: 15 Kg
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Stereo Main, Stereo Headphone
Audio Output Count: 4
DAC Bits: 8
DAC Frequency Rate: 32
Power: 120 V AC
Year Released: 1986
Manuals & Documents

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] www.kawaius-tsd.com
Editors & Software:
[+] www.kawaius.com
MSRP List Price: $1,500 - convert
Retail Street Price: $1,300 - convert
Used Price: $200 - $350 - convert

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Jack Hertz


The K3 is a quirky beast of a synth. It has one of the fattest sounds I have ever heard from an Additive synthesizer. Unforuntately, this creates a lot problems with low end sounds that tend to overdrive the outputs. Additionally, the velocity response and aftertouch are simply horrible. 

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