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Kurzweil K250

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Description
The Kurzweil K250 is the first electronic musical instrument which produced sound derived from sampled sounds burned onto integrated circuits known as read-only memory (ROM), without the requirement for any type of disk drive. Acoustic sounds from brass, percussion, string and woodwind instruments as well as sounds created using waveforms from oscillators were utilized. Primarily designed for the professional musician.
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Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: ROM, Sampling
Oscillators
Oscillators: 1
Waveforms: ROM, Wave Table
ROM Resolution: 16 bit, 32 kHz
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Input, Keyboard, LFO, Mod Wheel, Pitch Wheel, Glide / Portamento, Sequencer, Velocity
Sampling: 16 bit
Sampling Notes:
Sampling rate 5hz to 50hz
Envelopes
Envelopes: 1
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Filters
Filters: 1
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Input, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Mod Wheel, Oscillator, Pedal, Pitch Wheel, Portamento, Sequencer
LFO
LFO: 2
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 12
Timbrality: 12
Tuning: Atonal, Micro, Standard
Modes: Mono, Polyphonic, Split
Patches
Patches RAM: 341
Patches ROM: 341
Storage: Tape
Editing: MIDI
Effects
Chorus
Sequencer
12 track sequencer
Case
Case: Keyboard
Keyboard: 88 keys, Semi-weighted, Plastic
Controls: Modulation - Audio Input, Buttons, Mod - Wheel, Pitch -Wheel, Sequencer, Pedal - Sustain, Switches, Velocity, Pedal - Volume
Display Type: LCD
Connections
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Stereo Main
Audio Output Count: 4
Inputs: 1
MIDI Ports: IN, OUT, THRU
DAC Bits: 16
DAC Frequency Rate: 50
Production
Year Released: 1984
Year Discontinued: 1990
Used By
Pauline Oliveros, Paul Scheafer, Pat Metheny, Keith Emerson, Chick Corea,
Design Notes:

it was conceived and invented by Raymond Kurzweil, original founder of Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc., Kurzweil Music Systems and Kurzweil Educational Systems with consultation from Stevie Wonder; Lyle Mays, an American jazz pianist; Alan R. Pearlman, founder of ARP Instruments Inc.; and Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer.

In the mid-1970s, Raymond Kurzweil invented the first multi-font reading machine for the blind, consisted of the earliest CCD flat-bed scanner and text-to-speech synthesizer. In 1976, Stevie Wonder heard about the demonstration of this new machine on the The Today Show, and later he became the user of first production unit, Kurzweil Reading Machine. It was the beginning of a long-term relationship between them.

In 1982 Stevie Wonder invited Raymond Kurzweil to his new studio in Los Angeles, and asked if "we could use the extraordinarily flexible computer control methods on the beautiful sounds of acoustic instruments?" In response to this query, Raymond Kurzweil founded Kurzweil Music Systems, with Stevie Wonder as musical advisor. A prototype of the Kurzweil K250 was manufactured for Stevie Wonder in 1983. It featured Braille buttons along with sliders (potentiometers) for various controls and functions, an extensive choice of acoustic and synthesized sounds to choose from, a sampler to record sounds onto RAM and a music sequencer utilizing battery-backed RAM for compositional purposes. During production of the Kurzweil K250 at least five units were manufactured for Stevie Wonder.

The Kurzweil K250 was officially unveiled to the music industry during the 1984 Summer NAMM trade show. Shortly thereafter the Kurzweil K250 was commercially manufactured until 1990 and was initially available as an 88-key fully weighted keyboard and as an expander unit without keys called the Kurzweil K250 XP. A few years later into production a rack mount version called the Kurzweil K250 RMX a.k.a. K250 X also became available.

The Kurzweil K250 is generally recognized as the first electronic instrument to faithfully reproduce the sounds of an acoustic grand piano. It could play up to 12 notes simultaneously (also known as 12-note polyphony by utilizing individual sounds as well as layered sounds (playing multiple sounds on the same note simultaneously, also known as being multitimbral). Up to that point in time the majority of electronic keyboards utilized synthesized sounds and emulated acoustical instrument sounds created in other electronic instruments using various waveforms produced by oscillators. Five other manufactured digital sampled sound musical instruments were available at that time: E-mu Corporation's E-mu Emulator and E-mu Emulator II; Fairlight Corporation's Fairlight CMI; and New England Digital's Synclavier I and Synclavier II.
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Used Price: $1,700 - convert
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