Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

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korgtea
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Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by korgtea » Thu May 30, 2019 9:20 pm

I have to choose one of them. I’ve used Korg M1 VST plugin for a long time, but should I really buy the real monster with all those unique sounds or try something different for the same price? I loved some sounds of Kawai K4 (wich is quite unpopular and cheap one), especially pads. I really don’t know which one to choose. They both are great but characteristics are completely different.

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by blueknob » Fri May 31, 2019 6:46 am

korgtea wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:20 pm
...... They both are great but characteristics are completely different.
Yup, that's about it. I have a K4, I've had a M1 come through my hands recently, although their basic sound generating structure are near enough the same, they do sound different. The K4 does great moods, poo at pianos (comes as a surpise from Kawai who make the world's best pianos) - the M1 sounded more... it's a digital playback device type thing. Which is best will depends upon what type of tunes you like to make.
I prefer the K4 as it's all mood and atmosphere, the M1 might suit more "banging" 1990s music, but we all use these sounds differently.

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by madtheory » Fri May 31, 2019 10:31 am

The M1 VST is very very close, although it is cleaner sounding because it does not emulate the DAC.

Ideally you want both, right? So keep the plugin and buy a K4, unless the DAC thing is an issue for you.

Alternatively, if you just want the nice presets and you have Kontakt, this is an option:
http://kontaktbanks.com/kb_epik4.html

Only €22.

Now I'm going to write a mini-comparison totally from my own subjective POV, probably of no use to you sorry LOL!

For me, having used the original machine extensively back in the day, I much prefer the plugin because it has all the stuff I used to wish for: resonant filter, all of the PCM cards, excellent computer editor/ librarian. Plus I can have as many M1s in a track as I want, no messing around with the painful internal routing and compromising the effects settings on my presets in multi-mode. More polyphony for those big multi-sounds. I can load in all my old presets too! Finally, you get to have those effects as a standalone, which is awesome. The exciter and flanger are superb. The DAC is a non-issue for me :)

As a ROMpler, I love the M1. It's quite a strange and brilliant collection of PCMs really. The K4 pales on comparison in that regard. They synthesis on K4 seemed quite limited to me when I tried it,even though on paper it does more crazy stuff that an M1. The choir sound is gorgeous, much better than the M1 so I sampled it, used it here:

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by korgtea » Fri May 31, 2019 10:01 pm

Thank you for the fast feedback !
Last edited by korgtea on Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by korgtea » Fri May 31, 2019 10:29 pm

blueknob wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 6:46 am
korgtea wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:20 pm
...... They both are great but characteristics are completely different.

...I prefer the K4 as it's all mood and atmosphere, the M1 might suit more "banging" 1990s music, but we all use these sounds differently.
Thanks for the meaningful reply! Waiting for Kawai to deliver already. And yes, M1 has some early house pianos and basses but it has decent new age and ambient leaks too. In fact, all synths and keyboards are useable for all kinds of music and it only depends on idea and image of your piece. For someone this or another synth fits in arrangement, for somebody else- completely no.

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by korgtea » Fri May 31, 2019 10:55 pm

madtheory wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:31 am
The M1 VST is very very close, although it is cleaner sounding because it does not emulate the DAC.

Ideally you want both, right? So keep the plugin and buy a K4, unless the DAC thing is an issue for you.

Alternatively, if you just want the nice presets and you have Kontakt, this is an option:
http://kontaktbanks.com/kb_epik4.html

Only €22.

Now I'm going to write a mini-comparison totally from my own subjective POV, probably of no use to you sorry LOL!

For me, having used the original machine extensively back in the day, I much prefer the plugin because it has all the stuff I used to wish for: resonant filter, all of the PCM cards, excellent computer editor/ librarian. Plus I can have as many M1s in a track as I want, no messing around with the painful internal routing and compromising the effects settings on my presets in multi-mode. More polyphony for those big multi-sounds. I can load in all my old presets too! Finally, you get to have those effects as a standalone, which is awesome. The exciter and flanger are superb. The DAC is a non-issue for me :)

As a ROMpler, I love the M1. It's quite a strange and brilliant collection of PCMs really. The K4 pales on comparison in that regard. They synthesis on K4 seemed quite limited to me when I tried it,even though on paper it does more crazy stuff that an M1. The choir sound is gorgeous, much better than the M1 so I sampled it, used it here:
Hey, that’s a great description of pros and cons of VST version! Thanks! It is also quite reverberated on presets, which adds to „transparent as glass“ sound. And I did exactly as you said (Bought the K4). I already heard about limited possibilities of synthesis but gonna try it myself.
Listened to your tracks as well and they are great combination of all authentic 90s music with a little of video-game-style context. Production is great and choir preset on this one stands perfectly in the mix. Nice job!

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by blueknob » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:47 am

That's great, get a K4 as you're already familiar with the M1 via the VST.

The K4 is like most synths, the presets are a bit naff, with some programming effort the thing reveals itself. I have SoundDiver but sadly the "adaptation" (custom editor for a specific synth within SoundDiver) seems buggy, it crashes a lot but I've learnt how to edit synth patches before it crashes.

There's a lot of free patches that load in easily, everything can be done from the front panel, check the manual, it explains everything quite well.

One thing I especially like is the drum set is available all the time over midi no matter if we're in Single or Multi mode (single= one sound such as organ, string, Multi=multiple sounds on different midi channels). So I can get the drums going (from DAW/sequencer on ch10) and wizz around the Singles trying different sounds.

The only downfall to the K4 is that glitch (refer to websites), for some technical reason an annoying pop/click appears if say the A of the ADSR is set to zero on some sounds, we have to set it to 4 just to eliminate it. It is said the latest firmware V1.4 fixes this, but it doesn't. Mine came with V1.0 firmware, the hex/bin file is available on the net for V1.4 but you'll need to make your own eprom from it which is what I did, however no need to concern yourself too much with the firmware as some people prefer V1.0 anyway!
There is a memory backup battey, something like a CR3032 "coin" 3V (or something along those lines) - you might wish to check if the battery is ok, I don't think that type of battey leaks. The aftertouch sensor is kaput in mine, I suppose it could be fixed seems easy enough, just a matter of finding the part. And I got mine cheap as it came with a signifiicant fault, which turned out to be an easy fix with a soldering iron.

Get stuck in, the K4 has many followers, it's currently termed a "sleeper" - I actually like the thing, it weighs 2 ounces (joking) which makes it easy to hump around to gigs/rehersals etc.

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by madtheory » Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:51 am

korgtea wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:55 pm
Production is great and choir preset on this one stands perfectly in the mix. Nice job!
Hey, thanks! Enjoy the Kawai :)

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by elmosexwhistle » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:04 am

I’m going to be controversial and say that I simply don’t like the M1. Some of the waveforms are charming, yes, perhaps even iconic (or maybe that’s “overused”) but the synth engine has no thrills, just a basic non resonant filter and amp envelope.

The Korg DSS1 Library uses many of the same waveforms, but puts them through a lovely Analogue Filter, it also has actual cool synthesis features like sync and D/A resolution. The 01/w has a similar ROM to the M1 but all the heady thrills of waveshaping, a lot of cool experimental stuff can happen. So I’d always recommend those two over the M1.

The K4’s waveforms are less polished than the M1’s, the acoustic sounds are (even) less convincing, but for the creative synthesist there is a lot more to explore. A nice resonant filter (Mind the pops), and AM between oscillators if you want it - an endless supply of edgy ring mod explorations, that you can dial back a bit to use in cool pads.

The K4 is a bit of a rebel.

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Re: Kawai K4 or Korg M1?

Post by madtheory » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:20 am

So I think we're all in agreement: a hardware M1 compares poorly to the plugin, or an O1/W, or a K4, or a DSS-1?

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