The Kawai K5?

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The Kawai K5?

Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:45 am

I was reading through a December 1988 issue of Keyboard and there is this 2 page ad about the KAWAI K5. The ad features praise from 2 very creditable artist. The ad reads:

"As a longtime fan of additive synthesis, I was very pleased to discover the K5. It's a wonderful instrument. I would recommend the K5 to anyone who is interested in expanding the limits of their MIDI system."
-Patrick O'Hearn

and

"...the K5 is beautiful. The MIDI implementation for the master control is the best on the K5 and the sounds are fantastic. I love it. It's a baby Synclavier."
-Jan Hammer


Huh? It's a baby Synclavier?
:?
How so? Does anybody here own one of these? What are some of the advantages and shortcomings of this synth?
It seems to have a lot of German fan sites.

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Post by tallowwaters » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:06 am

the logical conclusion - lots of germans could be masochists.
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Re: The Kawai K5?

Post by Huppo » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:53 am

PPG_HOSHII! wrote: The ad features praise from 2 very creditable artist.
Who were paid to say what they said.

I don't know anything about this synth other than what I've read, but believing advertisements is one of the first signs that your IQ is below room temp.
~huppo

Please feel free to add me to your Foes list.

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Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:18 am

Well I don't necessarily believe the ad. I'm skeptical and wanted a little feedback about the synth from people who have spent some time with it. No reason to be ugly.

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Post by Lumpy » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:35 am

I have a K5.

the presets suck pretty bad but there are old and new editors that work for it. I use Sound quest XL which works OK. It could be better at drawing harmonics.

there is a lot of high freq. alias sounds if you bring in the highest overtones or play at the top of the keyboard.

The sound is not really pleasing on it's own but it layers great.
I run it through a dedicated fx box like a Boss SE70 to add some chorus, delay and reverb which makes it come to life a bit.

It has an extreme 80's digital sound but is really good at ambiences.

The displays backlights are famous for going dying but there are cheap fixes. The inverter for the backlights tend to die as well but once again there are fixes for them. My back light doesn't work at all but you can see the display so it's not an issue.

There is a simple mod to kick up the output which reduces the signal to noise greatly.

"a mini synclavier" - I don't think so.


A nice shimmery digital synth that layers really nice with my Oberheim Xpander or Waldorf XT? Yes.

This is a nice web page on the K5.
http://www.kfuenf.org/
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Post by Sealed » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:55 am

K5 is a deeply editable additive synthesizer.

In a way it's right to call it a purely-additive-synth version of Synclavier without sampling. Synclavier had 32-partial additive synth feature.

I think K1 is a version of K5 without realtime additive modulation - instead, it had added features like PCM, Ring-Mod and bunch of preset waveforms.

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Thanks y'all

Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:02 pm

Sealed: I see, that must be where the "baby Synclavier" title comes from. Since the K5 doesn't sample, it was a bit confusing to hear it called as such.
It seems like absolutely nobody wants a K5 these days, prices are bargain basement.

Lumpy: Thanks for your feedback. Maybe there are some sound examples at that website, I will go check it out.

:)

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The K5 demo

Post by PPG_HOSHII! » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:35 pm

That website featured a sound page demo from an older keyboard magazine.
It's entertaining to listen to, some of the simmering sounds would probably sound nice in a mix, but those horns and organs, now THAT is late 80s cheese. :lol:

Sound demo:

http://www.kfuenf.org/KAWAI.K5/k5demo1.html

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Post by Lumpy » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:57 pm

The pianos on that demo are a total cheese log too.

Like I said, the factory presets sucked. There are some unique possibilites with it though.

The Synclav did a resynthesis of a real sound that produced an additive wave.
The K5 does not do that. It's purely additive. You can assign different partials to 4 different envelopes to go from one sound to another.
So you can set harmonics 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, etc. to have their level controlled by ENV1
and 2, 5, 9, 10, 15 by env 2.
and 7, 11, 12,13,14 by env 3.
This sounds good but it would be better to be able to have taken a snapshot of a harmonic balance then fade over X time to another snapshot of harmonics, then to another and another.

It's still a cool synth but it's a nice 4th or 5th synth to have.
The K1 was all ROMPLER.
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Post by Pbunky1970 » Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:27 pm

I had a K5 for awhile. I was not impressed with the sound quality at all, very tinny and cheap sounding. Already having a K4, I was accustomed to more flexibility as well, I just couldn't get it to sound good. The backlight went out on mine as well and I bought a QS7, so out went the K5.

I think I sold it for $50
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Post by astro_tiki » Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:48 pm

There is a Yahoo K5 group worth checking out:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/k5synth

Nice collection of files, programs, and links to other sites. Someone in the group is burning new OS ROMs, so that might be of interest to K5 owners. I downloaded some sysex files that had K3 waveshapes a while back, but can't seem to find them in the Files section anymore.
Last edited by astro_tiki on Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by oberheim » Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:58 pm

On their own the presets can sound a little thin, but layering them in a multi really brings out the best of it. just slightly de-tuning seperate sounds can work wonders.
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Post by felis » Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:09 am

I had a K5M. It was 16 voice and had a real nice way of setting up multi's.
The K5000's I had were 4 part multitimbral and the K5 was 16 part multitimbral (if you used mono parts).
I guess the extra processing power of the K5000's went into the formant filter.
The K5 I had, had a bad pair of outputs and I had to send it in for repair.
Like the K5000, it was kind of a pain to program, but you could get some real nice sounds out of it.
For the price they're going for now, it'd be worth picking one up.

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Post by madtheory » Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:37 am

Lumpy wrote: The Synclav did a resynthesis of a real sound that produced an additive wave.
The K5 does not do that. It's purely additive.
True, but there was a resynthesis facility provided with one of the Atari/ Mac based editors, Sound Diver I think.

The K5000 had that facility provided in the same way. That seems to have been a vast improvement on the K5.

There are also quite a few very good additive synth plugins these days, with resynthesis built in. Personally I find additive (and FM) to be very unrewarding systems. Good in theory but not a lot of musicality in practice.

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Post by Sealed » Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:44 pm

Unfortunately SoundDiver can only store K5 patches and can't edit it.
But in theory it's possible to translate a sample into an additive wave and put it into K5.

And K1 is a hybrid of additive and PCM. K1 waves have very high harmonics (up to 128th), and it's impossible to play such waves through the whole keyboard with low-end PCM technology at that time. Rather, KAWAI did it with additive engine, without realtime modulation.

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