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Kawai K11?

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:01 am
by ian
I am seeing a bunch of Kawai's for sale lately and not for very much. I know the K1 is loved by some, is there anything wrong with a K11?

Re: Kawai?

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:38 am
by meatballfulton
It's an improvement over the K1 with double the polyphony and actual filters (digital LPF and HPF). It's still a low end board (wall wart power supply) and doesn't have much support for real time control over MIDI.

It's most unusual feature is two MIDI input ports supporting 32 parts (16 over each port), although with only 32 voices that's not as interesting as it would otherwise be :?

I wouldn't pay a lot of money for the USA maybe $200.

The manual is online, you should read it for more info on what it can and cannot do.

Re: Kawai?

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:05 pm
by ian
Thank you.

I looked up the specs online but I've never heard either in person. I'm also a little weary of a newer model of gear being sold as an improvement on a previous model; sometimes things look good on paper but are not so in practice.

How 'fun' are Kawai's to patch?

Re: Kawai?

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:07 pm
by meatballfulton
Patching is via a small 2 line LCD, so it's not "fun" to patch.

I have never heard one either.

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:21 pm
by synthroom
I've had a K1, K1m, and K1r over the years. I like the sound - it's got some stuff that sounds a bit like a D-50 mixed with a Fairlight. The filters on the K1II should make it more interesting sounding.

Use some editing software like SoundQuest for more in-depth editing control.

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:19 am
by ian
OK, thanks for the comment.

I wonder if something like a Behringer BCF2000 & BCR2000 would work well with a Kawai. Anyway, seems like an inexpensive way to get into wavetable architecture. On my list with a million other things :D An oscilloscope may rank higher.

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:38 am
by synthroom
Oscilloscopes are very fun to play with, and a very useful tool even - I have one myself. But does it help me make music? No.

I've not tried a knobby controller to program the K1, so I can't say. I do have SoundQuest, and it works with MANY synths, so it's worth the investment for me.

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:25 pm
by meatballfulton
ian wrote:I wonder if something like a Behringer BCF2000 & BCR2000 would work well with a Kawai.
Only by programming the BC it to send sysex, which I understand is a PITA to do. The K11 has basically zero support for CCs...does volume, pan, sustain and that's about it.

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:54 pm
by Chewy
Figured I'd add a little bit of info/clarify some stuff

The K11 is not really an update to the K1, it's a "simplified" version of the K4. This makes sense, because apparently the K11 came out in 1993, 4 years after the K4, and has more in common with it than the K1. For example, both K4 and 11 have filters (none of the K1 versions did), and they both use 16 bit waves. The K1 uses 12 bit waves.

It is also definitely worth noting that the K11 has only 2 sources (digital "oscillators") per voice, while the K1 and 4 have 4. It also looks like making patches on the K11 would be more tedious than on K1s and K4s, because if I remember correctly, K1 and K4 have buttons for "WAVE," "ENV," etc., while the K11 doesn't seem to have anything like that. I think at least the K1s also had a little diagram on the front panel (as well as a little joystick! except on rack versions)

I think these are some major differences between them:

K1: 16 voices; Four sources/voice, 12 bit waves; No filters; joystick (except K1r)

K1 ii: 16 voices; Four sources/voice, I think 12 bit waves; No filters; up to 8 part multitimbral; "better" drum sounds (whatever that means); Joystick and added reverb on the keyboard version

K4: 16 voices; Four sources/voice, 16 bit waves; Added digital filters; 8 part multitimbral; No joystick; Effects on keyboard version

K11: 32 voices; Two sources/voice, 16 bit waves; Digital filters; 32 part multitimbral; No joystick, but there is a data wheel; Reverb; some General MIDI stuff (which is probably pretty lame)

I think they all have 256 waveforms. There's probably some more differences, but these are some big ones. I've never had any of them, but been interested in K1 and K4, and I did look up some of this stuff to confirm. I'd probably go with K1 or K4 (or both!), and they are also pretty cheap

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:14 pm
by salwa
There was article about Kawai K11/GMega on Sealed's Deep Synthesis page. Since it's gone now, you can find it on Wayback Machine archive: ... gmega.html
but I'm not sure everythink works as it should (dead links etc.).

Re: Kawai K11?

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:12 pm
by ian
Thanks for the many replies.

I checked out a bunch of the different Kawai's via video; they all seem to sound really good. Not many videos of people doing creative, deep patching however, but you can hear the possibilities hinted at. Could definetiley hear a Twin Peaks I Animal Collective vibe from some of the sounds. The K3 popped up on a list of someone's favorites, too. Seems like they all go for around $100 to $200 bucks and you get a super lush sound anyway you shake it.