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  K3 At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1985?  Specifications
arrowUser rating: 4.5/5 |  Read reviews (20)
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Billy Spiropoulos writes:
The K3 is one of those great synths that seem to have swirled down the crack in the sidewalk. You can find them very cheap because all of the analog wagon-jumpers are scrambling for the price-inflated classics from Roland, Moog, ARP, Korg and others. This is a mostly analog synth-- "mostly" because the two oscillators per voice are actually digital, featuring samples of 32 analog and acoustic waveforms. Not that you'll get anything near a real piano by using the piano waveform, because the rest of the synth is pretty straightforward analog architecture (ie lowpass VCF, VCA, two envelopes, LFO, noise source), so don't expect to get sophisticated workstation-style modeling of acoustic instruments. No, what you'll probably use more than anything are the few analog waves at the end of the list (ie sawtooth, square, noise, sine), and that's where this synth really shines. It's wonderful at making 70s-80s analog synth sounds thanks to its great, warm filter (which is capable ! of self-oscillating, useful for bizarre theremin and ringmod-like effects), plus there are several thoughtful control features like the data entry knob for realtime control of parameters, velocity and after touch, "auto bend", etc., to allow for a good deal of experimentation and expression. A few gripes: no true mono mode (it stacks up all six voices instead of giving you just one); rather uneven envelopes; noisy waveforms, probably due to the sampling technique; somewhat clumsy velocity and aftertouch response; and the initially promising user-programmable (ie additive) waveform feature that I still haven't figured out yet. Plus, my unit's output seems a bit noisy. Whatever. This synth ain't perfect by any means, but for the small price that these are selling for, you'd be getting a hell of a bargain: a great, solidly built,well-equipped, versatile near-analog synth that you'll have ages of fun with. I don't think I'll retire mine anytime soon.

Comments About the Sounds:
Digital oscillators, but otherwise analog, and it sounds it. Many opportunities for all manner of 70's and '80s synth tones, from popsong horn-string imitations to experimental-electronica overkill. Overall sound is admittely more 80s polysynth than 70s monosynth, that is, more Roland JX than Minimoog. Not very convincing acoustic sounds though, except for things like pipe organs. Capable of DX7-like tones.

(Thanks to Billy Spiropoulos for this info.)
and JACEK SOLKIEWICZ for the pic

Links for the Kawai K3
 More Synth Gear  Best US prices on many current models
The Kawai room at History and technical information about Kawai instruments.
The Patch King The Worlds Largest 3rd Party Synth & Sampler Developers. Thousands of New Sounds for over 100 Synths & Samplers on Floppy, CD-ROM or Zip Disks.
k3 owners yahoo group he discussion and exchange of technical knowledge on the Kawai K3 synthesizer. Feel free to share your ideas, patches, tips and tricks on this often forgotten synth.
K3 @ comments, pics, info, links, MP3 samples
CORRECT: k3 owners yahoo group Yahoo! Groups K3 user group
K3Resurrection new Yahoo! Group dedicated to K3/K3m (moderated and spam free)
Kawai K3 @ deepsonic Watch inside a K3. Some pure demos as mp3. Manuals.

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