Synth Site: Kawai: Kawai K1 mkII: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.9 out of 5
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Jason a hobbyist user from Denton, TX writes:
Analog fun for the whole family...

I picked this up used awhile back for cheap, and have been having loads of fun with it. While the actual instruments sounds generally aren't very good (except a trumpet I really like), the real fun lies in the fact that it's still got loads of old synth sounds. While the sample programmer is more than a little complex (do *not* buy this without a manual), you can reinvent pretty much every cool analog sound you've ever heard. Within the first week, I had it sounding something like a Theremin, and went on to recreate an Ondes Martenot shortly thereafter.

Forget about trying to use this in a real MIDI setup, unless you're some kind of masochist. (or just have it there for one sound) If you can pick it up for cheap, though, and like "old school" electronics, grab it. In these all-digital days, it's difficult finding a synth can can do weird sawtooth effects as well as this.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Dec-31-2000 at 11:34
Pat O'Heran a part-time user from Canada writes:
Ok I bought mine in Tokyo in 91. My girlfriend erased all the sounds one day while tring to play it.I Took it into the Kawai Main office store and was asked which sound set I wanted to have put in. Well many years later I was happy to find all the sound sets free on the net. I also found an editor/librarian for free. I have put more time into this unit than most people, and yes pads and basses are the best part of it. Also not a bad selection of organs but an exteral effect unit is needed for Tremlo or stereo pans. Great atmosphearic stuff but that is where the patch editing is fun but complicated. there are two types of patches (single) where the sounds are created and (multi) where 8 singles are put together. I find I use the singles the most. The multi can only be as good as the singles they are made from. If you replace a single you also will change the multi that use that patch. The singles are built from 2 or 4 waves, samples or loops. The waves,samples and loops are OK but not great. The only effects are 16 preset delays. There is also a drum kit which is OK but I have never used it much. I find the keyboard well built and great as a midi controller. I think for the used price($200 0r often less) this is a great MIDI controller and some ok sounds. I give it a 5 just for the price as a midi controller.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Oct-14-2000 at 18:09
Tim White a part-timer user from USA writes:
My dad bought a K-1 II shortly after release. I remember drooling over it on breaks from college. Several years back, I inherited it. My main thing was noise: TG, Non, Hafler Trio, etc. I immediately forsook the programed patches for my own noisey creations and fell in love. Shortly after, I started sequencing on an Amiga 500 with my Roland MKS-100 sampler and it never failed to deliver unique sounds.

I'm now using Cakewalk on a PC and I still rely on the K-1 II for nice synth pads, custom noises, and nice bass lines (patch data courtesy of an old "K1 Cookbook"). Aside from my Roland 101 it is my only programmable synth.

Oddly enough, aside from the size and weight (great for live), my favorite feature of the K-1 II is the internal drum bank that I progam steadily on midi channel 3 (for years, must be a lucky number). I love the fact that they can be pitch tuned way high or low. The Agogo sound pitched high is an excellent accompanyment to rhythm structures and drum loops. It never fails to hit, and sounds great at really fast bpms. Sounds like glass or metal being hit. Very Autechre-like!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Sep-19-1999 at 14:19
Steve Blakemore a hobbyist user from England writes:
I've had a K1-II for a few years now. It's a good solid synth. A while ago, I thoght I'd heard all it could do, and I relegated it to use purely as a master keyboard for a rack of modules. Then I suddenly remembered that my local music store had sold me a couple of new sound disks for it, at a totally silly price. So silly that I forgot their existance!. I found them while having a clearout and loaded one up - the platinum collection - just to see what they were like. Bingo! - a new synth was sitting in the rig. The sounds have really revived my interest in this keyboard. Athough I've programmed a few noises on it, these were in another class altogether. I thoroughly recommend that you find this card/disk. It will change your opinion of the K1-ii. It;s not just a poor man's D50 after all!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-30-1998 at 04:36
swirv a professional user from USA writes:
The K1II was one of my first boards. Ive always had fun with it. It made a good controller for my first basic setup(Kawai K1II,Yamaha FB01,tape deck--I told you it was basic) I used the K1 and a TB Maui for 2 albums. I found the K1 had a few really good sounding synth lead sounds and the pads where nice, too. Bass sounds were easy to construct. The piano sounds...uhh forget the piano. The Drum sounds are weak and tend to do some weird note stealing stuff when you hit 8 notes. Someone already mentioned the Controler 123. That is a pain but can be dealt with. The joystick on the board I had was replaced before I obtained it. It needs to be tightend every once and a while or it changes perameters while playing. Although a filter would have been nice, the sticks abilty to control the level of the osc's provided a little realtime control. I have own my K1II for about 5 years and paid $150 for the thing. I have also painted the case and embeded the swirv emblem in crome on the back panle.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Sep-05-1998 at 20:35
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