Synth Site: Kawai: K4 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Jay Easterby a hobbyist user from UK writes:
Bad Karma machine this one. Sounds great in its own way. Excellent

analogue sounds can be created but they have a kind of grittiness

about them that an actual analogue would never produce - sort of

like an analogue synth that has never been invented! Downside is

sequencer use. For one thing the sounds tend to sound somewhat

'in yer face' and cant't be tamed - fine in isolation but mutlti-

timbral tracks sound like they're screaming at you. Secondly,

the timing of this beast is garbage - I've heard mine misfire

chords from the keyboard! (esp. in multi-mode). Sequencing is a

joke. Occasionally the machine lapses into perfect timing but

soon falls to pieces (and I mean pieces) a couple of bars later.

If you can afford to buy it just for a couple sounds in a mix, its

worth checking, but as a multi-timbral unit its shite. Beware -

the K4 is NOT the serious instrument it professes to be.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:41
Michel Kasday a part time user from Portland Or USA writes:
Well I got my K4 as an addition to my K1 to cover the sounds that the K1 was not

able to do. After I got I I discovered the lag time when playing large chords or

fast runs. I did manage to overcome this. If you set the sources to 2 then your

response time is lighting quick. Another way with 4 sources is with the DCF ENV

if you INVERT it (set the depth to -50) and reverse the ENV in your mind (set the

ATTACK to +50 and DECAY to -50) it's alittle faster don't ask me how, could be

that the K4 proccesses the DATA in reverse. Where the lag is noticed is in Multi

mode, when you apply alot of 4 souce sounds and try a glissando or big chords.

Midi it can be noticed as well. I really think that the designers wanted us to

use 2 source sounds for big chords fast runs and heavy Midi sequencing jobs,

and the 4 source sounds were intended for nice slow fat pads. It is really easy

to over program your sounds, that can cause proccessor lag time. Think a little

more sequentially when programming this guy and make sure you ENV match in the

same source don't set you DCF ENV for a short lived wave and then your DCA ENV

for a slow sweeper. Some of these tricks will remove the pop's and clicks that

the resonance filter makes. Other than that it can be a very powerful sounding


Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:41
Mark a hobbyist user from Netherlands writes:
I used the K4 quite a lot when i began making music back in 1991.

I think it can sound very good, but when you use this machine for a while the lack of real quality becomes obvious. However: in Holland you can pick up a K4 for as little as 800 guilders (that is approx. $400).

For that kind of money you get a very capable synth with lots of easy editing options.

Disadvantages of the K4:

Sounds lack realism, lack of MIDI-options, not a fast response (but not as slow as some of the others say), bad presets and too little polyphony.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:41
Arp a hobbyist user from England writes:
Not very good as a multi-timbral sound module (the CPU is underpowered, and the timing goes all over the place), the K4 is a bit variable. It's a pure sample-playback machine, with resonant filters, and a simple effects section. Most of the samples are dreadful, however, unless you use them in interesting and new ways, which is the great strength of this instrument - it is excellent at strange, off-the-wall analogue-ish noises, and the filters are fantastic - although there are only seven levels of resonance they can be made to make the most incredible screeching, tearing noises. When demo-ing this at the store I managed to knock over a shelf of tambourines with a bassy noise, too, which is quite impressive. The effects are almost entirely rubbish, except for a flange/distortion combo and a stereo pan delay, which makes things sound incredibly epic at the expense of clarity. All in all, this is good if you're into long, spacey noises. Oh, the keyboard is dreadful, and the insides are almost totally hollow, the actual synth being a small circuit board glued onto the underneath of the lcd/buttons on the top.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:41
a part time user from england writes:
One of the most underrated synths around- although the onboard percussion is very weedy, fat basses and thick pads are easily obtainable. The filters are harsh, but this can make for some great wierd sounds, if you play around with programming enough.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:41
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