Synth Site: Kawai: K5000s: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Happy ?Boy a professional user from USA writes:
I already wrote a long review, but 5 months later, i have more stuff to say. 1. I've already blown a tweeter with the happy resonance etc. 2. Yes, the sound doesn't need layers, but my gawsh it's stunning when you max the polyphony on a multilayered beeping, screaming, humming, moaning, entrancing super-patch. Yow. 3. Download and install OS 4. Go to the australian Kawai website. It's much better than OS 1. :| The filter seems to sound a little different with the new OS-- it's got a fuller resonance, not as narrow a spike. Also, the additive engine is debugged. You can still "overdrive" the harmonics though. 4. Use the upper harmonics to add feelings of space to yer patches. 5. Raa. :) love!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-31-1999 at 13:36
Formant a part-timer user from Florida writes:
I got mine thinking that additive synthesis was some mysterious blackbox that would make my stuff sound good. As it turns out I don't even like most of the stuff programmed with the additive tools but fortunately it comes with plenty of onboard samples to play with and make original sounds...

The one thing that i would say this board is best at is pads.... man o man... it is a pad machine

It also does trancey ravey stuff quite well for the mid to high end stuff, but i wouldn't use the synth for bass normally (although i have)

One thing to note, this is the best keyboard i have ever played physically, the actualy keys i think are from fatar or something but it is better than the triton, roland etc stuff... the keyboard is just nice!

Anyway this one of the cornerstones of my studio... get one if you need pads or a good controller with some extra coolies get one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-25-1999 at 16:00
Psyche a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Wow.... not much I can say after that amazing review.. Totally digital, but it has character. Analog is so passe anyways :) The effects leave me scratching my head sometimes, mainly the reverb and delay, but I use external fx anyways. It's a little bit tricky to program, I'm starting to churn out some decent patches, but I plan to pick up the Wizoo book to help me out. The filters are fabulous (I drive my dog nuts while soloing!) and for realtime performance it kills! (I just wish I had more than two hands) My very first synth, and I'd buy it over and over again. For every useable preset there's about eight stupid ones that I just wiggle the knobs with and make obnoxious noises, but that's why I'm learning to program the damn thing. It has great morphing pads, though, very dark and moody. The arpeggiator is great, haven't used it TOO much cuz I got mad keyboard skillz :) But the pads and evolving sounds almost make me weep when I play melodies with them...deep, dark stuff. If you get one, find the presets you like, save em and delete the rest and start making your own shit, or else you'll never appreciate what this beautiful silver beast has to offer. A small part of me wishes I had the workstation version for the sequencer (I hate computers sometimes) but unless it has A LOT more polyphony/multitimbrality I don't see what use 40(!) trax would be. I WOULD like another synth to kinda cover the weak spots of the K5000 (mainly analog basses and string-like patches) and I'm veering towards the PAIA Fatman, though I have some qualms about playing something that I built myself. Either that or I'll have to whore myself to the amish people of pennsylvania to afford an AN1x (yes I know they're only 400 some bucks, but I'm a poor student with no minimum wage job). Bottom line: If you find one new (good luck) or used (I've seen em, but the prices are rising-maybe they'll become like the 303 and I can sell mine for a ridiculous price in ten years, but why would I want to?) BUY IT!!!!!!!!!! It's well worth the price. 500,000 out of 5

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-18-1999 at 22:43
Garret Thomson a part-timer user from Canada writes:
Here we go:

Synthesis - the additive synthesis feature of the K5000s is, of course, what makes it what it is. That being a facinating, mysterious piece of technology that seems to afford more programmability everytime you go into edit mode. Yes, it's complex, so do your self a favour and grab the Wizoo book on the K5000s. The manual doesn't do it justice and you'll never learn how to exploit the true powers of the K5000 line until you read it. That being said, what really boggles my mind about this board is the versatility. From biting quare leads to screeching pulse rez filter techno filler, to lush, evolving mind bending pads, this synth really works best in an electronic ambient/dance/idm type environment. If you take the time, you can make some really Aphex-Twin like analogue beeps and bells. Definately not for preset kiddies, though some of the presets ain't too bad. You won't get anything sounding like anything acoustic here. Forget flutes, clarinets, pianos, etc. This board isn't designed for that, and about the only recognizable sounds you can get are EPs and Organs. But this is a Good Thing (tm) cause who really needs more boring PCM based synthesizers. The K5000 contains about 100 PCM samples which you can add to patches, but the PCMs are all sounds you can't reproduce under additive synthesis, such as clicks, hits, and other non-harmonic based sounds. They add character and are the icing on the cake of your patches. You might find the polyphony a little tight, but it's not meant to be the foundation of your productions. 4 part multi, so you can see its meant to be used with other gear. Do so.

OS/user interface - I find programming and moving about on the K5000 extremely intuative. Buttons along the side of the LCD are labeled 'on the fly' on the LCD, and it's rarely a challenge to figure out where you are and where you need to go within the interface. For some reason the system preferences get erased every time I turn the board off. I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but I've yet to investigate as to why. Over all though, the best interface I've used so far.

Effects - Some say the reverbs are cold, and I might agree, but I don't think it's a bad thing. This board sounds very very crisp and digital, but I think it's great. The effects offered range from reverb/flange/chorus/delay to wahwah, phaser, 3x and 4x choruses, and the gratuatous and always useless distortion.

Filters - 24db filter. Send the rez into feedback mode. Be a rock star. There's not much you can say about the filters except for that they rock. There is some small stair stepping on the cutoff, but it suits the board. Like I said, you'll use this board as an /instrument/. Not for making sounds of other instruments. This is the K5000s baby - make some noize. By the way, all the knobs for the most useful patch parameters are right on the board. Record them over MIDI. Play them live. And this synth was out there before this whole realtime control fad even started.

Keys - It feels great. Some people have mentionned the black keys are too skinny (ie not full width). This may be true, but I have no problems playing the board. Then again, I'm not a performer - I'm studio based. Check it out, it's probably a personal taste thing.

Summary: I got it for 550$. It serves perfectly as a master controller. It rocks. A few little personality issues, but nothing major. There's too much power here not to like the board. Just don't come with expectations - the K5000 isn't about meeting a specific need of yours. It's about hearing it and going 'man, I've never heard a sound like that. Gimme two.'

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-16-1999 at 14:03
Adam Lowe a part-timer user from AUSTRALIA :) writes:
Just wanted to add Part II to my previous K5000 review! First of all, everyone please stop asking for patches as I'm no longer sending them - sorry if this inconveniences anyone in anyway but I'm using this machine again so I don't have the time anymore to email peepl. Really important info to know about this synth: (1) It's weird. Really weird! No matter how long you spend on it you'll never master it! It's the only synth I know that really feels 'alive' - you can be playing a sequence and use press modulation,etc then all of a sudden the sound takes off and you've gotta do your best to tame it again! (2) Programming possibilities are limited to metallic, organy, weird noize type sounds. Don't expect a JX/SH bass outta this thing cause it just won't happen. You can however get away with decent-enough sounding dance bass sounds if you are carefull with your track mixing and spatial placement. (3) The black keys are rather thin - thinner than the standard, I believe, which means that the chance of slipping off them increase when you get into some fast sequences! (4) Really Important Point: You can twiddle with the controller knobs to generate new sounds and save the resultant creation BUT many times the sound heard before saving isn't the sound that is actually saved. This becomes really freakin' annoying when you mess about and come up with a brilliant patch (with knob tweaking) and then save it only to later select the patch and hear it (sometimes markedly) different from what you previously had. Come on KAWAI - improve the OS (or hardware) so what you hear is what you get (saved)!!! (5) Layers? Who needs layers?! The Silver Synth sounds BIG just in program mode! (6) If you own one and aren't that impressed with it - keep it! One day you'll just play about with it and discover a sound that is so real or so unique that that one sound will make the board worth owning - really! It's WEIRD!

posted Friday-Aug-06-1999 at 01:23
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