Kawai K5000

Kawai K5000S Image

The K5000 was Kawai's top of the line music workstation digital synthesizer when it was released back in 1996. It's a bold and elegantly designed synth with a large LCD display, realtime controls and incredible sounds! The look and functionality is rivals the competition from the time...the Korg Trinity and Kurzweil K2500.

Programming sounds with the K5000 can be a breeze (once you learn how) although it has over 1,000 parameters per patch! That's plenty to play with. It combines additive synthesis and PCM sampled waveforms for you to layer and combine to design a whole range of sounds. Plenty of LFO modulation, filters and envelope controls allow you to shape and morph your sounds further. On-board multi-effects add the final touch of life to your sounds.

Once you've created some sounds, there's the on-board sequencer (K5000W only) for creating songs or loading Standard Midi File sequences (via disk-drive). It has a 40,000 note capacity and 40 tracks. Real-time record and step-edit modes are available and the sequencer is pretty straight forward.

The K5000S (pictured above) adds 12 dedicated knobs for hands-on control of filter, LFO and envelope parameters. There are 4 user-definable knobs and 2 assignable switches. The K5000S also has a 40-pattern arpeggiator on-board with 8 user-definable patterns too! K5000's have been used by Kraftwerk.

Kawai K5000-Rack Image

In 1997 a rack-module version of the K5000 was released. The rack version shipped with Kawai's more stable OS 3.0 software. The latest is 4.03 and is free to upgrade via download from Kawai. The rack offers all the same power and flexibility as its keyboard counterparts. To get a more hands-on-knobs control of the K5000 (like the K5000S) there is a Knobs Macro box. But other controllers such as Encore Knobby or Keyfax Phatboy can also do the trick.

Lookup Kawai K5000 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Kawai K5000? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

63 Visitor comments
August 18, 2012 @ 11:39 am
:::f a::: I respectfully disagree with you on the K4 comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I love the K4, I have a K4 and a K4r; IMO they’re unique, under-rated synths, but the K5000 is a whole different beast. I offer this YouTube demo by a friend as further example of the K5000’s uniqueness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT1yMLdQ6PE&feature=related
:::gridsleep::: thanks for re-iterating the Bernard Mock site. I wasn’t paying attention last time, but this time I looked. It’s interesting to see how they developed & built the ME-1 modules, and nice to know there’s a source.
f a
June 1, 2012 @ 9:41 pm
This synth is deep, but in the end, you will have spent more time with it than you wanted. Even with SD or Midiquest, it's gruelling, specifically when dealing with additive synthesis.If you've got time to kill go for it. It sounds good, but really not any better than the K4.
May 7, 2012 @ 11:42 pm
:::::stellvia::::: In case you may have missed previous postings, Bernward Mock is producing new ME-1 memory modules for K5000 synthesizers. Go to http://www.marjorie.de/kawai/kawai22.htm for information and ordering.
May 7, 2012 @ 3:09 am
Just picked up a 2nd hand k5000w last week and finally found a floppy disk drive and some disks to start trying out patches.

As old as it is, this thing still sounds great, definitely going to give my other boards a run for their money. Pads sound great, found some cool bell patches, and some of the Moog patches sound pretty close to my Moog Little Phatty.

I only wish it had more memory, ~60 additive patches isn't enough. Now I have to pick and choose what gets to stay and what has to go :-(

Still, a great sounding synth that i got a for a pretty good price. Recommended.
April 14, 2012 @ 1:09 pm
kawai's masterpiece. one has to give them credit for offering such a complex and sophisticated synth to the market. unfortunately, it also broke the back of kawai's synth operations.

sonically, this is the opposite of shallowness. once you got your head around additive synthesis, it is like someone flicking the light on. complex synth, yes, but obviously some thought was invested in designing the interface, so that its actually accessible.

verdict: monster. might sound strange for a not-so-well known piece, but I really believe this might be one of the best 3-5 synths ever made.
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User Rating

Rated 4.2 (556 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 32 voices
  • Oscillators - Digital Additive Synthesis plus PCM samples; Harmonics: 64 per source; Waveforms: 689 (123 synth, 341 GM, 225 drums). Note: only K5000W features GM sounds
  • Effects - 4 effects algorithms with 32 different effects
  • Filter - 128-band formant filter, 24dB/oct low-pass and high-pass
  • LFO - 2 (one for formant filter, one can be freely routed to other destinations)
  • VCA - 1 ASDR per part, with key scale and velocity
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer: 40 tracks, 40,000 note capacity (K5000W only)
    Arpeggiator: 40 patterns, 8 user (K5000S and K5000R only)
  • Keyboard - 61 Keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Memory - 200 patches, 64 performances
  • Control - MIDI (K5000S, K5000R: 4-part multi-timbral; K5000W: 32-part multi-timbral)
  • Date Produced - 1996
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from
    and LoungeLizard via Synth Site.

    Thanks to Jesse Farmer for providing some information.

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