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
Pulse Emitter
April 17, 2013 @ 1:17 am
i had the rack version. i remember spending an entire afternoon programming one patch! can be very daunting. probably would have been more fun to have the “S” version with all the knobs. i made some cool patches but ultimately decided they all had a very similar sound, a sparkly, harmonic type of sound. which is nice but i got tired of it. this thing sounds like a digital rainforest, birds chirping, frogs croaking, swamp gas bubbling... and what’s with the filter? even minor amounts of resonance and you have extreme distortion! very weird design. interesting synth for sure! very unique.
April 12, 2013 @ 11:31 pm
I posted here a year ago and I STILL have mine. It's become a staple in all my recordings whether the lead synth or just used for ad-libbing. I second what many people say here about it emulating Moogs well, and I'll add that in general it sounds very modular to me. I'm very interesting in getting a compatible flash-drive/usb emulator to replace the disk drive with. If anyone knows anything about compatible units, please post here! I'm scared to buy one without knowing more. I still love this synth. I think only Virus or Kurweil come as close in depth. It adds a new dimension to any genre.
April 10, 2013 @ 7:41 pm
I'm not sure if I've posted about the k5000s or not...So...I really, really like this synth. Like the Waldorf XT, it doesn't try to be something that it's not. The easiest way to describe: additive and PCM oscillators ran through a resonant filter that can filter based on specific harmonics. Each oscillator harmonic has it's own looping envelope. Way more features 2 list. Cra-Z patience is required to learn it. Google Wizoo k5000 filetype:pdf for a look for a good programming guide. Effects are pretty weak, but usable w/external reverb. Ran through multiband compressor = jawdropping nuances.
March 24, 2013 @ 12:13 am
Bought one of these new back around 99/2000. Onboard fx are not very good from memory, esp poor reverb. Could get some good sounds out of it but i didnt like the additive editing. I think the average person would get far more useable results more quickly from any subtractive synth. Had good filters with really growling resonance. I made some terrific patches emulating moogs, etc but i just never warmed to the board. Never liked the look either. Glad i sold it!
February 16, 2013 @ 7:07 pm
I own three K5000Rs. Very interesting and expressive! Sonically unique: a bit grainy, sarcastic/icy, only occasionally smooth. Some massaging will be needed before they’ll sit well in a mix. Excellent filters! The DCFs self-oscillate more musically than almost any instrument I've heard. (Used carelessly, the resonance will tear your ears off! Few instruments come even close in this respect.) Good mids, with clean & shimmery highs but tends to alias easily. Lows/bass undefined and without depth. Dumping the internal reverb for a decent outboard reverb plug-in will really improve the sound.
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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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