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.

Related forum topics


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
May 13, 2014 @ 5:36 am
This is one beautiful sounding synth that deserves more than 4 stars. It sounds a little like a VFX (my favourite) / Prophet VS / Wavestation / Fairlight CMI to my ears, but has a unique character as you are not limited to a finite number of wavesforms to use. The sonic clarity is superb. In principle any sound can be programmed, but this machine excells are sparkling, crystal clear pads. It's a little unfair to say that the sound is 'thin': Just copy the source and detune. There's 6 sources (oscillators) to play with and that makes for some BIG FAT sounds. The filters are wonderful!
Neil B
May 10, 2014 @ 7:58 am
How come the VSE rating for a K5K is only 4 stars, but they give the original K5 is 5 stars? They both have the same engine????
May 4, 2014 @ 5:52 pm
bought a K5000S 3 weeks ago.
sonically, a very complex affair, deep stuff, beautiful, haunting, strange. I have yet to understand 'additive synthesis' in detail, but thankfully its got some useful knobs to bridge the gap ;)

quite different from my analogues, but fascinating. it adds something to the palette we didn't even know existed..
July 16, 2013 @ 3:06 pm
i miss this keyboard. had the S and the R versions. replaced them with the sy77 and tg77. similar results sonically but a little easier to program (still more than 1,000 parameters).

sy also does moog and other thunderous analog sounds quite well. and it's currently cheaper than that k5000 line.

both benefit from multiband compressor, chorus/flanger/phaser, delay and reverb.

these are monstrous, modular synths that equal and outdo modern boards and classics alike. but they are not for the faint of heart.
July 5, 2013 @ 4:16 pm
I have a chance to buy a K5000S in great condition, everything works on it, just wondering if anyone knows what these are going for in the U.S.? thanks.
VSE Rating


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.

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.