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
Neven Dayvid
October 25, 2009 @ 9:32 pm
Absolutely agree! For me, the best digital synth since the DX7. And the hardware, knobs, finish, keyboard are among the best.
A joy to behold, a joy to play and a joy to.... well let´s just say a fascinating challenge to program.
October 11, 2009 @ 4:30 am
The k5000s is one of the most exquisite synthesizers that can be found in the place, totally different to anything known. is undoubtedly the masterpiece of Kawai, I purchased it six months ago after a long search to find one in perfect condition, I have over 10 synthesizers specially selected to achieve the most formidable combinations of sound and functions that you could imagine, between modern and vintage, and is undoubtedly one of my favorites, and a key to everyone looking for different sounds.
February 12, 2009 @ 1:43 pm
The K5000s is one of my two favourite synths (the other is the Andromeda). IMO it's at it's best when you let it do it's own thing... Let it do sounds that you can't find anywhere else and you won't go far wrong.

For those who are interested, I've found a link to a replica memory expansion... http://www.marjorie.de/kawai/kawai20.htm
Reinaldo Torres
January 21, 2009 @ 12:07 am
This keyboard is amazing. Is one of those instruments you can loose yourself into the sounds. Just plug it directly to the CD burner and 70 minutes later you have an state of the ar new wave CD. Is what you would expect from a synth. Underrated, lost in time, missing in action. I rather have one of this one than 3 Kurzweil K2600.

The K5000 is like the Korg Wavestation A/D but better. It would be lovely to have both.
January 15, 2009 @ 11:52 pm
Another thing about the K5000 series. I think this is specific to the K5000R, but I think there was a memory expansion also. The memory upgrade was like $200 to $350 extra. The amount of patches and performance on the rack is dependent on system memory available after creating the harmonic and format structures. So there was not a fixed amount of patches and performances patches, but there were maximum amounts selectable from front of unit or midi with bank switching and patch change messages. This machine is powerful!
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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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