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
February 7, 2010 @ 5:54 am
I have this synth for about a year and I still find it difficult to program! People say that FM and PD synths are hard, wait to see this one guys!:)

But it's a really deep-sounding synth with a truly unique sound and I love it for that! Bought it used along with a bunch of preset sounds and I must say, it sounds absolutely fantastic! I WILL learn how to program this efficiently soon, I'm sure!
Reinaldo Torres
February 1, 2010 @ 7:05 pm
I have had many synths in my life. This one was beyond be, is an extra terrestial force inside but for sure the most amazing sound. I got the keyboard back in 1998 for $200 in Sam Ash New York, the rack was at $300 but I didn't acted fast enough. I sold the keyboard 2 years later because I had too much equipment in the studio. I had a Kurzweil K2500RS and trust me, the Kurzweil was a joke compared with the Akai.

If you can get one, do it, but you will be entering in another dimension. This is the best sound you will ever get from any synth ever.
January 10, 2010 @ 5:14 pm
As far as build quality goes its a tank, and keys feel wonderful! This machine is a beast when it comes to pads and textures. It can really create some great soundscapes. I agree with most of the posts here, a real gem!
December 28, 2009 @ 2:48 pm
Like I said, take your time to explore it, this is a jewell ignored or unknown for the grand mass.
For more resources, visit too.
December 16, 2009 @ 4:42 pm
Added one of these to my collection this year. Haven't really got my head into the programming side as of yet. I've got the S model (the one with extra knobs!) and that makes tweeking the currently loaded patches a tad easier. Quality build and keyboard. The sounds are pretty impressive and can be complex with all manner of things tinkly firing off all over the place. Its a pity it didn't seem to take off as Kawai created a true beast of a machine here.
I doubt I'll ever really get into the programming - way too busy playing the thing, but If you come across one try it maybe buy it! Mine was minter at £300 odds.
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.