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.

Check Kawai K5000 Prices on eBay

The link above will take you to a 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.

60 Visitor comments
August 25, 2011 @ 10:04 pm
Absolutely under-rated synth that owns everything else under $1000 used just as a midi controller. The aftertouch keyboard is so sensitive and owns other keybeds I have owned (sy85, z1, prophecy, micron, cs15 + others)... So the 500-600$ going price on the second hand market is already a bargain. Additionally the synth engine is so different to other synthesis types that you are bound to get something different with a bit of effort. I own the k5000s and love the fact I can D/L patches off the net onto floppy disk... though some might not. Maybe too many parameters but that gives it shelf life!
August 8, 2011 @ 10:05 am
Actually, the latest firmware version for the K5000S is 4.04 - this was an unofficial version that fixes a problem in the FX. You can get it at the usual user groups. e.g. Yahoo groups.
Excellent machine. Just in case you are at a loss for inspiration for new sounds, you can use the Sounddiver software that came with it to resynthesize short waveforms (WAV files) in to additive form. This can generate some wild results. Give it a try (the sounddiver editor is also available on Yahoo groups).
Recommend the Wizoo manual. Explains how to use the synth, unlike the User manual - which is dire.
April 18, 2011 @ 11:39 pm
I'm a recent K5000S owner, having managed to find a slightly damaged unit (broken piece on the case) for a very good price. Overall, this is the most incredible synthesis machine I've used. The presets scratch only the surface of the engine underneath, which you could explore for months. Even after all this time, I don't believe there are contemporary machines that really equal it in terms of fundamental sound creation.
Angels In Bondage
March 29, 2011 @ 9:18 am
A good friend of mine used this board (RIP Jarred aka Manchine), and i honestly think that this board still has ton of potential in it.

The sounds that ive heard that stand out the most of this board are really awesome square and attack basses and some crazy pads (reminded me of Transwave technology style pads).

I will definitely try to pick one of these up eventually - they are quite a neat combo when paired with the similarly underrated Yamaha EX7/Ex5R synths
nik green
February 14, 2011 @ 12:17 am
I got the K5000R (rack) unit when it was released in 1997. Its a dog to edit, but the instrument sounds fantastic, quite unlike anything out there. I also still have a K5 (keyboard)... thats an interesting machine, but also beyond tedious to edit sounds on.

Additive has such potential, and so much more could be done with the technique, and with the power of todays DSP chips, the possibilities are endless.

Until then, I shall hang onto my K5000R...
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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