Kawai K3

Kawai K3 Image

The K3 uses the same technologies as the popular K1. Although it was among the first from Kawai, it is surpassed by the K1 and K5. The K3 is a wavetable synthesizer. It has 32 waveforms, some of which are samples of acoustic instruments like piano and percussion as well as some unique waveforms. By combining two of these waveforms you can create unique new sounds or add a twist to a traditional sound. Since there are only 32 of these waveforms, the K3 also features a programmable digital waveform where you can tweak the harmonic content of a waveform allowing for added flexibility and range of sounds.

What's really neat about the K3 is that (unlike the K1) it has analog filters and envelopes! So although the sound may be digital at first, it sure does get warmed going through the filter. The low pass resonant filter even has its own envelope generator. There's also a high pass filter and a highly flexible LFO. The K3 is an interesting synth, nicely bridging the gap between the analog and digital domain of vintage synthesizers. The K3M is a rackmount module version of the K3. The K3 has been used by Jan Hammer and Patrick O'Hearn.

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50 Visitor comments
June 20, 2014 @ 8:21 pm
Hi Ron James. Did you mean that the K3m made the other synths seem pointless to keep?
when i got mine along with a CZ101 I sold 2x Sh101s ,Juno6 poly800 and Dk80 Cs15 all within a couple of months then I got a S/H Dx7 a K1 and an RX11 drum machine, Only the DX7 got sold still got the rest
June 20, 2014 @ 8:10 pm
SynthMaster K3 has nothing to do with K1 at all. other than having Kawai on it
I have both from new the K1 is an 8bit rompler.
The k3 is a Hybrid 2 Digital wave table osci/voice analog filters and VCA under a digital parameter control like poly800 dw8000 and poly61 but betteR
the korgs you useD buttons to select parameters then press up down to adjust value. With the K3 you tap the parameter you want to adjust, zip the alpha dial round quick and easy.well build lovely feel to the keys semi weighted and for its age after touch too, better midi than the Korgs and Rolands of the day
June 9, 2014 @ 4:37 am
It says here "The K3 uses the same technologies as the popular K1", but the 2 synths sound completely different. The K1 sounds more like a Roland D-10/20, SY55, etc, (ROMplerish) whereas the K3 sounds more like a Korg DW8000, Akai AX80, Ensoniq ESQ-1, Roland JX8p, Casio CZ-1, etc. (more DWGSish &/or Analogish)
IMO the K1 sounds dated, whereas the K3 just sounds vintage/classic. The K3 is high up on my "to get" list of vintage synths.
June 1, 2014 @ 4:44 am
As others have said - very underrated. Looks a bit like a JX-8p, but is better. Can do the same sort of sounds as the DW-8000, but not quite as versatile. So in terms of capabilities it lies somewhere between the two. Also built like a tank! I had one and sold it for a pittance, so will get another - hopefully soon!
Ron James
March 17, 2014 @ 3:32 am
The best hybrid ever !!
I sold a lot of digital synths thanks to K3m.
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  • 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.
  • Demos & Media
  • YouTube Thumbnail
    Kawai K3 | demo
    by WC Olo Garb

    Patch Files - Every patch Kawai has for the K-3, provided by Kawai.

    Manual - Download the original owner's manual from SoundProgramming.net.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 32 digital waveforms
  • LFO - YES
  • Filter - Low pass resonant filter, high pass filter
  • VCA - ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 note (velocity + aftertouch)
  • Memory - 50 patches
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1986
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Jack Solkiewicz, found at Synth Site.

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