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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Are you looking to buy or sell a Kawai K3? 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.

50 Visitor comments
steven pelchat
September 3, 2009 @ 7:42 pm
Mine has all 3 midi jacks as well. If you have one of these and love it as I do, then if you want some more then grab a K5 as well. Still built like a brick shid house (a plumper) but different and just a bit wider feature size.
Both are very heavy and demanding to move around. The K1 and K4 are like a feather compared to the K3 and K5. Grab em all before the frenzie hits home!
September 1, 2009 @ 5:35 pm
I think the writer of this article must have meant "followed by" rather than "surpassed by" as the K1 has the worst, noisiest, low-bit sounds while the K3 has great analog filters and smooth chorus effects! Built heavy and solid, the K3 has great action and feel on the keyboard as well!

I would choose any single sound on the K3 over the multi-timbral K1 any day.
September 1, 2009 @ 5:30 pm
Some people here must have gotten jipped...my K3 has THRU.
August 9, 2009 @ 3:38 am
my k3 absolutely does not have midi through. i am looking at it right now as i type this.
it is however a extremely good sounding poly synth.
Steven Pelchat
July 9, 2009 @ 10:43 pm
Grabbed it for 90 bucks at Daddy's Junky Music store. Most voices written over with the same voice. Did a system reset to factory default and all voices came back to their preset value. Build like a tank or even a BBW. Rock solid and heavy. Nice feel to the keys and sound is retro-cool. Very nasal and thick. Farted around with the analog filters, OSC,VCF and VCA. Pushbuttons real easy to program and unlike the Digital stuff like a D10 or D110, you don't have to dig into the levels of menues and learn the button functions. Quick and dirty-just like it sounds. Also own D110,JV1080,XV3080, K1,K4,K5,XD5 and K4r.

Steve Pelchat
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 4.49 (875 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.
  • 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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