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
January 10, 2010 @ 6:01 pm
I used to own one of these back around 1990. It makes great metallic-like sounds. Although rumored to have a great engine, I was more of a player than programmer, so it didn't fit my needs. Plus it a monster-I used to gig a lot and everyone hated their turn carrying the k3. IStill, I'd take another if it was cheap enough.....
January 3, 2010 @ 10:31 pm
If you find one cheap, GET IT. unfortunately many of the digital waveforms for the oscillators are useless, so just stick with the basic sawtooths and square waves. raising the resonance quickly drops all lower frequencies unfortunately. would've been quite a machine had they used VCOs and knobs.
Rose Specs
December 13, 2009 @ 11:17 pm
Recently got the K3M... its great; sounds really rich and lush (potentially cheesy in its versatility also) and its interface has to be one of if not the best of any push button synth; its better than many fully knobbed jobs IMO for ease of use and responsiveness. If you're into keyboard based control i'd highly recommend it; 6 voice analog(mostly), good aftertouch/velocity programability and cheap! I really don't know why this synth is cheap.
November 21, 2009 @ 6:46 am
I got mine home yesterday and teamed up with my korg ER-1 drum machine and roland DEP-3 reverb came up with a dreamy trance track in a couple of hours. The analogue filters are a revelation after using romplers and virtual analogue synths for as long as I've been playing. Programing my own sounds is simpler on the K3 than any other synth I own which is a joyful thing. It makes the fattest sounding kick I've ever programed, I can't wait to sample it and process it through distortion and bit crushers. This is another unique and strong sounding synth in my collection.
mark Peters
October 7, 2009 @ 11:27 pm
I currently own 2 K3's and 2 K3m's and used to own 3 more, ALL had
MIDI thru / 3 total midi jacks.
BTW, haveing several K3's is great for layring its sounds, takes a lot of space, but what awesome sounds I can get with 4 hooked together.
The K3m's havea link function that allows multiple units to link together in order to get more than the stock 6 notes poly. (eg.. 2 k3m's linked will give 12 note poly! 3 will give 18 notes and so on!)
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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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