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
November 26, 2010 @ 2:13 am
I were looking for a K3M for a quite sometime and I finally managed to get one with a memcard. I checked the insides and it seems to be using the SSM2044 filter chip (mutator uses the same ssm also). Unlike the guy below, I think that SSM is one of the best filters you can have on a synth. It makes the tone better even if you are not a plain filter jerking wannabe techno guy like me. I also think that the internal waveforms are really useful. It's refreshing to have a synth that has more waveforms than the basic saw/square. It might not be a modulation monster but my K3M is filled with very impressive synthpads from the previous owner. I also have many other good synthesizers: JP8, SUNSYN, A6 Omega8, Voyager, MKS-50 MKS-70, MKS-80, ESQ-M, MW1, EX-8000 etc and I can honestly say that my Kawai is just as important than any of them.
September 18, 2010 @ 1:24 pm
To make clear - i don't claim this is additive synth but that i prefer those over analogs.
Happily there is some newer innovations which combine synthesis like FM and subtractive.. NL3 and Wave, Korg Z1 (and their other MOSS capable equipments), Alesis Fusion etc. In a certain way Yamaha FS1R because it has typical subtractive style filters after FM engine.

Anyhow. The point why i would like to have K3 is its OSC.
September 18, 2010 @ 1:18 pm
Everybody rages about its ANALOG filters like it would be some miracle maker. How long that analogy hype now continued? Almost 20 years in row? I would be more enthusiastic about its programmable OSC and those harmonic contents. i think we have heard enough that plain filter jerking from wanna be techno musicians in late years. There's more in synths as that!
June 27, 2010 @ 5:13 pm
I,ve had mine 20 odd years from new. easy to program nice semi weighted keys. And got midi thru. Sounds fat does a passable obi strings.Dug it out the roof last week after 10 years and worked all ok. Patches sounds a bit samey to me now sort of metalic quality to them. But I would never sell it.
Got a K1r too nothing like the same as the K3. K3 is a hybrid like korg poly's and roland juno's.
March 15, 2010 @ 7:08 pm
this synth has absolutely nothing in common with the k1.
it has a analog filter and a analog envelopes.
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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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