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
April 13, 2011 @ 10:47 pm
please stop pissing and moaning about analog hype. its what people want and like.
the k3 is still in my set up today. it can take me into lots of different territory and despite its look alike nature this synth sounds nothing like a jx8p. you can get some pretty good fm ish kinds of sounds from it but honestly this board is extremely analog sounding. i have read some people saying this synth is no good for bass. really it is in fact its excellent all the way around. a couple complaints would be the lack of a mod wheel and perhaps the mylar interface. its a amazing synth for not to much $$
March 31, 2011 @ 9:08 pm
The K3 is the best of the cheaper digital waveform/analogue filter hybrids in my opinion. Sure the ESQ1, SQ80 and DW8000 have more programming options, but as for the basic sound of the instrument, the K3 wins every time.
February 27, 2011 @ 4:28 pm
Wrong it only weighs 5 million Lbs in the flight Case. The K3 is a personal taste. It does what it does and you either love it or hate it. Before I got mine I had Mono synths and a Korg Poly 800 so I loved it as it did so much more. The poly800 layout is similar so if you understood that the K3 is second nature. Ok so on the p800 you had to select the parameter and press buttons up down and sideways. On the K3 you press the parameter button and waggle the data wheel. But the K3 is far far far more classy. Also some K3's had wooden end cheeks either that or patterned plastic to look like it
January 14, 2011 @ 10:24 pm
I hated this big old heavy beast. (It must weigh 6 million pounds!) There was a lot of hype about it, but I never really liked it's metallicy sound. Granted, I'm not much into programming-more of a player, but this thing was LIMITED. I was never happier than the day I sold it... That was back in the 90s. I can see no reason why anyone would want one now unless it was $5. I say that and I love the K4. But the K3 is just not very useful.
December 21, 2010 @ 10:31 am
I'm not a techno knob jockey It's not analogy hype the hype was lovely digital quality sound when we were all encouraged to part with are old synths so we could buy a DX7. Even the best emulated stuff from the like of arturia or native doesnt cut it against the real thing. It gets close but no cigar it just lacks the warmth and the atmosphere. the K3 however does have a certain presence about it.
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User Rating

Rated 4.49 (877 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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