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
February 9, 2012 @ 7:16 pm
K3 for a first Synth? It was about my 6th, i've still got it, it still works can't say that about all the rolands i've sold. Depends how much they want theres a lot better synths but again theres a awful lot worse too. Its got all the right sort of parameters for learning about Analog and digital Synths. Won't do grand pianos or hammond organ but will do bells strings syn brass basses quite fat sound to brasses and strings got chorus too with about 7settings on it. depends on what you want say for example something like a yamaha Sy55, Cs1x will do more for cheaper but won't sound a raw analogy
November 10, 2011 @ 7:01 pm
Hey would this be a good first synth? I am thinking about buying it used on craigslist, but what other software/plugins do I need? Or can I just plug it into a wall and play music? Sorry I am new to the world of synths and it probably sounds like I haven't a clue what I'm talking about. Hahaha. Any insight would help out a ton
October 25, 2011 @ 7:30 pm
K3m here, bought one to get the "DWGS" type sounds, and for the simple additive function. Side by side with a JX8P, hard to tell the difference, side by side with a Korg DW, hard to tell any difference, except you have double the wave memory. Easy to program, every parameter has a hard wired button. Nice chorus effect as well, 7 settings. Sonically, very 80's analog, which is a good thing. It's PPG-ish, ESQ-ish, JX-ish and totally DW if you have to categorize it.
September 24, 2011 @ 4:34 pm
Really a very underrated machine. If you like the PPG Wave/Waldorf wavetable-based synths, this sounds very close to them, only not nearly as complex, bright or able to scan through a wavetable. Trust me, I have two PPG Waves too ;) In fact, about four or five of the waveforms are taken from the PPG's wavetables and it uses the exact same filters. The only downside is the rather mushy attack on the envelopes - a beautiful chorus makes up for that somewhat.

The user definable/additive waveform is a nice touch too - if one has the patience to use it. A really good deal - find one and see.
May 31, 2011 @ 8:00 pm
You can really get some solid analog sounds on these boards.. Particularly if you stick with simple sawtooth waveforms. Good synth for fx and pads + strings and brass. Not so great for bass though, and the stock presets.. Forget them!!! Easy to program, fun to play and for what these are currently selling for right now, a total steal!! Very nice low pass analog filter = WARM!
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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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