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.

46 Visitor comments
June 24, 2012 @ 8:45 am
Underrated synth . Hey listen a ton of people buy a synth like this ramp up a few parameters and don't bother doing much else. They use the onboard effects and expect it to sound like god. The k3 is nothing like a k1 . The two couldn't be more different to program. The two couldn't sound more far apart. a k3 a decent drum machine and some effects is enough to make a great start. It's one of the last real bargains. I've owned almost all the kawais and this one and the 240 are the ones I've kept.
f a
June 1, 2012 @ 9:25 pm
Are you kidding. The K4 kills the K3. I sold my K3 the day after I got it. If you want similar specs, just get a Korg EX8000 or DW8000. They sound way better.
Neptune Yer Guitar
May 22, 2012 @ 3:56 pm
So, in short, if you have $200.00 to burn it's certainly a worthy investment. It just has this low-fi fuzzy nasty alien digital mojo that I love.

How does it stack up against the K1, K1 ii and K4? Anyone? Anyone?
Neptune Yer Guitar
May 22, 2012 @ 3:52 pm
I've owned a used Kawai K3 for a few months now. I think it cost me about $240.00 on Fee Bay. Overall, it's a cool synth. I would put its worth around $200.00, no more. One of the coolest uses I've found for it is to scroll in between different waveforms using the data wheel. If you detune the second waveform the effect is very strange and I daresay inimitable, lest you have a PPG. Unfortunately the data wheel is already malfunctioning and the numbers are jumping two or three at a time and / or going the wrong direction. Very disappointing since there is no one around here who could fix it.
Vaughan Man
March 19, 2012 @ 6:57 pm
Just ordered one of these babies. I can' wait to get it!
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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