Kawai K4

Kawai K4 Image

The K4 from Kawai can be thought of as a warm and fuzzy digital synthesizer. A sample-based digital synth, its sounds are those typically weird industrial type sounds that can still be useful in lo-fi, big-beat and trip hop music styles. The sounds are 16-bit preset PCM samples of acoustic instruments. However, unlike its predecessor the K1, the K4 adds a welcomed digital filter section. This truly makes the K4 more flexible, fun and useful for today's filter tweaking music effects!

Kawai K4r Image

The K4r is the eight output rackmount version which has all the same features except for the effects processor. Both feature 8-part multitimbrality which is great for stacking, splitting and layering sounds. The K4 will give you strange, new and unique sounds with plenty of flexibility and analog-style sound shaping and control at an affordable price. It is used by The Chemical Brothers and ATB.

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The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Kawai K4? 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.

53 Visitor comments
November 3, 2011 @ 11:44 am
Hi, I like the K4 very much. About a year ago I planned to buy a Midi keyboard controller for 150 Euros with only Velocity key feature then a friend pointed me in the direction of a K4 for 150 euros. The K4 hast a great keyboard with Velocity, Aftertouch, Release Velocity and "PRESSURE" Sensor. (very Rare feature). Forget the new midi usb keyboard on the market - get a K4 with great masterkeyboard Features and a fantastic key features (velocity, aftertouch, release vel. and pressure sensivity). I love it and it is better build than modern Midi keyboards. Svean
October 9, 2011 @ 1:26 am
Thought I'd follow up with a couple of sound demos:



http://soundcloud .com/vivolator/soundbank-demo-2/s-UOhQg

(All the sounds are coming off my K4, the only external effect is a limiter on the mix.)
September 2, 2011 @ 11:59 am
Just dusted off my K4 last month. Fixed a broken key, put in a new battery (Kawai had the foresight to not solder it to the board - thank you!), and got the last ROM upgrade (1.4). Then I spent a month programming some trance, house and electro patches into it. Sounds like a completely different synth now. (Heck, I've even managed to fake PWM with this thing.) The distortion works wonders for the TB-303-type patches I made. And with 4 oscillators, you can pull of some decent supersaw trance patches if you want. Not bad for a synth that's older than today's college freshmen.
Nigel Goodwin
August 31, 2011 @ 3:18 am
Excellent synth I am intrigued about the cool sounding crackling noises you mention Mr Wade. Are we to expect some glitch type stuff at next Quelladrive gig. Oko will be pleased. Dragging myself back on topic, I believe the rack mount version lacked effects which is a criminal oversight if true. The k1 was an intriguing synth also and served me well as entry level multitimbral with some great sounds
Tony Wade
August 31, 2011 @ 2:25 am
Bought a K4 when it came out in 1989. Have a love/hate relationship with it. On it's last legs now as it sometimes only makes nasty crackling sounds, though even they sound cool. Will give it a viking boat burning ceremony when it finally goes.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.45 (855 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 16-voices, 8-part multitimbral
  • Oscillators - 16-Bit PCM digital synthesizer
  • Filter - Digital Dynamic Filter
  • Effects - Yes
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1989
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Synthony and

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