Kurzweil K1000

Kurzweil K1000 Image

Following in the footsteps of its popular (and far more expensive) big brother, the K250, the Kurzweil K1000 is a sample playback instrument as well as a synthesizer. Weighed down by its 76-note keyboard, the K1000 boasts many of the same award-winning samples found in the K250 in a 24-note polyphonic multitimbral synth. The famous Kurzweil piano is here, as well as the gorgeous strings and brass too. The K1000 has emulations of almost any orchestral instrument you can think of. And they're great sounding. The popular rumor is that the samples were recorded using members of the Boston Symphony orchestra-and it shows.

The K1000 also has a very sophisticated digital/wave synthesizer engine. K1000 patches start life as a digitally coded waveform that Kurzweil calls a Soundfile. A Soundfile can be a sampled waveform (coming from Kurzweil's famous samples like piano, string, wind, etc...) or a digitally produced waveform like sine, sawtooth, or square. Then, you put Soundfiles together into the layers of a program. Effects are part of each layer as well.

Now, for the bad news. All of this power is extremely difficult to harness through the diminutive LCD display on the front panel. To make matters worse, the backlight on the LCD is prone to burning out, so most K1000's you find on the used market won't have a working backlight. This problem can be fixed by using one of the third party backlight replacements available on the web, but it is a relatively delicate procedure that requires some basic knowledge of electronics.

Kurzweil K1000 Image

The K1000 also came in a series of rackmount synths. The so-called "1000 Series" consists of no less than ten different models of the rackmount version of the synth. Each module in the series has a different set of sounds. Complicating things further, you could upgrade these modules, so that they may have one name on the front panel, but have the features and sounds of a different model from the series. Some of the upgrades include:

1000 AX Plus Acoustic Expander (185 presets - all SX and HX plus more)
• 1000 GX Guitar Expander (100 presets)
1000 HX Horn Expander (75 presets)
• 1000 HXA Expansion ROM: Soprano sax, Alto sax, Baritone Sax, Brass stabs
1000 SX String Expander (99 presets)
• 1000 SXA Expansion ROM: Clarinet, Flute, Oboe , Bassoon, Fr. Horn, Timpani
• 1000 PX Professional Expander (120 presets)
• 1000 PXA Expansion ROM: Flute, Rhodes, E. bass, Drums, more waveforms
• 1000 PXB Expansion ROM: Steel guitar, Harp, Marimba, Tenor Sax, Percussion

Kurzweil later added aftertouch to the K1000 (an upgrade not available to owners of the original K1000), known as the K1000SE (Special Edition).

The K1000 sells for peanuts on the used market today. It has some fantastic sounds and the 76 key semi-weighted keyboard is reasonably fun to play. If you couple it with third party computer software, it is capable of making some really great sounds, even if its front panel is minimalist and hides the monstrous capabilities of this synth. Kurzweil always seemed to go overboard and this synth was no exception. At the time of its introduction in 1988, 24-note polyphony was enormous (and still not too bad today) and being multitimbral was a relatively new feature as well. Kurzweil didn't disappoint. And that means these instruments can still be valid and useful tools in your studio today.

Lookup Kurzweil K1000 Prices

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.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Kurzweil K1000? 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.

10 Visitor comments
sam s.
June 27, 2014 @ 2:14 pm
Nice keyboard action on these things. The K1000SE's aftertouch is sensitive enough that you can play vibrato on it easily. Programming with the LCD is not so difficult once you figure out where everything is in the menus. Worth getting for three things: the K250 acoustic samples, which are a little lofi but warmer and higher quality than most of today's romplers and sample sets, as a powerful synth with a nice mod matrix and many synth waves to layer, and as a excellent 73 master controller. Nice warm sound too.
June 18, 2013 @ 12:21 pm
Just recently got a K1200 Pro 1 for $70. It's crazy how under valued some of this stuff is. On the other hand I just got the Waldorf Nave iOS app for $12.
benny harris
March 18, 2013 @ 12:59 pm
I always wanted a great and powerful new synthesizer but could only afford a used one so I bought a Kurzweil k2500. I fell in love with kurzweil . I got a k1000 and Yamaha's TG500 and my desire for a brand new keyboard with all the fancy stuff simply vanished away. With my laptop running Cubase, Reasons and the Virtual Moog, I don't need anything else. I've found myself needing only the K1000 for almost every live gig and rehearsal. If they want anything spactactular, i add the TG 500 and if that don't get it, adding the K2500 has satisfied the most demanding person. K1000 has great sounds
November 25, 2012 @ 5:21 am
To MIke Holzknecht:

You can get the manual here:

If it is not in the list yet, click on "contact" to send a request.
MIke Holzknecht
November 14, 2012 @ 9:08 pm
I bought a used Kurzweil K-1000 for our choir---76 key--but no manual--I don;t uderstand the "layers"---where can I get a manual??

VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.41 (137 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 - 24 voices
  • Multitimbral - 16 part
  • Oscillators - Sample-based + Digital wave synthesis
  • Waveforms - Digital Sine, Saw, Square,
  • Effects - Vibrato, Tremolo, Leslie, Chorus, Echo
  • Keyboard - 76 semi-weighted velocity keys (aftertouch on K1000SE only)
  • Memory - 115 preset, 64 user
  • Control - MIDI In/Out/Thru
  • Date Produced - 1988 - 1992
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Synthony and

    Review by Erick Tejkowski.

    Reviewed January 2010.

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.