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Kawai K1



kawai k1

info Country: Japan
Weight: 6,8 Kg
Dimensions: 936 (w) x 260 (h) x 80 (d) mm
audio demo trend price : 150€
manual factory patches demo video comments

The Kawai K1
Digital Synthesizer (1988)


Cult lo-fidelity synthesizer based on 8-bits short-cycled waveforms.

A must for noisy textures and raw sounds. Sadly the K1 misses filter structure, later implemented on revamp model k4.

kawai k1

info KEYBOARD 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch.
Main panel features a 16 x 2 lines LCD display (now some modern OLDED replacements are available), 26 buttons, a data slider, a vector joystick and 2 wheels for pitch bending and modulation.

Back panel terminal connectors:
- Midi interface
- main signal out
- AUX out
- footswitch pedal input.

acPower supply is external with 12V DC, any general PSU AC/DC 9/12V is ok with correct polarity -)+ and amp rate.


edit TECH
a 8-bits cpu NEC D78310G manages up to 16 oscillators or voices polyphony- relative DAC is a uPD-6355G.


STRUCTURE Each K1 voice is composed by a maxium of 4 assigned waves or SOURCES.
A simple ringmodulator whith fixed depth can module the sources demo hear ringmodulator


WAVETABLE ROM contains 256 waves at 8-bits resolution organized in 2 families:
- PCM acoustics: 52 waves sampled from true percussions & drums.
- VM cyclic waveforms 204 waves: generated by additive synthesis process out of 128 harmonics
composed by 2 sub-categories:
* BASIC classic basic waveforms e.g square, saw and sine.
* FREQUENCY RANGE are spectral transients e.g piano, strings, brass, lead, bell and organ.

signal flow demo hear all PCM waves / some VM waves

adsr PERFORMANCE machine manages up to 8 parts with individual parameters:

kawai k1 tech

- keyboard zone assign
- voices reserve (priority)
- mix gain level
- Midi channel assign
- semitone transpose
- pitch tune.

a 4-segments + 1 time EG DADSR for each source.
There are 18 preset velocities curves but no possible edit.

decay LEFT - Vector joystick controls a global mix amplitude EG moving between 4 oscillators.

lfo LFO
a single oscillator (4 shapes: triangle, sawtooth, square and random) modulates 2 destinations:
- LFO to pitch
- LFO to amplitude.

lfo demo HEAR all lfo WAVES

memory MEMORY
(RAM chip is a NEC D4464C9):
- 64 RAM standard patches
- 32 RAM multitimbral
RAM is doubled with memory card model DC8, also compatible with DC16 and DC32.

internal k1
Battery replacement: soldered lithium battery 3V Cr-2032


midi MIDI
standard implementation with just a few CC# but full compliant to Midi Exclusives data for both edit and backup.


memory OS latest official is 1.3 on 27c256 eprom - you can DOWNLOAD it for free update -

internal k1


kawai k1 circuit bent!

K1m model has been mutilated and bent: sound is just crazy!hear a demo.

memory A special 12 bend point K1m is ready for sale! INFO


memory EDIT there are some editors like:
- soundquest (mac/pc) PIC
- soundiver (mac/pc)
- soundlib (pc)
- caged artist (Atari ST) PIC
- K1 edit (Atari ST) shareware) PIC
- Kawai K1 editor (Commodore Amiga) PIC

atari st k1 edit


memory K1 - related machines

kawai k1 k1 II family

k1r rackmount version without joystick


k1m desktop version




K1 II: reverb + new drum waveforms

K1 rII: rackount K1 II version minus joystick and effect DSP


effet VST PLUGIN / SAMPLED VERSION no K1 VST plugin emulation for the moment, just some free and commercial samples set:

cycled waves kungrille free
(cycled waves)



demo a full track made only with K1
demo full track by Justin Noyce *thanks*
demo ambient: 4 bits pad
demo ambient: lo-fi choir
demo Vector: strings
demo Synth: obx
demo Synth: crystal whine
demo Synth: square (space harrier)
demo Multi mode 1 demo
demo Noise: ringmodulator
demo Noise: ringmodulator 2
demo piano acoustic
demo piano: EP rhodes
demo organ: farfisa like
demo brass: saturday night show
demo harp: the avatar stones
demo percussion: General Rico
demo XP: all PCM waves
demo XP: first VM waves
demo XP: ringmod VM1 / VM2 then s1>s2
demo XP: all LFO waves
demo XP circuit bend K1 demo

ultima 4



Kawai K1 Synthesizer 1985 Demo Kawai K1 Synth Demo Kawai k1 100% sounds
1985 Demo Synth Demo 'know that one!

Company: Kawai
Model: K1
Class: Synthesizer
Keyboard: 61 keys
Display: 16 x 2 LCD
Dates: 1988
Price: 150€
Synthesis: PCM rompler
N.waves: 256 PCM
Resolution: 8 bits
Oscillator: 4 PCM
Polyphony: 16 voices
Multitimbric: 8 parts
LFO: 1
Envelope: 4 DADSR
Filter: none
Memory: 64 slots
Latest OS: V1.3
CPU: D78310G
DAC: 6355G
Demo: 22







kawai k1m
500 free sounds
for k1 k1m k1r - all card dumps.


k1 banner


original scan
wavetable original brochure


original scan
wavetable original brochure


original scan
wavetable original brochure


original scan
wavetablewavetablefun cover

k1 banner





kawai eporm motherboard p106




REVIEW "The k1 is one of a kind for noisy textures. Don't be fooled by presets and give a good edit! you can buy it for 2 peanuts"

manual manual
- bargain price - no filter structure
- noisy Lo-fi sound
- edit

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Kawai K1 Kawai K1 Digital Synthesizer
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