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Kawai K4




kawai k4 synthesizer

info Country: Japan
Weight: 7,3 kg
Dimensions: 1020 (w) x 310,8 (H) x 88,5 (D) mm
audio demo trend price : 150€
manual factory patch demo video comments

Kawai K4 (1989)
16 Bit Digital Synthesizer


A major upgrade from previous model KAWAI K1 adding resonant filters and a clearer DAC PCM wavetable.

kawai k4 logo
kawai k4 logo

info KEYBOARD 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch.
The main panel features a 16 X 2 lines display, 28 buttons a data slider. On left side 2 wheels for pitch bending plus a modulation assignable to LFO rate/ filter or filter cutoff.

Back panel terminal connectors:
- Midi interface
- headphones out
- main osignal ut
- damper pedalswitch input
- data card slot (for special data cards)

ac Power supply PSU - 12V 500 mA+ (original model Kawai PS121G).

edit TECH
CPU 8-bits UPD 78310G manages 16 voices polyphony based on samples synthesis DMS tone generation. DAC is a Burr Brown PCM66P. A basic K4 patch is composed by 1 or 2 PCM samples or "sources" that can routed to filter in 3 possible modes: normal, twin or double.


Matched pair of sources can be ringmodulated by DIGITAL AM PROCESS in 2 ways:
A- source 1 -> source 2
B- source 3 -> source 4.

demo Ring modulation HEAR.



edit PCM WAVETABLE internal 16 bits ROM contains 256 DCO waves - Full PCM list HERE
Internal K4 ROM is organized into 2 categories:


- 96 PCM DC digital cyclic: mathematically precalculated fundamental and basic waveforms e.g sinusoidal, analog square, voice formants, organ additive and some short transients.

- 160 PCM acoustic samples categorized into 4 subgroups: drums, multi, block and reverse & loop.

filter PERFORMANCE structure can be assigned to 8 parts each with individual settings:

k4 tec
- split zone
- volume gain
- shift / transpose
- Midi channel assign
- velocity thresholds

- 8 different non-editable velocity curves.

filter FILTER IC K008-FP handles 2 digital resonant filters featuring a -12 dB slope each.
Filters can be chained in serial or parallel mode and scream at high resonance value, which is way quantized into 7 scaled steps. Another useful function is the Key tracking mode at 50% cutoff value to lower or higher octaves.

cutoff demoHEAR filter cutoff

adsr ENVELOPE 6 EGs:

adsr - 1 X EG FILTER 1: 3 segments + 1 time level
- 1 X EG FILTER 2: 3 segments + 1 time level
- 1 X EG (for each SOURCE) amplitude a 3-segments + 2 time levels.

lfo LFO single delayed main modulator (shapes: triangle, saw, square and random) and 3 destinations (a simplified second LFO acts as a vibrato sharing same LFO1 waverform )

LFO - LFO to pitch
- LFO to filter 1
- LFO to filter 2
demo HEAR random LFO

fx EFFECT the internal DSP features 32 patches combinations e.g. reverb, delay, chorus, flanger and distortion/overdrive.

memory MEMORY
- 64 RAM slots for patches
- 64 RAM performances.
Sounds and setting may be saved to standard Midi sysex dump or recorded to Kawai RAM cards model Kawai DC-16 and DC-32.

k4 chips
LEFT - intenal k4 motherboard click the k4 internal guts with wave table and OS eprom


OS operative system is on a single EPROM, lastest is 1.4 - you can DOWNLOAD the Hex bin from FREE :)

os update


family EDIT
there are many programmers for computer :

ipad editor - Soundquest (commercial PC/MAC) PIC
- Sounddiver (out of business)
- K4 WIN (shareware old PC) PIC
- K4 patch editor (freeware old PC) PIC
- K4 editor (freeware ATARI ST) PIC
- Musicode K4 Voice Development System (? ATARI ST)
- K4 editor (shareware Commodore AMIGA) PIC
- K4/K4R Ipad editor (commercial IOS)


memory K4 MODIFICATION It is possible to circuitbent the k4 for some experimental glitches effect... if you're into digital textures or noises.

kawai k4 bending demoHEAR Some random bending noises


k4r K4R rackmount version: extra analog outs, but lacks FX DSP.



effet VST PLUGIN / SAMPLED VERSION there are some free and commercial samples set:

virtual VST VIRTUAL K4 VIRTUAL K4 offers a kind of emulation based on samples. However 2 major problems: It needs an old AWE32 soundcard for DCF filter emulation and It does not seem to work from Windows XP to higher.



demo favourite: indastria pad
demo favourite: resonance trick
demo favourite: on the run
demo favourite: choir
demo favourite: DC cycle
demo favourite: resonance pad
demo favourite: 8 bits NES
demo favourite: ambient bells
demo piano: yes lofi
demo piano: creepy
demo organ: sixty
demo organ: B3?
demo choir: mixed
demo choir: mixed 2
demo bass: performance
demo bass: quick arpeggio
demo bass: resonance 100%
demo bass: demo with korg ER1
demo Drum: the kit
demo Drum: morphing tr808
demo Drum: looping
demo pad: with LFO
demo pad: texture
demo pad: performance
demo pad: resonant
demo pad: eerie
demo synth: brass filtered
demo synth: quite clavinet
demo synth: early digital
demo synth: sid beret
demo synth: sequenced
demo synth: bellish
demo synth: ppg?
demo synth: commodore64
demo synth: bellish2
demo synth: LFO DCF
demo synth: tremoled
demo synth: roland tb303
demo synth: lounge chord
demo synth: k4r fake delay
demo synth: square pulse
demo FX: LFO DCO
demo FX: chaos
demo FX: 4 bits aliased
demo FX: LFO galore
demo FX: harsh
demo FX: morse sine
demo FX: click pops
demo FX: fixed
demo FX : experimental
demo FX: harsher
demo BENDING! 1
demo BENDING! 2
demo BENDING! 3
demo BENDING! 4
demo BENDING! 5
demo BENDING! 6
demo BENDING! 7
demo BENDING! 8
demo BENDING! 9
demo BENDING! 10
demo BENDING! 11


Kawai K4 16bit DIGITAL SYNTHESIZER - High Quality Sound- K4 custom sounds Kawai K4 synthesizer sound demo
High Quality Sound custom sounds sound demo

Company: Kawai
Model: K4
Class: synthesizer
Keyboard: 61 keys
Dates: 1989
Technology: DMS tone
Synthesis: PCM rompler
N.Wave: 256 waves
Polyphony: 16 voices
Multitimbric: 8 parts
Filter: 2 digital lowpass
LFO: 1
Envelope: 6 EGS
Effect: 32
Memory: 64 RAM slots
CPU: 78310G
os: latest is 1.4 V
Demo: 63




FOR k4/k4r


-FREE samples collection



original scan
wavetable original brochure


original scan
wavetable original advert


original scan
wavetable original brochure

original scan
wavetable original brochure


original scan
wavetable original ad


k4 artwork
wavetable K4 Artwork dope


Kawai K4 16bit DIGITAL SYNTHESIZER - High Quality Sound-
videoeffet k4 player!











source edit model




REVIEW"Surprising old rompler with nice filter. Good for 90' pads and noisy sounds, anything else is obsolete."

manual manual
- resonant filters -sound edit
-plastic cheap built
-good pad/sweeps - outdated samples

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Kawai K4 Kawai K4 - 16 Bit Digital Synthesizer
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