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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 low-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 OLED 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. Each K1 voice is composed by a maxium of 4 assigned waves or SOURCES with a simple ringmodulator (only fixed depth) which modules the sources.

pcm 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:

signal flow

* BASIC classic basic waveforms e.g square, saw and sine.
* FREQUENCY RANGE are spectral transients e.g piano, strings, brass, lead, bell and organ.

demo hear all PCM waves / some VM waves

PERFORMANCE machine manages up to 8 parts with individual parameters:

- keyboard zone assign

- voices reserve (with variable priority)

- mix gain level

- Midi channel assign

- semitone transpose

- pitch tune
-18 preset velocities curves but no possible edit

kawai k1 tech

a 4-segments + 1 time EG DADSR for each source.



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

demo hear pad vector


lfo LFO
a single oscillator (4 shapes: triangle, sawtooth, square and random) modulates 2 destinations:


- LFO to pitch

- LFO to amplitude

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

LEFT Battery replacement: soldered lithium battery 3V Cr-2032

ultima 4

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

internal k1


it for free update -


kawai k1 circuit bent!

Our K1m model has been mutilated and bent: sound is just crazy hear

demo XP circuit bend K1 demo


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)


original scan original scan
original scan original scan


Company: Kawai
Model: K1
Class: Synthesizer
Keyboard: 61 keys
Display: 16 x 2 LCD
Dates: 1988
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 full track: only K1
demo full track: by J.Noyce
demo full track: Multi mode 1
demo ambient: 1 - 2
demo Vector: strings
demo Synth: 1 - 2 - 3
demo Noise: 1 - 2
demo piano: midi - rhodes
demo organ: farfisa like
demo brass: saturday night
demo percussion: Klendathu
demo XP: all PCM waves
demo XP: first VM waves
demo XP: ringmod s1>s2
demo XP: all LFO waves

demohave some k1



original scan
wavetable original brochure






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

k1 bag
wavetable original bag (ebay)









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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all snapshots, sounds, texts copyright Polynominal.com / Eric Pochesci - polynominal.com is not associated or affiliated with Kawai in any manner.

Kawai K1 Kawai K1 Digital Synthesizer
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