Kawaï K5000R Advanced Additive Synthesizer


KAWAI K5000R v4.03 - The advanced Additive Synthesizer

Kawai's additive synthesis system -- Advanced Additive -- is more sophisticated than that offered by the company's '80s vintage K5. A Single (in Kawai speak) patch is formed from up to six Sources -- 'oscillators' and each Source can be additive or chosen from a collection of 123 attack waveform, transient and loop samples. The more Sources you use in a patch, the less of the 32-voice polyphony is available, and dynamic patch memory will also fill up more quickly -- there are nominally 128 memories in each of two banks, but there's not enough patch RAM to allow you to save, say, 128 six-source patches in each. Luckily, a two-bank memory expansion is available.

Advanced Additive is built around the additive Wave Set, a collection of 128 sine wave-based harmonics available in two groups of 64 (harmonics 1-64 and 65-128, so use two Sources if you want access to all 128), each with its own level and 5-stage looping amplitude envelope. Further filtering is provided for each additive Source, in the shape of a 128-band formant filter, and this can itself be controlled by envelope generators or LFOs. Whether choosing to use additive or PCM Sources, each is equipped with a comprehensive set of synth parameters, including pitch envelope generator, resonant filter, filter envelope and digitally controlled amplifier. The whole works are passed through four effects processors (offering preset configurations from a list of 37 effects, including delays, flanging, distortion, and so on), reverb (11 types) and EQ.

There's actually a lot of parameters; fortunately, Kawai have provided some short-cuts, especially when it comes to managing the additive harmonics, their envelopes and the formant filters. For a start, no need have to work on each individual harmonic or formant filter band. Kawai allows one to work on groups of harmonics (labelled Bright, Dark, Even, Odd, and so on), and allows to work on groups of filter bands. The so-called 'Morf' display offers another short-cut, whereby the K5000R creates new harmonic shapes using four Sources selected from other patches.

There's just one other programming level on the K5000R : the Multi, of which there are 64. Up to four Single patches can be layered, split, or assigned to separate MIDI channels to form a Multi. There hasn't been so much variety in the world of synthesis for a long time.