BuySellRentRepair

You'll find here everything about electronic musical instruments!

Synthesizers&KeyboardsSound Module/ Tone GeneratorModular SystemsDrum Machines, Percussion SynthsOtherDJSoftware
Electric GuitarsProcessors, Effects, PedalsAmplifiersTuners&metronomes
Countries/ cities

The American brand Kurzweil - or Kurzweil Music Systems - began its history in 1982 in the United States. The famous musician Stevie Wonder, programmer Bruce Cichowlas and ingenious inventor Raymond Kurzweil, who previously worked on the creation and development of a system for speech recognition were the founders of the company. When Stevie Wonder met Raymond Kurzweil they decided to create electronic musical instruments which would produce the sounds of acoustic instruments with incredible accuracy.
Kurzweil Music Systems company was sold in 1990. The Korean brand Young Chang which continued the production of Kurzweil instruments saving all the prevailing principles and canons while keeping prices within reasonable limits. As a result in 2006 Young Chang joined the mega-corporation Huyndai, and Ray Kurzweil was appointed to the post of Director for Strategic Development. The musical instruments made by Kurzweil brand are, first of all, very advanced sound generating engines, high-quality sampler and a detailed sequencer which make it possible to edit almost every move.

The first series of synthesizers-samplers called K - or Kurzweil-250 – came out in 1984. The quality and realism of K-250 sound was really fantastic and fully embraced the acoustic grand piano sound thanks to the built-in digital processor (DSP, digital signal processor). Samples are recorded on integrated circuit, the synthesizer control was also completely digital. K-250, as the first sample of Kurzweil's products, was quite large, however it didn’t become an issue when the instrument got really popular. To achieve complex sound timbres by adding a different number of simple waves in the next version of the instrument - K-150 - Additive Synthesis method was used. This instrument was distributed to educational and research institutions.

K series models: K-1000, K-1200 were released as stripped down versions of Kurzweil-250 model featuring several keyboard variants as well as an extensive database of sound libraries.

K2000 models which came into production 1991 a new synthesis technology was used bringing worldwide fame to Kurzweil instruments - Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology (V.A.S.T.). The technology made it possible to combine samples of realistic instruments and synthesized waveforms, and then perform digital signal processing using a digital processor. The series synthesizers had a 24-voice polyphony, 3 digital oscillators, and 8MB of built-in sample memory (expandable up to 24 MB) – that’s impressive because at that time many personal computers didn’t have as much. K-2000 was represented by the following versions: K2000S (comprising a sampler), K2000R (rackmount), K2000RS (rackmount with a sampler). K2000 series was adored by professional musicians and many music stars - Robert Miles, Pink Floyd, Jean Michel Jarre, Depeche Mode, Nick Rhodes, Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and, of course, Stevie Wonder, used these synths for studio and live performances.

Model K2500 was released as an improved version of K-2000 with a 48-voice polyphony, 8MB of internal memory for sound libraries expandable up to 28MB, 32-track sequencer. K2500 series included versions with and without sampler (memory capacity up to 128 MB) and with a different number of keys: K2500S (with a sampler), K2500X (88 full-weight keys), K2500XS, K2500R and K2500RS (rackmount version). The brand even got its own music “Rolls-Royce” - K2500 AES (Audio Elite System) - one of the most expensive digital synthesizers of that time represented by K2500XS with all the available extensions in a champagne-colored enclosure featuring sides of noble wood. It cost $20000 when it was released - only 6 of units were produced. Now the prices have fallen to $6000-8000, however it’s almost impossible to find someone selling K2500 AES. And maybe you won’t have to, because for the same money you can buy a new Kurzweil PC3K8 and keep your change – though the change sum will be enough to purchase a couple of vintage Kurzweil instruments, such as K2600R, and enjoy the same sounds.

K2600, released in 1999, included a new company’s design – KDFX, which allowed storing and applying more sound effects. Polyphony remained unchanged - 48 notes, sound libraries memory and the number of timbres were expanded (up to 44MB/450 presets + thousands uploaded via CD-ROM/floppy).

In the early 2000s PC1, PC2 workstations appeared continuing the tradition of K2xxx series and the line of electronic pianos SP2, SP3, SP76/SP88 was also developed. The modern SP series (SP5-8, SP4-8, SPS4-8, SP4-7) is a quality digital stage keyboard synthesizer which you can buy without worrying about the invested money. In some way they might be inferior to competitors in terms of the number of samples, some obsolete technological solutions, the most important is that the sound they generate is beyond praise and your fingers truly enjoy the keyboard. Yes, and prices don’t bite, unlike those of some other manufacturers.

PC3 workstation, released in 2008, has become one of the most powerful workstations of its time. A high-quality, elaborate backlit display enabled the musician to work and review a large amount of information at a time. The instrument also included system updates: Dynamic V.A.S.T. and Cascade Mode allowing you to create new sophisticated musical algorithms, as well as VA1 virtual analog engine which had more than a thousand quality factory presets, the ability to interact with PCs, MIDI via USB and traditional for the top Kurzweil instruments digital audio outputs. Today PC3 line continues to evolve. The series of performance controllers PC3LE and their successors PC3A, as well as PC3K workstations are in production – classic professional time-tested instruments.

Artis digital piano which went on sale in 2011 is a stage electronic keyboard that includes both piano and synth sounds, wind and percussion instruments. Artis became a real "musical fortress" with the inclusion of previously developed technologies by Kurzweil brand. The instruments have an intuitive user interface which is nice for performing live; special applications for MAC, PC and iOS allow you to work with sound layers. Of course, Artis is completely compatible with PC3 series and allows import-export operations between these synthesizers. The series included such models as the more expensive Artis (8) with an 88-note weighted keyboard, 76-note Artis 7 (semi-weighted keyboard), and Artis SE with fewer factory programs and a shamefully obsolete small screen but with a weighted keyboard taken from the previous Artis model. Gorgeous Artis 7 smashed the market and it was fair enough!

Forte series came out in 2014 as an even more sophisticated continuation of Artis series, and there is more of anything for sure - factory presets, and effects, and the screen inches, and, which is important for many musicians, there are arpeggiators previously not available in Artis instruments. Forte has much more elaborate sound samples. The series includes models: Forte (8), Forte 7 and Forte SE - a budget version with no sample memory extension and with a smaller screen. Top Forte units have a large color LCD, over 500 factory patches including multitimbral programs, 3.3GB onboard samples, 1000 user patches memory space, V.A.S.T. editing parameters which can be set directly via front panel – no need to resort to your computer. We should note that all Fortes are compatible with PC3 line, offers much more zones than Artis does - 8 or 16, as well as samples of Japanese Grand Piano - Yamaha C7! The new technology of the brand is introduced in the series - Flash Play – which uses a high-speed data storage device for samples playback (2GB in SE and 16Gb in top Kurzweil models).

Today we can’t say that Kurzweil synthesizer branch is going through the best times of sunny optimism but the brand fans are the most dedicated ones, and the company's engineers still generate ideas and produce excellent instruments with unique sound, so let's hope that the new Kurzweil synthesizers which will come after PC3A and Artis/Forte family will not have us waiting for too long.