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Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Dave B » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:32 am

Anyone caught the news item on this? Now it has :

- 128meg sample memory
- NON VOLATILE!! Woo Hoo
- K-Series compatibility - another Woo and Hoo
- Some rather fetching wooden end checks
- All the usual PC-series performance stuff

Wow. The K compatibility will be interesting as the standard PC3 is missing quite a few waveforms (no 'strings' waveforms for the classic 'Grand Strings' which is a bugger).

Apparently, the features were requested by Lloyd-Webber so that he can replace his K2600s with new gear. Suddenly he has gone up a fair amount in my estimation - he has taste in kit at least.

I did wonder why the 2600 had vanished from the 'current product pages' over at Kurzweil's home site... now I know.

Shipping in May-ish. So I have time to start saving my pennies...

:bouncy:
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Kevin Nolan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:11 pm

While this looks like a very good development, there are a few issues that still very much annoy me when I compare my K2500XS to the PC3 and this release:

- The K2500XS Keyboard has significantly better action than the PC3 (and supposedly the PC3K). While the K2500 action is among the best around still to date, the PC3 action is clunky and very cheap feeling. That alone would deter me from 'upgrading'.

- While the PC3K sounds magnificent on Kurzweil's web side video tutorials (and actually, these are really worth watching if you own any K2XXX synth as they explain the OS and VAST very well); and the PC3K has a very deep feature set, it will essentially be impenetrable to all but the most dedicated of Kurzweil programmers. Specifically, with 32 layers per program - that means that, for example, if you have a 32 layer piano, you have to adjust 32 sets of parameters for just that one program. If you wish to make the piano program more mellow for example, you have to make 32 sets of filter adjustments. And its the same for every other programming parameter. What are Kurzweil thinking?

Hence while VAST is a stunning synthesizer engine, it is virtually impossible to program. For love not money I cannot understand why Kurzweil do not offer a separate simplified access to Program parameters, to allow for more spontaneous sound creation or even just sound modification. Its a complete bitch to program.

- While the PC3 is well specified, actually, I'm not convinced its significantly different to a fully equipped K2500XS. For example, with mine containing a HD, extra ROMS, 128 MB RAM, KDFX and K-Sound Steinway piano and KBX Organ emulations, all attainable 2nd hand for a fraction of the cost; I'm convinced its a better package because the KBX Virtual Organ is fully programmable and the Keyboard Action is better. So I would be suggesting to all K2500/2600 S, XS owners to hold off until they try the PC3K - it is by no means a better proposition by default.

- But with the exact same mid-90's LCD Screen access to what is an enormous operating system, clearly the PC3K is simply a re-packaged version of the K2500 without the ribbon controllers and excellent keyboard. Clearly Kurzweil have put almost no effort into bringing their awesome underlying technology into the 21st century. How Raymond Kurzweil and Stevie Wonder can stand over this instrument is utterly beyond me. When you consider the features and ergonomics of OASYS, Fantom and Motif; Kurzweil have a lot to do before they can regain the position they held in the early to mid-90's as THE benchmark workstation company.

Kurzweil's claim that this is 'the breakthrough the industry has been waiting for' - perhaps in 1996 but not today.


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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Zukan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:02 pm

Moist.
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Dave B » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:03 pm

Kevin,

Keyboard action? Pass - it's a question of taste. Personally, I use the 76key unweighted versions as I don't like playing organ on fully weighted keys.

Programming? I hear what you are saying about a 'simple mode' - have you tried feeding that back to Kurzweil themselves? I hear nothing but good things about them nowadays when it comes to feedback.

K2500? I have two racks of these and it's important to note that :

- the PC3 is actually balanced outputs
- the PC3 sounds a darn sight fuller than my 2500s
- the PC3 has _more_ effects than the KDFX
- in fact the PC3 has more programmes, setups, zones, quick access banks, arpegiators, etc
- personally, I prefer non-volatile sameple memory to hard disks as the drive is usually there to just push data to the sample ram and the workflow is simpler
- there is a full editor for the PC3 (*)
- there is also USB connectivity for both midi and file access on the PC3

That's a fair few differences! ;)

(*) NB : I started working with the editor and frankly found it more confusing than programming the damn thing directly. I'm no expert, but I can navigate quite quickly around the unit. So much so that I suspect that a larger display would really only show fancier graphics rather than significantly more information.

I'm not saying that the PC3 is perfect - far from it, but it is a helluva lot of bang for buck. The Korgs and Rolands at this price point are, imho, just full of silly gimmicks rather than being genuinely more innovative - hell, the Phantom G series is the first time ever that I've played on a synth and not been able to change patch with a single button click!

;)

Plus .... and this is the killer .... the Kurzweils _sound_ good. Surely that's got to override everything.

The new 'LE' versions of the PC3 leave me cold - more silly gimmicks and my prediction is that they will be complete flops. But this puppy ... I'll bet you a fiver that they start cropping up more and more over the next couple of years.
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Kevin Nolan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:59 pm

Hi David -

You make some good points - thanks. I'm probably being a little harsh and I agree that Kurzweil are helpful. Kurzweil in the UK and Denmark were incredibly helpful to me 4-5 years ago (in their 'darkest' days!) when I acquired my K2500XS and wanted to upgrade it. Kurzweil really did go the extra mile to help out with acquiring and installing all the hardware and OS updates.

Actually I'll agree that the PC3K on the Kurzweil web tutorials sounds really excellent. And with the new VA low-aliasing oscillators on the PC3K then it should sound excellent at analogue emulations (though even the Sawtooth VA emulation on K2500/K2600 is great as a virtual analogue).

So yes - Kurzweils sound great and indeed VAST is an amazing synthesizer architecture; I just wish they would finish the job and provide a new control surface and new programming interface. It would be a keyboard to die for if they just completed the job.

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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:36 pm

As a loooong time K-series user, when I saw reports of a new K-compatible I rushed to look at the spec.

I have to say I’m somewhat underwhelmed. Yes, there’s more of everything, and some nice-sounding new features, but it isn’t the monster I was hoping for.

Personally I would have liked:
bigger, colour screen
supplied memory in terms of GB, not MB
VST integration
MUCH more powerful effects capabilities – I smiled when I saw the claim that the new effects engine offers “more than twice the processing power of our acclaimed KDFX engine”. I should hope it does, given how old KDFX is! I was hoping for more like 16 times the processing power at least!

I much prefer a non-weighted keyboard.

Time start a new thread about my keyboard woes with my K2600 methinks...
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Dave B » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:49 pm

I must be the only person alive who doesn't necessarily want a big colour screen!!

:bouncy:

Actually, I really miss the old K2000 thing of showing you the patch name in big chunky letters. That's incredibly handy when playing live - which is what the PC series are supposed to be for. Maybe _I_ should drop Kurzweil a line ...

;)

Interestingly, VST integration should now be possible with the PC3 series having a USB connection.

There is still the rumour that Ray himself is working on something big and top secret to replace / supercede the K2600. Maybe that will have some of the more funky stuff that's being suggested..?
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Zukan » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:08 pm

Dave B wrote:
There is still the rumour that Ray himself is working on something big and top secret to replace / supercede the K2600. Maybe that will have some of the more funky stuff that's being suggested..?

Or he could be resolving the Big Bang Theory.
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby MarkOne » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:07 pm

Dave B wrote:
There is still the rumour that Ray himself is working on something big and top secret to replace / supercede the K2600. Maybe that will have some of the more funky stuff that's being suggested..?

Probably including the option to digitise and upload your neural state to sample memory
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Dave B » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:32 am

NB : checked with Kurzweil themselves and, sadly, existing PC3 owners can't upgrade their existing machines to take the sample memory / OS upgrade. Seems that they have had to change the board design to accommodate the new features.

Bugger! :frown:

Still, it means something incredibly new and shiny later this year .... ;)
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:54 am

I have been using Kurzweil instruments since the K2000 first came out, so that is a pretty long time. Started with that, then upgraded to a K2500XS, now I am using a Kurzweil PC3K7.

I would like to reply to a few comments made about the Kurzweil PC3 and PC3K being too difficult and complicated to use. Let me start by saying that I recently took a serious look at some other keyboard workstations because I liked some of the new touch-screen LCDs and the ability to sample directly into the back of the keyboard with a mic or line input. Can't do that with the PC3K, and the LCD screen is small and monochrome compared to most of the competition - which brings me to the Korg Kronos. The Kronos is amazing, to say the least, and it has a large color touch screen as well. However, I found sampling, creating multisamples and programming the Kronos extremely difficult. I soon realized it was going to take me a long time to learn even the basics of the Kronos operating system. I get what some people are saying about the PC3K having 32 layer programs, but that in itself doesn't have to make programming difficult. Not every layer in a program has to be tweaked every time. Many PC3K programs already sound great as they are. Also, a Kurzweil user can select a one-layer program to work with instead of a multi-layered program if they want to (i.e., PC3K default program 999).

Next, I tried the Roland FA-06, which I found much easier to use than the Kronos. But as great as it is as both a workstation and sampler, it has significant limitations wit regard to sample editing (samples can only be edited with regard to volume, sample start and end time, and can't even be panned - I don't know what Roland was thinking.

Also tried the Korg Pa1000 Arranger (great instrument, but for me, ridiculously complicated, and the multitrack sequencer does not have a loop function - which was confirmed by Korg tech support). I didn't feel very comfortable with the Yamaha Montage, either. Guess I'm just an old dog

In summary, I'm back with my PC3K7 with its small monochrome LCD screen and flash drive sample uploading only, but I realize it has so much to offer. I would be crazy to start learning a new operating system from the ground up when the PC3K can do almost anything every other workstation can do. Again, you can't sample directly in and the PC3K can't sample itself, either, but it does have a sophisticated sample editor once all your samples are loaded in via flash drive.

With regard to KDFX, the onboard effects processor in the PC3K is not only far more advanced, but it's actually even easier to use.

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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Dave B » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:10 pm

Hi Brian and welcome to the forums!

It's funny to see an old thread like this get resurrected. I can barely believe that it's been 9 years - in the intervening time, I've owned all three sizes of PC3K[x] and now only have the 6 left around. I do have the very spiffy Forte (went for the 7 of that as it's quite neat size-wise) and that's a real keeper.

I also went Kronos and that gave me so much to think about - I really think that Korg pulled a blinder when they built that one. Yes, it has it's faults, and is arguably insanely overpriced for what it is, but it has a couple of things that are truly brilliant -

- you can plug any class-compliant usb device in - which means that a second physical keyboard can just be usb-remote one
- the inputs are proper inputs and don't suffer from ground loops

But the PC3K series still is ridiculously powerful for the money.
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:55 pm

It's a familiar path you're describing.

I was thrashing around for something to replace my old K-series synths (and a few other relics, TBH).

I tried the Roland JP-80, which has its merits, but is let down badly by its dubious audio quality - the top couple of octaves are almost unusable when you're using a VA patch. Shame.

I tried the Kronos, but found it hopelessly complex. Just trying to remove velocity response from a single brass patch had me searching around in page after page - there's a lot of power in there, but it's tough and time-consuming to master. I remain utterly baffled by the filing system, which seems complex to the point of insanity. My Kronos remains criminally under-used, since I know that anything I do with it beyond the patches loaded in there right now will likely not be repeatable. By contrast VAST is a doddle.

Dave B brought me back to sanity and the PC3 series. I haven't looked back - wonderful synths.
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Guest » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:57 am

Thanks for the welcome, Dave. What I actually meant to say is that after working with Kurzweil instruments for so many years, I find the PC3K7 very easy to navigate and program. Of course, if I had been using Korg instruments all these years, I'd probably be saying the same thing about the Kronos.

I only know that programming the PC3K is pretty straightforward. I admit, as with any new workstation, it was a little daunting at first, but not quite as frightening as some of the competition. Jean at Kurzweil operational support helped me get going over the telephone and walked me through some of the basics, and I haven't had any problems since. The PC3K is really a beauty. With regard to V.A.S.T., it may not have changed much over the years, but as far as I'm concerned, it's still light years ahead of the pack and the programming possibilities are endless.

P.S. I am not a spokesperson for Kurzweil...lol
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Dave B » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:49 am

lol - don't sweat it. There's a few Kurz heads around these parts - for a very good reason! :)

In some respects, it's a shame that Kurzweil can't make VAST much easier - it has so much, but does take a little time to wrap your head around it. I barely scratch the surface. There's an occasional poster here called Malc who is stunningly good at it. His patch of the old Fairlight 'sararr' (arrr1 as it's sometimes known) is just about the closest to the old Series I/II Fairlight that I've ever heard. And he uses no additional samples - just VAST (using subtractive AND additive techniques apparently).

There is a theory that the next stage of VAST development is 'macro views' with simplified editing so that people can get comfortable then dig 'under the hood' when they get more confident. It's just speculation and, like most things Kurzweil, is a rumour that's been around for years. I'll be interested to see if that's the road they take..
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:12 am

The Elf wrote:I tried the Kronos, but found it hopelessly complex. Just trying to remove velocity response from a single brass patch had me searching around in page after page - there's a lot of power in there, but it's tough and time-consuming to master.

You're right ... it is baffling on occasion but for some reason I do persevere with it and I've slowly gotten more used to it over time.

As an aside, call me nuts, but I did this (through a professional contact a while back) and it really helped:

Image

Image

Image

Full colour bound printouts of the Kronos manuals :thumbup:

They don't include the latest OS versions, but are a useful resource to have on occasion nonetheless.
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Re: Kurzweil PC3K

Postby BillB » Tue Jan 22, 2019 11:25 am

Not quite as massive or as beautifully bound, but yes, sometimes PDFs, on their own, just don't cut it!

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