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Kurzweil - the future?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby forumuser910887 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:58 am

the free soundtower editor is less than useless and is plagued with bugs,but kurz wont release details for any other editors to work with it as far as i know. i find it easy enough using the screen but that scares off a lot of people and theres no excuse as every other manufacturer can manage to get decent editor support.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave B » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:03 pm

You could probably reverse engineer the sysex, but I suspect it's not economically viable to do so. People keep telling me the SoundTower editor is awful, but I never really notice. But then I rarely use it - like you I'm happy with editing direct.

The Korg editor for the Kronos isn't perfect either - it's _really_ dumb when it comes to bank handling and following. Maybe they've improved it a bit but I haven't checked for a while. Shame as it's pretty accurate in recreating the onboard display at a resolution that is readable lol
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave Weiser » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:38 pm

Hi everyone! Great thread.

I thought I might be able to add a few bits of info and context. I used to work for Kurz R&D full time from 2000 to 2013. Since then I worked on the Forte as a part time contractor (created most of the EPs and Clavs). Main gig these days is programming for Broadway/West End and touring shows around the world (using PC3K, moving shortly to the Forte).

Anyone looking for a good breakdown of how VAST works: the PC3 tutorials on their website lay it out very clearly. The PC3 screen/pages are obviously smaller, but the parameters and signal flow are the same. The chapters are short and easy to digest.
http://kurzweil.com/product/pc3k8/video/

One thing worth noting: VAST was designed under the guidance of a dedicated department of professional musicians and sound engineers. (Soundware Dept, as it's still known at R&D.) The signal flow is left to right, Sample related pages into DSP pages (Filters, EQs, shapers, etc) into Amp Envelope and off to the FX section . There you'll find inserts and Aux's, just as you would in a studio.

The power and flexibility of certain things in VAST, like 32 layers in programs or 16 zones in setups/multis posed a challenge for UI design. No display is going to be able to show 32 layers - it would have to be the size of a football field. Had they limited the system to 4 layers, the UI would indeed be more manageable and tidy. We decided that having 32 layers was worthwhile - it allowed us to create some very detailed presets. (Most of my EP programs use 20-30 layers.) Using the +/- the buttons next to the screen to toggle through layers, with the ability to solo the layer you're on, works really well.

Still I would love to see my friends at R&D develop their own editor.

Regarding the Forte: I could not be happier. New multi-GB presets in a hardware board that boots up in 30 seconds has been a big win for Kurz.

For a small R&D group it made a lot of sense to get the new hardware platform up and running with a simple stage piano architecture. (And it could start bringing in revenue!) Once it was stable, they started adding more advanced features - half pedaling, string res, 16 zones, full VAST/FX editing and eventually 3GB of user sample memory. Pretty much the most/biggest free upgrades I've ever seen on a keyboard.

The original stage piano spec also helped keep the cost down. Had it been called a K3000 they might have felt compelled to add more bells and whistles (like ribbon controllers) that could have bumped the price up. Keeping the cost down was always a huge challenge - it was the thing that most surprised me when I first started working there. Every button, knob, slider, etc adds way more cost than one would guess. This is because they're not making and selling tens of millions of units like smart phone and tablet manufacturers. If a keyboard sells 10K units it's considered a success. 20K or more is considered a huge success. These small numbers mean higher prices, and can make purchasing/choosing components a "pound of flesh" sort of process.

Last thing to mention - there are now some really helpful Kurz related resources online.

Knowledge Base: Quick tips, FAQs for Kurz products.
http://kurzweil.com/knowledgebase/

Ksetlist: Large online repository of free sounds for download. Just log in, say hi (I'm not a robot) and start downloading.
http://ksetlist.com

Facebook User Groups:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kurzweilfortegroup/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/kurzweilpc3/

Kurz Company Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/kurzweilmusicsystems/

Top Notch 3rd Party Sounds:
http://www.purgatorycreek.com/page-2/page-3/index.html

And a little tutorial explaining how my UK partner and I use Kurz boards in theater shows:
http://www.weisersound.com/kurzweil-pc3 ... ter-primer

Anyone here can feel free to hit me with Kurz related questions anytime. If I don't know the answer, I can usually ring someone who does. Also, any Forte owners here - send me an email and I'll give you my custom Forte sound set free of charge. I'm a dealer here in the US, it's something I give to my Forte customers for added value. Happy to share it with anyone here as a small goodwill gesture. :) weiserdav@gmail.com
Info on the sound set here: http://www.weisersound.com/kurzweil-forte

I'll be heading back to the UK in September to set up the Sunset Blvd tour. Anyone in Leicester, pints are on me!
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:43 pm

Dave Weiser wrote:Hi everyone! Great thread.

I thought I might be able to add a few bits of info and context. I used to work for Kurz R&D full time from 2000 to 2013. Since then I worked on the Forte as a part time contractor (created most of the EPs and Clavs). Main gig these days is programming for Broadway/West End and touring shows around the world...

I'll be heading back to the UK in September to set up the Sunset Blvd tour. Anyone in Leicester, pints are on me!

Hi Dave, and welcome to the SOS Forums! 8-)

And what an amazingly detailed first post - I can see you making a lot of friends here very quickly :thumbup:

Hint - to get to meet lots of us in the flesh, if you're back in the UK from September around the Leicester area, try to get to the SOS-organised Synthfest at the Sheffield Octagon, on Saturday 7th October 2017. Lots more details in this thread:

http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewt ... 23&t=57719


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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave B » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:26 pm

+1 Welcome to Dave - the man is a bit of a star in the Kurz user community.

The second link he posted is for 'ksetlist' which is a great resource site for users to share help / info and patches. It's a quiet little corner of sanity (much like here) in the madness of the net and has a couple of quite clever bods there - even someone who has scripts for tearing apart the various files that are saved. Seriously good resource site!
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:16 am

+2

It's good to be able to say "bloody well done!" to one of the people responsible for VAST. You guys did an amazing job and were way ahead of your time.

Thank you - please stick around!
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby mick.n » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:58 am

Dave B wrote:+1 Welcome to Dave - the man is a bit of a star in the Kurz user community.


He has also done some great programming for the Casio PX5S. :thumbup:
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby desmond » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:43 pm

Great post, thanks! :thumbup:
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Scramble » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:07 pm

I'm near Leicester, be glad to grab a pint or two sometime with you, Dave.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave Weiser » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:55 pm

Thanks to all for the kind welcome!

All of us past and present Kurz employees are huge fans of Sound on Sound. Glad to see the forum here reflects the brains and class for which the magazine is known.

Scramble: Yes! I'll be there first week of September, don't have my exact dates yet. Feel free to shoot me an email.

Been enjoying some time at home before travel for shows starts up again... which means I've had some time to noodle around on some of my presets. (Kurz Forte, 25-layer program, all factory ROM samples.)
https://www.facebook.com/david.weiser.7 ... 8779017597
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby BobTheDog » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:23 pm

So, I'm going through a total reorganisation here. One of the things going is my Kronos 88 and I want a kurzweil to take its place. So currently is the Forte, Artis or PC3 the best way forward, I'm not too interested in a hammer action, synth action us fine.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave Weiser » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:23 pm

The Forte is the new hardware platform. New hardware means bigger/nicer screen, much larger sample memory (16GB factory, 3GB user), new multi-GB samples (Steinway, Yamaha, Rhodes, Wurly, Clav, Harpsi, Celesta) and twice the effects of the PC3K. It's got hammer action, but one with a quick release, not overly sluggish/heavy. Both 88 and 76 note models use this action (Fatar TP40L).

PC3K is the only model with a 61 note synth action option. (Fatar TP9)

Artis (Stage Piano) is basically a PC3 with little to no editing, but usually priced a bit lower. Slightly lower cost/lighter weight action (Fatar TP100) used on Nord HP models.

Of the models above, the Forte is the closest competitor to the Kronos.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby BobTheDog » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:12 am

Hi Dave,

Thanks very much for the info, I do find the Kurzweil website a bit confusing!

I'll find somewhere with a Forte and go and have a play.

Cheers

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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave B » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:39 pm

Andy, I have both so if you can brave the roads, you're welcome to wander round here and have a play...
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby BobTheDog » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:31 pm

That's very kind of you Dave.

What do you think of the Forte compared to the K88?

Really I'm after a Kurzweil for the synthesis side rather then the romper side.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby Dave B » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:52 pm

Hard to say. Both are great at what they do - but a lot of that is the rompler idea. With Kurz, this means that you can do mad things with VAST to either samples or dsp calculated raw waveforms, but I wasn't 100% sold on those waves at first. Silly I know, but the classic 'jump' brassy saw sound was a bit anaemic compared to, say, a proper Oberheim or the modern OB6. But then I suspect that the original patches weren't showing things to the full potential and I think I've heard a couple of other patches that make my ears prick up a bit.

But then I'd also say that I'm not a huge fan of either the MS20 or the Polysix that are in the Kronos. I'm more interested in the fact that it's rompler engine is basically a super wavestation. Saying that, I've barely programmed mine at all and just use it as a convenient master keyboard and a couple of fairly regular sounds. TBH, I wouldn't shed a tear if it went. But that could change ... (I'm like that!)

;)
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby BobTheDog » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:43 am

Thanks for the info.

I get your point about the MS20 and PolySix. The HD-1, AL-1 and MOD-7 are pretty good though and I'm sure the STR-1 would be as well if I could get my head round it!

Being a beyond terrible keyboard player the keybed is not of great importance to me, if they did a new rack/desktop I would be all over it. I originally got the K88 to learn how to play the keyboard properly with a plan of an hours practise a day. As 4 years have gone past with very little practise I'm guessing this is never going to happen, especially as I am using the Linnstrument now which does get an hours worth of practise a day.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby mick.n » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:35 pm

Hmmm, my retirement keyboard was going to be the Kronos 2, 88....... after checking out the Kurzweil Forte specs & reviews I think a change of heart may be forthcoming.
Blasted indecision. :headbang:
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby BobTheDog » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:22 pm

mick.n wrote:Hmmm, my retirement keyboard was going to be the Kronos 2, 88....... after checking out the Kurzweil Forte specs & reviews I think a change of heart may be forthcoming.
Blasted indecision. :headbang:

I have one you may want (K88), I have heard those Kurzweils are no good, pm me for a good price.
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Re: Kurzweil - the future?

Postby mick.n » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:58 pm

BobTheDog wrote:
I have one you may want (K88), I have heard those Kurzweils are no good, pm me for a good price.

Thank you Bob, it will be another 1 to 2 years before i can justify the expense.........and also quite a few synths/gear i need to move on. Even then i will have to gain approval from my head of domestic control. :headbang:
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