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Kawai K5 Additive Synthesizer / Digital Multidimensional Synthesizer

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Kawai K5 at:
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Kawai K5 and Kawai K5m are Digital Multi-Dimensional Synthesizers working based on fourier synthesis Additive Sound Synthesis , that gives nearly infinite freedom in creating sounds. Using realtime Additive Synthesis, each sound of the Kawai K5 can consist of up to 126 harmonic sine waves. This simple but powerful technique, makes it possible to create complex waveforms for new and unique sounds or even recreate waveforms similar to natural sounds.

The harmonics of the COMP-GTR sound(Read more about How harmonic are harmonics harmonics)
K5 Comp-gtr
click and listen to a sound example made with comp-gtr (mp3/size 660kb)

One sound not enough? If you want to hear more, there is an excellent 4.3MByte sound demo Sound Demo from KAWAI. All sounds are generated by one KAWAI K5, except the drums. Or just listen to how patches sounds and goto Kawai K5 Sound page

The waveform of comp-gtr sound
Have a look at the original waveform of comp-gtr

In addition to the main feature of the KAWAI K5, the Additive Synthesis, which is provided by a Digital Harmonics Generator that generates 63 harmonics, for each of the two paired sound sources in Twin Mode(each harmonic can be routed to one out of four programmable Envelope Generators), it has a Digital Frequency Generator, a Digital Dynamic Filter, a Digital Dynamic Amplifier, a LFO and a Digital Formant Filter(11-band graphic equalizer). 6-stage and 7-stage Envelope Generators are used to modulate the generators and add life to your sounds.
Using all this features, which can be programmed independently for each sound, it is possible to create exceptional sounds.

To play the created sounds, the KAWAI K5 is equipped with a 61-keys keyboard (Problems with dead keys? Goto K5 Hack Page for some hints). The keyboard is velocity sensitive, has monophonic(channel) aftertouch and keyboard scaling. These parameters can be changed for each sound.

For editing, moving or deleting sounds it has an LCD(64x240 Points). Usually the LCD backlight has retired from service.

K5 LCD
(Click for dimmed backlight repair guide)


after the backlight is replaced it looks like this:

K5 LCD
Before replacing the backlight, check the state of inverter(Click for some hints)


cursor buttons and a dial for moving for parameter changes and editing,

K5 Wheel and Cursor
(Problems with cursor/edit/patch buttons? Goto K5 Hack Page)


buttons for bank and sound selection.

K5 Editknobs


The internal sound bank has a capacity of 48 single and 48 multi sounds.
There are no 'build in' preset patches, that can be restored. If the patches of the internal sound bank are changed, the 'original' or factory patches must be loaded back to the K5 with a librarian from a computer or another K5.
Additional 48 single and 48 multi sounds can be stored in a removable external ram card.
There is only one type of external RAM card from Kawai that works with the K5 - the DC-32


K5 Card
It is 16 voice polyphonic and multi sounds can be formed combining up to 15 single sounds (multitimbral).

The usual midi in / out / thru combination is available.

5 output jacks can be used, 1-4 can be assigned to selected single sounds in multimode and the 5th output is a mix of the other four (Problems with noisy low output? Goto K5 Hack Page for some hints).

K5 Jacks
(Click to Enlarge)


Pitchbend and modulation wheel are present just as Exp, Pedal, Link and Hold jacks.

For more information visit the K5 Howto, info and tech pages.


Two Kawai K5 More Kawai K5

The Additive Synthesizer KAWAI K5 made by

Kawai manufacturer of the K5

has many excellent features for editing patches and an ingenious sound creation concept, but may be there are some wishes that a KAWAI K5 owner can have e.g. a bankloader / editor which is capable to store / reload sounds from/to a computer.
Normally you will have to buy a standard librarian program that is provided with the advantage to work with a plenty of synthesizers and that's ok for many synthesizer owners. Nevertheless, i started to develop a small little tool for my own needs, that is designed only to fit for the KAWAI K5.

For more information, look at librarian page.

December 21st 2004
The librarian version 0.6 is available - you can download from the

Kfuenf Librarian Page
Kfuenf Control Librarian V0.6

It runs with Windows
Yes, it runs with Linuxlinux k5 logo too :)

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Last change: 10/30/2010
Klaus Tzieply