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Picture of a Kawai synthesiser

Kawai's K5m. An additive synthesiser with 126 harmonics, which also has a dynamic filter and an 11 band graphic equalizer in it. At the time it was released (1987) it was a remarkable beast, not withstanding the voice architecture, it had a reasonably large display which made programming sounds fairly easy. I had a couple of grumbles though, there isn't a noise generator (other than the mix output - more later) so some types of sounds are hard to program, and the individual harmonics do not have their own envelope control - there are four seperate envelope busses to which harmonics can be assigned. Both of these shortcomings have been addressed in Kawai's latest additive synth, the K5000.

Kawai envisage the K5 operating in two modes: Single and Multi. Single is a monotimbral polysynth whereas Multi is a multitimbral polysynth.

Multi Mode can be used to set up layered and split effects with velocity switching etc. for "live" performance, or for typical sequencing duty, or a mix of the two. However the mix output is fairly noisy. The best thing to do is to use the individual outputs and multi mode even if you only want to play a single voice, it's much quieter. If you are a brave type you might also consider increasing the value of the feedback resistors in the output amps. This is not a mod I have tried myself. I heard about it from a message posted to the rec.music.makers.synth newsgroup by Curt Malouin. I have tried to contact Mr. Malouin, but have failed - If you're out there Curt say "hello".

You use this information at your own risk. I am not responsible for you frying your K5, yourself, or your kid brother looking over your shoulder as you work. The resistors are numbered R19 for the mix output and R26, R27, R28, R29 for the individual outputs and are located on board MI-004 if I remember correctly. Normally these are 56K. You might try doubling or tripling this value to somewhere between 100K and 150K. The bigger the louder, but also the greater chance for distortion. 120K is probably a good value. The resistors will have to be 1/8W or similar small sized type. Anything bigger won't fit in the holes.

Stuff they didn't tell you in the manual

As ever the actual times for the envelopes and LFO etc. are not given in the manual. So here are my tables. The K5 envelope segments are defined by a rate and a level, and different envelopes have varying numbers of segments. However the segments appear to be identical and the rate times differ according to whether the slope is rising to maximum level (ie is an "attack" phase) or falling to minimum level (ie is a "decay" or "release". For this reason I haven't listed all segments separately. In the DDF, the rates are identical, whether the segment rises or falls, and appear to be the same as the DHG "decay" times which, since both of these envelopes determine harmonic content, makes sense I suppose. As the DDF envelope can be inverted, it could be argued, there is no need to differentiate between falling and rising slopes. I didn't sample the times at exactly the same settings (sloppy, sloppy, very sloppy), so I padded out the tables so that, at least, they all line up to simplify comparison.

DelayDDA "Attack"
Segment
DDA "Decay"
Segment
DDF any
Segment
DHG "Attack"
Segment
DHG "Decay"
Segment
LFO
ValueTime
(sec.)
00
5.06
6.08
8.1
10.15
12.2
15.375
20.8
221.1
241.55
251.9
262
272.5
283
293.75
304.2
315
ValueTime
(sec.)
00
5
9
10
11
12
13.1
14.15
15.25
16.35
17.4
18.5
19.6
20.8
211
221.2
231.6
242
252.2
263
274
286
298
3012
3124
ValueTime
(sec.)
00
5
9.1
10.15
11.25
12.3
13.4
14.6
151.2
161.6
171.8
182
192.5
203
214
225
236
248
2510
2612
2716
2824
2932
3049
3197
ValueTime
(sec.)
00
5.18
9
10.4
11.5
12
13.6
14.7
15.8
16.9
171
181.1
191.4
201.8
212
222.25
233
244
254.5
265.5
276.5
288.5
2911
3016
3133
ValueTime
(sec.)
00
5
9
10
11
12
13.1
14.2
15.25
16.3
17.35
18.45
19.5
20.6
21.8
221
231.3
241.6
252
262.5
273
284
297
308
3112
ValueTime
(sec.)
00
5.18
9
10.4
11.5
12
13.6
14.7
15.8
16.9
171
181.1
191.4
201.8
212
222.25
233
244
254.5
265.5
276.5
288.5
2911
3016
3133
ValueCycle Time
(sec.)
Frequency
0200.05 Hz
16.50.15 Hz
240.25 Hz
330.33 Hz
42.250.44 Hz
51.90.52 Hz
10.951.05 Hz
15.6251.6 Hz
20.55 Hz
25.42.5 Hz
30.33.33 Hz
35.2753.63 Hz
40.254 Hz
45.2254.44 Hz
50.25 Hz
55.185.5 Hz
60.175.88 Hz
65.166.25 Hz
70.156.66 Hz
75.147.14 Hz
80.1357.4 Hz
85.128.33 Hz
90.0812.5 Hz
95.0616.66 Hz
99.0520 Hz

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End of document updated 21st. December 1998