To my surprise, my Kawai K1 emulation, started out of a personal need, was a tremendous success. Something that I never expected, I’ve got tons of (good) feedback, some magazines even interviewed me and I’ve got loads of traffic on my web page.
One thing that stood out is the request to emulate the K1 successor, the K4. What prevent me from even thinking about it is that I would need to have a K4 to analyze it. I have read some documentation and the K4 is – more or less – a K1 with filters and improved samples. But as long as I didn’t have a K4 there wouldn’t be a chance for me to come up with something that is even close to a K4.
Then, all of a sudden, a mail from Evan Sirchuk arrived, saying that he would like to donate a K4r 😍 That was around Christmas. Even though I was blown away by this offer I didn’t have the time to react immediately but I replied some weeks later, I was interested of course!
Some mails went forth and back about how to ship it, customs questions (he is US citizen while I am German/EU citizen) but he obviously had a lot of shipping experience and he did it!
Some additional weeks later, I picked up the K4 at customs. Very well packaged and fully functional! Absolutely amazed by this. Of course, I sent him the shipping costs via PayPal. He didn’t even ask for it, what a great guy.
Look at this beauty:
I want to take this opportunity to say big thanks to Evan. If you want to say thanks to him, visit his web page or his Twitter. He deserves it!
K4 Emulation coming?
Most probably, yes. Hereby confirmed. The K4 is technically quite similar to a K1. It will be challenging to model the K4s filters though and how similar it will sound, I can’t give any guarantee yet, but I already have an idea how to do it.
But I cannot give any ETA. I still have some private things going on that I need to finish before I can dive deeply into the K4 and at the moment, free time is a rare good (Covid etc).
There’s one thing though that I couldn’t resist doing with the K4r. People that looked closely at the picture above might have noticed that the K4 is missing its rack ears. This is because I already opened it. 😎
I dumped the wave roms (3 chips). Luckily, they have socketed them in the K4r so this was no big deal. I wanted to know upfront if I can make use of the content, and yes, the content is not encrypted. More on that in a separate article.
Of course, you will be able to watch my progress in my K4 development blog, this is the first of many articles in this category. And the resulting VST/AU will be free, for sure 👍
Once again, big thanks to Evan Sirchuk for this great opportunity!
8 Gedanken zu „Evan Sirchuk donated a Kawai K4r! ❤“
Wohoo! Can’t wait! Looking forward to all your development challenges! 🙂
This is amazing news!! Big thanks to Evan for such a generous offering and also thanks beforehand to you, Nils, for considering doing the emulation and sharing it for free for all the audio and music community – I’ve never owned a K1 nor a PHm (nor a K4) but thanks to you now I do and it’s even better than the real thing!
So wait, since you have K4r now, that means the plugin won’t have effects like K4 had? Bit of a bummer, because there’s quite some charm in those old 90s FX (and the fact that they would store with the patch)…
This would be the case for the first version, yes. But if I have the chance to test the FX or someone could send me a recording including parameter settings, adding the FX would be straightforward to add.
Absolutely fantastic 🙂
Good luck and all the best.
This is great news! Thank you Nils for taking this up, and thank you Evan for your generosity! As a long time Kawai K4 user, it would be great if the plug-in would be controllable using MIDI System Exclusive messages. Sean Luke’s Edisyn supports the K4 via SysEx, and I have also implemented some library code that could be used to generate new sounds in SysEx format. If you find it useful, I can try to help with the SysEx part — my existing code is in C# and Swift, so I suppose it would be more useful if it was C++ (or Rust?).
Wonderful, you try to emulate a k4! My most versatile Synths since 1990. The digital filters are very special and waveforms with very high/low transposition, fixed key/tune, modulating the ampitude of another waveform, is an adventure for countless nights in studio. As a long term user of k4 i can say using it as a analog emulation with high oscillator count and 24dB filter is quite annoying. That’s why so many quit using a K4 and leave it disappointed. Too low volume to prevent distortion, bad EG’s and slow Midi, but that is only where your journey starts. Take only 2 osc, use AM, 12dB-filter, use slighest amounts of modulation where sweet spots are hidden behind only very few numbers and you got a K4 singing the most beautiful songs you’ve ever heard. I got many many synths since 1990, but my K4 is the only one which is able to surprise me after such a long period of time. I love it! If you can’t emulate the filter right, please don’t expand the fixed resonance steps, and if you can’t hear that special resonance on some mild modulation running in various types of sounds….. Leave that project! It is way much harder to do that than perhaps Roland’s job on programming their D50 VST. I think only reverse engineering and having an exact digital copy of that filter could do this job anyway. Good luck! 😉
Love the K1 VST hope I can use the AU on iPad in the near future. Danke!