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Kurzweil K2000 - Overview:
The Kurzweil K2000 series of synthesizer workstations were a legendary breed of digital synth spanning the 1990's and the early 2000's. The Kurzweil K2000 was released in 1990 and introduced the company's "V.A.S.T." (Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology) technology, a powerful synth architecture capable of in-depth sonic manipulation.
Combined with the company's high quality sound set (including some of the best piano and orchestral sounds around at the time), multi-timbrality, polyphony and high audio quality, the K2000 series became an "industry standard" for high-end studios and film score producers. It was possible for composers to design and sketch a complete "score" on the Kurzweil, and the K2000 series machines had great appeal for these reasons.
However, the K2000s didn't just do orchestral type stuff. They also featured sampling, and some sonic manipulation tools that were only found on powerful hardware-based computer sound design systems prior to that time. For example, the Kurzweils featured a large set of mathematical function algorithms which could be applied as control sources for many parameters.
The functions could even be applied to other functions, enabling users to create chaotic parameters which could be applied to almost any other contol in the machine, such as an LFO. The mathematical functions were highly advanced for many users, but for those who were able to wrap their brain around them, they offered unique sonic possibilities that were simply beyond those of many other synths around at the time.
The K2000 series models had several variations, denoted with letters added after the model number - the K2000 / K2500 / etc with no added letter was the keyboard version, R (rackmount version), S (sampling included), X (expanded) and RS (rackmount version with sampling included). The series included the K2000 (released in 1990), K2500 (released in 1996), K2600 (released in 1999) and K2661 (released in 2004).
The last K2000 series machines were discontinued in 2008, and was followed up by the PC3 series which are in production at the current time (2010). The PC3 series builds upon the V.A.S.T. system with a more advanced, dynamic system that allows greater freedom of programmability, includes a Virtual Analog synth architecture, and allowing 32 layers of DSP instead of the 3 of the K2000 series. The PC3s are fairly well backward compatible with the older machines, meaning that much of the material created on the older Kurzweil K2XX machines will work on the PC3s. (Source )
Kurzweil K2000 pic
(image - Matt Perry under CCA-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
Kurzweil K2000 series Reviews:
Kurzweil K2000 Version3.0 Software Upgrade
review (Sound On Sound, Feb 1995)
Kurzweil K2500R Rack review (Sound On Sound, Oct 1995)
Kurzweil K2500/K2500X Workstation review (Sound On Sound, April 1996)
Kurzweil K2000VP review (Sound On Sound, Sept 1998)
Kurzweil K2600X Keyboard Workstation review (Sound On Sound, April 2000)
Kurzweil K2661 review (Sound On Sound, May 2004)
Kurzweil K2000 Resources and other links:
Kurzweil Music Systems Official Web Site
Kurzweil Official K2000 Page - includes Manuals and other useful files
Kurzweil Official K2500 Page
Kurzweil Official K2500R Page
Kurzweil Official K2500X Page
Kurzweil Official K2600 / K2600S Page
Kurzweil Official K2600R / K2600RS Page
Kurzweil Official K2600X / K2600XS Page
Kurzweil Official K2661 Page
Kurzweil K2000 on Wikipedia
Kurzweil K2000 Manuals:
(see Kurzweil official pages, linked above, for manuals)
Kurzweil K2000 Videos:
Kurzweil K2000 demo with good sound quality
Some great complex sounds on the K2000R, good stuff.
No Kurzweil demo collection would be complete without a demo of the piano sounds!
I coudn't resist this one - Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" played on the K2600X - enjoy!