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Got my Kurzweil PC3X today -- three years in the planning!


Mark Schmieder

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I picked up my Kurzweil PC3X today, and am totally blown away! You have to realize I already thought it was great, but had only ever heard it through crappy headphones or crappy amps/speakers.

 

Once I plugged it into my system and also used my quality Beyerdynamic DT770-PRO and DT-880 headphones, I was in Heaven!

 

Even the much-maligned pianos sound very playable and musical to me, and work well in the mix.

 

I like Horowitz best for classical, and Bill Evans best for jazz. Maybe because they seem less effected and exhibit fewer artefacts of compression for some reason.

 

The VA1 stuff is incredible. I think I'll be able to gig with just this keyboard at MOST gigs (especially cover bands), and leave the boutique stuff at home except for all-synth-oriented originals projects where I'll need to bring the Voyager and P'08.

 

The editor is very nice. I'll use it mostly for Setups for splits/layers for gig songlists.

 

The seller threw in a nice Yamaha bag that is a perfect fit. he thinks it was for the P90 or maybe any of their digital pianos that don't have large built-in speakers like the CP300 does.

 

I'll eventually buy a hardshell case, but the fact that this bag is well padded and doesn't have any slippage inside is a strong plus.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Not at the same time. I tried the RD-700G when it came out, and was not initially all that impressed, but it grew on me the more I tried it. I did try it again quite recently.

 

I first found the feel a bit "invasive", sort of like a probe, or the Apple Mighty Mouse. But for some reason I didn't experience it that way the next few times.

 

The PC3X is just textured enough to prevent slippage and give a secure feel, but isn't trying to emulate the bfeel of ivory like Roland is doing with their new "Ivory Touch" keybeds.

 

Sound-wise, it's silly to compare as the RD-700G isn't a full-blown workstation with all the bread and butter sounds. Roland does seem to make major changes in their piano sound with each model, so it ends up being a personal thing. It would be silly for me to chime in since everyone knows I dislike Roland's sounds in general as even the raw samples are wet. I like to have more production control over my sounds.

 

Anyway, this is about the PC3X. :-) If you can try neither it nor the Roland where you live, then maybe go off of audio demos, to a certain degree, and of course your needs for sounds and balanced vs. graded hammer action. The PC3X is balanced hammer action, whereas the RD-700G, like most Digital Pianos, is graded hammer action. The difference can be subtle, or can be strong. I find with fatar actions that the transitions aren't smooth enough for there to be a huge advantage to graded hammer action.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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I hear what your saying.. I played a concert with another player who has a PC3, and against my old version RD700 thought the clav and electric pianos were (this is subjective) much more musical.

 

I have tried the RD700gx, its the PC3X I can't get to demo... I am swayed by the Kurzweil product as there is something (which I can't really describe) about the RD700's vintage style sounds which are a little cold?? (maybe not the right description).

 

Anyways, thanks for the comments, and I hope you enjoy your purchase.

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Cool, thanks for the sounds. It'll be awhile before I get a chance to try them, as my first priority is the deadline sensitive material for the live theatrical stage show and related films that I am working on, and then setting up the PC3X to replace my CS6x as my main gigging keyboard.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Finally I have the motivation to set up the Standtastic two-tier stand that I bought on sale late last summer. :-) I've been so slammed to the wall with composing/arranging/rendering deadlines for the live theatrical show for which I am musical and technical director, that I haven't had time for non-essentials.

 

The PC3X is fairly heavy in spite of its small profile (relative to Roland and Yamaha workstations, and older Korg workstations). It is currently on the bottom tier of my Ultimate Support Apex stand, but it is not overly happy there. It remains balanced, but I fear that more aggresive playing might tip the stand over.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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I use my PC3x on the bottom tier of my standtastic as well (A-70 on second tier). Solid as hell, plenty of leg room, great adjustablility to get the second tier right up against the first. This is my stand for rolls-royce gigs where there's enough stage room.

Ian Benhamou

Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals

 

[url:https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheMusicalBox/]The Musical Box[/url]

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Cool, good to hear.

 

Once I set up the Standtastic, I'm first going to try PC3X on the bottom and Voyager on the top. If Voyager is too deep for the top tier, I'll buy a separate single-tier Standtastic just for that keyboard, or another dual tier model to pair up with Prophet '08.

 

In that case, the XK-1 will probably move to the top tier of the PC3X Standtastic rack. I may eventually part with the Apex stand.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Mark,

 

Congrats on your purchase!

 

If you haven't already, hang out on the Sonik forum some. You'll have Dave (from Kurzweil) and many VERY knowledgeable people to help you get the most out of your board (some who hang out here also....I only wish I knew half as much as they do!).

 

As for the much maligned piano sounds.....

 

I was doing a sound check at a music venue hall some months ago. After we were done, the production engineer came up to me and asked what keyboard I was using for piano. I told him it was the Kurzweil PC3. He said that it was one of the best sounding digital pianos he has heard in the place. This was a great compliment considering this was at one of the better 1000 seat size musical venue places in the US (national touring acts, concert level quality FOH, etc) along with the fact that this guy knows his stuff and has heard it all.

 

Your right about how well the piano sits in the mix. Enjoy!

 

BTW, I was using the Horowitz piano during that sound check.

Kurzweil PC3, Hammond SK-1 + Ventilator, Korg Triton. 2 JBL Eon 510's.

 

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Hey Mark, congrats on your new PC3. Its been almost 5 years since I had an internet connection on my home PC and I finally got a DSL setup today. I got a "new" set of computer speakers with a woofer too. After reading this thread I took a trip over to the Kurzweil webpage and gave a good listen to some of the demos of the PC3. Wow, it sounds wonderful. Very "organic" as one of our favorite KB Mag reviewers likes to say. The pianos sounded brighter than what I expected from Kurzweil. Yamaha usually sounds brighter than other pianos, tradionally brighter than a Steinway B. The bass has balls, even though the high end was clear; sort of reminded me of an acoustic piano being played "hard" so that all the frequencies where coming through. The strings and woodwinds are amazing......I could go on.

 

I think if you find anything "wrong" with this instrument (other than having to carry it around) you're probably just nit-picking. Enjoy it man, it sounds like a great investment in music. :thu:

 

Cheers,

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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So tell me what I'm missing? :-)

 

Other than the Melodion, everything was bought used, and even that was on a short-term 24-hour special.

 

It sort of makes up a little bit for the $5000 worth of keyboard gear ripped off three years ago, if not the $5000 of pro camera gear ripped off last year.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Oh, I read Sonikmatter but don't want to be sucked in so haven't joined. It's bad enough that I discovered accidentally than I am already a member of the bass forum here at MusicPlayer.com.

 

I try to stick to just a couple of forums in participatory mode and a few more in read-only mode. The problem is, as a middle-aged person, I feel obligated to give back to society, and so find myself getting sucked into all sorts of Good Samaritan acts, whether directly in the forum, or via private email.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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by Mark:

 

The problem is, as a middle-aged person, I feel obligated to give back to society, and so find myself getting sucked into all sorts of Good Samaritan acts, whether directly in the forum, or via private email.

 

Then I wouls suggest staying away from Non-profit organizations too. They ALWAYS need volunteers and before you know it, it takes up more of your time than your day job. Their main problem is there are far too many "needs" than people to do them.

 

Cheers,

 

 

Mike T

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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I try to stick to just a couple of forums in participatory mode and a few more in read-only mode. The problem is, as a middle-aged person, I feel obligated to give back to society, and so find myself getting sucked into all sorts of Good Samaritan acts, whether directly in the forum, or via private email.

 

You musical aid worker you!

Congrats on the purchase anyway, I was playing a 61 in a store yesterday. Might be looking to score a PC3(76).

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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Congrats on the new board! Good things come to those who wait!!! I've had my PC3X for about 9 months. I have never enjoyed playing any new keyboard as much as I love playing this one - almost everynight it entraps me and I spend hours into the morning playing away. I have also never seen customer support given as Dave and others at Kurzweil provide - it is so rare to find these days! :/
PC3X, PC1se, NE2 61, DSI P08, ARP Odyssey MkII 2810, ARP Little Brother, Moog Slim Phatty, Doepfer Dark Energy, Arturia MiniBrute, Microkorg, Motion Sound KP200S,
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Although it's not why I bought it, I'm looking forward to learning the sequencer, as I am so tired of spending so much time on the computer at the preliminary stages of songwriting and arranging.

 

I used to use the Yamaha MOTIF series for that, but there was a compatibility issue with Digital Performer and so I had to do "extra work" with each round trip of data. I'm hoping that won't be the case with the PC3X. Even the EXCELLENT Yamaha QY700 had a similar issue, which is why I sold it. Without a round trip, there is no point in a hybrid hardware/computer setup.

 

The QY700 was to me the perfect sequencer. With a slightly better SMF 1 implementation and WAY better internal sounds, it would be the killer product of today. But manufacturers have lost interest in sequencers (well, duh, this is because customers have lost interest).

 

Kurzweil customers are different and "special", so maybe there's room for them to make a dedicated and ergonomic sequencer with all of the nifty song-writing aids that the QY700 had?

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Hey PC3 guys, I've been batting around the thought of buying a PC3...unfortunately I still haven't had the chance to try one out. This may sound like a strange question, but what does the distortion sound like on the PC3? I used to have a K2500 with the FX card, and while Kurzweil always did "clean" very well, anytime I wanted anything kind of "dirty" sounding out of it, it always sounded very digital and harsh. Is that still the case with the PC3?
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Hey PC3 guys, I've been batting around the thought of buying a PC3...unfortunately I still haven't had the chance to try one out. This may sound like a strange question, but what does the distortion sound like on the PC3? I used to have a K2500 with the FX card, and while Kurzweil always did "clean" very well, anytime I wanted anything kind of "dirty" sounding out of it, it always sounded very digital and harsh. Is that still the case with the PC3?

 

The KDFX in the PC3 are inherited from the KSP8 module, which means ultra high-end transparent processing. The distortions are nothing short of amazing. All the EP programs have a very warm, natural sounding amp cabinet saturation happening. Some presets, like Deep Fuzz Wurly, have very high gain settings, and doesn't sound digital at all. Very organic and in your face. Sounds like it's coming out of a real amp.

Ian Benhamou

Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals

 

[url:https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheMusicalBox/]The Musical Box[/url]

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We have a drummer in his 20's and a lead guitarist that is 18 - every once in a while I do have to remind them that Grandpa keyboardist is just NOT to be drowned out. Between the 32-layer bass, "Falgor's Lament," the Jon Lord Hammond, and several of the VA derived lead synth sounds; I have no trouble at all in cutting over and through. Seriously, as Ian says, the effects power is much greater in the PC3. I have a K2661 also, sounds from the two are very different, the PC3 is much more vibrant, either clean, mildly dirty, or just plain metal dirty.

It does help to have a pair of 15" EON G2 handling the output, especially for the bass heavy sounds.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Welcome to the PC3 club, Mark! Congrats!

 

I've been using the Horowitz piano as well, and to echo previous posters, it does sit very well in the mix. I also love the low end on the Kurz....

 

For solo piano, the Rubinstein piano is my fav. While it didn't make an immediate impression, it has really grown on me.

 

Enjoy!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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For solo piano, the Rachmaninoff piano is my fav. While it didn't make an immediate impression, it has really grown on me.

 

Which program are you referring to? You mean 3 RubinsteinCompSw? Or is there a Rach piano patch I never noticed in there?

 

I also use Horowitz Grand most regularly. It just has the right balance of thundering low but bright upper mids and highs for playing in a band. You do have to keep slider I fairly low or else you lose the dry signal and get just the reverb.

Ian Benhamou

Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals

 

[url:https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheMusicalBox/]The Musical Box[/url]

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For solo piano, the Rachmaninoff piano is my fav. While it didn't make an immediate impression, it has really grown on me.

 

Which program are you referring to? You mean 3 RubinsteinCompSw? Or is there a Rach piano patch I never noticed in there?.....

You are correct, the Rubinstein piano. Post edited. I've been on a roll lately.....

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Hey PC3 guys, I've been batting around the thought of buying a PC3...unfortunately I still haven't had the chance to try one out. This may sound like a strange question, but what does the distortion sound like on the PC3? I used to have a K2500 with the FX card, and while Kurzweil always did "clean" very well, anytime I wanted anything kind of "dirty" sounding out of it, it always sounded very digital and harsh. Is that still the case with the PC3?

 

The KDFX in the PC3 are inherited from the KSP8 module, which means ultra high-end transparent processing. The distortions are nothing short of amazing. All the EP programs have a very warm, natural sounding amp cabinet saturation happening. Some presets, like Deep Fuzz Wurly, have very high gain settings, and doesn't sound digital at all. Very organic and in your face. Sounds like it's coming out of a real amp.

 

Thanks for the response....unfortunately I had the KDFX in my K2500(inherited from the KSP8) and absolutely hated any distortion it made (while the reverbs were absolutely stunning) From MoodyBluesKeys post it sounds like they've upgraded the KDFX module a bit, so I'm hopeful. Has anyone had experience with both old KDFX and new that can comment on the difference?

Thanks again.

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The FX algs are mostly the same.

A few are new to the PC3.

 

The main difference between the PC3 and older K stuff is the soundware programming.

 

Of course I'm biased, since I programmed most of the sounds with distortion, but I think we made huge improvements with the PC3.

(And with the K26 ROM4 and PC2 ROM2 classic keys)

 

I was not terribly fond of the many of the sounds in the K25.

But I also need to remind myself just how old those sounds are.

 

Go to our website and check out the 70+ audio demos to get a taste of what the PC3's effects sound like.

 

 

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