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K2500 vs. K2600


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probably an old topic i'm sure. but seeing as the K2500 goes used for under $800, i've now got my eye on one (note, i haven't played it yet. as it will become obvious). so, the question u've all figured out by now. how does the K2500 size up to its predessessor (wrong spelling, i know...)? same polyphony, right? can u upload the sounds and things like i've heard about on the K2600? what i really need is something that is a capable workstation, with built in sequencing and all sorts of other goodies (you know, the lot). but of course i'm running a small budget. so, is it worth paying the massively smaller amount of money for the K2500, or is this synth not very good compared to others that are just a little more expensive brand new? thanks for the input!
"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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This is something that I have also been considering. The K2500 was my dream synth before the release of the 2600. In my search for an 88 note controller I have considered a refurbished K2500SX. You have to wonder, are the differences between a used 2500 and a new 2600 worth $2000+? I am really thinking about getting the refurbished K2500SX with my tax return, then if I want to move up, get a Rack mount K2600 later. The problem I am finding with the 2500 is all the extras. If you add Pmemory, expansion boards, and effects you have added a large chunk of money to the origional investment. I am not sure I was to add that much to a used keyboard.



This post edited for speling.
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yeah, if you spend all that money on extras, I'd just go all out and get the K2600. unfortunately, i'm poor. my main problem is finding AT LEAST a 76 key keyboard with high quality sounds and good overall system. Does the K2500 house high quality sounds like its predesessor, or is there a significant decline in quality? Also, does it have a worthy sequencer and is it a capable workstation?
"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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Hi Striker1080,


Originally posted by Striker1080:

yeah, if you spend all that money on extras, I'd just go all out and get the K2600. unfortunately, i'm poor. my main problem is finding AT LEAST a 76 key keyboard with high quality sounds and good overall system. Does the K2500 house high quality sounds like its predesessor, or is there a significant decline in quality? Also, does it have a worthy sequencer and is it a capable workstation?


I agree as well. If I were buying a K and was going to buy the extras, I'd go with the K2600 too. It comes stock with KDFX as well as the triple-modular processing too.


To answer your questions Striker, by predecessor, do you mean the K2000 (cuz the K2600 came after the K2500)? If so, the K2500 and K2600 are a noticeable improvement over the K2K, especially with KDFX installed (comes standard with K2600). It has a good sequencer with excellent resolution (for a synth) and is a capable workstation as well as controller. My understanding is that the build quality is much better on the K2600 than on the K2500 so that may be a factor for you also.


Where it may fall down for you is polyphony. Even though the Kurz's have the best voice-stealing algorithm of any synth on the market, if you're used to playing a bunch of chords on multiple parts (from the sequencer), you will run into polyphony problems IMHO. If you have another module which will take on some of the polyphony duties, then you'll be more than okay.


For me, I actually would probably own a K2600 today except for one thing. Here in Canada, the Kurz presence is pretty much non-existent. If I want to seriously demo a unit, I need to travel about 3 hours by car into the US. I try to support my local dealers wherever possible. If I want to buy a K2600, I must order it from my dealer. They won't be able to give me much of a price break because it will be a one-off order. No bulk discounts or rebates for them. It's probably been 5 years now since I have seen a Kurz in a local store.


It's a shame because Kurzweils are great synths. However, when everyone was offering decently priced synths, Kurz had their high prices and had not changed with the times. As a result, people lost interest and the market dictated where they ended up (at least around here).


Personally, I think that, even though the K2600 was a great update, it didn't go far enough. They improved the build but, IMHO, they should have improved a few other things. Newer, more modern soundsets (a-la Korg Triton, XV5080), higher memory capacity ROM cards (theirs are only 8 MB which is small by today's standards), 128 note polyphony. The other thing that they should have done (and they sort of did with the PC2) is come out with a more affordable keyboard in a 61-note configuration sort of like the K2000.


Don't get me wrong, I think that the K2600 is a great synth still. If I lived near a dealer who even carried them in stock, I wouldn't be concerned myself. However, I feel that, if it ever broke down on me, I would have expensive shipping costs just to get it repaired.


Anyway, this is just MHO. Good luck with your decision.



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There isn't much difference between the 2500 and 2600. They're compatible. Some of the differences for those who want to know - till a 2600 owner or tech comes along.


* KDFX effects are built in to the 2600, tho it's still an option on the 2500 so you can add it later.

* The 2600 has "triple mode" which cuts the polyphony but strings together three voices worth of processing in one long algorithm. Its hard to really put all that power to use properly since the single voice is so potent, but it's there for those who want more.

* The expansion options are user installable in the 2600, also a little more expensive.

* The 2500 lets eight channels have 30 layers if I recall properly, tho the 2600 lets you use all channels. A three voice layer patch still can sound as big as a 4, 5 or 6 layer patch on another instrument.

* The 2600 has a little more memory but not much. It might also have more sequencer features out of the box, tho you can upgrade the OS of the 2500 from the Kurzweil website to take care of any shortcomings from an old feature list, like adding KB3 mode if it's missing.

* Repairs might cost a little more for the 2500, but I'm not sure. I remember that a tech I know mentioned he was having trouble getting 2500 parts from Kurzweil but he didn't elaborate.


You shouldn't miss having a 2600 in any case, they're essentially the same VAST architecture and powerful sound set. Patches for the 2600 will load into the 2500 just fine, except for the KDFX part, and the Digitech effects aren't bad at all.

This keyboard solo has obviously been tampered with!
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I'm a k2500xs owner - I bought refurbished, about 18 months ago. While not perfect, it is the best keyboard I have ever owned. More flexibility than I can handle, but that's better than the other problem.


They are a little balky sometimes (see my string on the sequencing problem earlier today), but I still love it. I use it almost entirely in a home studio. I have heard that the 2500 can be temperamental on the road - don't know if that was addressed when they upgraded to the 2600.


I do wish I had gotten the 2600 at the time - I saved about $700, but I found out it was a false economy. I needed to add the PROM upgrade for sequence and program memory. I also added sample memory. Both experiences took me under the hood. While I didn't have a huge problem, by the time I factored in the expense, time, etc., plus the savings and convenience of having the piano daughterboard and the KDFX, the 2600 would actually have cost less than upgrading. And the 2600 (I believe - someone please confirm) is set up to be upgraded without disassembly - I think there is a panel that opens up for access. Just pop the chips in there.


If you are getting the 2500, zzounds.com has a good price on the PROM - about $180. But if you can, I would try and determine all the options I wanted up front, and persuade my friendly retailer to install in advance.


Last, but not least - sounds. I believe Sweetwater, though expensive, does include after-market sounds if you buy from them. Again, you will want to confirm this. Good luck.

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I've seen fully loaded K2500's on eBay for around $1500. All the options, 32MB or more of sample memory, and often an internal hard drive. The ones I saw were rack versions, though.


Kurz's are incredibly flexible, and have a sound which, for me at least, always seems to sit in the mix just right.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine


Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse



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Just to clarify, because I think you're missing a few things in your comparison.


  • -The K2600 has balanced outs, the K2500 does not. In addition to the new board design, this makes the K2600 much cleaner and quieter than the K2500.
    -The K2600 comes with 64MB of RAM, the K2500 comes with none.
    -The K2600 has user installable options, on the K2500 all options need to be installed by a tech.
    -The K2600 comes with 12MB of ROM samples not 8MB like the K2500 as the stereo piano is built into the K2600.
    -The K2600 has 4 ROM expansion slots (3 boards are shipping), while the K2500 has 2 ROM expansions available.
    -The K2600 comes with almost twice as much PRAM as the K2500.
    -Triple Modular Processing is only available on the K2600. I'll be posting some of the new sounds that we used at NAMM on the website shortly...its unbelievable.

-Mike Martin



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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network


The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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