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Kurzweil going under?


ELP71

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Hey guys - anyone heard any rumors about Kurzweil having financial trouble? A dealer told me he heard that the company was downsizing and might fold. My first instinct tells me this is crap - but it has made me paranoid - especially after the tremendous price cuts in the K2600 line, etc.

 

Anything I've missed? I'm pretty busy so its totally possible.

Weasels ripped my flesh. Rzzzzzzz.
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Hi,

 

I think that it is crap info. However, Mike Martin (Kurz Rep) frequents this list and I'm sure that he'll chime in very soon.

 

I don't think that Kurzweil is very strong these days (as they used to be when the K2000 and K2500 came out). That doesn't mean that they're dead. It simply means that they still have a presence in certain markets and are pretty non-existent in others. A big part of this is in not keeping up with other companies' offerings.

 

Personally, I think that the Kurzweil K's are extremely powerful and I would love to own one. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that look at numbers. I'm one of them (I definitely look at bang-for-the-buck).

 

Polyphony has been a big issue and a big reason why people have not bought as many as could have. Even though Kurz people will say, "ya, it's only 48-note polyphony but Kurz has the best voice-stealing algorithm in the business". Bottom line is that if you have 49 notes (on a multi-timbral sequence or layered programs) to play simultaneously, one of them won't play.

 

Their sound ROMs just have not been updated to compete with the Korg Triton's and Roland JV's. I'm not saying that either of those boards sound better than a Kurz. However, people were buying them due to the sounds that could get out of them. Kurzweil would have been smart IMHO to have improved the ROM expansion capabilities in the K2600 (with possibly larger boards - ie 32 MB or even 64 MB), including more up-to-date sound sets, improved the polyphony to at least 64 note but 128 would have been better. That would have sold more boards. I suspect though, that by the time they released it, a lot of the design had gone into it and it would have been extremely costly to change gears (not to mention a lot of time too).

 

Considering that at one time it would cost $8,500 for a K2600 here in Canada, it is no wonder that Kurz does not have as strong a presence as some of the other big boys. People would look at what they were getting for their money and felt that there was more bang-for-the-buck in some other manufacturer's boards.

 

There used to be some representation of Kurz products here (I'm on the west coast in a large city), there is now none. 3 different stores used to carry Kurzweil products. Now only one does and they don't even carry any stock. I have to special order a Kurz if I want one. If I want repairs to be done, I gotta pack it up and ship it to the US.

 

Kurzweil lowering their prices was something that they were forced to do. They simply had to. When you consider how relatively inexpensive a lot of keys and modules are nowadays, as well as the power available from them, the gap is a lot closer now than it used to be.

 

I sure hope that Kurzweil is able to release a K3000 (or whatever they plan on calling it) which will address a lot of these issues as well as keep the price down to reasonable levels without killing the quality. I know that you pay for is what you get but, if I can buy 3 keyboards for the same price, it seems a little too steep considering how little difference there would be. The Kurz would probably win on keyboard controller and performance functions, but I could probably buy 2 keyboards and they would win on polyphony, different sound palettes, price, etc.

 

Anyway, I've probably rambled on long enough.

 

HTH,

fv

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This was addressed a few weeks ago by Mike. You might do a search to find the thread. While the 2600 has taken some hits from the Triton, so has every other workstation. Roland and Yamaha have struggled to compete with the Korg monster. Kurz has also responded with the PC2 series, hitting the market withi a high quality rack synth at the magic $1000 mark.

 

I took am looking forward to seeing what is in the future for the K line. I would have one by now if not for two things, expansion ROM's are very small and compare to what was on the market 5 years ago. I to am surprised they did not update these with the K2600. Also, expanding the K series is very expensive. This was horrible with the 2500 but improved somewhat with the 2600.

 

When looking at bang for the buck, I can get a Korg Triton Rack and a Roland XV-5080 for the price of the K2600R. That is not a hard decision for me. And with the advent of software samplers and synths I no longer feel I need to spend $4000 for that "special" sound. It might be different if I was tourning with a major act, but I'm not. Not that many people are.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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Throughout the 1990s, electronic keyboard and synth sales were in the toilet (USA sales at least), relative to nearly ever other type of musical instrument. And it has been down hill from there in the 2000s. I have data that backs this up if you'd like to see it. I know nothing of Kurzweil specifically, but clearly they've been under a lot of pricing pressure. Once the Yamaha S80 and Triton hit at the price points they did, it was clear that the days of the $5,000+ workstation were over. Personally I think the European VA synth makers are the ones to watch carefully. I fear their fate will be the same as the American synth makers in the 1980s.

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

I have data that backs this up if you'd like to see it.

Busch:

 

If you can share it, I'd love to see it. My email address is in my profile. Not questioning your statement. I am just a data head..... :rolleyes:

 

I'd love to get a better sense of how the industry has been doing.

 

Thx,

 

Jerry :)

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Personally I think the European VA synth makers are the ones to watch carefully. I fear their fate will be the same as the American synth makers in the 1980s.

 

Busch.

Can you clarify VA synth makers ?

 

How is the YOUNG CHANG doing ? YOUNG CHANG is Kurzweil .

 

Let's wait to hear from MIKE M. dano

www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
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Good point dano. And Young Chang is no Gibson (thank goodness)!

 

The weird thing (considering the complaints about the price points of Kurzweil products) is that I just got a Young Chang piano for less than the price of a K2600! I discovered it at Costco of all places! It's a surprisingly good piano too! :)

Enthusiasm powers the world.

 

Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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I'd love for Kurzweil to come out with a smaller synth with some K2600 and PC2 features, but less bulky and expensive than the 26. If they could drive the price down but keep the programming flexibility and the great sound, they'd sell lots of them. Unfortunately, as great as the K2600 is, it's out of reach for many players.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Kurzweil should do 61 keys again.They do great synth but their 88 keys are not my favorites.They are rather big and personally I don't like the feel of the keys.However,I still use a K2000 live and would not change it for any keyboard unless it's another kurzweil!
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Does anyone think that having all the Kurz. keyboards PURPLE has anything to do with buying or not buying ?

 

AT NAMM .....all the new products are BLACK !

PC2x = black

K -series = black

dano

 

PS.....do the purple keyboards play better during LENT ?

www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
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Latin:

 

The price drop mentioned is the overall price drop in the K-line synths since their release. We're talking up to 60% off list sometimes. Its understandable to not notice since the prices have stabilized. I just don't remember the PC88 or the K2000 EVER backing off 60%.

 

ELP71

Weasels ripped my flesh. Rzzzzzzz.
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The weird thing (considering the complaints about the price points of Kurzweil products) is that I just got a Young Chang for less than the price of a K2600! I discovered it at Costco of all places! It's a surprisingly good piano too!

 

Finding a piano at COSTCO is basically sponsored by the local YC piano dealer . Acoustic piano dealers need to have outside the store venue's . They rent space at a COSTCO or SAMSCLUB and set up shop for 10 days !

Piano dealers will also visit a University and loan them a few pianos . Than you will see a JOEBLOW's UNIVERSITY piano SALE six months later !

I was in piano retail for 7 years !

dano

www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
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Originally posted by urk10:

Kurzweil should do 61 keys again.They do great synth but their 88 keys are not my favorites.They are rather big and personally I don't like the feel of the keys.However,I still use a K2000 live and would not change it for any keyboard unless it's another kurzweil!

I agree. I thought the K2VXS was pretty cool - wonder how much they'd charge for a similar product if they made it today...
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Originally posted by Tusker:

Originally posted by burningbusch:

I have data that backs this up if you'd like to see it.

Busch:

 

If you can share it, I'd love to see it. My email address is in my profile. Not questioning your statement. I am just a data head..... :rolleyes:

 

I'd love to get a better sense of how the industry has been doing.

 

Thx,

 

Jerry :)

I'm providng a few numbers for the basis of this discussion. They were taken from the NAMM Music USA 2000 report which details musical instrument sales in the USA for the past 11 years.

 

The data points that follow are: (# of units sold in USA/dollar value in millions).

 

KEYBOARD SYNTHESIZERS

Sales peaked at (91,000/$169mm) in 1988, crashed down to (52,000/$104mm) in 1991 and stayed relatively flat throughout the 1990s. 1999 showed (73,000/$106mm).

 

SOUND MODULES

Maybe people were buying fewer keyboards and more modules. It looked that way early on when in 1988 sales were (42,000/$36mm) climbing to (75,000/$68mm) in 1994, only to bottom out two years later in 1996 (46,000/$40mm). 1999: (57,000/$37mm).

 

Bottomline, in 1988 we bought (133,000/$205mm) and in 1999 (130,000/$143mm) combined keyboard synths and modules. Hardware sequencers, samplers/sampling keyboards, drum machines, portable keyboards (Casio-type), and home/institutional organs have equally ugly charts. In our field only controller keyboards and electronic pianos (Yamaha P200 type) have bucked the trend.

 

Contrast this with just about every other category: acoustic/electric guitars, sound reinforcement, brass instruments, string instruments, printed music, microphones, drum kits, percussion, signal processing, software, and cables which show a continously postive trend line throughout the decade, i.e. in general each year was better than the previous. Electric guitars for example: 1988 (302,000/$191mm); 1999 (617,000/$369mm).

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by dano:

Personally I think the European VA synth makers are the ones to watch carefully. I fear their fate will be the same as the American synth makers in the 1980s.

 

Busch.

Can you clarify VA synth makers ?

 

By European VA (virtual analog) synth makers I am referring to Nord, Novation, Access, Waldorf, etc. I think their challenges over the next few years will be not unlike what Moog, Sequential, ARP, Oberheim went through ~20 years ago. Market saturation and competition are the issues. I see the big competition coming from the software synths where cost and convienence are winning out. Innovation has been fairly mild in the last few years, in general they've just been tweaking previous synths. These companies are basically one trick ponies. They don't have any where near the product line breadth of a Roland, Korg or Yamaha. If the European electronic music scene remains strong, maybe they'll be fine. But if it falters, they're in for a wild ride, IMHO.

 

Busch.

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Innovation has been fairly mild in the last few years, in general they've just been tweaking previous synths. These companies are basically one trick ponies. They don't have any where near the product line breadth of a Roland, Korg or Yamaha...
Couldn't this also be said of Kurzweil?

 

Maybe they should paint their keyboards SILVER! :D

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Just a few words from a longtime Kurzweil user:

As I see it, the the main reason why people like Kurzweils is not a certain particular "sound"; it's their programmability depht. That's why we tend to forgive things like obsolete ROM, limited poly, and high prices. This doesn't mean being blind to these important issues, of course.

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Hello everyone,

I'm sorry I have not been able this forum as much as I have in the past. I hope my absence has not contributed to the feeling that Kurzweil is in some kind of trouble. I've just been traveling a litle more than usual and in fact spent the last few days at Kurzweil R&D. I don't know if my schedule will allow me to participate in this forum as much as I have in the past but I will continue to monitor the group as much as I can.

 

Kurzweil is not in any trouble or in danger or going out of business. As I said in an earlier thread, I've heard these rumors as long as 6 years ago, before I even began work for the company.

 

There might be a few things that contribute to these types of rumors. As most of you know there were some cutbacks last year (which originally included myself but I was re-hired). Since then I have been nothing but astonished in the cooperation we have had with the new Korean VP of YCA. These changes were unfortunate, but I feel that company is now headed in a positive direction.

 

Also, this year Kurzweil has entered a new market. With the release of the KSP8 we have been targeting new customers and new dealers that don't neccessarily sell keyboards at all. It is an unbelievable product and I believe once people get an opportunity to try it they will be as excited about it as I am.

 

Of course the release of this product hasn't gone entirely as planned. In an ideal world all of the I/O options would currently be available. Some changes were made that have delayed the release of some options. For example, rather than having seperate I/O cards for both ADAT and TDIF formats, both formats will now be available on one card (at a lower price too). This I believe is a positive change though has delayed the release of this I/O option until April.

 

Having said that, I don't want you to get the impression that we are neglecting the keyboard line. I've personally been responsible in creating what will be the next software release to the K2600. I believe it will add great value and appeal to the K2600 series. I also believe what many companies call a new product, Kurzweil calls a software update.

 

There are some other changes going on, but unfortunately I can't elaborate on any of them at this time...all I can say is that they will be positive changes for the company.

 

Take care,

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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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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