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Kurzweil 2661 delivered. first look.


Max Ventura

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Yesterday we took delivery of the new Kurz.

Upon opening, I immediately noticed the revolting quality of the keys, which are more or less the same, NO ACTION WHATSOEVER fluffies you find in most low-cost keys. Mind you, this is a $ 2500-plus keyboard.

The rest of the machine is well built and sturdy, controls and buttons are safe and reliable. The internal menus appear to be more or less the same as K-2600, but I take exception of the fact that in 2004 a synth of this quality should have made some updating to the display panel, expecially in terms of visibility, ease of navigation and simplicity of parameters. Similar to Yamaha Motif, this display shows you TOO MUCH, it shows parameters that are best left in some other menu pages, least they clutter the main page. The dial feels clunky and cheap, steps are harsh and non-manageable if you're doing step-by-step editing.

It is incredible that in 2004 Kurzweil still retains a 48-voices poliphony.

 

I did not pay too much attention to sounds as yet; I will soon though. I must admit I was put off by the vile quality of the keys. By comparison, the Motif's keys feel like a Steinway.

Max Ventura, Italy.
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Max, do you own a K2600?

 

There's a generally accepted concept in the computer world that goes something like this: if you don't know the application, an event driven (point and click) interface is the best, but if you know it, a CLI (command line interface) is by far the more efficient. Once you get to know the operating system, what once seemed like a chunky, out-of-date interface will feel powerful and efficient. My advice is that you bite the bullet and spend some time getting to know the shortcuts (double key presses, etc.) of the interface. It's a pain, but once you get it down, I think you'll be a fan of the interface.

 

Oh, yeah, and congrats on your new toy.

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Well, yeah, kind of - I had some K's passing thru the store and played with them for a while, but never moved one of them in my studio. I guess they never grasped my attention...

The interface of the K2661, although old-fashioned, is the smallest of its shortcomings. The main one, apart from polyphony, is the keyboard: as I pointed out before, there is no excuse for such a bad feature on an expensive machine like this.

Max Ventura, Italy.
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Not a good start for the 2661. I personally think the price is ridiculous for what you're getting. You'd think that Kurz would be able to lower the prices of their synths, considering they haven't done any major R&D in 10 years.

 

Hello Motif.

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I fully intended to purchase a K2661--had money in the pocket and everything. I sold my K2500X years ago after not really getting into the synth and needing a better quality keybed. I've cleared out enough area on my desktop so that I can place a 61 note keyboard (so long as it isn't too big) in front vs. always turning sideways to play keys. So I thought I'd get the "best."

 

I concur with Max with regard to quality. The keybed is identical to the $600 KME61. It's a pretty good action for a $600 synth. To me, the overall look and feel of the K2661 is more like the KME61 than a K2600. Going through the sounds and the menus I kept thinking that there's very little different here than what I had six years ago. The DOS like interface is uninspiring. Some of the ROM sounds are very good for a ROMpler (orchestral), others (piano) are very poor. The ADAT I/O is new and would be exciting if you could clock it externally and use it other than 48K. As it stands it's of no value to me. The inclusion of SCSI and lack of USB shows how dated this design really is. The Motif ES has the best USB implementation allowing file/MIDI transfer between synth and computer as well as USB storage. Even the new Fantom X series doesn't provide the latter. SCSI is still very expensive and becoming harder to find components--not a good choice for a synth in 2004. When you add the Vintage keyboard (very nice actually) and ac. piano ROMs this thing nears $3,000 which is twice what you would pay for a 61-note Fantom, Motif or Triton.

 

In the end I bought the KME61 thinking that if I'm mainly using it as a controller, why spend four X as much for the K2661? But after consideration the KME61 is going back. I'll check out the new Fantom X or maybe the large Novation Remotes when they come out.

 

I know there are those who are really into VAST and I respect that. I'm not, so for me the K2661 is just an expensive, dated ROMpler that doesn't measure up feature/interface-wise to the big three.

 

Funny thing is that when I first played the K2661 I heard these wonderful, complex moving textures. I thought WOW this thing sounds terrific. Turns out it wasn't coming from the Kurzweil at all, the 2661 was triggering Steinberg's D'cota. D'cota is now on order.

 

Busch.

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It is incredible that in 2004 Kurzweil still retains a 48-voices poliphony.

When using the K's DSP synthesis, you use only one note of polyphony per layer.

I did not pay too much attention to sounds as yet; I will soon though. I must admit I was put off by the vile quality of the keys. By comparison, the Motif's keys feel like a Steinway.

This is not a "quality" issue. There are different kinds of keyboard action. The K2661 has unweighted synth-style keys with monophonic aftertouch.

 

To compare the K2661 to Korg Triton. Well, I like the Triton -- although its onboard waveforms have limited potential for creating new timbres. In contrast, The Kurz is sampler and a fully programmable synth with Triple Modular (K2600 and K2661), cross-modulation, lots of LFOs, and very animated sample and hold capabilities.

 

To suggest that a Triton can be had for half the cost of a K2661 is a bit of a stretch. A base model Triton Extreme 61 Key Synth Workstation is $2200.00. Moss is another $500. Isn't sampling an extra add on for the Triton as well? Any model K2x00 can load and edit samples, all you need is RAM.

 

True, the Piano and Vintage EP expansions for the Kurz are add ons, but Kurzweil's Orchestral ROM and Contemporary ROM are included in the price of the K2661.

 

Price comparisons are difficult, but I'm sure you can see that the K2661 is in the same ball park as a Triton, but may have considerably more potential.

 

Regarding the K's piano sounds, I've heard much worse on late model ROMplers. As for other kinds of sounds, I really like the ones I've created, but my bias is obvious. :D:D:D:D

 

~Peter Schouten

Pyramid Sound Productions

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All the more reason to go modular.

I buy rack synths and use a Roland A-80, my personal choice for the action I like.

 

I agree that the interface is dated. I'm annoyed that I can't load a gig worth of samples in a machine bought in 2003 (referring to my K2600RS) that I paid $3100 for. But there is little out there with the flexibility of programming and the ability to make a wide range of sounds as the K.

 

Kurzweil was way ahead of the curve with VAST, but soon they will have to make a major update, as others catch up.

Best Regards,

 

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.

www.ampexperts.com

-

 

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When I am comparing price I'm talking about the Motif classic, Triton classic and FantomS which can be had for $1500. I have a hard time putting the K2661 in the same league as the ES, Extreme and Fantom X as these instruments have vastly more waveforms in ROM, far more advanced arpeggiators/phrase, greater polyphony, far larger sample RAM expansion, much nicer UIs, greater synth expansion, better overall fit/finish and better quality keybeds.

 

Also, the Motif/Triton/Fantom are true samplers. They have audio inputs and do not charge extra for sampling as is the case with the K2661. Out of the box, the K2661 is a sample playback synth.

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Also, the Motif/Triton/Fantom are true samplers. They have audio inputs....

That's good news. For the last 10 years or so there has been a lot discussion about softsamplers taking over the world. It seems the makers of Motif, Triton and Fantom do not abide by that notion.

 

If the Tritons, Motifs, and Fantoms had VAST, a comparison might be warranted. But they don't, so we're really talking apples and oranges.

 

~Peter Schouten

Pyramid Sound Productions

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Originally posted by SoundMeister:

Originally posted by burningbusch:

[qb]If the Tritons, Motifs, and Fantoms had VAST, a comparison might be warranted. But they don't, so we're really talking apples and oranges.

No we're not, we're talking about sample-based instruments. The K series, Tritons, Motifs and Fantoms are all "workstations", and are competing products, not complimentary products.
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i second that notion. Kurz is superior in the voice arhitecture,and.. that's about it.

 

VAST was always tempting, but crap keyboard action (on all models) and polyphony was always a deal-breaker for me. not to mention ROM and expansion ROM cost. When I look at those prices, it's like they are still living in 1990 :eek:

 

QUOTE: To suggest that a Triton can be had for half the cost of a K2661 is a bit of a stretch. A base model Triton Extreme 61 Key Synth Workstation is $2200.00. Moss is another $500. Isn't sampling an extra add on for the Triton as well? Any model K2x00 can load and edit samples, all you need is RAM.

you almost can, actually. First, they all have sampling standard, bigger/more expandable ROM etc, better keys. A standard Triton 61 w SCSI can be had for half price od 2661, and Triton Studio 61 for a little more. I wont even mention the advantages of the user interface for really fast sound editing, or sampling/sequencer operations.

Filters do sound better on Kurz and Roland,than on a korg IMHO.

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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Originally posted by Jeebus:

we're talking about sample-based instruments.

Bicycles and cars are competing products because they use a simple machines - the wheel.

 

I think eventually it will be heard and understood - even by players who actually own a Kurzweil K2x00 - the Kurz is not strictly a sample playback machine. It is also a fully programmable synthesizer under the same dashboard. The Kurz can do FM type sounds right out of the box; it has cross-modulation, which other ROMplers do not - at least not out of the box with a base model. I believe there is an FM expansion for the ES.

 

If interested, check the KEYBOARD review of the K2600. You can find it online. It was estimated that you could make over a million patches using Triple Modular. This was not just a guess. It was calculated based on the number of algorithms in the K2600. These million+ sounds would involve no samples whatsoever and would use up only one note of polyphony per layer.

 

We can compare the sample playback aspect of different ROMplers. That's fine, but the K2x00 is not just a simple sample playback machine.

 

~Peter Schouten

Pyramid Sound Productions

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Originally posted by clusterchord:

i second that notion. Kurz is superior in the voice arhitecture,and.. that's about it.

Yes, that's about it, but of course that's the key.

 

To my way of think the architecture is what makes for the Kurzweil's programming depth and its sonic capabilities.

 

Filters do sound better on Kurz and Roland,than on a korg IMHO.

Not a minor issue!!

 

Ultimately it comes down to whether the instrument is the creative musical tool you want it to be. If you don't like the way it sounds, what good is the polyphony or amount of RAM?

 

~Peter Schouten

Pyramid Sound Productions

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Triton, Motif, Fantom, K26xx all aim to be versatile workstations and have partially overlapping features. From that viewpoint, they can be compared. Each of them has its own appeal and great features, so they are also complementary. If you can afford them all, get them all.

 

It's another story when you'd have to choose one, which most of us, the less wealthy musicians, have to. IMO the K26xx is by far the most flexible instrument. The incredible diversity of public domain and commercial sounds clearly illustrates this. With VAST, I'm able to create sounds I cannot get on any other hardware instrument: additive, substractive, waveshaping, FM... and combining all of these. There are even few software instruments with comparable flexibility; Reaktor comes closest.

 

Also, don't judge the K26xx by its specs. The polyphony in practice is great, due to the advanced voice allocation algorithm and the fact that with one VAST K26xx voice one can get more complex and fuller sounds than by layering three or four voices in other synths.

 

And what about KDFX: an effects section with sheer unlimited potential, and with (according to different reviews) Lexicon-quality level effects. KDFX is unrivalled by other keyboards. With the sampling option, you can use KDFX as outboard effects processor to other instruments or recording setup as well.

 

All this is my personal opinion (I'm not employed by Kurzweil). If I'd be transferred to a desolate island and could take just one instrument, it would be my K2600. Interestingly, you'll find many Kurzweil users who will state exactly the same.

Paul Dillen

DLN Sound - FM sounds for Kurzweil *NEW* Forte, PC3, PC2, PC1 and K2 series

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the control options for KDFX are absolutely amazing. i'm not familiar with real high end fx systems, but i kind of doubt even the best offer this level of control.

obviously, i haven't scratched the surface of it yet, but it seems all of the mod options that can be used on VAST are also available for KDFX.

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If I'd be transferred to a desolate island and could take just one instrument, it would be my K2600
I got my K26X in tow, and I am ready to go! When does the yacht sail for sea? http://www.gifs.net/animate/ag00612_.gif

Joe Pine (60's talk show host who sported a wooden leg) to Frank Zappa -- "So, with your long hair, I guess that makes you a woman." Frank Zappa's response -- "So, with your wooden leg, I guess that makes you a table."

 

 

http://www.nowhereradio.com/artists/album.php?aid=2001&alid=-1

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Originally posted by DLN:

IMO the K26xx is by far the most flexible instrument. The incredible diversity of public domain and commercial sounds clearly illustrates this. With VAST, I'm able to create sounds I cannot get on any other hardware instrument...

Nobody questions that. What is questionable is the difference in price, given the huge gap in up-to-date-ness the Kurz have. You can't justify a $1,000 difference by a mere difference in software architecture when the keybed, the interface, the out-of-the-box implementation and more are inferior to the competition.

 

Also, don't judge the K26xx by its specs.
Well ok, what am I gonna have to judge it by, then? The smell?

 

And what about KDFX: an effects section with sheer unlimited potential, and with (according to different reviews) Lexicon-quality level effects. KDFX is unrivalled by other keyboards. With the sampling option, you can use KDFX as outboard effects processor to other instruments or recording setup as well.
You can do that with all others, too. And mind you, effects are the most redundant feature in a keyboard such as these: most of us normally turn them off while programming.

I don't mean to be annoying, but it sounds like you haven't really checked out the competition in a few years.

 

All this is my personal opinion (I'm not employed by Kurzweil). If I'd be transferred to a desolate island and could take just one instrument, it would be my K2600. Interestingly, you'll find many Kurzweil users who will state exactly the same.
The raft will be departing April 1, 2004. Reservations at 1-800-E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E.
Max Ventura, Italy.
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I've let the K2661 go to a customer, at a rather lower price than I intended to, I may add. I discovered the keyboard was already on sale at several competitors, who probably noticed the same shortcomings I did.

I am expecting now for delivery the new VA1 synth they showed at NAMM. It's gonna go against the Virus KC, the V-Synth and the Andromeda, even though the latter is true analog. If they price it above $ 1900, they're dead.

Max Ventura, Italy.
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Originally posted by Jeebus:

Originally posted by Max Ventura:

If they price it above $ 1900, they're dead.

Yup, especially at 16 voices.
Hard to say. Kurzweil has a pretty loyal following.

 

Btw, where does the 16 voice requirement come from? And which VAs meet that requirement?

 

~Peter Schouten

Pyramid Sound Productions

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You can't justify a $1,000 difference by a mere difference in software architecture when the keybed, the interface, the out-of-the-box implementation and more are inferior to the competition.
I don't know... I purchased a Nord Modular for $1400 a little while back. Worth it in every respect even though its keyboard (2-octaves) and polyphony (sometimes only 4 parts) are inferior to much of the competition. But it is the modular synth architecture of the Nord that makes it worth it.

 

Kurzweil's VAST architecture and its superior KDFX effects for some people outweigh the advantages of the other hardware samplers.

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Btw, where does the 16 voice requirement come from? And which VAs meet that requirement?

voice counts are all over the board and they don't mean much. (i know you were replying to jeebus, but here goes anyways).

 

look what people are willing to pay for the mono moog thing.

waldorf pulse - mono

evolver - mono

yamaha an (found in the ex - mono or twin)

yam an plug-in board - 5 voice

alesis ion - 8

an1x - 10

nord 2 - 16

nord 2x - 20

nord 3 - 24

virus c - 32

 

polyphony doesn't mean much on a va or ra compared to other features such as sound, programmability, key feel and features, etc., etc.

 

if kurzweil's VA1 is anthing deep like the 2600 series (which i think it will be), some people will appreciate it for what it is regardless of v oice count.

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There's also the fact that Kurzweil are entering the VA market a little late in the game, and have already lost a lot of potential customers because people either already have their VAs, or feel more comfortable sticking to the tried and true manufacturers of VAs.
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b3keys: a while ago, i got a very rude, inappropiate reply in this forum after my replying to someone else's comment about jeebus's avatar.

 

don't know if you'd consider this, but you can go into your 'my profile', edit it, and turn off the avatars.

 

i wouldn't be posting at this forum if you couldn't do that, but i find it quite tolerable now.

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Thanks Midbill for the avatar tip. I have made the change. I'm not a prude, but I don't think a keyboard forum is the appropriate place for the such suggestive pics.

 

Put it this way, I wouldn't want my teenager viewing that pic.

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now you've got me curious.

i may just go in and change for a quick peek and change back again - naw!

 

i couldn't resist - i took a peek. actually that one's not too bad - at least there's not a 'member' present.

you're right tho, it should be 'age-restricted'.

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I turned mine off long ago because I have not desire to hide the screen when checking the forum from work or a relatives house. The only problem is, if you hop on someone's computer and don't log in first then you see everything.

 

It is ashame that people are not more considerate. Some people have interresting avatars that are music related, but others are more like what you expect from a 13 year old who has never seen the real thing. :rolleyes:

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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