Kurzweil PC361 Keyboard Synthesizer

2009 NAMM Show: Kurzweil has introduced the new Kurzweil PC361 keyboard synthesizer.

Description:

The PC361 is Kurzweil’s ultimate performance controller keyboard, with an enormous collection of stunning sounds combined with comprehensive real-time controller functions.

In addition to Kurzweil’s Triple Strike Grand Piano, the PC361 features hundreds of new sounds; basses, drums, guitars, and synths, along with a collection of vintage keyboard emulations, KB3 Mode and over 250 orchestral and string section programs.

The PC361’s new Dynamic V.A.S.T. architecture is the fruit of several major strides made in improving processing power, flexibility and user-friendliness. Kurzweil has also integrated its legendary (and vaporous) VA-1 Virtual Analog Synthesizer into the new system!

The Kurzweil PC361 also includes an unlimited-track sequencer with 960 PPQ resolutionr, making the PC361 a full blown music production workstation. What’s more- they’ve added USB, flash xD card port, a newly designed keyboard action, and a new intuitive user interface.

The Kurzweil PC361 Keyboard Synthesizer lists for $2395 and is expected to ship in Spring 2009.

Here are the PC361 details from Kurzweil:

What’s Inside…

One thing which clearly sets Kurzweil apart from the competition is the fact that we design our own chips (called ASICs) for all Kurzweil products. Simply put, our chips are customized for optimum audio performance. What does this mean for the end user? It means that all of the processing power in a Kurzweil chip is devoted exclusively to sound. It means no noticeable latency – the performance is always lightning fast. And most importantly, it translates into that rich, full, glitch-free sound for which Kurzweil has become famous. Yes developing our own chips is more expensive and more time consuming. We think it’s well worth it. Once you’ve heard the PC361, we think you’ll agree.

The Kurzweil Sound…

The PC361 offers an enormous sound set of over 850 programs, raising the bar once again for both audio quality and variety. With the best samples in the industry, and a powerful, responsive synth engine breathing life into them, you’ll feel like you’re playing an actual instrument, not just playing samples. Of course there’s the famous Kurzweil Triple Strike Piano, with dozens of variations to accommodate every kind of player. All of the basic sounds – basses, guitars, drums, horns and synths – have been painstakingly programmed to reflect the needs of today’s professional players, representing a broad selection of styles and flavors from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and today.

Also included is our Classic Keys ROM, which puts an impossibly large vintage keyboard rig at your fingertips. These are vintage emulations which actually sound like vintage instruments and classic recordings. The recognizable sounds of those classic electromechanical instruments, with all of their characteristic imperfections, have been faithfully re-created, along with pedals, amps and speakers. Lush Mellotrons, growling electric pianos, and punchy Clavinets are all there at the touch of a button, programmed to sound just like those classic albums.

For more vintage firepower, the PC361 is equipped with the most advanced version of Kurzweil’s widely lauded KB3 Mode tonewheel organ simulator, which screams, sputters and sizzles just like the original. In addition to newly developed Leslie effects, and a new bank of B3 programs, we’ve also included sounds from the classic Vox and Farfisa combo organs. The PC361’s 9 sliders provide real-time drawbar control.

The PC361 offers a full range of world class orchestral sounds, including our new String Section ROM bank, making it ideal for film-scoring and soundtrack projects. Every type of articulation, every nuance has been captured, with samples of full and divisi sections of violins, violas, cellos, and double bass. The details, the warm swells, animated pizzicatos and the sound of scraping rosin all add to the breathtaking effect of these string sections. You can plug and play with sounds worthy of a finished production – instant gratification with uncompromising sound quality.

Dynamic V.A.S.T..

Under the hood of the PC361 is simply the most powerful synthesis engine ever created by Kurzweil. Dynamic V.A.S.T. picks up where the K series left off. Having up to 32 layers per program means that emulations of real instruments can be extremely detailed and accurate, while the synthesized sounds can be extraordinarily large and complex.

Expanding upon our V.A.S.T. architecture, the PC361’s new architecture delivers more power and flexibility combined with unprecedented ease of use. Users can now create and store their own DSP algorithms, with nearly limitless possibilities for routing.

In another huge development, we’ve resurrected the VA-1 Virtual Analog Synthesizer, having built it’s synthesis engine right into the new system. Hear the VA-1’s power-shaped, anti-aliasing oscillators (including supersaw, triplesaw, and hard sync oscillators) combined with a newer, larger set of V.A.S.T. filters (like the classic-style 4pole low pass w/ resonance) and non-linear processors and you’ll understand why the internet is buzzing about this feature.

Cascade Mode…

Every layer in a program can be routed through the DSP of any other layer, in series or blended together, with up to 32 layers. It’s the same concept as Triple Mode on our K26 series, without the 3 layer limit. You can run your sound through literally dozens of filters (which can all move independently in real-time) in addition to Kurzweil’s signature DSP processors like Shaper, Wrap and Distortion, allowing for some truly dazzling results. This is one more feature which makes the PC361’s synth engine so powerful and so different than anything else on the market.

User Interface…

While the PC361’s user interface may look familiar to veteran Kurzweil users, major improvements have been made, allowing for a much more user friendly experience. The PC361’s backlit 240 x 64 display conveys all the information you’ll need, when you need it, in an elegant, easy to navigate environment.

Programs are categorized and can be selected by scrolling or by using bank and program select buttons. Further, user favorites can be organized into convenient “Quick Access” banks for easy one touch recall.

In addition to fast navigation, each preset sound is accompanied by an “Info” screen which can be accessed at the touch of a button. As every sound can have its own customized set of real-time, physical controllers (sliders, modwheel, switches, CC Pedals, mono pressure, etc.) , the Info button makes viewing the current assignments effortless.

Complimenting the PC361’s killer soundset is the the Easy Audition feature, where every one of the PC361’s presets is linked to a bank of “riffs”, recorded sequences which demonstrate each sound in an appropriate context. Just hit the “play” button on the front panel and get a quick musical preview of the current selection. Program selection and navigation, fast and easy.

Helping to tap the system’s full potential, the PC3 also sports a feature-laden software-based Desktop Editor with comprehensive, easy to use features. (free download- both Mac & PC platforms available)

Effects…

With up to 16 insert effects, two available auxiliary sends, PLUS a global Master FX section, the PC361 offers more than twice the processing power of our acclaimed KDFX engine. Effects can be chained together in series, or distributed among the PC361’s 16 multitimbral channels. And these are simply the best effects in the business – burning distortions, transparent compressors, warm phaser and chorus effects, perfect reverbs – everything from flawless vintage emulations to concert halls which decay into complete silence. All parameters are assignable to any of the PC361’s real time controllers – sliders, pedals, wheels, etc.

Sequencer…

The PC361 features a newly designed sequencer, with unlimited tracks and 960 PPQ resolution. Combining a set of powerful song editing functions like event editing, swing, and controller scaling with a new friendlier interface, the PC361 truly excels as a song writing/arranging workstation, ideal for music production on the fly. Chasing controls, input quantizing and a global “set song length” function are just a couple of the features we’ve incorporated.

Arpeggiators & Riffs…

The PC361 sports sixteen (yes, 16!) independent, fully programmable arpeggiators featuring 48-step programmable, pattern generators with both pitch and velocity controls – per zone (allowing for up to 16 patterns to playback simultaneously). These are accompanied by a thorough collection of modes, scales and pre-programmed patterns to get your juices flowing.

If that wasn’t enough, the PC3 offers sixteen unique “Riff” generators, which permit the triggering of MIDI sequenced phrases, beats, or even complete multi-track arrangments from notes on the keyboard and/or any on-board physical controller.


6 thoughts on “Kurzweil PC361 Keyboard Synthesizer

  1. Well, I was going to try out this board, I had stated before that Kurzweil is a company headed for oblivion and Kurzweil fans (both of them) said I should demo this thing, & I agreed. BUT- Kurzweil was not at Namm (?) Nobody knew what happened to them, maybe they were set up in the parking lot? Where were they? Did they go under? Oh well, I got to demo much cooler stuff anyway- the Korg workstations for example…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3
  2. St. B – they were up in the Whang Chung booth, where no one seemed to be prepared to do a demo of it.

    As a K2500 owner, I was disappointed. These guys were 15 years ahead of everybody else – but that was 15 years ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  3. i have a pc361 .. best sounds ever … i use it live together with a korg karma … has at home a triton but for live kurzweil has the most authentic sounds and the karma was really crazy sounds and loops

    BO / SAHARA RAIN

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  4. I love my pc361, the best sounding, most versatile synth I’ve ever owned.

    One issue: after switching it on for the very first time, straight out of the box, it took about 10 to 15 minutes to initialize. (I didn’t time it exactly, because I was getting more and more worried!) But now, it always starts up in a few seconds, as per the instruction manual, and plays perfectly.

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