Kurzweil VA1 Keyboard Announced

Kurzweil VA1Kurzweil Music Systems has announced its latest keyboard, the Kurzweil VA1, a high-performance analog modeling synthesizer. It looks like it will be one of the most innovative synths to come from Kurzweil in years, and promises to break new ground in virtual analog technology.

We look forward to getting our hands one for testing. Kurzweil has released this preliminary information about the VA1:

Developed using Kurzweil’s newest proprietary DSP technology, the 61 note VA1 uses patent pending “Power Shaped Oscillators” to generate classic analog-style waveforms which can be smoothly “shaped” from one into another, without the use of cross-fades. Presets include everything from classic analog emulations to sounds which are truly ground-breaking.

The VA1 combines a vast array of real-time DSP processing with flexible FM and sync capabilities, providing a wide spectrum of sonic possibilities. Dual multi-mode 4-pole resonant filters, 3 LFOs, 2 ASRs, and 2 extremely fast ADSR envelopes are just a few of the sound-sculpting tools available. The VA1 offers 16 voices of polyphony, 7 simultaneous sound-sources per voice, and 4 part multitimbral capability. Each multitimbral part has its own effects (based on our acclaimed KDFX and KSP8 processors) and its own independent arpeggiator.

With 59 knobs, and 108 buttons, the VA1’s user interface is both precise and intuitive, providing instant access to nearly all synth parameters. The VA1 offers an unprecedented amount of performance control as well, with pitchwheel, modwheel, joystick, and inputs for 4 switch pedals, 2 CC pedals, breath controller and Kurzweil’s exclusive ribbon controller, all of which are assignable in the VA1’s 6×46 modulation matrix. The LFOs, arpeggiators, portamento and effects can all be easily synced to MIDI clock and/or each other.

External signals can be processed in the VA1’s oscillator and filter sections, or through its built-in 48-band vocoder. Stereo inputs with Neutrik “combo jacks”, and a stereo mic pre-amp with phantom power give the VA1 a unique edge in both live performance and studio settings, allowing quick “1-step” vocal processing with superb sound quality. The audio outputs are equally impressive, with 4 1/4″ balanced analog outs employing Kurzweil’s patented circuitry, standard headphone jack (with independent headphone monitoring), and an optical port with up to 8 channels of 24-bit digital audio.

Physical Specifications

Improved Synth-Style Action: 61 velocity and aftertouch sensitive keys

59 Knobs: 11 detented “selection” knobs and 47 smooth, endless encoders provide both instant access and precise, real time control over a wide array of parameters.

108 Buttons: Virtually eliminate the need for multiple button-presses and having to page through endless menus.

Assignable Controllers: Equipped with pitchwheel, modwheel, and a joystick, as well as inputs for ribbon, breath controller, 4 switch pedals, and 2 CC pedals, the VA1 offers an unprecedented amount of performance control.

Internal Power Supply

Smart Media Slot: For quick external storage of programs and easy OS updates

2 line x 16 character backlit LCD display

Dimensions: 40.25″ W x 3.7″ H x 14.8″ D Weight: 27.5 lbs.

Synth Specifications

16 Polyphonic Voices

4 Part Multitimbral Capability

Sound Generation: Each voice has 7 sound sources – 3 oscillators, 2 “Processors”, Noise, and External. All 7 sources can be used simultaneously without reducing polyphony. Power Shaped Oscillators: Employing Kurzweil’s latest DSP innovations, the VA1’s oscillators generate analog-style waveforms which can be smoothly transformed from one into another, without the use of cross-fades. Traditional waveforms such as sine, square, saw, triangle, and variable pulse are available as well.

Processors: Using a versatile selection of DSP algorithms, each “Processor” can provide functions like “sample and hold”, distortion, and ringmod. The processors can also serve as sub-oscillators.

FM and Sync: The VA1’s FM synthesis capabilities are powerful and flexible, with a number of choices available for inputs and destinations. Each of the oscillators can be synced to a number of sources.

Deform Section: Located just before the filters in the signal path, the Deform section provides an additional block of real-time processing. Ringmod, Shapers, and a variety of digital distortion algs can be selected.

Filters: The VA1’s dual filters can be arranged in series or parallel configuration and offer a broad selection of filter types. Minimoog style 4 pole resonant lo-pass with feedback, 2 and 4 pole lo-pass and hi-pass, bandpass, and notch are among the many available filter algorithms.

LFOs and Envelopes: 3 LFOs (1 local, 2 global) each with a range of up to 50hz, 2 lightning-fast ADSR envelopes, 2 standard ASRs.

Modulation Matrix: With 6 inputs (3 assignable) for each of the 46 possible destinations, the VA1 provides unmatched programming flexibility.

Arpeggiator: The VA1 features 4 independent simultaneous arpeggiators, one for each of its 4 multitimbral parts.

Effects: With 4 simultaneous effects available, one for each of the VA1’s 4 multitimbral parts, the effects section features a varied collection of presets taken from our award-winning KDFX (for K2500 and 2600) and KSP8 processors. The effects presets are fully programmable and can be assigned real-time controllers through the VA1’s modulation matrix.

MIDI Sync: Portamento, LFOs, arpeggiators, and envelope triggers, as well as many of the time-based effects (delay, flange, etc.) can easily be synced to MIDI and/or each other.

Vocoder: The 40 band vocoder can use external inputs for both carrier and modulator in addition to the VA1’s internally generated sound sources.


Inputs: The VA1 comes equipped with 2 Neutrik “combo jacks” (both 1/4″ and XLR) for balanced or unbalanced signals.

Pre-amp: With the inclusion of a stereo mic pre-amp and phantom power, the VA1 offers the most complete capabilities for vocoding and the processing of external audio.

Analog Outputs: 4 balanced 1/4″ jacks, using patented Kurzweil circuitry, 1 stereo headphone jack.

24-Bit Digital Output: Optical port selectable as ADAT (8 channels) or S/P DIF format.

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