Kurzweil PC4 Synthesizer Now Available

Kurzweil has announced the availability of the PC4 Performance Controller and Production Station, the latest evolution of their line of synth workstations.

The fully-weighted 88-key PC4 combines a powerful internal sound engine with advanced control features.

The sound engine features 2GB of factory sounds; a 6-operator FM synthesizer; the VA-1 virtual analog; and tonewheel organ modeling. It offers 256 voices of polyphony, a 16-track sequencer, 36 programmable physical controllers and front panel master transport controls.

Features:

  • 256 voices of polyphony
  • 2 GB of factory sample content + 2 GB of user-loadable space
  • 1000+ factory programs
  • New! – 6-operator FM Engine with the ability to import 80’s/90’s FM SysEx files
  • 9 sets of programmable knobs+sliders+buttons
  • 88 note fully-weighted hammer-action with velocity sensitive keys with aftertouch
  • Full native V.A.S.T. editing capabilities
  • 16 track Sequencer with dedicated front-panel transport buttons
  • 16 arpeggiators (Classic or Step sequencers) with dedicated front-panel controls
  • – New! – 16 MIDI CC Step Sequencers
  • 16 Riff Generators
  • Dedicated front-panel transposition and tempo controls
  • Ribbon connector input
  • (2) 1/4 inch audio input connectors
  • (1) stereo 1/8″ audio input jack with FX
  • (2) pairs of stereo outputs
  • (4) switch pedals (via 2 stereo jacks)
  • (2) CC pedal inputs

Pricing and Availability

The Kurzweil PC4 is available now with a street price of about $2,000 USD.

22 thoughts on “Kurzweil PC4 Synthesizer Now Available

  1. Seems they offer a lot for that price. Im curious about the quality of the pianokeybed and the piano sounds compared with a Nord piano for example. Sadly i can’t go arround with the looks….cheap’ish imo.

    1. I can’t speak for the quality of current Kurzweil builds, but the main keyboard/ midi controller in my home studio is a Kurzweil PC2X that is almost 20 years old. I bought it for like $2500 from a Guitar Center (my life savings at the time!) and have used it and moved around with it al these years. It still works great, including the weighted keys. If it suddenly died I would likely go for this new model as the features look fantastic to me.

      I agree that this looks like a low price for so many features.

  2. Am I expecting too much from Kurzweil? For a flagship synth, this seems … like a “me, too” effort. Or a bit of a product refresh. The price is reasonable, but really the product doesn’t inspire me. For a company with the tag line, “it’s the sound,” it’s odd that they don’t have an audio demo that points out why anybody should buy it.

    1. Kurzweil does deliver on its “It’s the sound” motto. The sample ROM is well-done, and they excel and making content that delivers when playing.

      Because Kurzweil has it’s own trajectory and feature lineage with VAST, there’s no way anyone would suggest their products are “us, too”

      As to why someone should buy it, I can give three reasons:
      1. Ridiculous versatility
      2. Comprehensive Feature Set
      3. Quality of Sounds

      It does have some weak areas– having to do with aspects of VAST that are carried over. But these are things that would only bother certain synth power-users.

      It is difficult to make demo audio that will appeal to everyone’s tastes. The fact that it has 2 GB of user sample space should dispel some of those concerns.

      My old K2661 handles anything I throw at it with 128 MB of sample RAM. Kurzweil continued their tradition of making very capable Performance Controllers (PC series) that include massively capable sound creation technology. As well as comprehensive synths with strong piano capabilities. The PC4 seems to bring their Forte series, the PC series and FM into a single workstation.

      1. Good summary. I haven’t owned on since a K200 rack I sold years ago, but I still miss how great it sounded. I think the biggest issue for this device is that it’s packing a ton of computer power into something with a tiny 1990s-era screen. That’s OK if all you want is a rock-solid workstation with great-sounding presets, but if you want to do your own programming it looks painful, to put it mildly. They need to put up a software interface that can run easily on a laptop or tablet and provide easy access to the wealth of tools under the hood or they’ll never be able to expand their market again.

      2. Very good summary, thanks !
        My trusty PC88 whom I bought around 1994 and sadly died recently had one of the best acoustic piano sound I ever heard, not to mention the strings sounds…

  3. All good on the sound system. And a good number of voices compared to competitors. But control? The old ones were better. Wheels on the left. Not upper left. And the super nice ribbon controller… aw how I miss that ..

    1. Not necessarily a fair comparison, but I hear ya. I feel the same. When I hear people talk about that MidiBoard, it just sounds like the made a really special action there.

  4. This looks like a real competitor to Yamaha’s MoDX – a bit pricier, but very similar specs and of course VAST.
    But yeah, everyone wants poly aftertouch, so both synths need to up their game to attract major interest.

    1. It is a little bit more expensive, but it has aftertouch. MODx does not, that’s why PC4 is the winner here IMO. Because this latest extended VAST has at least the same power even compared to AWM2 + FM-X.
      Kurzweil had a smart step offering a synth which sits in between of competitors scale. I’d say, if we simply put Yamaha and Kurzweil in one line face to customer, the range will be MODX -> PC4 -> Montage / Forte (parity).

    1. I wonder if anyone has made an MPE-to-multi-timbral converter. In essence, some MIDI box and/or iOS app takes MPE input and spits it out as multi-timbral data distributing notes to 16 channels, then any multi-timbral synth can be configured with the same sound on all 16 channels, and appropriate MIDI controls on all 16.

  5. It’s a shame it doesn’t have full K2 compatibility nor does it have any digital out.

    The PC3K has all that and sample memory. It looks more like the synthesizer for creators than preset pickers.

    Man I wish it had a rack, though. That would be killer!

    1. Yea. I get your point. It’s actually kind of amazing how long Kurzweil was able to maintain backward compatibility with the K2000 series. And it was quite a gift that it was provided with the PC3K, even to the degree that it was.

      But with the changes that were made, I can see how the development hours to provide that kind of path between two completely different synth lines (PCx vs K2xxx) is asking too much.

      When they release a rig like this, they probably spend quite a bit of time deciding where it fits in the market, how the software and hardware features relate, and therefore what format (number of keys, rack, etc.) to provide on the first release. Some folks prefer racks, some prefer all-in-ones.

      I’m glad to see Kurzweil releasing an affordable workstation with lots of sample flash memory.

  6. What’s the best Kurzweil for V.A.S.T users?

    I’ve been using a K2500 for about a decade and, to be honest, I just now feel like I’m mastering V.A.S.T.

    V.A.S.T. is as powerful as anything I’ve used, but it definitely has a pretty steep learning curve.

    What I wonder is what Kurzweil users consider the ‘peak V.A.S.T.’ synth? I’ve heard that later models fix the aliasing that you can get on a K2500 in the upper registers, but it seems like the keyboards from the last decade or so have also cut back on the hardware controls. I really enjoy all the physical controls you have on a K2500, and the PC4 looks like Kurzweil cut back on controls to keep the cost down.

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