Kurzweil K2061, K2088 Synthesizers Bring Back V.A.S.T. Synthesis Using Today’s Technology

Kurzweil has announced two new synths workstations, the K2061, with a 61-note keyboard, and the K2088, with an 88-note keyboard.

Both synths feature an updated version of the company’s Dynamic Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology (V.A.S.T.).

They say, “We asked ourselves, what if we could rebuild the legendary K2000 V.A.S.T. synthesizer, but using today’s technology?”

Features:

  • 61- note synth action or 88-key fully-weighted hammer action w/ aftertouch
  • New industrial design with an aluminum+steel enclosure
  • Resculpted K2000 synth library
  • Compatible with K2 era libraries
  • 32 layers per program
  • Customizable algorithms
  • Flash sample playback, VA, FM and KB3 engines
  • 2 GB of factory sounds
  • 2 GB user sample memory
  • Versatile FX chains and master FX section
  • 256 voice polyphony
  • 480×272 color screen
  • 16-zone MIDI controller
  • Over 30 physical controllers per zone including an integrated ribbon
  • 16 Arpeggiators
  • 16 MIDI CC sequencers
  • 16 RIFF generators

Details on pricing and availability are still to come at the Kurzweil site.

via Jon Stubbs

23 thoughts on “Kurzweil K2061, K2088 Synthesizers Bring Back V.A.S.T. Synthesis Using Today’s Technology

    1. Not sure of which Korg device you are thinking, but my Korg Kronos has 9 sliders that give full control over the drawbar engine.

    1. Yamaha’s current flagship has 3 GB. Roland’s flagship has 2 GB (shared by expansions), Korg’s flagship has the same as Roland’s. Also, Kurzweil has always done quite well with their built-in ROM libraries, so you may have less frequent need to load user samples.

      Yes, computers and smart devices can access way more GB (using direct disk streaming, etc).

      For those of us who’ve worked with these workstations over the years, 2 GB is pretty generous and quite a step up.

    1. It’s early days, so there aren’t enough details to know what this model brings to the table.

      Remember when Yamaha shocked the world with their “One knob” concept? In fairness, I probably gave them a little public yawning for that. Or how Yamaha, Korg, Roland have often taken the market by storm with their MANY repacks?

      Might not be ground breaking, but even incremental improvements are welcome– especially for users whose needs are aligned with that product line.

  1. Specs look great* and I’d love to go back to VAST programming with modern hardware/connectivity. But I wonder why they didn’t release a proper photo instead of this badly edited teaser.

    * mostly, lack of aftertouch on the 61-key version is silly

  2. On specs, apart from the polyphony and no wooden end cheeks. Looks like a PC3K to me. I have one and still love it after all these years.

    1. I do agree that the PC3K holds its own still. However, I’ll push back that 2 GB sample flash (vs the PC3K’s paultry 128 MB) is significant!

      We’ll need to wait & see when it comes to improvements to FX, FX chains, Master Insert FX, etc.

      The polyphony is nothing to sneeze at, and I’ll be curious to see what happens with hardware controls.

      Another tease that caught my eye is “New industrial design with an aluminum+steel enclosure” Getting a keyboard with a more durable build quality will really appeal to those of us who take them out for gigs.

      1. I also do have P3K. Truth is, the sample set in the SP6(Forte SE and up) is much richer. So soundwise after the SP6 for the basics in general it is better. Adding user sample space, KSR and FM techonolgy the PC4 should stand and the 2700 simply introduces the AUDIO integration part. Why I think this K2061 will be a success is because the PC3K6 is great, but the lack of FM ,KSR and the richer sample set, makes it simply outdated. If kurzweil come in with a 61-key with all these missing features (10 yr gap or so !) , I will be very pleased. Also from a continuation point if view. I recently sold my K2000 with pain in my heart but at a certain point of time you know something new is taking its place. I always compare it with phones, the iphone4 was probably the best machine , but for today it is worthless.

      2. I also do have P3K. Truth is, the sample set in the SP6(Forte SE and up) is much richer. So soundwise after the SP6 for the basics in general it is better. Adding user sample space, KSR and FM techonolgy the PC4 should stand and the 2700 simply introduces the AUDIO integration part. Why I think this K2061 will be a success is because the PC3K6 is great, but the lack of FM ,KSR and the richer sample set, makes it simply outdated. If kurzweil come in with a 61-key with all these missing features (10 yr gap or so !) , I will be very pleased. Also from a continuation point of view. I recently sold my K2000 with pain in my heart but at a certain point of time you know something new is taking its place. I always compare it with phones, the iphone4 was probably the best machine , but for today it is worthless.

  3. I don’t understand the comparison with other companies. Kurweil just does this one, nothing else. At the same time korg, Yamaha, roland, etc make numerous synths, differnt types, some succesful, some not. But kurweil struggles to connect with contemporary technology for at least 20 years.

    1. There are things that I can do in V.A.S.T. that none of my other synths released in the last 30 years do. Many of these things are incredibly useful ,and seem like they’d be easy for companies to implement, but nobody seems to do it.

      For example, V.A.S.T. makes it easy to control not just what an expression pedal does, but how it affects what it modulates. If other synths let you use the expression pedal for arbitrary modulations, they usually limit it to sending a range of 0-127, which means that you don’t have fine control over expression, and small movements tend to sound ‘jumpy’.

    2. There are things that I can do in V.A.S.T. that none of my other synths released in the last 30 years do. Many of these things are incredibly useful, and seem like they’d be easy for companies to implement, but nobody seems to do it.

      For example, V.A.S.T. makes it easy to control not just what an expression pedal does, but how it affects what it modulates. If other synths let you use the expression pedal for arbitrary modulations, they usually limit it to sending a range of 0-127, which means that you don’t have fine control over expression, and small movements tend to sound ‘jumpy’.

    3. The reason for the comparison is that some of the criticisms of Kurzweil aren’t especially fair. So I mentioned what the competitors are doing just to add perspective.

      You say Kurzweil does “nothing else”. They released several successful hardware FX units, have 3 separate lines of keyboards: K-series which are sampler-workstations, PC3 & PC4 which are performance controllers which also have very capable VAST synth capabilities included, and their stage piano products including the Forte.

      Kurzweil isn’t everything to everyone, but their products are powerful & versatile. A while back, Kurzweil K2600’s were like the go-to keyboard for big music theater houses.

      There are certainly fair criticisms. Kurzweil’s keyboard have some weaknesses (as do ALL keyboards); e.g., aliasing in oscillators, modulation scan rates aren’t very high-res/fast. Steep learning curve (that’s not necessarily a weakness, just the cost of a deep rig). In my experience, the strengths FAR outweigh the weaknesses.

      Some users want something specific that Kurzweils don’t provide, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great keyboards.

      1. The other companies release numerous products, new and repackaged technologies. Kurzweil keeps releasing the exact same product. That is not an unfair or biased view, it is simply what Kurzweil does. Whether that is useful, excellent or bad is down to the individual user. But their lack of creative output is evident.

        1. This is nothing about creativity. This is about enhancing your tooling to become more creative. People who think that Kurzweil is about creativity, still think of it as a musical instrument. All kurzweils are simply powerhouses to bring your creativity to the max. Go to the shop, pick one kurzweil, and just play one sound, you will be tapped on your shoulder soon enough to leave the store because they are closing.

        2. Fair point; the amount of overlap between Kurzweil products has increased considerably. Your use of “same exact product” seems like it has some strong feelings behind it.

          The comment about a “lack of creative output” may be valid; but being in an industry with a precarious market position makes that kind of creative risk-taking much more difficult and expensive. Some of the biggies can absorb that risk. IMHO, Korg and Roland have shown some impressive developments– but mostly with products for which there is at least some buzz.

          There’s another way to look at this. Kurzweil develops some DSP or sound ROM, or modulation routing, Flash RAM hardware/integration, or other features, and if they can, they offer those features across their product line– so owners of different lines benefit from development in other lines. (See Fractal constantly updating their Multi FX/Modelers, and advancements trickle down to other models). It seems like this industry is struggling and we’ve not seen the same ground breaking features or post-release value-adding from updates.

          It will be fascinating to see what lost features might be re-animated in this product.

  4. -an independent envelope with assignable segment control (al a Ampenv)
    -env2 & env3 with assignable segment control
    -a clearer, easier way to program the cascade mode from one screen verse layer upon layer upon layer specific pages
    -hell, a real solid, respectable real-time computer based editor
    -oh yeah, give us a K2061 version of the hard copy of the spiral-bound K2500 era owners manual…if you have one you know EXACTLY what I mean…beautiful beast

    that’s all that comes to mind for me at the moment
    (K2500 & PC3k6 guy here)

    Glad to read there are plenty here that get just how deep and mind blowing VAST is

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