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Designed to be the ultimate performance controller keyboard!
Looking sleek on the outside, and with an arsenal of Kurzweil's latest cutting edge chip technology under its hood, the 76-note PC3 keyboard delivers 128 voices of incredible sound quality along with a host of powerful, easy to use features. The PC3 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 renowned Triple Strike Grand Piano, the PC3 features hundreds of sounds; basses, drums, guitars, and synths suited for every style and taste, along with a collection of flawless vintage keyboard emulations, KB3 Mode and over 250 orchestral and string section programs. The PC3's Dynamic V.A.S.T. architecture is a huge step forward in synthesis, the fruit of several major strides Kurweil has made in improving processing power, flexibility and user-friendliness. Good news for synth enthusiasts — They've seamlessly integrated their legendary VA-1 Virtual Analog Synthesizer into the keyboard's system.
The Kurzweil PC3 keyboard also includes an unlimited-track sequencer with 1536 PPQ resolution and more effects processing power than the acclaimed KSP8 processor, making the PC3 a full blown music production workstation. Add in USB, flash xD card port, a newly designed keyboard action, and an intuitive user interface, and you've got the next generation of Kurzweil musical instruments.
It's a performance controller. It's a synthesizer. It's a workstation.
One thing which clearly sets Kurzweil apart from the competition is the fact that they design their own chips (called ASICs) for all Kurzweil products. Simply put, these 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.
The Kurzweil Sound...
The Kurzweil PC3 keyboard offers an enormous sound set of over 800 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 Kurzweil's 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 PC3 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 the Leslie effects, and a bank of B3 programs, Kurzweil also included sounds from the classic Vox and Farfisa combo organs. The PC3's 9 sliders provide real-time drawbar control.
The PC3 offers a full range of world class orchestral sounds, including a 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.
Under the hood of the PC3 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 Kurzweil's V.A.S.T. architecture, the PC3'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, Kurzweil 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 combined with a newer, larger set of V.A.S.T. filters and non-linear processors and you'll understand why the internet is buzzing about this feature.
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 the 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 PC3's synth engine so powerful and so different than anything else on the market.
While the PC3's user interface may look familiar to veteran Kurzweil users, major improvements have been made, allowing for a much more user friendly experience. The PC3's backlit 240 x 64 display conveys all the information you'll need, when you need it, in an elegant, easy to navigate environment.
All programs and setups will be accompanied by help messages which can be accessed by pressing an "Info" soft button. These help messages may contain controller assignments, or other relevant information. Programs can be selected by scrolling or by using bank and program select buttons for easy one touch access.
Complimenting the PC3's killer soundset is the the Easy Audition feature, where every one of the PC3'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.
Move a controller while holding the Cancel button, and the display will let you know what that controller is doing. Whether it's a wah effect, tremolo control, a filter sweep, or something less obvious, the PC3 will let you know what is happening, in musician's terms. This system allows us to maintain the flexibility of not having to silkscreen permanent labels on the front panel sliders, as is the case with the competition. Every sound can have its own set of controller assignments which can be viewed at the touch of a button.
Also available will be a software-based PC3 Desktop Editor (for both Mac & PC) with comprehensive, easy to use features.
With up to 16 insert effects plus two available auxiliary sends, the PC3 offers more than twice the processing power of Kurzweil's acclaimed KDFX engine. Effects can be chained together in series, or distributed among the PC3'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 PC3's real time controllers - sliders, pedals, wheels, etc.
The PC3 will feature a newly designed sequencer, with unlimited tracks and 1536 PPQ resolution. Combining a set of powerful song editing functions like step editing, swing, and controller scaling with a new friendlier interface, the PC3 truly excels as a song writing/arranging workstation, ideal for music production on the fly. Chasing controls and a global "set song length" function are just a couple of the features Kurzweil has incorporated.
The PC3 sports sixteen (yes, 16!) independent arpeggiators as well as a collection of pre-recorded beats and musical phrases.
- 76 note semi-weighted-action keyboard, with velocity and aftertouch sensitive keys
- 240 x 64 angled, backlit LCD display w/ dedicated back panel brightness and contrast controls.
- 128 Voice Polyphony, dynamically allocated, lightning fast performance.
- Multitimbral - 16 parts (one per MIDI channel)
- Sequencer with Unlimited tracks
- 16 insert effects distributed over 12 busses, plus two auxiliary sends; featuring over 300 award winning effects
- Over 850 Stunning New Factory Presets
- General MIDI
- 2 Sound ROM Expansion Slots
PC3 76-Note Performance Controller Keyboard Specifications:
- Keyboard: 76 note semi-weighted-action, with velocity and aftertouch sensitive keys
- Display: 240 x 64 angled, backlit LCD w/ dedicated back panel brightness and contrast controls.
- Polyphony: 128 Voice Polyphony, dynamically allocated, lightning fast performance.
- Multitimbral: 16 parts (one per MIDI channel)
- Dynamic VAST Architecture: Powerful new synthesis engine, with user programmable DSP algs and routing. More DSP power than even the Kurzweil K Series instruments.
- VA1 Inside: anti-aliasing, power-shaped oscillators and DSP processing from Kurzweil's VA1 prototype synth, capable of delivering authentic analog emulations as well as incredibly complex new sounds.
- Cascade Mode: lets the user route one layer through the DSP of any other layer within a program - up to 32 consecutive layers deep!
- Software: Desktop Editor (Mac and PC platforms)
- Factory Presets: Over 850 Stunning New Factory Presets, many of which use 10-20 layers, featuring samples from the PC2 Base Sound ROM, the Orchestral, Classic Keys, General MIDI set, PLUS new String Section ROM Bank. Also, 64 new KB3 programs.
- Factory MIDI Setups: 96 factory programmed MIDI setups. 128 user programmable MIDI setups, each with 16 independent zones, effects and arpeggiator settings.
- General MIDI: Standard
- User Memory: 1024 locations for user created preset programs. 128 locations for user created MIDI Setups.
- Sound ROM Expansion Slots: 2
- Sequencer: Unlimited tracks; 1536 PPQ resolution; features pattern "Clips" that can be created within a track, and then easily stretched, compressed, copied, repeated and transposed. Song editing functions include step editing, swing, controller scaling and more. Controller chasing and a global "set song length" functions are also featured.
- Effects: 16 insert effects distributed over 12 busses, plus two auxiliary sends; featuring over 300 of Kurzweil's award winning effects - reverbs, delays, chorus, flange, phaser, EQs, distortions, Leslie simulators, compressors, and more.
- Global EQ: User controllable master EQ section and master compressor for quick adjustments during live performance. (These do not use up the insert effect resources.)
- Controllers: Pitch wheel, modulation wheel, 9 front panel sliders/drawbar controllers, 2 front panel switches (momentary or toggle, software selectable), 3 switch pedal input, 2 continuous control pedal inputs, mono pressure, Super Ribbon input, breath controller input. Controller values can be "captured" and stored as part of a program.
- Arpeggiator: 16 full-featured independent arpeggiators with multiple latch modes, selectable play order, velocity, duration, tempo, and sync functions as well as pre-recorded beats and musical phrases.
- Analog Outputs: Four 1/4" balanced TRS analog (24-bit DACs).
- 1 rear panel 1/4" headphone output.
- Digital Outputs:
- 24-bit, stereo S/PDIF featuring 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192-kHz modes.
- (externally clockable)
- In, Out, Thru (hardware switchable to copy of MIDI Out).
- MIDI over USB. Also allows the PC3 to load and save data directly to and from a computer as well as perform OS updates.
- Flash Memory Port:
- xD card type. Store and load programs, OS updates, and sequences.
- FREE OS Updates:
- Flash ROM upgradeable via USB or flash memory card.
- Height: 4.96", (12.60 cm)
- Depth: 13.29", (33.76 cm)
- Length: 49.09" (124.69 cm)
- Weight: 37.00 lb. (16.78 kg)
- Power: Internal AC power supply. Selectable 120/240V AC operation.
Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about Kurzweil PC3 76-Note Performance Controller Keyboard:
I bought one of these PC3's shortly after they were introduced --to replace a Korg Triton Extreme that (nice as it was) just didn't have as friendly a patch-organization system for gigging as I like. I struggled with deciding between the PC3 and the 88-key PC3X, and finally went with the PC3 due to the reduced weight and slightly lower cost. I have not regretted my choice. The thing that I like most about this keyboard --when compared to my Fantom X8 or the Triton-- is that a high percentage of its sounds are usable, right out of the box. Don't get me wrong, the Fantom and Triton are both great instruments, but they both have a lot of sounds with a high initial wow factor that have little practical application at least for me as a gigging musician. This Kurzweil, on the other hand, has TONS of usable sounds various flavors of the wonderful Kurzweil acoustic piano, many types of clavs, Rhodes and Wurlys, as well as simply amazing strings and a variety of useful pads and leads courtesy of the VAST and VA1 architectures. Then theres the KB3 mode. Now, its not gonna replace your mint-condition 64 B3 through a Leslie 122, but for an all-in-one instrument it does an amazing job. Up until I got the PC3 I _always_ brought my Nord C1 to gigs. But now Im finding that I can leave the C1 at home more often at least when playing casuals. The Leslie sim in the PC3 isnt as wide and swirly as a real Leslie, of course, but with a full band around you, even when playing leads, your audience isnt going to begin to notice the difference. Of course the PC3 is more than just a gigging keyboard. Its fully multi-timbral with an onboard multi-track sequencer that, while Ive never really delved into it much, seems like it would be more than adequate for setting up backing tracks for a one man band situation or for a steady groove for electro-pop or dance music. There are other keyboards out there that tout themselves as all-in-ones the Nord Stage series being a notable and worthwhile example. Some of the other all-in-ones might do one particular thing a tiny bit better than the PC3. But after trying out the competition, I felt that the PC3 was stronger and more consistent across the board. (Your mileage, of course, may vary.) The keyboard action seems like a nice, happy middle between a full-blown hammer action and the usual synth/organ feel, but I play like a hoofed animal so I might not be as particular about keyboard feel as some folks. Nothing is perfect of course, and if I could wave a magic wand there are a few things that I might change about the PC3. First off, it aint as light as some of its competition weighing in at 37+ pounds compared to, say, the featherweight Nord Stage EX Compacts 21 pounds. Second, it uses the somewhat obsolete XD flash cards for external storage instead of the newer SD card standard. (Tip: 256Mb XD cards are dirt cheap on ebay and elsewhere.) Lastly, its display is nowhere near as fancy as the displays that our friends at Korg and Roland have these days --Id prefer an 8-inch, high-resolution touchscreen if I had my druthers. That said, I cant say Ive found the display to be much of a hindrance at all, and the downloadable Desktop Editor software that runs seamlessly on my PC makes advanced programming and mixing a complete breeze. So, in short, when Im jammin with my friends or playing corporate gigs with our Hits of the 60s to Today band, I can usually get things done with just the Kurzweil. If Im playing with my prog-rock band I may bring a few more keyboards, but I still find the K63 very useful in that musical context particularly the Mellotron patches and some of the virtual analog patches. Im very happy with my K63, and I bet you will be too.