We have just sent a Beta release for the next SP6 update with some bug fixes. If you have an SP6 and want to join our Beta program please send us an email to email@example.com . It’s easy, we just send you the Beta update, you install it, play with it and you tell us if you have any problem.
Forte version 3 includes a sequencer and lots of grooves to start playing with.
In the follow video I explain how to use the Unloop recording mode so that you can extend a loop all you want while recording. At the same time, I play pieces of some of the 256 grooves included. Those grooves are very useful so I take few minutes to go around some of them.
Unloop is also in Forte SE, PC3 family and older Kurzweil keyboards. So, nothing new under the sun but, in case you have missed it, it may be useful for you as It is for me. As a songwriter many times I’m working on a song idea while playing along with a groove. I might want to record the idea with the groove. Well, that’s when you need Unloop.
Once in a while I read something online like “I just bought a PC88 in this or that second hand website and it has a problem…”. In my mind I can’t stop thinking that for a keyboard made in 1994, only having that problem is kind of a miracle but, at the same time, I wonder if the person that has just bought that keyboard really knows the actual age of that keyboard. The keyboard market is not like the car market, where you buy a Toyota Prius 2010. In most cases, buyers don’t really know how old a second hand keyboard is unless they do some research and, let’s face it, some people just don’t do it.
Also, apart of problems, expectations might face a pretty brutal reality check. Imagine buying a computer that runs a Windows version previous to Windows 95 and expect to watch YouTube on it. Well, that’s more common that you think with keyboards.
So, in order to put a little bit of perspective, I’m going to list a bunch of Kurzweil keyboards ordered by their release year. The list does’t include them all but enough to get a better sense of Kurzweil product history and, hopefully, it helps those people buying old keyboards in second hand markets.
But before the list, you should start watching this video that, even if it has already like 6 years, it tells a lot of the beginnings of the company.
So, let’s start with the Kurzweil product list, but, before, yet another clarification. I’m not going to mention upgrades, expansions or similar. It’s very typical that once Kurzweil releases a product, for the next years the company releases updates or variations of that model. Including all of those would make the list incredible long and boring.
A brief post to make sure that nobody misses this.
PoserP is one of the greatest Kurzweil Power Users. He has been doing Kurzweil tutorials and great Soundware for a long time and it’s one of the most active members of our Kurzweil underworld. One day I should write a whole post about him but today I just want everybody to follow his tutorials in YouTube. Like this one:
Make sure you subscribe to his YouTube channel here to get notified every time he posts something new.
If you want to make comments on the Ksetlist Journal posts you can either log in via a Word Press account that you can create for free, as explained few days ago, or now you can do it just using Twitter!
When you click on a Journal post, at the bottom you will see “Login with your Social ID”. Click there and you will be able to log in with your Twitter account. It will ask you for your email as well.
And, sorry, I tried doing the same with Facebook but it requires the website to be https not http as it currently is. Sadly there is no budget to make this website https.
Among the 3000+ Ksetlist users out there, there are some that are just simply outstanding. Some of them because of the number of sounds they upload. Others because of the quality of the few sounds they have uploaded. And others because of their overall participation in the forum or in the Challenges. Whatever that reason is, those ksetlisters totally deserve our collective recognition and appreciation. Therefore, in this Journal we will be writing special posts about these unsung heroes.
Thorsten Kaffenberger, aka Kaffimusic, is one of those outstanding contributors to the forum. I asked him to write some words to let us know more about him, what kind of music he plays, what keyboards he used and what Ksetlist sounds he likes the most.
My name is Thorsten Kaffenberger and I play Kurzweil keyboards. Mostly. I am German and I also live in Germany. In 1972, when I was 6 years old, I started to get lessons to play the accordion. When I was 16 I bought my first synthesizer from my savings and some money that my grandparents gave me: A KORG Poly 800.
Over the years I owned many synthesizers and some samplers, I mostly bought them used: KORG, with the DW-8000, DSS-1, DSM-1, and a 01-W pro. I owned a ROLAND D-70 back then, too, but only for a short time. I did not like it. I also used YAMAHAs for a long time, the TX81Z, FB-01, TX802, CS6X and a classic Motif, wich was my last big workstation for roughly 10 years before I came to KURZWEIL. All those instruments taught me about different technologies and how to program sounds on them. Today I’d say this is my base to understand how VAST on the KURWEIL’s works.
My first real contact to a KURZWEIL was a K2000 that I bought in 2011 as a used instrument. After so many years with instruments of other brands I immediately realized this is something very different. Athough 20 years old and digital, it sounded somehow fuller and more organic than everything I owned at this time. Back then I also looked out for something to replace my ageing classic MOTIF and I decided to get a KURZWEIL PC3-61, wich was on sale at a big german musicstore.
I fell in love with it immediately, started to explore VAST and the sonic capabilities of it. I found the the internal structure and philosophy behind it was so much different from what I knew before and how much it was superior to everything I saw on the market. I learned to value it as something much closer to what you really need in a professional environment. As a tool to make a stand in a studio or live on stage, to program sounds and not as something to impress you in your livingroom with headphones on.
Today, my current live-rig consists of a PC3K6 and a PC3-61, wich have identical soundsets, besides the samples in the K6. The last two years, also a Talkbox is a constant part of my rig, I use it on the PC3-61. Sometimes I take a NOVATION Ultranova with me, for fun or for a special purpose. I played music all my life only for hobby-purpose, but always tried to keep it on a high-level. Currently I play in three bands and occasionally I am asked to help out elsewhere as a sub.
I am lucky to live in an area with a high densitiy of good musicians and opportunities for live-music. Over the last years I was taking part in live-music-sessions and met lots of musicians, wich brought me contacts and new opportunities to play and I was able to make a (small) name in the local area. At least one of my PC3’s was always with me. I tend to believe they were an important key for me to achieve this. People like my sounds and I like the way those instruments handle on stage. I kind of became a better musician with them. They make me feel much closer to what I play and enable me more to do what I want to do than any other instrument I owned before.
What I like most about my PC3s:
The unexcited but high quality sound that sits in a mix without any further tweaking
You can put sounds in favourourite QA blocks and you have many of those
The incedible amount of flexibility how to change sounds – the VAST engine
The programmable extra outputs (talkbox) and the many controller inputs (+breathcontrol!)
The synth action keybed wich I came to like more and more over the years
The transpose buttons with immediate access from the front panel
What I don’t like:
The poor quality of internal connectors wich cause instruments to fail
I often look for soundsets when learning new songs. But many times there are none, so I mostly end up programming my own. Sometimes I program sounds exlusively for just one song that I have to learn. It depends on the time and spontaneous ideas I have.
For “butter and bread” I mostly use my own tweaked sounds, wich are decendants of factory presets and which I have uploaded as a soundset to Ksetlist. Those are the sounds I like most, because they feel musical to me and are flexible to be adapted to different situations. They have been tweaked over the years. They are not many, but they are made to be changed on the fly while playing to adapt to different needs.
I couldn’t forget this amazing and superfun video.
For the organ I have a starter, that I mostly tweak while playing with the band to a sound that I want right now. Other sounds, like the pianos can add a string that can be mixed to it and change the behaviour and style of it in a wide range.
Those “butter and bread” sounds are arranged in several rows of QA banks, every sound, like “the piano” or “the lead” are at the same position in the list, but every QA block might have some different versions of it. So I always find them blindly, even without looking at the display, just by their position on the keypad.
Setups or sounds that are used exlusively for a song are also arranged in QA banks, and I have a row of them for every band. I use setups as well as programs. Since I have two PC3’s at once on stage, it saves me some work, instead of programming setups I can use two instruments, and it also enables me to react more flexible to changing situations or spontaneous ideas. I always have the basic sound ready, while I can switch to something different on the other machine or getting ready for a solo.
There is one important guideline for me to decide what sound to use: It has to “feel” right when I play it. Sometimes it’s better to use something that is just close enough, instead of trying to copy something that – in the end – does not feel good to play.
Finally, you have to think about the situation on stage and how the band will probably handle a given song. There are moments when it simply makes no sense to stick to what you hear in a studio-recording, because it does not work on stage.
Currently my main three bands are
Soulmaxx soulmaxx.de A kind of old-fashioned cover-soul-band with music from Aretha Franklin to current pop songs
Jo’s Mum josmum.de A girls-gock coverband between AC/DC, Cranberries and current funky popsongs, good level, good musicians.
Paule Pathers Groove Club Sorry, no website. The most interesting band to me, a basic lineup with changing guests and good musicians. You get just a setlist, that always differs and is played on the upcoming gig, no rehersals. Mostly funk, rap, reggae, rock, or current popmusic. Always an adventure, always new songs to learn and sounds to program. Often meeting new musicians, great party, great fun.
Thorsten is a multi Ksetlist Challenge Champion, check out his sounds for Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop This Feeling here
Recently I posted few videos about KeyVel, KeyNum and other controllers that could help you to trigger notes using physical controllers. Those setup/multi destinations are a little old-school and are not the most easy to use due to the obvious limitations they have. Still, if mastered appropriately they can be really useful.
But the Forte and Forte SE offer something way easier and more powerful to use. Each switch (switch pedals, buttons, or keys) in multi mode, can be programmed to trigger a chord in a very simple way. Just specifying the notes of the chord and the velocity of the notes (one velocity for all of them at the moment).
Note, that there are 12 keys per zone, whichever you want to, that can act like a switch, sending a MIDI CC or playing a chord. So, you could be physically pressing one key, but that key could be triggering whatever chord you want to. This is incredible useful when you, as a keyboardist, have to multitask and do, for example, bass + chord + solo. You could just program the bass keys to trigger the chords as well and therefore free one hand to play the solo. When you use the keys as switches you have a setting that lets you decide whether you want that key to also sound as it is supposed to, or just act like a switch.
So, with that mind, I have done a small video showing that concept of playing chords using single keys.
One of the goals of this Journal is to do more videos like this one and, hopefully, I could be improving little by little how they look. So, apologies for the imperfections!
By the way, the background music of this video was done using only Forte sounds.