One thing which clearly sets Kurzweil apart from the competition is the fact that we design our own chips (called ASICs) for all Kurzweil products. Simply put, our 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. Yes developing our own chips is more expensive and more time consuming. We think it’s well worth it. Once you’ve heard the PC3X, we think you’ll agree.
The Kurzweil Sound…
The PC3X offers an enormous sound set of over 850 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 our 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 PC3X 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 newly developed Leslie effects, and a new bank of B3 programs, we’ve also included sounds from classic combo organs. The PC3X’s 9 sliders provide real-time drawbar control.
The PC3X offers a full range of world class orchestral sounds, including our 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 PC3X 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 our V.A.S.T. architecture, the PC3X’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, we’ve resurrected the VA-1 Virtual Analog Synthesizer, having built its synthesis engine right into the new system. Hear the VA-1’s power-shaped, anti-aliasing oscillators (including supersaw, triplesaw, and hard sync oscillators) combined with a newer, larger set of V.A.S.T. filters (like the classic-style 4pole low pass w/ resonance) 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 our 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 PC3X’s synth engine so powerful and so different than anything else on the market.
While the PC3X’s user interface may look familiar to veteran Kurzweil users, major improvements have been made, allowing for a much more user friendly experience. The PC3X’s backlit 240 x 64 display conveys all the information you’ll need, when you need it, in an elegant, easy to navigate environment.
Programs are categorized and can be selected by scrolling or by using bank and program select buttons. Further, user favorites can be organized into convenient “Quick Access” banks for easy one touch recall.
In addition to fast navigation, each preset sound is accompanied by an “Info” screen which can be accessed at the touch of a button. As every sound can have its own customized set of real-time, physical controllers (sliders, modwheel, switches, CC Pedals, mono pressure, etc.) , the Info button makes viewing the current assignments effortless.
Complimenting the PC3X’s killer soundset is the the Easy Audition feature, where every one of the PC3X’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.
Helping to tap the system’s full potential, the PC3 also sports a feature-laden software-based Desktop Editor with comprehensive, easy to use features. (free download- both Mac & PC platforms available)
With up to 16 insert effects, two available auxiliary sends, PLUS a global Master FX section, the PC3X offers more than twice the processing power of our acclaimed KDFX engine. Effects can be chained together in series, or distributed among the PC3X’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 PC3X’s real time controllers – sliders, pedals, wheels, etc.
The PC3X features a newly designed sequencer, with unlimited tracks and 960 PPQ resolution. Combining a set of powerful song editing functions like event editing, swing, and controller scaling with a new friendlier interface, the PC3X truly excels as a song writing/arranging workstation, ideal for music production on the fly. Chasing controls, input quantizing and a global “set song length” function are just a couple of the features we’ve incorporated.
Arpeggiators & Riffs…
The PC3X sports sixteen (yes, 16!) independent, fully programmable arpeggiators featuring 48-step programmable, pattern generators with both pitch and velocity controls – per zone (allowing for up to 16 patterns to playback simultaneously). These are accompanied by a thorough collection of modes, scales and pre-programmed patterns to get your juices flowing.
If that wasn’t enough, the PC3 offers sixteen unique “Riff” generators, which permit the triggering of MIDI sequenced phrases, beats, or even complete multi-track arrangements from notes on the keyboard and/or any on-board physical controller.