Kurzweil Forte 88-key Synthesizer

88-key Stage Piano, with Fully-weighted Hammer Action Keybed, 16GB Sound Library, and Large Color LCD Screen
Kurzweil Forte 88-key Synthesizer image 1
Kurzweil Forte 88-key Synthesizer image 1
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Kurzweil Forte 88-key Synthesizer
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An Incredible Stage Piano for Any Performer!

Performing with the Kurzweil Forte 88-key stage piano is as enjoyable as it is to listen to it. You'll have an incredible selection of sounds with the built-in 16GB sound library, including new German and Japanese concert grand pianos. There are updated Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Clav, and Harpsichord sounds, and a wide assortment of sounds from Kurzweil's acclaimed PC3 and KORE64 soundsets. We've worked with Kurzweil keyboards at Sweetwater ever since the K250, and we can confidently say that the Kurzweil Forte sets a new standard for performance-focused stage pianos.

Kurzweil Forte 88-key Stage Piano at a Glance:
  • Navigate with ease, on the widescreen color LCD display and generous control set
  • Load sounds instantly, thanks to Forte's Flash-Play technology
  • Seamless sound and performance from the dynamically-allocated polyphony
Navigate with ease, on the widescreen color LCD display and generous control set

Hey, we've always loved Kurzweil keyboards at Sweetwater, but the 4.3" widescreen color LCD on the Forte is a breath of fresh air. You can navigate this stage piano's powerful features with ease, from selecting sounds and creating patches to creating layers and managing your inputs and outputs. You've also got assignable buttons for your favorite sounds, easy access to transpose/tap tempo/sound variation controls, and 23 more assignable physical controllers - that's an impressive amount of hands-on control! And for the deepest editing, a software editor is available to give you complete command over your Forte from your Mac or PC.

Load sounds instantly, thanks to Forte's Flash-Play technology

You've got an expansive 16GB sound library in the Kurzweil Forte, and the best part is that you can load any sound instantly. Kurzweil calls it Flash-Play technology, and it means you'll never slow down or ruin a performance due to loading times. Kurzweil knows what you need to perform with confidence, and you get it all in the Forte.

Dynamically-allocated polyphony and other features for seamless sound and performance

While it's not a new feature for Kurzweil it's one of their best - dynamic allocation of polyphony means you'll never hear notes "drop off" when you reach maximum polyphony. So even if you're playing heavily-layered sounds with lots of effects, the Forte is selective about which voices to drop in favor of new voices. You don't really need to think about it, but it's a huge deal when you hear how seamless and natural performances sound even with complex sounds.

Kurzweil Forte 88-key Stage Piano Features:
  • 16-part multi-timbral stage piano
  • Fully weighted, hammer action keybed with velocity and aftertouch (Fatar TP/40L)
  • Widescreen 4.3" color LCD screen makes it easy to navigate and manage sounds
  • 16GB of sounds, including new Japanese and German grand pianos
  • Includes an assortment of sounds from Kurzweil's acclaimed PC3 and KORE64 expansion libraries
  • "Flash-Play" lets you pull up any sound instantly, no loading time
Once you try it, you'll never want to perform without the Kurzweil Forte!

Additional Media

Kurzweil Forte Digital Stage Piano Demo
Musikmesse News: Kurzweil

Tech Specs

Number of Keys 88
Type of Keys Fully Weighted
Polyphony 128 Notes
Effects Yes
Audio Inputs 1 x 1/8"
Audio Outputs 1 x 1/4"
MIDI I/O In/Out/Thru
Height 5.5"
Width 54.5"
Depth 15.5"
Weight 49.6 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number AMS-KFORTE

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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Kurzweil Forte - Excellent New Offering From Kurzweil

I'm very happy with the new sounds (especially the new German Grand) and was especially pleased with the ease of upgrading the OS. An added bonus were the new sounds that were added with the OS upgrade. I've been a Kurzweil user (PC88, PC2X, PC3) for quite a while, and have relied on their products for my gigging with excellent results. The touch is great, and the ability to adjust the velocity curve through the software makes it easy to customize the keyboard to my touch. This keyboard is an excellent value with more good things to come, I'm sure.
Music background: Pro Musician

Even Better with Time

I'm going to update my previous review because Kurzweil has fixed the one limitation noted in the earlier review. They actually added half damper capability through an OS update. It works really well and gives a full range of partial damping. You will however have to purchase a new pedal for it to work. In addition I've found the more I use the keyboard the better it gets. As a performance keyboard it is unparalleled in ease of use, ability to make changes on the fly, and ability create layers and splits. That color display is proving itself again and again.

Excellence at a price

There are very few user reports on the Kurzweil Forte so I thought I’d write up a bit of my initial experiences. I bought the keyboard from Sweetwater without ever seeing it in person but trust in their policies and the relationship with my salesperson Dan Van Amerongen built up over many years of equipment buying. My needs were primarily for live performance. I have many keyboards in my recording studio and lots of software sounds, etc. as well as an acoustic 7 foot grand. But I wanted something that would be an all in one unit that was portable for my occasional live performances. The Forte was on my short list.Overall I would say I am impressed with the keyboard and that it has arguably the best samples of any portable keyboard currently available. I have never found an stand alone keyboard that could come close to the sound of my software Ivory collection of keyboards but that was what I was after. I would say the Forte does that, or at least comes very close with their 9 foot grand. The “16 gig” of samples do really produce excellent sounds, particularly in the acoustic and electric pianos. I would not say the sounds are extraordinarily better than other top keyboards from Roland, Nord, etc.. They don’t blow the others out of the water but I do hear a difference with these larger sample files. Frankly its about time someone started putting large files into stand alone keyboards. To me 16 gig is hardly enough to brag about but at least Kurzweil is stepping up. Its beyond me why keyboards don’t routinely come with 100 GB or even Terrabytes. Memory is much cheaper now but I think keyboard manufacturers are stuck thinking the same way they have done for the last 25 years. I’m frankly surprised that there haven’t been more huge advancements in recent years.Anyway - I digress, back to the Forte. So the quality of the sounds to me are excellent for a portable keyboard, comparable to some top software pianos and synths, albeit without quite as much diversity of sound. There’s a lot of sounds and its competitive with other stand alones but not with huge software libraries. The best is the 9 foot grand and to a slightly lesser extent the 7 foot grand. And the Rhodes and electric pianos are all very nice, superb really. A lot of the Multi instruments are very nicely executed as well. All the samples are very rich and with 16 gig you layer some very complex sounds. I have been a fan of all the Kurzweil sounds for many years.The layout of knobs and sliders and their functions is very nice and facilitates changes and selections in live performance. There’s a lot of customization that can be done quickly and easily. I am finding it really comfortable and quick for live performance. The split and layer capabilities are easy to use and produce superb results. The interface is a joy to work with. The “flash play” is quick, especially compared to say the 2600. But really - so what? It should be by now. What decade are keyboard companies living in? The color display is very nice, certainly better than most other keyboards. But again its really no big deal compared to what can be done with modern displays. The keyboard itself is OK. I was using a Roland 300NX previously to play out and its in that same ball park, action wise. Maybe a bit better although I think I might like the action on the newer Roland 800 even better, but not by much. Compared to playing a real piano they all suffer unless you have wooden keys like on the Kawais. I used a keyboard like that to play out for a while but the problem is the weight. Just too heavy unless you have a crew to carry it for you. Even the Forte is to me what I would consider on the upper end of acceptable weight. So its a trade off - portability over action. One thing I found was that it made a big difference to set the Velocity map in the Global menu. It comes standard with what to me is a very light touch. If you are like me and often play an acoustic piano this will result in a sound that is very jumpy and not so nice. When I first turned it on I played with my heavy hand I was not blown away by the sounds because they so easily jumped to the harder layers. When you go to the Velocity map menu there are about 10 levels with names like easy touch, light, heavy, etc. I think the default is easy touch and for me its not good. There is one called piano touch that they recommend for “piano players.” However I found even this one to be too light. I ended up choosing “Hard 1” (There is also Hard 2 and Hard 3 which have the hardest touch.) Once I did that the samples were much more pleasing. So even if you normally don’t read manuals I strongly suggest you dig into the Velocity map and adjust according to your playing style. These samples have a lot of layers that respond to velocity so it makes a difference.The sustain pedal is another somewhat average thing. It only does standard on and off. I have to remind myself that it can’t do the expressive pedaling you can on a real piano. You can accidentally let off the pedal just a bit and bang it goes dead. I wish their samples supported at least half damper pedaling and even better - lets get going with full range pedaling. Finally there is the intangible - is it enjoyable to play? Despite the average action, at the end of the day I found this to be a very enjoyable keyboard to play. Once you tweak the velocity and other sound parameters it produces very pleasing sounds - I’d have to say the most pleasing of any portable keyboard I’ve ever played (and I’ve played most).Is it worth the price? Couldn’t you just connect any keyboard to a laptop and use Ivory or any of the thousands of other soft sounds. Yes. It’s all a matter of convenience and personal preference. Is it 3 times as good as the 300NX I was using? Probably not in those strict terms. But it is worth it to me as it increases the pleasure of playing and I think makes for a better performance. Is it the best of the top ones by Nord, Yamaha, Roland, Kawaii, Korg, etc. I have owned or have played most and I don’t think there is a “best.” Each are excellent and have certain strengths. It is certainly one of the best. If you’re like me and did not have access to a Forte you might have watched all those You Tube videos with people playing various keyboards side by side. But its very difficult to tell just by watching those videos. You don’t know how their playing style affects things or how the keys are set up (see velocity mapping above). The Forte will be most worth it to someone who wants the very best sounding samples in a portable keyboard - and is willing to pay the premium price they are charging for it.
Music background: Pro musician, composing, recording
See also: Electric Pianos, Kurzweil, Kurzweil Digital Pianos