I often comment that Kurzweil builds a thinking man's synthesizer. Either you're thinking about buying one or playing the one you own (I have 2). Synthesis is a science. If you need the right tool for creating your own sounds, without design limitations, Kurzweil is the obvious choice.
I own several K2661s and am so happy to have them. Some of the best sounds available from hardware OR software, with one of the best sounding A/D outputs of any keyboard or module! Thanks to Kurzweil for another great sounding keyboard!
The Kurzweil K-Series represents, without question, my favorite hardware samplers and ROM playback synthesizers of all time. No other brand lets you edit the onboard ROM samples and resave them. No other hardware synth lets you have up to 32 (!) Layers per Program and then allows you to play 8 of those Programs at the same time in a Setup. Plus, the Kurzweil is always in 16-channel multitimbral mode at all times.
And then there's VAST: Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology. It means that you can spin a dial and choose between thousands of combinations of routings and modules to create exactly the synth patch you desire. If you're not a fan of tweaking you can choose from our entire library of Kurzweil CD-ROMs created right here at the Sweetwater Soundware Development Facility.
Awesome keyboard simple and ready to rock right out of the box yet with so many features it will take years to fully all of them. The organ module is awesome for great sounds and using sliders as drawbars in real time, effects are great.
About a year after I purchased the K2661, I added the Vintage Electric Keys ROM board, which was easy to install and blew my mind with how great it sounded. After playing with the ROM sounds for 2 nights, I decided to go back and re-track several songs I had recorded in a 1st class studio with real Rhodes and a real Wurly-the ROM sample sounds were superior to the real thing because of the additional variations in mic placement, mic type, natural distortion levels, etc. I would highly suggest both the Vintage Keys ROM as well as the Classic Synths CD ROM-which is like owning 13 awesome synths including the Juno 106, DX7, etc.
I've been using nothing but Kurzweils in my live setup for years now, and the K2661 is the flagship of all keyboards as far as I'm concerned. My K2600x ("Rex") has been the workhorse for the longest time, but now I can fit all that power onto a small stage with four other guys.
I've only had the K2661 ("Dante") for a week now, and it's already been put to good use in the studio. We used it to not only sequence some guide tracks for the band but it also synchronized/controlled all the other equipment so recording the individual tracks off the sequencer was a snap. Probably the best feature they've added is the built-in SmartMedia reader on the front panel. Not because I can now carry around up to 128MB of info in a superfast medium, but because it glows blue. Yeah, the front panel has a big glowing blue media slot... gotta love that.
The sound quality is unparalleled. As with any K-series Kurzweil board, you won't find a better acoustic piano or more realistic B3 emulator on the planet. I'm with the Keyboard Magazine reviewer on this one... unless you have ears like Superman, you won't be able to discern between the K2661's organ and a real B3 on any recording. Now that the K2661 comes standard with the Orchestral and Contemporary ROM blocks too, I find myself using a lot more of Kurzweil's default programs. True, I can create sounds from the sample all the way to the finishing effects and control setups, but with a 16-layer acoustic piano and unbelievable soundboard effect, the Kurzweil people put more than enough thought into every single one of their presets.
I only noticed a few drawbacks, and the main issue is inherent to all the K-series boards. The KDFX setup, while incredibly powerful and uber-customizable, does not lend itself at all to the sequencer. Most of the factory presets rely on a full studio (four FX buses and and aux bus) for their incredible sound. That means that for sequencing you have to pick instruments that all sound good with the same FX studio. Either that or reroute each channel's FX sends for the entire board and make your own FX studio to accomodate the naked programs- that's how I do it, and that's not too bad. Listen to any of the clips from "The Wee Hours" at www.matthewebel.com/cd, everything but the guitar and the crowd came straight from my keyboard.
You'll run into the same issue using setups if you're not careful. Also, the K2661 doesn't have any ribbon controllers like its big brothers. There's enough sliders and buttons to make up for it as well as aftertouch and a ribbon control jack on the front panel, so I wouldn't worry about it.
Aside from those issues, I have to say that I won't play anything else. The K2600x and K2661 are all I need to create pro sounds and seriously innovate. Also, if you program a sound offstage, the abundance of tactile controls give you infinite opportunities to tweak it onstage. I could probably spend ten years in a studio with this board and never max out its capabilities.
Is it worth the price? Forget that, it's worth putting yourself in debt.
I'm really happy to see New Kurzweil products.
If you are composer, film scorer, stage musician or you just love playing keyboards, then the Kurzweil K2661 is the one for you.
It's almost everything that the K2600 series has to offer and more but without the bulkiness of a larger Kurzweil. Maybe I should preface my next statement by saying that I'm not a good keyboard player, in fact, I'm a one-finger-on-a-pad wonder. There are a ton of keyboards out there, all of which are pretty complicated and sometimes overwhelming when you look at all the buttons. However, from the moment I fired up the keyboard, I noticed that this wasn't the case. Everything is very straight forward and even if you're not a keyboard player, this isn't an overwhelming one to get into. Just turn it on, and start jamming. Another thing I wanted to note was, after I started playing with it, I couldn't get off of it. It was too addicting and before I knew it, It was 4 AM and I was making, what I thought was music, with just one finger!
Every sound that is packed with this keyboard has unique characteristics to it. Nothing sounds like an overused sound sample that has been re-EQ'ed just to change the sound. The best way I could describe the sounds would be rich, lush, and very deep with multiple hues within each sound. The KDFX processor that comes pre-installed in this keyboard sounds so good that Kurzweil had to bottle it up separately and use it as a stand alone device. The algorithms are natural sounding and every aspect of it sounds real.
I strongly reccomend this product to anyone who is a novice, an expert or anything in between in the music industry.