Kurzweil PC1X

1. Introduction

The Kurzweil PC1X is a performance controller keyboard by Kurzweil. It is designed to offer the same award-winning sounds and superior audio quality as Kurzweil’s PC2 Series, but at a more affordable price. The PC1X comes with an 88-note weighted action and 512 onboard programs, including Kurzweil’s acclaimed Orchestral ROM expansion and full GM 1 compatibility. It also has an expansion slot for Kurzweil’s new Classic Keys ROM Soundblock. The PC1X features a dual effects processor (based on KDFX), an arpeggiator, and intelligent MIDI implementation. It has a 64 voice polyphony, dynamically allocated, and is 16 parts multitimbral. The keyboard also includes 128 user programmable MIDI setups, each with 4 independent zones, effects, and arpeggiator settings. The PC1X’s excellent sound is complemented by a dual effects processor, offering a wide range of effects including 58 reverbs, 6 delays, 10 choruses, 6 flangers, 3 phasors, 4 shapers, 2 enhancers, 8 filtered effects, 4 distortions, 1 mono>stereo, 3 wide stereo, 4 compressors, 2 panners, 7 rotarys, stereo tremolo, and 44 combination effects chains utilizing Kurzweil’s unique Laserverb. The PC1X is also equipped with a variety of controllers, including a pitch wheel, modulation wheel, 4 front panel knobs, 4 front panel switches (momentary or toggle, software selectable), 1 continuous control pedal inputs, 1 dual footswitch input, mono pressure, and Super Ribbon input.

About a couple years ago, I had the fortune of stumbling upon a deal that was too good to pass up. I was browsing through ebay, not particularly looking for anything, when my eyes landed on a keyboard that immediately caught my attention. It was the Kurzweil PC1X.

The keyboard was in excellent condition, almost like new, and the price tag read a surprisingly low 330€. I was taken aback. I knew that the PC1X was a high-end masterkeyboard and typically retailed for a much higher price. So I bid on it and got it.

Over the years, the Kurzweil PC1X has proven to be an invaluable tool in my music production and performance. Its sound capabilities, keyboard performance, and controller features have allowed me to create and perform music in ways I couldn’t have imagined. And the best part is, I got it for an incredibly low price of 330€, making it one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my music career.

If you’re in the market for a top-notch hammer-weighted master keyboard, the Kurzweil PC1X might be just what you need. Even though it shares some similarities with its older sibling, the PC2X, the PC1X has its own unique features that make it stand out. In this article, we’ll delve into the key aspects of the Kurzweil PC1X and explore why it remains a great choice for musicians seeking a powerful and versatile master keyboard.

2. Sound Capabilities

When it comes to sound capabilities, the PC1X is ahead of its older counterparts. Sporting a sample-based sound generation sourced from a 32-MB-ROM, it already includes an orchestral expansion right out of the box. Additionally, it leaves room for an optional 16-MB sample-ROM board, allowing for a maximum expansion of 48 MB. The PC1X offers 384 PROGRAMS and a GM-Soundbank, providing musicians with a wide array of modifiable sounds to choose from.

3. Piano and Keyboard Sounds

One of the highlights of the PC1X is its impressive stereo acoustic piano, which eliminates the need for an additional digital piano on stage. While it may not match the highest authenticity of modern stage pianos, it compensates with its high dynamic range that works exceptionally well when performing with a band.

4. Keyboard Abundance

The PC1X boasts 88 weighted keys with hammer action and aftertouch. Though other versions with 76 keys or a rack variant are not planned, the available configuration should cater to most musicians’ needs.

5. Varied Sound Selection

The PC1X caters to diverse musical genres with its wide range of sounds, including B3, Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes, Clavinets, DX-Pianos, guitars, basses, drums, woodwinds, brass, and orchestral instruments. The orchestral-ROM is a particular standout, offering a plethora of exquisite string ensembles and woodwind samples that leave little to be desired.

6. Controller and Effects

Based on the V.A.S.T. synthesis of Kurzweil K2000 synthesizers, the PC1X’s sound generation offers an impressive array of control options. While some parameters are fixed, the PC1X’s four switches and four knobs allow for dynamic sound manipulation. The DSPs deliver high-quality effects, providing 91 reverb and 97 modulation effects to enhance the overall sound.

7. Master Keyboard Functionality

The PC1X excels as a master keyboard with four independent keyboard zones. The AUTOSPLIT feature allows quick and seamless split/layer configurations, and the arpeggiator adds further versatility for live performances.

8. Pricing

The PC1X can be bought used for 200-400€. Don’t spend more on it since for about 500-750€ you can already find the more powerfull PC3 series (used)

9. The Unofficial Editor: PC2 Manager

The PC2 Manager is a free program designed to add, manage, and edit sounds for the Kurzweil PC2/2x and PC1X. This software includes some free sounds and was previously available on the Sonikmatter website. The PC2 Manager requires an old 15-pin port style MIDI connector for communication with the synth, and a USB MIDI cable may not work. The software is compatible with older operating systems, and the specific operating system does not appear to be a limiting factor.

The PC2 Manager also allows users to organize sounds in a logical order, making it easier for the player to find and use them. The software also enables the movement of sounds to correspond with presets on the keyboard. However, some of the free sounds may not work for all users.

It’s recommended to upgrade the PC2 to the latest operating system, which provides additional sounds and fixes some glitches. Kurzweil also offers a download page for the PC2/PC2X with manuals, updates, and a download of vintage pianos.

You can load Kurzweil K2000 sounds into your PC1X / PC2. I tried this several times and could get some unique sounds from the web since the PC1X and PC2X use the same VAST engine Kurzweil has been known for.

Attention: This editor seems to be very picky about your midi interface, especially when used with Windows 11. I had to reopen the editor every time I sent a new sound to my Kurzweil PC1X so use it at your own risk. I remember that a couple of years ago, when my music computer was still on Windows 7 there were no such bugs.

I also want to reupload this editor here as a mirror: (Original website is http://www.mysterdee.com/kurzweil.html)

PC2 Manager 1.1

9. Conclusion

In conclusion, the Kurzweil PC1X remains an exceptional choice for musicians seeking a hammer-weighted master keyboard. Its sound capabilities, extensive keyboard options, and versatile control features make it a powerful tool for any performer. Whether you’re a pianist, a synthesizer enthusiast, or an orchestral musician, the PC1X has the potential to elevate your musical performances to new heights.

For additional info, visit the original Kuzweil Website: https://kurzweil.com/pc1x/#overview


1. Is the Kurzweil PC1X suitable for live performances?

Absolutely! The PC1X’s master keyboard functionality and extensive sound selection make it an excellent choice for live performances.

2. Can I expand the PC1X’s sound library?

Yes, you can add a 16 MB Vintage E-Piano Sample-ROM board to the PC1X, which will not only expand the sound library but also provide additional program and setup memory.

3. How does the PC1X compare to its older sibling, the PC2X?

While the PC1X shares some similarities with the PC2X, it stands out with its unique features and lower price point, making it a strong competitor to its older counterpart.

4. Can the PC1X be used as a MIDI slave?

Yes, the PC1X can be configured as a MIDI slave using the MIDI RECV MENU.

5. Does the PC1X support SmartMedia cards or other memory expansion options?

As of now, the PC1X does not have a card slot for memory expansion, but it does offer options for data dump if needed.

Remember, investing in a musical instrument is a personal decision, and it’s essential to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a purchase. However, if you’re looking for a versatile, hammer-weighted master keyboard with exceptional sound capabilities, the Kurzweil PC1X remains a strong contender worth exploring.