Kurzweil PC4 SE Review

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I really like Kurzweil’s newest release. The PC4 SE has been impressing a variety of musicians, including us here at Best Piano Keyboards! If you are into pro workstation keyboards with a bit of a lighter touch, look no further than this model. This instrument has created a ton of buzz in online piano forms. Some of its best selling points are its sound engine, and that fact that it iis chock full of polyphony! Another big thing about this keyboard is that it has onboard recording, editing, and mixing- You can do it all from the piano bench.

We did have to take off just a half of a point, because we feel that a few small things on the keyboards’ interface could be improved, such as the sliders. All of that aside, this instrument has excellent sound patches, feel, and a high-quality build.

I really like Kurzweil’s newest release. The PC4 SE has been impressing a variety of musicians, including us here at Best Piano Keyboards! If you are into pro workstation keyboards with a bit of a lighter touch, look no further than this model. This instrument has created a ton of buzz in online piano forms. Some of its best selling points are its sound engine, and that fact that it iis chock full of polyphony! Another big thing about this keyboard is that it has onboard recording, editing, and mixing- You can do it all from the piano bench.

We did have to take off just a half of a point, because we feel that a few small things on the keyboards’ interface could be improved, such as the sliders. All of that aside, this instrument has excellent sound patches, feel, and a high-quality build.

This review contains affiliate links to Amazon.com, meaning we get a small percentage of sales at no extra cost to you. 

Kurzweil PC4 SE Overview

kurzweil pc4 se review

In this Kurzweil PC4 SE Review, we will be looking into an 88-key performance controller/ synth workstation keyboard. But first- A little backgroun on the company. 

Kurzweil was founded in 1982 by the world-famous Stevie Wonder. Kurzweil exclusively produces electronic instruments, such as digital keyboards like the PC4 SE. A little-known fact about the Kurzweil company is that it actually is owned by Young Chang. And while I can’t (in good conscience) recommend the Young Chang model instruments, the Kurzweils are a high-quality digital instrument. Given how poorly made Young Chang acoustic pianos are, it’s surprising that Kurzweil continues to be a household name. I guess we can think of this offshoot of the company as an exception to the rule! 

Now, to the newest model. The PC4SE was first made available in 2022 of this year, and boasts a high sound quality and large sound bank. while still managing to be quite economical for a workstation synth. 

Features

Kurzweil String Resonance 

This Kurzweil workstation keyboards all have similar features to the Forte Grand line of pianos. Kurzweil string resonance, or KSR, is a type of string resonance modeling that adds a lot of overtones and realism to the included  string sounds. 

You can listen to a sample of the brand’s string resonance technology on the Forte piano being played in this video.

Keep in mind that this version of KSR was from a model released in 2016, and that the sounds have improved a fair bit since. Unfortunately, there aren’t many videos of the 2022 KSR up yet- but keep your eyes peeled! 

ToneReal Organs

The ToneReal organs were styled after old-fasioned organs. The 9 sliders function as drawbars when the ToneReal organ sounds are in use. Other features in this section include: chorus and vibrato, brake, percussion, and rotary speed. 

This section of the sound engine has received rave reviews. If you are an organ player looking to get a workstation with authentic sounds, the Kurzweil PC4SE is a must-have. 

This video by Valentin Zopp will give you a good idea of how groovy these sounds are.

CC Sequencers

CC stands for continuous controller. Since this model has a CC sequencer, that means that it is capable of transmitting MIDI within a range of values. CC sequencers act similarly to LFOS, or, low frequency oscillators. The 16 MIDI CC sequencers within the instrument add to the customizability and sonic animation to the instrument. 

Check out this video of the 2020 model PC4 to listen to an example of it in action.

Great FX Engine

The PC4SE boasts 32 FX units. And, according the the specs from Sweetwater.com, the FX engine is award winning. With over 100 complex FX chains/combinations possible, this one is a real entertainer (Hah! Get the Scott Joplin reference?!). I love how malleable this instrument is. All the parameters can be adjusted, so you can  truly make your sound how you want it. Within this cusomizability you can find  3-band EQ and compression in the master section, whereas you can find cool effects like rotary and distortions within the FX chain. 

5-Zone Controller Mode

You can access 5 zones of MIDI, and use split and layer within something called multi mode.  According to the manufacturer: Multi Mode allows you to play Multis, which are arrangements of up to 5 Programs split and/or layered in Zones across selected ranges of the keyboard.”

Rad Riff Generators

One of my favorite features on this keyboard is the riff generator- It’s just too cool. There are 5 total riff generators within the PC4 SE. Between the riff generators and huge FX engine, Kurzweil is setting us up for a groovy and experimental practice session!

Track Sequencer- 16 tracks

Another awesome thing about the Kurzweil PC4 SE is that you can record your tracks onboard, as well as edit and mix them. This is something that is very hard to find in a keyboard under $2,000. 

Other Noteable Features

  • 5 simultaneous arpeggiators 
  • 23 Programmable Controllers
  • Cleverly Placed Transpose Tools- for fast transposition
  • LCD screen with widescreen display 
  • Quick Tips that help you get to know the keyboard quickly
  • Pitch and mod wheels
  • Ribbon connector 
  • Access to over 4,000 user programs and 1,500 factory programs
  • High-speed FlashPlay technology 

Specifications

kurzweil pc4 se price

The following specs were sourced from Sweetwater.com:

  • Type: Workstation keyboard
  • Weight: 27.5 pounds
  • Pedal Inputs:1 x 1/4″ TRS (volume), 1 x 1/4″ TRS (sustain), 1 x 1/4″ TRS (footswitch)
  • Features:Split, Layer, Transpose, 5-zone Multi Controller mode
  • Software:PC4SE SoundEditor (mac, pc, iOS)
  • Power Source:15V DC 2.5A power supply (included)
  • Height:6.5″
  • Width: 51.25″
  • Depth:14.75″

Who Is The Kurzweil PC4SE Suitable For?

The Kurzweil PC4 SE is best suited for upper intermediate to professional players who value storage space and onboard producing capabilities. Those who enjoy both synth sounds and organ sounds will really love this one. 

Kurzweil PC4 SE in Action

This all-playing, no-talking video will help you get a better feel for what the PC4 SE is like.

Pros and Cons

kurzweil pc4 se keyboard

Pros

    • The piano is portable, and economical for it’s style
  • It has really excellent sounds 
    • The onboard controls are extremely user-friendly and fast to learn
  • The sound engine and FX engines are well-rounded, editable, and flat-out stunning
    • There are plenty of tracks and zones
    • The included ‘quick tips’ help you learn how to use the features without having to look up a manual or get on an online form 
  • The instrument has a ton of polyphony for a synth-style workstation 
  • Most importantly: It’s a fun keyboard!

At only 27.5 pounds, this is a light workstation. With everything that is jam-packed into it, from excellent sounds to a versatile and complex FX chains, this is an instrument you will love to take with you to your next gig. Another big ‘pro’ in my book is that you won’t get lost when you are making your way around this keyboard. The onboard buttons, sliders and controls are set up extremely intuitively. Not to mention, if you end up clicking on a feature that you don’t know how to use, the instrument will give you quick tips, so you can lear as you go. 

One of my biggest problems with synthesizers is their low about of polyphony- But Kurzweil blew us out of the water here, with the full 256-notes, and went full-on digital-grand on us.

Last but not least, this instrument doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has lots of interesting and fun sounds within this studio-grade workstation- What’s not to love?

Cons

  • It is too complex for beginners and young people just getting started
  • You will need to buy external speakers
  • Some musicians aren’t a fan of the sliders
  • The build has no real wood grain in it
  • Some have reported that the action makes a tiny bit of noise
  • There is no aftertouch on the instrument 

As it goes without saying, all workstation keyboard are expensive and complex, since they’re professional-grade isntruments. And while the Kurzweil PC4SE is both the newest and most economical workstation keyboard that this maker has ever released, $1,700 is still a good chunk of change. In addition to this, you will need to buy external speakers, because workstation keyboards don’t typically have built-in ones. 

A few musicians I have talked to have complained about the quality of the sliders onboard. I agree, that they could be built to a higher caliber than they were. I have heard others say that they wished it had wood in the build, like some of the comparable/competitors’ instruments. 

The action on some of these workstations does make a bit of noise, so carefully consider how you are going to use it. 

Comparable Instruments

The most comparable instruments are within the Kurzweil brand, including: 

  • The Kurzweil PC4
  • The Kurzweil 3000
  • The Kurzweil SP6
  • The Kurzweil Forte piano 

The Kurzweil PC4 is quite similar to the PC4SE, and includes a 16-track sequencer, aftertouch-enabled hammer action,256 voices of polyphony, and V.A.S.T. editing. This performance controller style keyboard is one of the closest instruments to the PC4SE. It runs around $2,000, making it more expensive than the SE. This is likely partially due to the fact that the PC4 has aftertouch, and the SE does not. In short, if you want a similar instrument but with aftertouch, check this one out. 

The Kurweril SP6 is a stage piano, rather than a workstation synth/controller. It costs about $1,500, and includes the same KSR/string resonances as the model in this review. It also has the same main 32 effects, and is also similar to the PC4SE in both weight and dimension. 

Forte Pianos are high-end digital stage pianos with a synthesizer and workstation-style features baked inside . They cost about $5,000, making them much, much more pricey than the piano we are looking at today. That being said, the Forte piano is a veritable 3-in-1 of an instrument. Play it at your own risk- You just might fall in love! 

Amazon Reviews: 4.7 out of 5

The Kurzweil PC4SE received a 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon. Let’s see what the customers who left a review had to say! 

Positive customer reviews: 

  • One customer said that it is an amazing board, with real-life sounding orchestral strings and piano sounds 
  • Another said the action and sound were ‘awesome’
  • “Rich and sounds that are true to the instruments”
  • “The variety of sounds are seemingly endless”
  • The synth sounds are really fun”
  • The PC4SE is light and portable 

Critical customer reviews: 

  • One three-star review but it didn’t have any words 

Quick View 

Keys 88-keys with full weight and after-touch
Touch sensitivity  Velocity sensitive keys (No aftertouch)
Sounds 2 gigabytes worth of voices in the sound bank/ 1500 factory settings
Recording capabilities  Onboard, USB/MIDI
Metronome Yes
Polyphony  256 total polyphony in the V.A.S.T engine 
Speakers N/A / Workstation keyboard
Headphones One ¼ inch input included, headphones not included
Accessories Sustain/switch pedal, external power supply (Stand not included
Price point  $1,699.99

Kurzweil PC4SE: Conclusion

In conclusion, the Kurzweil PC4SE is a really solid instrument that lives up to the hype. It’s new, and it’s well-rounded and impressive. If you are looking for a synth/workstation that has a lot in it, but won’t break the bank, the PC4SE is an excellent option. 

Music quote of the week:

 “The piano is a monster that screams when you touch its teeth.” – Andre Segovia.

9.5Expert Score
Kurzweil PC4 SE Review I really like Kurzweil’s newest release. The PC4 SE has been impressing a variety of musicians, including us here at Best Piano Keyboards! If you are into pro workstation keyboards with a bit of a lighter touch, look no further than this model. This instrument has created a ton of buzz in online piano forms. Some of its best selling points are its sound engine, and that fact that it iis chock full of polyphony! Another big thing about this keyboard is that it has onboard recording, editing, and mixing- You can do it all from the piano bench. We did have to take off just a half of a point, because we feel that a few small things on the keyboards’ interface could be improved, such as the sliders. All of that aside, this instrument has excellent sound patches, feel, and a high-quality build.
PROS
  • The piano is portable, and economical for it’s style
  • It has really excellent sounds
  • The onboard controls are extremely user-friendly and fast to learn
  • The sound engine and FX engines are well-rounded, editable, and flat-out stunning
  • There are plenty of tracks and zones
  • The included ‘quick tips’ help you learn how to use the features without having to look up a manual or get on an online form
  • The instrument has a ton of polyphony for a synth-style workstation
  • Most importantly: It’s a fun keyboard!
CONS
  • It is too complex for beginners and young people just getting started
  • You will need to buy external speakers
  • Some musicians aren’t a fan of the sliders
  • The build has no real wood grain in it
  • Some have reported that the action makes a tiny bit of noise
  • There is no aftertouch on the instrument

Videos: Kurzweil PC4 SE Review

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