FK7: Technics KN200 & KN250

The Hardware

Technics SX-K250

The Sounds

Poly section (K200 & K250)

  • Organ 1
  • Organ 2
  • String Ensemble
  • Brass
  • Accordion
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Harpsichord

Solo section (K200)

  • Clarinet
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Pan Flute
  • Whistle
  • Cosmic Wah

Solo section (K250)

  • Clarinet
  • Trombone
  • Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Pan Flute
  • Flute
  • Synthe Chopper
  • Cosmic Wah

Drums (K200 & K250)

  • Bass Drum 1
  • Bass Drum 2
  • Snare Drum
  • RimShot
  • Hand Clap
  • High Tom
  • Low Tom
  • Closed High-Hat
  • Accent High-Hat
  • Open High-Hat
  • High Conga
  • Low Conga
  • Muted Conga
  • Conga Incidental Noises

In the early 1980s Technics released their first portable keyboards; the SX-K100 and SX-K200. These followed in the foot-steps of their successful U-Series of home organs. The main competition at the time was Yamaha and Casio who had their own successful cheese-machines. The Technics models featured a slot where you could plug in an optional Memory-Pack that enabled you to store your favourite sound/rhythm combinations. They also featured PCM sample-based sound generation for the drums. These models were later replaced by the SX-K150 and SX-K250 models respectively. They were essentially the same design and layout as before, but with important changes that we’ll get to next.

Let’s concentrate on the two top models, the K200 and K250. These keyboards both have two sound sections; Poly Orchestral Presets and Solo Synthesizer Presets. The Poly Orchestral Presets consist of eight polyphonic sounds (or voices) that can be routed through a chorus/celeste effect, there is also a tremolo effect for the organ sounds. The Solo Synthesizer Presets on the K200 consists of six monophonic sounds and uses analogue synthesis. The later K250 model has eight sounds and uses PCM sample sound generation. This is the main difference between the two models. At the time, these new sampled sounds were seen as a great leap forward and were much more realistic, which is what a lot of us wanted back then.

The Rhythms

K200

  • March
  • Swing
  • Rock
  • Disco
  • Rumba
  • Samba
  • Waltz
  • Tango

K250

  • March
  • Swing
  • 8-Beat
  • 16-Beat
  • Ballad
  • BossaNova
  • Disco 1
  • Disco 2
  • Rumba
  • Samba
  • Waltz
  • Tango

Of course, a home keyboard wouldn’t be complete without a rhythm and auto-accompaniment section. The drum and percussion sounds are sample-based with the exception of the High-Hats which still use good old analogue sound generation, probably because the low bit and sample rate used would not be suitable for sounds with such high frequencies. Some home organs from the early 1980s suffer from very dull sounding high-hat and cymbal sounds, probably for this very reason.

The drum samples are low-fi sounding and most likely only 8-bit resolution. I remember thinking how great the toms sounded when I first heard them! I should point out that I was working in a music shop demonstrating these at the time. Now, of course, things have turned full-circle and it’s the old analogue sounds that seem more interesting.

The Kontakt Instrument

Details of the Kontakt Instrument and how to purchase it are here. Essentially it is a re-creation of the real thing so most of the description above is relevant. However, please contact me if you have any questions.

FK7: Technics K2x0 Kontakt Instrument