How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kawai XD-5

I’ve been lately scavenging synths from the pleistoscene period at Laboratorio. Bought a Kawai XD-5 drum synthesizer for about 150 Finnish marks (25 eur) in the 90’s and haven’t used it a lot ever since. Read some glowing reviews about it lately and decided to try and make it sound good and oh does it sound good.


The thing is, it got 8 individual outputs and if you don’t use those and add some post processing it doesn’t sound too good. Also, routing individual sounds from the synth into the outputs is a bit tedious because of an unintuitive routing matrix. You would have to do a lot of work to reroute each sound into a different output but I found a shortcut.

While in KIT mode, press edit a few times and choose OUTPUT PACH: 8 via value slider. This works at least after factory reset; in this setting the drum sounds are routed quite logically (each drum sound type takes over either an individual output or a stereo pair, depends on the type of sound I think). Remember to save often and beware of the filter resonance, it goes up to 11. Little compression, EQ and delay will do wonders.


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