If you've played Kurzweil keyboards much during the past 20 years or so, you've probably enjoyed the sound design work of Dave Weiser. Going back to the ROM4 (vintage electric pianos) expansion for the K2500 and 2600 - incidentally the first product review I penned for Keyboard magazine way back in March 2003 - his strong suit has always been vintage EPs, organs, and synths. A secret of the later K series, which remains in current models such as the Forte, was that you could essentially fool the drum keymap mode into working with non-drum samples, which allowed for up to 32 layers within a single sound Program, triggerable by velocity, internal math functions (what Kurzweil calls FUNs), and other MIDI control messages. This gave rise to the ability to create highly expressive and nuanced electro-mechanical sounds that included, say, the subtle quirks of Rhodes tine behavior. Dave was and is simply a master of this stuff.
He's no slouch when it comes to orchestral arranging, either, as he's now a full-time independent programmer and sound designer for musical theater, with a boutique retail business on the side at weisersound.com. His current projects include a U.K. tour of Sunset Boulevard and The Sound of Music Asian tour beginning in the Philippines. "Broadway-type pit keyboardists are using a lot of Apple MainStage with software libraries," he explains, "but they also still use a lot of Kurzweil hardware, as do I, because it's rock-solid reliable."
A universal best practice is, whatever high-end software instruments are in the arrangement, to maintain a "clone" multi-timbral setup solely in hardware such as a Kurzweil PC3K. That way, if anything goes wrong, there's a backup that doesn't rely on computers. The show must go on, as they say. As the video below demonstrates, Kurzweil's quality of orchestral sounds - even though many rely on older sample DNA - is so good that the backup could easily be the primary. Note that this is one patch, or rather a Setup, with about 25 layers!
We'll be working more with Dave on tutorials and sound design demos very, very soon, so stay tuned!