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Nils K1v Single Edit
Nils K1v Single Play Mode Nils K1v Common Edit Nils K1v Multi Edit
Nils K1v by Nils Schneider is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for macOS, Windows and Linux. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin and a VST 3 Plugin.
VST2 compatible host software, 32-bits & 64-bits supported
Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later, 64-bit
VST 2 or AU compatible host software
- x86 based processor, both 32-bits or 64-bits builds available
- .deb or .rpm packages support
- DAW that supports lxvst plugins
Sample Formats
Loads and/or Saves
MID, MIDI, SysEx, SYX, syxEx
Copy Protection
My KVR - Groups, Versions, & More
150 KVR members have added Nils K1v to 20 My KVR groups 188 times.
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30-Day: 370; 7-Day: 278; Yesterday: 168

Nils' K1v is a classic rompler that emulates the Kawai K1, a famous japanese classic from 1988.


  • Very accurate emulation of all parameters.
  • Includes 968 Single presets and 384 Multi presets, the original factory bank + all ROM cards + all 200 Kawai PHm Pop Synth Module Singles. Organized in banks and with search capability.
  • Full editing support for both Singles and Multis.
  • Can import & export SysEx presets & banks from/to the original device.

  • Transmits & receives parameter changes via SysEx to act as an editor for the hardware or to be edited via external editors.

  • Available as VST 2 for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
  • Resizeable User Interface.
  • Full automation support.
  • All 1352 presets can be edited and are stored as part of a project.

Furthermore, the plugin features a fully fledged MIDI implementation:

  • Understands SysEx messages like the original hardware which allows to update presets while running and even sends responses to the following SysEx requests: One block data request, All block data request & Device ID request.
  • Program Changes are supported including Bank Select.
  • Hold Pedal, Volume, Pan, Velocity, Aftertouch, Modulation Wheel & Pitch Bend.
  • See full MIDI specification here: https://www.nilsschneider.de/wp/nils-k1v-midi-implementation/

Synthesizer Engine:

  • 8-bit synthesis engine.

  • Four sources per voice:

    • 256 waveforms, 204 additive waveforms with 128 harmonics + 52 PCM wave forms.

    • DADSR envelope.

    • 8 velocity curves.

    • Coarse & Fine tune, adjustable key tracking, lots of modulation options.

  • AM (Ring Modulation) between Source 1&2 and 3&4.
  • Autobend.
  • 5 Key Scaling Curves.
  • One LFO with triangle, square, saw & random shape support.
  • Joystick for real-time control.

Latest Changes

v1.19 (2021.01.28):

  • [Fix] Dropped MIDI events caused notes to be hanging or not played at all in some hosts.
  • [Fix] Neither Sysex send nor receive worked in Mac AU version.
  • [Fix] UI did not update if single parameter was changed via MIDI SysEx.
  • [Fix] Pitch Bend changes were processed even if turned off in global settings.


  • [Imp] Implemented program change mode "Section" which switches the Single of a Multi Section while in Multi mode.
  • [Imp] Added a context menu to the preset list to copy/paste presets and send a preset to a K1 via MIDI.
  • [Imp] Added Bank Select MSB to fix not being able to select all PHm presets by Bank Select + Program Change.
  • [Imp] Added ability to control Joystick via MIDI control numbers General Purpose 1 and 2.
  • [Imp] K1v MIDI documentation is now available: https://www.nilsschneider.de/wp/nils-k1v-midi-implementation/


  • [Fix] Crash if auPlugin is destroyed before editor window that belongs to plugin (hello HostingAU).
  • [Fix] Crash in 64-bit plugin versions when restoring plugin state from DAW.


  • [Fix] Keyboard shortcuts didn't work in Mac AU and Mac & Linux VSTi versions.
  • [Fix] Wrong sysex response to "One Block Data Request" if requested preset was a Multi.
  • [Fix] Selecting a Multi via MIDI program change was off by one.
  • [Fix] Possible crash if parameters are edited in UI and via MIDI at the same time.
  • [Fix] Do not leave System page when switching between Single and Multi while System page is opened.
  • [Accuracy] Improved MIDI sysex compatibility to make K1v work with old Atari ST K1 editors that use undocumented "features".
  • [Imp] Knobs can now be reset to default by double-clicking on them.
  • [Imp] Knobs now properly increment/decrement in single steps when being operated via mouse wheel.
  • [Imp] Implemented response to "All block data request" sysex message.


  • [Fix] Some Multis caused a crash when being loaded because the sysex parameter "Output" of a multi section has an invalid value. These invalid values are part of the K1 factory banks and confuse the K1 hardware, too and result in the output being "Left+Right". K1v now sets them to L+R, too.


  • [Fix] Wrong number of presets (832 instead of 968) were reported to plugin hosts.

  • [Fix] MIDI notes could get stuck in some cases.

  • [Fix] Rounding issue in fixed key note number drop down menu that caused note B0 to be displayed although note C1 was selected.

  • [Imp] K1v now supports Multi presets. All factory Multi presets have been added for all factory banks, making up a total of 384 Multis, or 1352 presets in total.

  • [Imp] K1v now has a settings page to allow to specify the MIDI receive channel, disable/enable receive & send of SysEx and more.

  • [Imp] MIDI receive channel can now also be modified by sending an Omni-Mode-Off control change from a specific MIDI channel.

  • [Imp] Added ability to navigate through presets with cursor keys.

  • [Imp] Code optimizations to reduce overall CPU usage.


  • [Fix] Drop down menus were hard to read on Linux because of the font being too tiny.
  • [Accuracy] Key Scaling => Envelope Time modulation did not affect Decay but only Attack, causing some Singles to sound incorrect when compared to the K1 hardware.
    This change fixes the Single 'KillDa Mix' and others, mostly Pianos.
  • [Imp] All 200 PHm presets are now part of the plugin, causing it to have a total of 968 presets built in.
  • [Imp] Single selection screen has been reworked, for easier navigation it now includes a dropdown to select the Bank and has more navigation buttons.
  • [Imp] Plugin Logo has been reworked to match the K1 hardware logo. Furthermore, the KAWAI logo has been integrated as Kawai gave official permission for the plugin.


  • [Fix] One-shot waveforms (drums & others) were played looped.
  • [Fix] Mac AU version crash when saving the plugin state (100% crash in Digital Performer 10).
  • [Accuracy] Velocity Curves are now properly implemented and very closely match those of the K1 hardware. If you are interested in details, feel free to visit the K1 development blog at



  • [Fix] Joystick behaviour was incorrect after opening editor and never resizing it.
  • [Imp] Nils' K1v is now available for Linux as VSTi plugin. Available are debian & rpm packages for i686 and x86_64 architectures The packages install the VSTi to /usr/local/lib/lxvst/.


  • [Fix] Omnibus loop waveforms now always start from beginning when a note is pressed.
  • [Fix] Redraw issue caused multiple Source buttons to stay in highlighted state.
  • [Fix] Source parameters were not updated when switching AM mode to/from REV.


  • [Accuracy] PCM waveforms cannot play a lower frequency than 25.6Hz and are pitched up one octave when a note that is too low is triggered.
  • [Accuracy] Fix Single Cycle Waves with notes below C-2 were clamped and played as C-2 although hardware can go down to C-4 if keytrack is off.
  • [Note] The two change above fix some Singles being incorrect when compared to the hardware, for example iA-8 GongOfKngs.


  • [IMP] Window size is now preserved by storing it as part of the plugins data chunk.
  • [FIX] Audio pops/clicks when a voice begins, even more present if decay time was greater than zero.


  • [FIX] Fix very large UI on hosts like Orion because Orion claims to support resizing but then fails when being asked to resize.


  • [FIX] Fix possible crash when changing patch by program change while UI is closed.
  • [CHG] Shrink default UI size to 1024×576 to give smaller screens a chance to reach the resize handle.


  • [Accuracy] LFO behaviour didn't completely match hardware behaviour, especially for higher speed values.
  • [IMP] Window size is remembered when the plugin editor is closed and reopened.
  • [FIX] In Solo mode, audio clicks were audible when playing a note while another one was still playing.
  • [FIX] Audio processing could lead to clicks/pops in some hosts. I personally didn't experience this so feedback & if possible a recording of the issue would help. Thanks.


  • [IMP] SysEx Parameter Changes are now fully supported
    • They are sent, which allows the plugin to edit a real hardware in realtime.
    • They are recognized, which allows the plugin to be edited via external/existing editors.
  • [FIX] UI crashed on second opening after using the Source Mix Joystick.
  • [FIX] Reaper specific: Keyboard Shortcuts 1,2,3,4, E and C intercepted entering text to input fields (search box in Play Mode, preset name in Edit Mode).
  • [FIX] In Solo Mode, releasing a note always stopped all voices if the note being released was not the one being audible.
  • [FIX] MIDI control changes Hold Pedal & All Notes Off didn't work.
  • [FIX] UI did not update if the current preset was changed via MIDI Program Change.


  • [IMP] Added ability to import SysEx from .mid files.
  • [FIX] Do not fail import if a .syx or .mid files contains K1v presets + other sysex data that has no K1v relation.
  • [FIX] SysEx received via MIDI always overwrote first 32 singles. It will now correctly overwrite either 1-32 or 32-64, 65-96 (ROM Card 1-32) or 97-128 (ROM Card 33-64) depending on the SysEx dump.


  • Initial release.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.69 from 13 reviews
Nils K1v

Reviewed By Trader One [all]
January 14th, 2022
Version reviewed: 1.24 on Windows

Emulation is good but it is emulating a bad synth. K1 / K4 is nothing interesting. There is about 5% of sounds I would really use. M1/T1 are superior to K1.

Yes, it's free but we have lot of similar free .SF2 sounds from same era already.

Read Review
Nils K1v

Reviewed By glenesis [all]
December 21st, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.24 on Mac

(Note: current version is 1.24, July, 2021.).

A minute and a half of envelope decay when set at 100%! This is teaching me stuff I never learned about my hardware K1r. Thank you nils! You have made me a happy composer. Donation is going to happen today. Cheers.

Runs perfectly in Digital Performer 10 under High Sierra in my aging 2011 MacBook Pro. It's the most processor-intensive plugin I run, and I need to bounce to disk to use it, but it's totally worth the effort, and it's a joy to listen to it.

Read Review
Nils K1v

Reviewed By elviecho [all]
November 12th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows

In most cases I'm not a rompler fan. Best example: SQ8ROM...1GB sampled from an 0,6MB VSTi.

But this is different. It is the emulation of real hardware and it brings a big, big bunch of great, well recreated sounds in a top quality. A must have for Kawai fans.

Read Review
Nils K1v

Reviewed By harryelf [all]
August 24th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.24 on Windows

Needed a replacement as my real K1 slowly stops functioning after almost 30 years, this is perfect! It loads all the sounds from my library (> 10.000) without any problem and sounds almost exactly like the original.

Read Review
Nils K1v

Reviewed By pestomusic [all]
September 26th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.1.1 on Mac

For being a free plugin alone, this deserves 5 stars. Instant late 80ies/early 90ies feeling. If you like LFO (the band), you will love this plugin.

I have a K1r mk1 in my rack next to me and the plugin fails to model one crucial ingredient of the original: the noise floor;).

Really well done, Nils! And may I add that the fact this exists not only for Windows but also as a Mac VST and AU and on top of that also works on Linux systems is seriously mind-blowing. Especially if you consider the short time span during which all these versions for different platforms came out.

I have earmarked some € to donate (and may I suggest you consider doing so as well?), especially for the AU version. If this was a commercial plugin, I would not hesitate to part with 50 or 60€ if I was making as much music today as I used to. Don't like Ro-land Cloud but like the D-50? Get this. Seriously, download this plugin if you like breathy, aliasing ROMplers as much as I do.

So far, I haven't tried to use the plugin as an editor for the hardware but I am really excited to so. Just the fact that an emulation is capable of doing so is so awesome (Dexed comes to mind).

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the author of this software in any way. I'm simply blown away that somebody so talented and focused on getting stuff right (read Nils' blog about the development of this plugin, he's a man of dedication) would share the results of all his efforts with the world for free. And I do have a soft spot for quirky Kawai synths, now I can take one of them with me when I travel. I love this plugin.

Read Review

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Comments & Discussion for Nils Schneider Nils K1v

Discussion: Active
Doc Brown
Doc Brown
3 July 2020 at 1:23am

Fantastic job Nils.

You really captured the gritty nature of the k1. I own the k3m but I have been looking at k1 rack versions though I may not have to now because of this gem. Good on you and your talents.

3 July 2020 at 11:18am

1.0.1, with some presets emit strange background sound, hope fixed...

Nils Schneider
Nils Schneider
3 July 2020 at 1:20pm

Could you send me a recording of that background noise? At what sampling rate do you use it in your host?

3 July 2020 at 3:35pm

REAPER and FL Studio 9 (all 32-bit) under Windows 7, 64-bit.

It's like a "tick tock" sound that affect the sound, not in first sight but it's audible.

Tried now with version 1.0.2, same problem.

I don't know how send a file here but by the way sorry, hope you'll resolve or probably it's a simulation of the cheap onboard converters of the original hardware? i can't recognize.

3 July 2020 at 11:59pm

Are like little glitches or peaks but very fastidious...

Nils Schneider
Nils Schneider
8 July 2020 at 9:33pm

Hi, the clicks are fixed since v1.07. Thanks for reporting.

4 July 2020 at 6:36am

What a great project. Like a time machine transporting my ears instantly back to the period, thank you.

5 July 2020 at 5:24pm

What's the name of that Wavestation-like patch that loops a couple of strings & aaahhh PCM samples? The preset that was famously used by LFO on their seminal self-titled techno hit "LFO". Would grab this one just to be able to play with that preset. A friend of mine got this as his first synth back in 89.

6 July 2020 at 10:19am

On the Nils K1v the preset is 'iC8 Arrangement' I found it by resetting to the factory settings............... LFO your heart out :)

5 July 2020 at 6:56pm

Great project, great sound. Kudos!!.

5 July 2020 at 11:35pm

How do I install it in Cubase 10 Pro, I have placed K1v_x64.dll in various VST plugins folders and each time run Cubase and plugin manager but it seems to be invisible to them, I have even placed in the same folder as my Sylenth1 and no go. Any assistance would be appreciated.

5 July 2020 at 11:45pm

How do I install it in Cubase 10 Pro, I have placed K1v_x64.dll in various VST plugins folders and each time run Cubase and plugin manager but it seems to be invisible to them, I have even placed in the same folder as my Sylenth1 and no go. Any assistance would be appreciated. That is for 64-bit version.

OK, so when I installed the 32-bit version and Jbridged it, it shows up.

6 July 2020 at 5:50pm

Just grabbed this. My studio rebuild is not for another few weeks but will try this out then! I still have my K1-r but this just looked too cool to pass up and realtime JOYSTICK control ala Vector movement? Yes please.

8 July 2020 at 9:15am

1.0.6 - a very loud short clicks when playing in Renoise 3.1 in some presets. They aren't in Renoise 3.2.1. Empirically, I was found that the problem in the delay of the envelope. As soon as you remove the delay, a clicks disappear immediately.

Also, occasionally K1v misses some notes (in all Renoise versions, not only in 3.1), but I did not find any regularity. But this happens VERY rarely, so I have no special problems with this.

Nils Schneider
Nils Schneider
8 July 2020 at 9:27pm

Hi, the clicks are fixed since v1.07. Thanks for reporting.

8 July 2020 at 5:03pm

Version 1.0.4. Thank you SO much for this wonderful VST. I have a very old K1m with a lot of custom patches, and was able to transfer all of them in via sysex without any issues. Also very happy to report that it works in Linux using the Carla Windows bridges. The only issue when running (in Linux) is that none of text displays on the various buttons, or in the middle screen where the available patches are shown. I am assuming this is simply a WINE font issue? Does anyone know what font may be missing?

Nils Schneider
Nils Schneider
8 July 2020 at 9:26pm

Hi, the used font is Arial bold to be as compatible as possible. Didn't have Linux in mind but if it helps :).

9 July 2020 at 6:15pm

OMG! I regret selling K1R and finally something that sounds pretty damn good!! Looking forward to seeing this develop.

11 July 2020 at 8:20pm

I was impressed with this plugin. I did a review on it. You can find it here. https://youtu.be/utdAsVkf_q8.

12 July 2020 at 5:21am

Good morning is there a Linux version coming soon.



Sergay Milles
Sergay Milles
5 August 2020 at 10:31am

Great plugin! ...But my Linux export doesn't work. And another small problem - the waveform selection menu has too small a font.

11 August 2020 at 2:16pm

Hi, this looks great! Is the MacOS version still scheduled?


Nils Schneider
Nils Schneider
12 September 2020 at 2:21pm

There is now a Mac VST version, AudioUnit is in development.

19 September 2020 at 7:50am

I downloaded the mac VST version, but when I put the VST file in the VST folder and start up my Logic Pro x 10.5.1 I do not see the KV1 can you please tell me how to get the VST to show the plugin thank you.

Nils Schneider
Nils Schneider
19 September 2020 at 4:53pm

Hi, .

Logic does not support VSTs but only AudioUnits. Please download the AU version of the plugin. It is available on my HP since today so you have luck :).

Best, .


23 September 2022 at 9:13am

Con Logic si puó usare Blue Cat's patchwork, per leggere i VST ma attenzione solo i VST non i dll ne VSTi ne VST2-3.

3 October 2023 at 6:10pm

If I read things correctly, it can be used as an editor for the K1rII?

I have a lot of sounds, stored on my computer, but alas made with an old version of Cubase, so I'm not sure I can use the sounds either in the software version, or get them back to my module with this program.

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