Casio CT-S1000V Review: A Synth That Can Sing

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You would possibly need to learn music, however no person needs to spend a thousand {dollars} on a keyboard solely to appreciate they hate it. Most individuals purchase a newbie keyboard to pound out “Hey Jude,” the sort of plasticky mannequin that you simply most likely keep in mind from center college. They work positive as instruments to fabricate sound together with your fingers, however the precise tones depart a bit to be desired.

That’s why I’ve loved my time with the Casio CT-S1000V. It’s a modern $470 mannequin that acts as a wonderful newbie keyboard, however with one significantly cool get together trick: You can program lyrics into it and have the keyboard sing for you. It’s a rad device for these of us with voices like indignant crows.

Between stable building, good sounds, and an easy-to-navigate interface, I feel this board is the right place for freshmen to begin. The vocal synthesis engine is cool sufficient that even die-hard synth nerds will wish to fiddle once they come test your progress.

Classic Casio

Vintage Casio fashions are beloved by indie darlings like Mac Demarco for a motive. These primary, utilitarian keyboards sound as nostalgic as they’re purposeful. Like many Casios earlier than it, this one has an honest keyboard and 800 built-in sounds, with all the pieces from boring piano to spacey synths represented. You additionally get 243 rhythms to play together with, must you want some inspiration.

You’d be stunned how far sounds have come because you final messed with a keyboard at Guitar Center earlier than Covid. The crew at Casio has included some legitimately nice sounds, stuff you’ll have paid 1000’s of {dollars} for earlier than the iPhone period (hear samples beneath).

You can plug the keyboard into an amp or use it as a MIDI keyboard with a pc, however I really appreciated simply utilizing the built-in audio system on the highest. It makes it straightforward to jam together with music, or to rapidly pattern sounds with out the trouble of turning on an amp or opening the Casio Music Space app (which works for iOS and Android and pairs to the keyboard).

The included LCD show works nicely in darkish rooms, and it provides you fairly granular management over all the pieces you would possibly wish to alter when taking part in. You can assign two knobs on the highest left of the board to do numerous filters, results, and EQ strikes, and there’s a very usable pitch-bend wheel on the far left aspect, for if you wish to really feel like Herbie Hancock within the Nineteen Seventies.

Getting Connected

Photograph: Casio

You can get sound data out of the keyboard 4 methods: via the aforementioned audio system, a headphone jack, stereo ¼-inch outputs, or by way of USB. You also can use the keyboard as a sampler in your favourite music, with the flexibility to seize sounds from Bluetooth audio and use an inner six-track sequencer to line up a beat.

Once you’re plugged in, you may simply fiddle and save any sounds that you simply discover you want for later. Speaking of mucking round and discovering cool sounds, I actually did fall in love with the brand new vocal synthesis engine. It’s straightforward to sort lyrics into the Casio Lyric Creator app (iOS, Android) after which switch complete songs of lyrics to the keyboard.

If you actually hate to sing, otherwise you significantly love Daft Punk or Peter Frampton, you’ll be in love. You can use 22 completely different vocal sounds and manipulate them with a reasonably vast number of results and different sound parameters. The vocal synth is polyphonic, which implies you may play actually cool harmonies (hear beneath) over your individual phrases.

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