Casio CT-S1000V Review: A Synth That Can Sing

You would possibly need to learn music, however no one needs to spend a thousand {dollars} on a keyboard solely to comprehend they hate it. Most folks purchase a newbie keyboard to pound out “Hey Jude,” the type of plasticky mannequin that you simply in all probability bear in mind from center college. They work effective as instruments to fabricate sound together with your fingers, however the precise tones go away a bit to be desired.

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

Between stable building, good sounds, and an easy-to-navigate interface, I feel this board is the proper place for newbies to begin. The vocal synthesis engine is cool sufficient that even die-hard synth nerds will wish to fiddle after they come examine 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 a good keyboard and 800 built-in sounds, with all the things 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 workforce at Casio has included some legitimately nice sounds, stuff you’d have paid hundreds of {dollars} for earlier than the iPhone period (hear samples under).

You can plug the keyboard into an amp or use it as a MIDI keyboard with a pc, however I really preferred simply utilizing the built-in audio system on the highest. It makes it simple to jam together with music, or to shortly pattern sounds with out the effort 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 properly in darkish rooms, and it provides you fairly granular management over all the things you would possibly wish to regulate when taking part in. You can assign two knobs on the highest left of the board to do varied filters, results, and EQ strikes, and there’s a very usable pitch-bend wheel on the far left facet, for while 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 may use the keyboard as a sampler on your favourite music, with the power to seize sounds from Bluetooth audio and use an inside six-track sequencer to line up a beat.

Once you’re plugged in, you’ll be able to 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 simple 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 notably 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 extensive number of results and different sound parameters. The vocal synth is polyphonic, which implies you’ll be able to play actually cool harmonies (hear under) over your personal phrases.

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