It “sings” what you type in, it has hundreds of bread and butter sounds, it samples, it has a sequencer, effects, integrated speakers… and it’s ridiculously affordable.
We were able to get a demo over Zoom of this instrument yesterday, and… whoa. It’s almost silly how much Casio has been able to include in their latest instrument for $679.
The unique feature is the vocal synth. Type in words or syllables into an Android or iPhone app and it sings them – but it’s not trying to sound like a person, it’s a synth. There are lots of variations.
The more standard sounds we heard from the CT-S1000V – piano, clav, “classic” Casio CZ sounds, etc. (only with more polyphony) – were all totally credible. It also has built-in effect chains; the demo of a clav going through an auto-wah and amp simulator was really impressive.
We had almost too much fun playing with the entry-level ($200?!) Casiotone CT-S1 a few months ago, and are truly looking forward to having this instrument in-hand for a full report. How do they do it?!
Oh, and there’s also a $500 CT-S500 version that’s the same minus the vocal synthesizer.
What follows is most of their press release:
Today Casio announced the Casiotone CT-S500 and its big brother, the CT-S1000V, the first vocal synthesizer that can literally turn any text – such as song lyrics – into a musical phrase and then “sing” it in full harmony based on any notes played on its keys.
To get started, Casio has built 100 Lyric Tones (phrases inspired by familiar songs) into the CT-S1000V, which can be overwritten, and there’s space for 50 more brought in from the Lyric Creator app. The instrument supports both English and Japanese text.
For customized lyrics, the player simply types in words using the companion Lyric Creator app for iOS® and Android® devices. These are then transmitted into the CT-S1000V via USB and played using any of its 22 Vocalist types, including talkboxes, processed choirs, robot voices, vocoders and whispered voices, all drawn from the history of synthetic vocals in pop music. Phrases can be played all at once, according to a set rhythm when keys are pressed, or one syllable at a time as new notes are played with or without legato. They can also be sequenced together to play complete songs.
The CT-S1000V’s AiX tone source offers 800 high-resolution sounds representing all categories of instruments, the keyboard may be split or layered to play multiple sounds at once, and it has 64-voice polyphony. Its accompaniment section includes 243 built-in rhythms, 50 user-programmable rhythms, simplified chord fingering modes (including CASIO Chord™) for easy playing, and auto-harmonies. Players can arrange songs on the fly by switching between various intro, normal, fill-in, variation, and ending sections.
The CT-S1000V can sample up to ten seconds of high-quality audio (or several three-second samples for creating drum kits) via its 1/8-inch stereo input. You can sample wirelessly using the included WU-BT10 Bluetooth MIDI & audio adapter. [Which was an add-on to the CT-S1. – NB]
An onboard MIDI recorder can store up to five performances, with six tracks and 40,000 notes per song. The CT-S1000V can also connect to a computer or mobile device via USB-MIDI or Bluetooth. The Casio Music Space iOS/Android app turns the process of learning music into an interactive and engaging video game.
100 built-in effects include many amplifier and cabinet simulators, modulation effects, choruses, reverbs, delays, and much more. Each of the effects can be extensively customized and modified on the fly using the CT-S1000V’s three assignable knobs.
There’s also a CT-S500, which is the same minus the vocal synth. Weighing just over 10 pounds and featuring the ability to run on six AA batteries, both keyboards are designed to make music on the go.
As part of the release, Casio has unveiled an exclusive landing page taking consumers through the features which can be viewed HERE.
Prices: CT- S1000V (MSRP) $679.99, CT-S500 (MSRP) $499.99