New Casio Privia PX-560 Digital Piano A Synth In Disguise

At the 2015 Summer NAMM Show, Casio introduced a new flagship Privia digital piano line, PX-560, which not only is a capable digital piano, but also features interesting synthesis capabilities.

We talked with Casio’s Richard Formidoni and, in the video above, he gives an overview of the new PX-560 and demos its touchscreen synth patch editing.

Here’s what Casio has to say about the Privia PX-560’s synth engine:

Under the hood, the PX-560 is not just a highly capable stage piano, but a full-fledged synthesizer. Unlike most other synths, going deep into sound design is as easy as touching the display.

The PX-560 features Casio’s Hex Layer technology, borrowed from the flagship Privia Pro PX-5S. This means you can create massive splits and layers, with four zones and a total of 14 layers at once.

What’s more, you can edit these Tones to sculpt them into something new and all your own. There are three realtime control knobs, as well as a modulation wheel, all of which can be controlling up to two assignable parameters at once. With great-sounding filters, responsive envelopes, and extensive modulation, the PX-560 can be a sonic playground as well as a performance instrument.

The Casio PX-560 is expected to be available in October, with a street price of $1,199.  You can find out more about it at the Casio site.

21 thoughts on “New Casio Privia PX-560 Digital Piano A Synth In Disguise

  1. I think Mr Formidoni’s a bit too classy for this product, but it’s good to see Casio showing signs of dipping their toes into the synth market!

    1. Casio is not worthy of Rich Formidoni…& yet,he’s working for Casio?Korg NEVER made anything this nice for this price range and did it ever occur to you,that the PX-560…is just the beginning of bigger and better things to come?
      Just imagine what Casio could come up with,in the 2K to 3K range,as most likely,it would put Korg to shame.
      By the way…this is Casio DIPPING THEIR TOES into the PRO SYNTH WORKSTATION MARKET.

    1. I’d rather see them improving the (i)PD synthesis and continue from the much more interesting VZ-1.

      But, XW-PG2 would make me tons of happy too.
      -Improved mono-synth, perhaps even a poly this time(I wouldn’t even need this, if:)
      -the PCM engine and effects from PX-5s
      -Hex layers
      -organ model
      -and now we can even dream about having touch screens in Casio synths
      -DAT STEP SEQUENCER(I’d rather have the sliders like the XW, but if it had a touch screen, I could take a touch screen step sequencer too as a corner cutting measure)

      I would be ready for mid range or even a top end Casio. If XW’s were that much value back then, I hardly even dare to dream what kind of monster they could make in higher calibre.

      At the rate which Casio has been improving, they could already have something as amazing in their hands, as how regressive and cheapo(but still over prized) Yamaha has become.

      1. Regressive and cheapo? Yamaha? If you consider the F50, the PSR-E range and their higher-prestige cohorts from the Piaggero series! The one thing in common here is that while Roland and Casio now provide workstation keyboards in the Privia line with 128 to 256 notes of polyphony, those Yamahas I mention here, above, stuck to a mere 32 notes maximum!

        Yamaha’s Reface keyboards are overpriced by individual product standards. You can buy a Roland JD-Xi for the same price as with each Reface and yet the JD-Xi combines elements of all four Reface keyboards!

        I would suggest to Yamaha to have a look at the Teenage Engineering OP-1 and conjure up its rival as the Reface PS!

    2. That would be great. But Rich is a rep – doing demos, product education, outreach, evangelism. Could be wrong, but I think he just markets ’em, he does not actually design products.

      If Casio poached him from Korg with a tempting new synth line – then its a good sign of things to come. But it could just be a career move – updawards, sideways – or as the Casio brand image indicates – downward.

      Casio is well positioned to create and offer some cool stuff to compete with Roland, Novation, Korg, Yamaha, etc. Right now, even though Casio has some decent engines, they’re housed in deeply unhip concepts and covered in administrative buttons and menus. Also, they say Casio on the back.

      1. Admin: Personal attack deleted. Keep comments on topic and constructive.

        Also, you’re using multiple user names to post comments on the site (pigeon, Earp, etc), which increases the likelihood that your comments will handled as spam by our comment system.

  2. I have not shopped for digital pianos or workstations in a while, but it seems that a quality digital piano at this price range, one with good usability (touchscreen) and a larger sound pallet, may really fill a hole in the market.

    I don’t even need or want a digital piano and the moment, and yet watching this video now I kinda want this. That’s a great product, and a welcome addition to the market. I think this could be a great entry-level synth/workstation.

  3. This seems like a smart call on Casio’s part, to make a keyboard with a good feel that also has strong synthesis capabilities. There’s a gap between the mini synths, which have decent synthesis capabilities, but mini keyboards, and the mega workstations that are $2000.

    1. Capabilities and synth engine power are one thing. An attractive desirable product that has a ton of real time control is another. Synthesists and digital piano people are 2 warring tribes with a small venn diagram overlap.

      If they make an analog or a VA with 1:1 control with a cool look, the Casio name will shake its negative brand associations. All they have to do to change their rep is make something better than the System 1, or make something analog.

      But they are hung up on the Hex Layer concept – which allows you to combine everything but the kitchen sink into a giant airy 90’s ROMpler poly pad that (for me) is deeply embarrassing to listen to.

      I’m not buying a giant dorky slab that looks like an old workstation just because it has control over envelopes on a screen. Menus are yesterday’s menu item.

      Casio can win the hearts of every jaded monosynth hipster if they would just make something incredible and fun.

      1. Astro Spy – I get where you are coming from – but there’s also the reality of ‘you get what you pay for’.

        People are always complaining about price around here, but you really can’t get a decent synth keyboard for under $400, and the keyboards at that price range are nothing like the quality of classic 70s/80s keyboards.

        This new Casio is competing against things like the King Korg and it looks pretty good in that price range. Their keyboard actions are good and the synth capabilities are good, too. You criticize the Hex Layer synthesis, but it’s actually very powerful. The main limitation is the programmer. And, like most keyboard companies, Casio tends to give their keyboards cheesy presets that don’t do the synth engine justice. The worst offender on that, in recent memory, is probably the M-Audio Venom, which was a powerful synth with poorly organized and selected presets.

        The main weak spot on this thing is the limited number of knobs. And the knobs that are provided look like the same cheesy ones that they used on the XW-P!1.

        Dave Smith gets dissed a lot, but his keyboards in my mind offer the best balance between build quality, synth capabilities and price.

    2. Yes, indeed! Casio joined the club with the PX-360 and PX-560 digital pianos! Casio’s very own “Krome” and “Kronos” workstation keyboards! Similarly, a 61-key version would be marketed as the CTK-8000 and with 76 keys, as the WK-8500.

      Casio also fielded a badly-needed successor to the poor-sounding, touchy and weak CDP-200 series with the CGP-700 – a sensible alternative!

      At $1,200, the PX-560 costs less than the Korg Krome, with a difference of a nauseous $400! It puts it on par in price with the KingKORG modeling synthesizer.

  4. The PX-5s was a breakthrough instrument, combining Casio’s Hexsynth technology with a digital piano and it has sold well but it needed maturing, not to mention a facelift (the mostly-white surface of the PX-52 was a grime magnet). The PX-560 is a classier-looking instrument that updates the Privia pro line. Still only 26 lbs including a built-in speaker system. Perfect for novices yet modern and packed with features. Looks sweet… gotta try one.

  5. The XWG1 is a ridiculously capable instrument with some surprising features (9 track keyboard transposable step sequencer! 3 OSC Mono synth where you can use an external audio source as an additional oscillator?!?! A sampler!?). It’s completely hampered by the brand name, lackluster PCM sounds and an absolutely terrible UI trying to be too many things for too many people (and sorta failing at most of those things). Also, the filter is weird. Good weird, at times.

    Someone at Casio has got the juice. I hope they go back to the XWG1, pay a top notch usability designer and spend a whole lot of time getting input from would-be customers outside of their bubble. Really, it’s very very close.

    No, really:

  6. Casio needs to do only one thing: to release a synthesizer with a very easy and intuitive interface.

    Take for example the solosynth engine from their XW synths: it’s very deep, offers a lot of modulation routing, sounds good, but you spend a lot of time menudiving. A LOT. And that is not fun, that kills the inspiration.

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