The Casio XW P1 Performance Synthesizer (In Depth Demo)

Here’s an in-depth look, by Daniel Fisher, at the new Casio XW-P1 Performance Synthesizer from the 2012 NAMM Show.

The Casio XW-G1 is a ‘groove synthesizer’ equipped with a keyboard and designed to offer the various kinds of digital equipment used by club DJs, including the ability to create and play back a variety of rhythm patterns and musical phrases.

Here’s another take on the Casio XW-G1, via Sonic State and product specialist Mike Martin, who says that Casio synths are ‘back with a vengeance’:

See our intro post on the Casio XW-P1 synthesizer for details.

via baxshopnl

46 thoughts on “The Casio XW P1 Performance Synthesizer (In Depth Demo)

  1. Though I’ve never used one, the whole layering reminds me a bit of the Roland GAIA. To be honest, I think this new Casio synth is quite a disappointment. The synthesis is nothing new, step sequencing is nice but also not very innovative and the organ mode just makes me think that this instrument wants to be everything at the same time.

    In my view specialized hardware makes more sense than such allrounders. But I guess there will be some live keyboard players who will like these things…

    1. Pfft!! 😀

      What synth has new synthesis then? Kronos has some…but it costs 3000. Motif XS doesn’t even have synthesis engine and it too costs 3000. This is refreshing new synth in far too stagnant market. Step sequencers are not at all too widespread; its fantastic, that Casio can not only offer new synth at fantastic cost, but also offer features, that most synths lack.

      I have pretty robust setup my self, and I’m looking to enforce it with Kronos, but even then I think the Casio has something to offer to me too! I have all these features already catered in my arsenal, but a little variation is always refreshing, and at these prices it can’t fail me that bad.

      1. @ Toby:
        “What synth has new synthesis then? ”
        Well, you’re right. Sadly, most current hardware synthesizers don’t offer much innovations on this sector. But I’d be very happy if the manufacturers would come up with something new instead of presenting features like layering as groundbreaking 😉

        But after all, your argument just confirmes what I have already suspected: keyboard players might actually like this. Maybe I’m completely wrong here, but in my opinion workstation keyboards like the Yamaha MOTIF XS and the Korg Kronos are mostly used for live purposes, where such all-in-one devices might be very handy. Studio/DAW producers are more likely to look out for more specialized hardware to expand their existing setups.

        Of course, I can just speak for myself. If I had to decide between a workstation keyboard that does a little bit of everything I already have, or a dedicated bass, or lead, or drums or device, I’d definetly go for the specialist…

      2. I’ve been playing since I got a Farfisa combo in 1967, then Hammonds, Korg, Nova Orgonics (Michigan – Craig Frost’s prototype with Grand Funk) , etc. ad infinitum (Roland W-30, Casio, Kurzweil and on); working on single act now (at 63) and I’m excited about just discovering the Casio XW-P1! Will use with one or two other keyboards for live performance. Just what I need to complete a stellar live setup. $425, slightly used, through Musicians Friend (who I last did business with in 1990s ’cause they were too high…surely are competitive now)….will be here tomorrow and absorbing as much as I can about it until then.
        The XW is what it is. But it does what it took $2,000+ to do before. I have a Hammond C-3/Leslie 760, so I don’t expect an inexpensive keyboard to duplicate what a Nord Electro does.
        The disparaging comments by Gerald just show his myopic viewpoint! He THINKS that a live keyboardist might like it! LOL Hey, folks, put some freakin’ thought into what you post, will you? Amateurs. 😉

    2. Just by the virtue of being only $500 for a semi-pro synth,that in of itself,is a new concept in synthesizers.
      Roland,Korg,Yamaha,Kurzweil or Alesis,has never offered this much for such a modest price,so you have to give Casio credit for that.
      Think about it…unlike the WK-7500,the XW-P1 has midi connections & can be used as a midi controller for DAWS and it’s the SAME price.
      Typically,any 61 key midi controllers without any onboard sounds are going to be around this price point,so Casio has done remarkable well.
      I have two audio workstations on my PC’s and a Kurzweil PC3LE6-along with a Yamaha MOX6 and even still,Casio has my attention & I am seriously considering adding the XW-P1 to my arsenal.

  2. We don’t want you to tell us why it’s so “phat”, or about the rubberized pad, we want you to play the damn thing. There’s about a half second of the sound that gives me hope, at least until a video with more playing and better sound quality comes.

    I like to keep my mind open about “underdog” synths (the ones everyone on synthtopia hate) but this video made that so hard to do.

    1. So what dude…it’s not as if this is the only video on YouTube that’s showcasing the XW-P1…look around…you’ll find all of the audio demonstrations one could ask for.

  3. Casio…are you serious! A really missed opportunity, and it’s a shame casio probably won’t realize it! Casio released some great synths in the past…cz-1( the infamous z line ) the ht-6000( very advanced considering it’s time and competion ) sk-1( diminutive, yet a classic ) vl-1( ditto ). If I had been in their product development meetings, I would of insisted that that if your going to release a work station let’s through in the technology that made us cult Heroes in the synth world( just troll eBay for a week! Casio love is there everyday) a few boutiques ( quite well known to say the least, you know who they are. )have directly been inspired by casio’s early line of synths, even going as far as to pay blatant homage to casio, by providing fresh takes on technology casio developed. If I had been casio I would of released a couple small synths that payed homage to those early synths to basically reintroduce a new gen to casio. Releasing a work station is fine, but a unique one,thats something special. They could of easily released a cz-2 with knobs and everyone would of sold their mother-in law to get one! I hope this line does well for them, but only if it means that they will look back to their past, and realize that that’s impartitive to they future. Korg does it and well, they should pay more attention to what people want and find interesting about casio! We shall see. Casio I’ll sort this out for you just let me know when I can start ;)!

    1. The XW-P1 is NOT a workstation,it’s strictly a performance synth.Step sequencers do not define a keyboard as being a workstation,as this type of sequencer is essentially just an arpeggio function and you cannot create and record complete songs onboard with the XW-P1,like you can with the WK-7500.

  4. ..I’m thinking this synth is something at isn’t geared towards synth gurus or fanatics. The first synth or keyboard that I bought was a djx. I was fascinated at the store with the ribbon controller. This looks like a synth that someone who doesn’t know much about the trade could get into. They could learn about layering, sequencing, synthesis etc. I think its probably one of the best entry level synths I’ve seen in a long time. I’m actually quite charmed by it. I’m not going to buy one but I’m sure someone will and max out its potential and start moving on to bigger and better things. Just like I did.

    1. Well…to each his own,but I think the XW-P1 is a very cost effective way to add some retro sounds to my arsenal,without having to bog down my PC’s by using additional processing power.

      Since the XW-P1 can be used as a midi controller and since it has full size keys,this would be a very welcome addition to my set up.

      I have Presonus Studio 1 Pro,Reason 6,a Kurzweil PC3LE6 and a Yamaha MOX6 and I STILL want this board….& for $500,there’s nothing to lose on this deal and I’m not the only one saying it.

    1. I agree that the Juno Gi would be squashed by XW-P1…but if you owned the M50 and the MOX6,you wouldn’t be making such comparisons.
      Besides which,both the M50 & the MOX6 are full blown workstations and the XW-P1 is just a performance synth.
      Perhaps some of the XW-P1’s synth sounds might rival the two,but that’s it.

      1. I have had M50!!! Its not a full blown workstation. Its just an entry level cheap workstation. It doesn’t have an organ model nor different synth engines, nor audio input, so yeah, no comparison.

        This will have crap keys, but so does M50 and M50 is twice the price. M50’s sequencer is not SO “full blown”, that it makes all other sequencers obsolete, especially different kinds of sequencers. Casios step sequencer has different use cases than M50, and is meant for performance and real time control, so you can play that sequencer like an instrument.

        And these other cheap synths don’t just squash Gi. The Gi is just as usable and fantastic sounding instrument than M50 and MOX. By their fear I meant only, that the entry levels price point has just been halved.

        1. Toby,

          I am a former owner of an M50 and what I meant by a full blown workstation,is that unlike the XW-P1,the M50 has a pattern-based sequencer with multiple insert effects which allow the user to create complete instrumental songs from scratch.

          As for the key-bed action between he two,I prefer the Casio,because it has FULL SIZE KEYS.
          I currently own the MOX6 and the acoustical sounds blow the Juno Gi out of the water and there are no synth sounds on the Gi that impressed me more than my MOX6.
          As for performance synths under a $1,000,I’ll take this Casio over any of the shit that Roland puts out.

          1. You mean linear? Because XW-P1 does have pattern based sequencer, thats far more usable(because all the real time control), than M50:s sequencer, what comes to pattern sequencing.

            The keys should be the same size in these cheap synths, and all are on the crap side.

            As a current instrument Gi is in same league than Mox and M50. Rompler sounds have not quite gotten as much better in 10 years, as the synth manufacturers would like to say. MOX might have a slight lead in sample rom sizes, but they have been in pretty good shape any way. I vastly prefer Rolands effects though, and the Gi has audio recorder in it(worth of 400€ alone), so it can have infinite effects and polyphony, as well as real acoustic instruments recorded into it. Its a nice solution for those, who want to record audio.

            1. Have you actually ever made any attempts to write any customized bars of music(track by track) from scratch,on you’re M50?
              If you have,then you would know that on a keyboard such as the M50,you can record custom loops in real time in pattern mode,copy & paste them to any track in the song mode and then quantize it afterwards.
              You absolutely cannot do this on the XW-P1 and that’s the difference I was referring to.

              As for the Juno Gi,the 8 track recording is a nice feature to have built into the keyboard,but without any midi sequencing on-board,how in the hell can anyone lay down 8 tracks in real time,without sounding like a train wreck?
              Is you’re timing really that good?I don’t know anyone who can lay down an entire song(drums,bass,chords,riffs,solos & the like) and have perfect timing on every track.
              Yeah…you could cheat by using a pre-programmed drum loops-along with some arpeggiated stuff & play along with it…but then you’ll just sound like some old fart that does one man gigs at nursing homes & birthday parties.
              It would make a lot more sense if the Juno Gi had a 4 track midi sequencer and a 4 track audio recorder…in which case I probably would have bought a Juno Gi(provided that the sounds were an improvement over the shitty Fantom X factory sounds).
              My biggest problem with Roland,is that with regard to their workstations,Roland inserts shockingly terrible factory sounds,which forces the Roland user to purchase SRX & ARX libraries and Roland doesn’t even have the Goddamn common courtesy or sense,to provide the consumer with an ample amount of SRX/ARX slots(so the user is forced to install/remove/reinstall sound cards which is f**king ludicrous.
              This is just one of many tactics Roland uses to extort their customers to fleece the American public.
              The only decently inspiring synths that Roland has made in the last 15 years are the V-Synth & the Jupiter-80 and they’re only performance synths that cost just as much as some high end workstations that are out there.
              The Korg Kronos 76 key for example,is every bit as nice as the Jupiter-80-if not more so,sound-wise…but the Korg ALSO is a complete recording studio as well.
              Even the Yamaha XF can stand toe to toe with the Jupiter-80 sound-wise and it too,has impressive recording capabilities in it and it’s CHEAPER IN PRICE,than the Roland.
              Go to and check out some audio demos of the Roland Super JX-10 synth that came out about 24 years ago(assuming they have demos for it there) and have a good listen to the songs and you’ll hear why modern day Rolands are overpriced crap.
              Better yet,see if you can pick up a Super JX-10 on eBay(as if you do),you’ll NEVER consider buying another new Roland ever again.

              1. I only listed different devices that have different sequencers for different purposes. Even in market segment of cheap synths there is healthy amount of differentation and features that would cater for different needs, if the athmosphere in the media wouldn’t suggest that ceratin synth was “clearly the best”. There isn’t “clearly the best” synth even in cheap synth segment.

                I have used M50’s sequencer for all kinds of purposes. Its not at all feature rich for song writing, and its not quite as well suited for live sequencing as step sequencers either. Its good entry level workstation, but its touch screen only high lights its sequencers weaknesses. I didn’t sell my M50 because I didn’t like it. I loved it, but I needed some other functionality more. The step sequencer in XW-P1 is not comparable to M50, its a different tool. With XW-P1 you can modify the patterns in real time.

                I didn’t mean, that Gis forte would be live sequencing, but it is great tool for those who like to use audio trackers. And I was mad, that Roland didn’t include a midi sequencer for Gi.

                I’m well aware of JX-10, but it is analog synthesizer, so, again, not really comparable intruments. You would do better by comparing it to Korg DW-8000, that was released around the same time.

                I don’t know why those expensive synths became into picture…perhaps you have a preference to some companies…
                -I don’t like Jp-80’s price either.
                -I would love to see a new V-Synth, what ever the price
                -Kronos will be my next bigger acquisition, and I think it is as good performance synth as Jp-80, but so much more, but I understand that some one else would find JP-80 more usable.

      2. Gi is very able rompler besides M50 and MOX, but now I can see each of them trembling in fear, as Casio marches over them with half of the cost and several synth engines on top of rompler sounds. Can’t wait to see, what that “this is only the beginning” means.

  5. So I wonder who needs this synth? Are there still enough gigging cover bands that need a “good enough” sound for a bunch of songs? And it could be a good entry level/first synth, but I would expect everyone getting into synthesis today would want to use soft synths and a really sweet controller, like the new Akai.

    Affordable sound modules. That’s where it’s at these days. Boxes with no keys on them that make unique sounds for between $200 – $400. That’s how to make money.

    1. Oh, I don’t know about all that. It DOES have good layering facilities and that will definitely give it beef Casio hasn’t been known for previously. If the keyboard has a decent feel, I can see it selling passably well. Its never a bad idea to have SOME sound-generating hardware, as some sounds don’t sample well enough to match the host instrument. There’s a feel there that is different from playing a softsynth. I doubt that many people who really want to play a B-3 would turn to this for such a use, so its inclusion seems weird, but I’ll wait and see/hear better reviews. Like all too much gear, this is aimed at a lot of pattern-based disco/techno, but that’s not all it can do.

      1. I want good organ sounds, and other cheap synths didn’t do me good. I have nice setup at home, but I don’t like to carry too much shit with me to rehearsals, so cheap and light multipurpose machine is more than welcome for people like me.

      2. Another casual organist here. When price is like this, why the whining? Like that actual organ model would hurt the instrument some how. Almost every keyboardist needs good organ sounds some times, which is why those romplers have so much organ samples and organ oriented effects on them. Thats waste of space!

    2. I don’t NEED the XW-P1…but I WANT one.Why?Because it’s seems to be a good source for retro sounds & perhaps some unique sounding ones,which will spare my PC’s from additional processing power.
      Especially if I were to use the Casio in conjunction with the upcoming Tascam DP-24 multi-track recorder(that would really save me a lot of PC processing power) and if I included my Kurzweil & Yamaha hardware boards to this configuration,I’d have a very potent mix,without hving to use a computer at all.
      Bare in mind also,that there are people like me out there,that still have an appreciation for hardware and still love to collect hardware synths and the XW-P1 is just to sweet of a deal to pass up,it seems.

  6. I will be buying one of these. I own a Juno 106, a bunch of Korg keyboards, roland you name it but I love the price and I am not afraid to say that right next to the Juno sits both Djx keyboards and the djx2b. I cant wait to get this and I could care less what the synth snobs here think or want. Casio’s back.

  7. I like the synthesizer part, but why no synthesizer polyphony on a “64-voice” instrument?

    Nice try Casio, but the CZ-1 still beats this thing on the synth side.

    1. A polyphonic monosynth would be a terrible idea if it were implemented. Probably why they included a seperate polysynth. What if you were to send the midi to a monosynth module, then back into the external input to really beef it up? You could even sequence a bassline and tweak both monosynths.
      As for the drawbars, I already have one and I want more, and this might satisfy me for a while.

    1. Yeah, not very good demo…

      but its not the synths fault, that the demo sucks. And also, its not the Daniel Fishers, Casios, XW-P1’s nor Baxshopnl’s fault, that we expected it to be “indepth demo”. Synthtopia could always pick demos, that are interesting. There are 1000 times better demos.

  8. I think i’ve kind of changed my mind a bit on it. If you dig past the demos of guys going “It’s so fat!” you can find some demos with a sound that’s actually quite unique and contemporary, with a hint of old-timey casio charm. Will i be buying it? Probably not, i’ve got a few other purchases to get to first, but i think it’d be a good purchase for someone’s first synth, since it seems to be versatile at the very least.

  9. >…step sequencing is nice but also not very innovative…


    The ability to change the individual notes of any beat, of any part (Kick, Snare, Hats, Perc 1, Perc 2, Bass, Chords, Solo 1, Solo 2) in realtime, with sliders that can be set to either chromatic or a specified scales is not innovative? And then, adding the ability to change the individual velocities of any beat, of any part, in realtime, with those same sliders… still not innovative?

    I guess it takes a lot to impress these days 😉

  10. I guess people have hard time justifying their earlier purchases without bashing this, while they could enjoy the versatility they can finally afford. This is totally impressive.

    1. I have been looking for separate analog devices to get a step sequencer like that, but they can cost thousands alone. I thought that this would become a secondary keyboard for gigs, but it seems to offer so much functionality, that comes handy in studio too!!! Very impressive!!

      I don’t think the Casio hate comes from regular people, I think it comes from those rompler manufacturers and on other hand from retailers who have warehouses full of MOX’es. Customers wouldn’t hate getting synth engines, organ model and step seq with sliders on top of rompler sounds @ half of the price.

  11. i have an arsenal of keyboards including Kronos, Fantom G6 and Mox 6 and I still want this baby.

    Why ???? Casio make a great semi weighted action keys and price is always ultra competitive.

    I think they are back with a vengeance and I believe they will come out with their own workstation within a year featuring some of the CZ ‘s features.

    As long as I dont have to turn a computer on I will be happy. Instant gratification.

    Dig the non slip rubber for my I pad/pod..

    I have already pre ordered both.


  12. Looks like its a fun synth….and has some character to it.

    Thats my criteria.

    I’ve had an dozens of synths, bought and sold, I tend to keep the fun ones, the ones that make me smile. Can’t wait to try this one out.

  13. I like what casio has put out it has been 25 to 30 years since the made a professional keyboard..remeber in the 80 and 70 made some of the best synth analog and digital….what i really like is it has analog synth most new say there analog but there not..i play reggae and in the 80 every reggae keyboardist used so i would love see some off there keyboard sounds..and also most keyboardist have beenwaiting see casio come with new stuff this only the begaining they will more new model in the future..

  14. the market has decided what IT thinks of this Casio XW-P1. It’s almost November 2013, a couple of years after its introduction, and you’re still paying close to the same price as it was when it first came out. And used ones aren’t very much less.
    The market shows that the majority value this keyboard. Care to argue with that assessment, you whippersnappers? LOL

  15. It’s not just the market. After the introduction Casio reduced production. That led to an interim shortage in some markets. Two years after introduction there is really low demand for the XW series. Very few brick and mortar stores have them in stock.

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