Casio today announced the portable Casiotone CT-S500 keyboard and its big brother, the CT-S1000V, a vocal synthesis keyboard that can turn any text, such as song lyrics, into musical phrases that the keyboard can “sing”, in full harmony, based on the notes that you play.
Casio says that no keyboard instrument has ever before been able to speak and sing with this degree of ease and musicality.
You can enter custom lyrics using the companion Lyric Creator app for iOS and Android devices. The words are transmitted into the CT-S1000V via USB and can then be played, using any of its 22 Vocalist types, including talkboxes, processed choirs, robot voices, vocoders and whispered voices
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.
Here’s a quick intro to the CT-S1000V and its vocal synthesis capabilities, from Casio’s Mike Martin:
Other key features of the CT-S1000V:
- 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.
- 64-voice polyphony
- The accompaniment section features 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 includes the ability to 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.
- The CT-S1000V also gives you the flexibility of sampling wirelessly using the (included) WU-BT10Bluetooth MIDI & audio adapter.
- An onboard MIDI recorder on the CT-S1000V can store up to five performances, with a capacity of 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 to work with your MIDI software and Casio’s Music Space iOS/Android app.
- 100 built-in, studio-quality DSP effects. The effects include amplifier and cabinet simulators, modulation effects, choruses, reverbs, delays, among others. Each of the effects can be extensively customized and modified on the fly.
Alongside the CT-S1000V, Casio also introduced the CT-S500 keyboard:
The CT-S500 comes with all the CT-S1000V’s instrument sounds, accompaniment features, sampling, MIDI recording, and effects – but without the vocal synthesis capabilities.
The keyboards each weigh just over 10 pounds and can run on six AA batteries.
Casio debuted the new instruments in a live online event, embedded below:
Pricing and Availability
The CT-S1000V has a street price of about $450 and CT-S500 a street price of about $380. They are available at musical instrument retailers nationwide and via CasioMusicGear.com. See the Casio site for details.
60 thoughts on “Casio Introduces CT-S1000V Vocal Synthesis Keyboard, Casiotone CT-S500 Portable Keyboard”
All that dust on the synth for the shooting..?! :O
Nice but It is my hope they are considering a rack version even if it only has the Voc Synth
Hmmm. Not sure what to say about this. Casio is capable of producing some interesting and decent sounding synths and keyboards (big fan of the CZ and VZ synths), but this seems more novelty synth than a seriously cool synth (speakers??). Oh well. The price ain’t bad.
Let’s face it
Casio haven’t made anything interesting since the late 80’s
It’s a shame really when they have such a strong legacy to draw from
Some one in the marketing department is leading them down the garden path with this shite
Give me one of the CZ synths with an interface of knobs and sliders and I’d be totes happy
Wesley Willis would have loved this thing
ROCK OVER LONDON ROCK ON CHICAGO
FOLGERS: GOOD TO THE LAST DROP
Sears, it’s where the working people shop!
I miss him!!!!
I have a HUGE HUGE HUGE painting of his that he gave me in the 90s.
this is how to not make a demo: most features are not shown, but only talked about.
Halfway through the video, I was thinking the same thing — “Are they ever going to let me hear what it sounds like?”. Even worse, the sparse audio demo that was presented was masked by the abrasively loud background music. I suspect this product’s sound is notably unimpressive, and that’s why the promo opts to talk about the product in lieu of actually demonstrating it.
Spot on. Same sound all the way through. Meh. It’s a toy.
Good to see innovative and potentially useful products being released.
@mdesign, that only means that they can’t actually demonstrate it. In other words, if they demonstrate it, nobody gonna buy it. For this price point, it is a toy-level equipment. Nothing to expect. Nothing to demonstrate. Nothing to discuss.
What a bizarre product. I am sure a Casio have done their research…..but it seems a bit odd….maybe it’s just me? I suppose vocoders aren’t bizarre but how long before people tire of the same generic vocoder sound. I dunno…..i will reserve judgement until people review it.
Yes, it seems to be a one trick pony.
Watch Benn Jordan’s review of this keyboard on his channel for something more comprehensive (and fun!)
ok I never thought they’d go after the Yamaha VKB-100 but that’s kind of what the S1000V does (except with 100% less Hatsune Miku) it even has keytar strap pegs. Interesting. Kind of expensive for what it is though.
I miss the millennium falcon
Respect for doing something different. Could definitely see some creative, experimental uses for this instrument.
Wireless MIDI and sample input…what could possibly go wrong? It’s weird how this demo buries the most crucial example of this “vocal” effect in the mix. Why would they do that? Is there something that we shouldn’t hear?
Awesome Casio!! You Go!! I’ve been waiting for some new interesting gear! Keep it coming Casio!! My first piece of bought gear was a Casio!
I kinda want this –
yeah and do some kind of ridiculous prog rock sci fi synth opera where the casio is a robot character. i’ve spent $450 on a reverb pedal….
totally – I am curious – they mention tubes in the video but only really showcase a vocoder on whether they have a good talkbox setting – then you can go all out and funk it up
Affordable, fun cringe…I have a weirdly good feeling about this one
voice no good sounding , me want adele in the keyboard :(((
That would make me buy this in a heartbeat. Having her do backup vocals using the keyboard would be so cool.
So you have to type in the lyrics on your phone?
Sorry but that’s too modern for me
Probably they want you to copy and paste the lyrics from the internet and auto generate tons of generic songs.
Sounds like a cheap vocoder or horrid auto-tune. Might be useful, but the demo is garbage.
Casio have completely lost the plot
This is at best a feature you would add to a much better synth – not devote an entire product to
And it looks pretty awful to me
They could have re-visited the PD glory days of the CZ synths – made them hands on or something like the Opsix did with FM
Instead you have this thing no one was wanting or expecting – boggles the mind
Price seems ok
I think the story of the 303 teaches us that we can never predict how music tech is going to get used.
Also the MicroKorg is a bit of a naff synth with a vocoder, but it sold bucket loads.
I bet this will sell loads too.
I honestly can’t believe you are going to compare this shite to a 303
that is kind of the point MrMidi was making!
The 303 was pretty expensive back when. and it just made that dopey bass sound. around 1980ish my buddy brought a Moog and a 303 around. i though the Moog was gorgeous and the 303 was stupid. little repeating farting noises. over and over and over. hey! who knew?
it might seem that way – but there is actually a huge market for solo electronic music singer/songwriter types out there, and its only been growing these past few years
im not sure this is the magic bullet, but im pretty sure thats the target market
Zero spontaneity when you have to type words into a phone app, sync and link, then play. I’d rather have the MicroKorg’s input system: a vocoder mic. Wasn’t that the big complaint about the Volca Sample?
yeah, phone app? pass.
Before you complain too much about a phone app, please let us know how you prefer your programmable phrase-singing keyboards to work.
Class complient usb keyboard, or better even put the synth engine in a VST. Great synth engine but putting it in a budget standalone synth with no other standout features is pretty rediculous.
true, it has a usb port so maybe they’ll allow you to attach a USB typing keyboard in a firmware update! Or maybe the Prodikeys had the right idea after all! Or bring on Leroy Anderson!
Hey everyone, do you like Vocoders?
How about a digital vocoder the dynamic flexibility of typing it into your phone then connect over wifi then index what you want to vocode and map it to keys after a few tries? Be playing pre-typed robot vocoder voices in literally minutes.
With all the rich performable sonic potential of a old vocoder but now worse sounding, with 100% less performability and 100% more menu diving.
With amazing sounds ranging from “vocoder choir” 1 to “vocoder choir 2” and beyond!! Dream up amazing new sounds of your own such as “vocoder choir 3” or “Thin grainy vocoder with a lot of reverb on it”.
Perfect. God forbid we have to speak the text, much better to type it into a phone app.
This could be interesting…I would either convert it into a desktop unit or for the ultimate cheese stuff it into a Yamaha SHS-500.
I can’t wait for the first Casiotone CT-S1000V no talking youtube video!
The concept is neat, but 1) no midi ports? gimme a break. 2) put it in a module. Anyone who wants an all-in-one keyboard with speakers is probably not trying to dedicate that space to this. Unless you have a 14 year old kid that is just really obsessed with being daft punk. I mean maybe that would have been the case when random access memories came out? idk. Come to think of it, I think maybe Mike Martin is just really obsessed with Daft Punk because he made some daft punk presets and stuff for the XW-P1.
those tracks are killer! Dang!
No matter how fun it sounds, this Casiotone is too limited especially when one is not into vocodor stuff. Anyway lots of synths have this already. If the kid is smart, the money should be spent on things like Ableton or Reason.
Looks and sounds cool to me! I’ll admit though, the speakers make me think it’s “cheap”, but no big deal.
I’m the operator of my Casio calculator…
I saw a video on YouTube where they do a deep dive and I think it’s got sampling capabilities and vocal input via USB, stuff, not just phone. I don’t think the perfect review has yet been fine for this new weird classic. But this is the kind of thing people look back on and love about Casios, collector wise anyway.
The best vocal harmonizers are still TC Helicon’s VoiceLive series. I use a VLT 2 which replicates 8 voice polyphony from keyboard voicings. in stereo, as well as pitch correction, vocoding, doubling, etc. You don’t have to sing well to enjoy the convenience and big sound of the VoiceLive series, but they’re becoming harder to find now.
Are they no longer produced? Nothing superceeded them?
Looking forward to the „no talking“ demos of this one.
Say what you want–they are thinking outside the box and even though I’m not interested in buying it, Casio’s boldness should be appreciated.
Bring back the Cosmo Synth (original Tomita prototype)
as a miniature mainframe unit, complete with display and keyboard and everything LOVE
$10 says dirty words are the second thing people try on it. I had a Korg VC-10, which wasn’t half bad, but I had to learn the technique. As with theremins, it doesn’t come to you overnight.
I find Casio’s approach a bit weird, but it makes sense for the probable target audience. Most of us are already one removed from hands-on playing, so using a phone for speech input isn’t a very big ask. Its primed for a Residents revival.
I think that this is an incredible piece of technology. It remains to be seen how capable the equipment is, and if any musicians will figure out the best way to use this. I agree that the demos could be better. But, make now mistake, this is a new technology. It is not a vocoder. They are using several techniques to convert text to speech, and then offer new ways to manipulate, pitch shift, and slice this. True, a vocoder can be used in real time, but this technology offers several more performance techniques. Most synth players are looking for the “next big thing”. I don’t know if this is it, but it is definitely a new way of manipulating sound. To get some idea on the technology involved, here is a link to the patents that were involved to create this: http://sandsoftwaresound.net/casio-speech-synthesis-technology/
It’s nothing new, vocaloids have been around for over a decade.
It’s just a vocoded sample based keyboard, little customization, doesn’t bring anything new. For the price it would make much more sense to buy vocaloid 5 with a bunch of voicebanks, at least for a musician. Unless you have 450 dollars to spare for a toy keyboard.
I am not an expert on Vocaloid, but I just sat through a few videos. Unless I am missing something, Vocaloid is a studio tool, where you edit what you want to do on a computer screen. I didn’t see anybody playing a synth keyboard in real time with Vocaloid. That is one of the groundbreaking feature of the Casio. Yes- you would have to prep some phrases ahead of time, but you would then be free to improvise playing with a real time performance. Even the cheesy videos that have been posted so far show performances. Also, Vocaloid uses real audio phrases for manipulation. Casio is synthesizing voices to create the phrases. Casio’s system is not Vocaloid, it is a different technology. By the way, you will spend a lot more money on a system to run Vocaloid then you would on the Casio keyboard.