Casio's new offerings accelerate music composition at Summer NAMM 2011
(ShackMan | Posted 2011-07-22)
Can you really have too much of a good thing? Casio doesn't think so. Their newest three additions to the Casio product world are part of the CTK, WK, and LK series of workstations and light-up teaching keyboards, respectively. Enter the CTK-4200, LK-280 and WK-225 (or, for those of you who watch the forums and previews as closely as I do, here's your official announcement). While I can't speak directly to the LK-series' strengths, do know that the CTK and WK series as a whole are both some of the absolute best work I've seen from Casio in all their history, not to mention by far some of the best boards for under $500. If you want some hands-on time before they hit the market, and you know you do, the latest Casio keyboards will be on display in Booth # 736 at the 2011 Summer NAMM Session, July 21st-23rd at the Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. For those of you who do have to wait, I'm sure it'll be worth it. But let's dig in, shall we?
Before you start to think of these latest offerings as "lesser pianos," think again. Just because the numbers are lower doesn't necessarily mean that you're just taking the CTK-6000 or WK-6500 and taking away a large amount of features. These keyboards are for teaching just as much as for composition and recording, ideal for the beginner, intermediate, or even amateur musician to hone skills and practice songwriting and arranging.
These keyboards feature a 5-song and 6-track recorder, perfect for capturing original music. In addition, Casio delivers 600 built-in tones which include stereo grand piano tones, offering a range of dynamic and inspirational sounds for the musician to choose from. The 180 built-in rhythms provide a full range of accompaniment or individual drum patterns, triggering a virtual band at a musician’s fingertips. They've also got Casio’s renowned Step-up Lesson System, which allows novice users to learn the 152 built-in songs phase by phase, at their own individual pace. Utilizing the LCD display, aspiring musicians can learn both music notation and correct hand positioning, while Casio’s innovative lesson system evaluates performance so users can track their progress and incremental success. The WK-225 features a 76-Key Piano Style Touch-Response keyboard and has the ability to import additional songs utilizing the SDHC Card slot. The simplicity and power of Casio’s LK-280 has the additional ability to teach with the aid of the lighted 61-Key Piano Style Touch-Response keyboard.
“We are thrilled to provide musicians with the enhanced tools and instructional features found in the CTK, WK and LK series,” said Mike Martin, general manager, marketing, Electronic Musical Instruments Division. “Our new digital keyboards provide everything desired to play or compose a complete musical masterpiece, thus inspiring both amateur and intermediate musicians.”
Furthermore, each new model features a class-compliant USB port, allowing for easy access to utilize the keyboard to rock out with popular music education and composition software, such as eMedia's Piano Method, essentially eliminating the need to download drivers. The new series also includes an audio input which transforms the keyboard into a stereo speaker system for a MP3 player.
The new keyboards will be available at music retailers in August 2011. The CTK-4200 will be available for an MSRP of $249.00 and the LK-280 and WK-225 will be available for an MSRP of $299.00. For more information, visit the Casio Digital Piano page for more information. Off the record, I think we can expect each of these pianos to appear on market for less than $200, though the latter two will likely sit around $199.
For more info on the trio of new keyboards, please visit Casio's Musical Instruments page.
James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He really does think that the CTK and WK series are Casio's best work ever, and believes that a combination of Casio's teaching keyboards and eMedia's Piano Method would be a pretty awesome combination to learn the instrument. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured in and around Pittsburgh, at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College. He is currently performing with recording artist Ben Shannon and singer/songwriters Tim Ruff, and Nathan Zoob (who is still in the process of getting a website - Music to come soon!).
Got questions? Comments? James can be reached as ShackMan in the Music Gear Review forums, or you may e-mail him at James.Rushin@MusicGearReview.com.