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Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
#3014975 11/05/19 03:12 AM
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I'm going to be flying over to a neighboring Hawaiian island to meet up with my inlaws. There will definitely be some jamming. I'm thinking of getting the cheapest, simplest 61key board available. The Casiotone S300 is lightweight, has built-in speakers, can even be battery powered, and at $140, if one of the "baggage throwers" destroys it, no big loss.. I have no interest in the "phat beats" or retro attempts and 80s synths. This would be mostly piano/wurli/organ for sing-alongs... basically campfire stuff. Unfortunately, all of the videos and reviews of the thing don't really highlight it's basic meat-and-potato keyboard sounds. I figure in 2019, when a $3 iPhone app can sound better than a $4k workstation in the 90s, it's hard to imagine the sounds being too terrible, but I just don't know.

What do ya think?


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
KC Island
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3014982 11/05/19 04:19 AM
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I got mine yesterday. Totally impressed with this board. You won’t mistake it for a Kurz or Nord, but it’s tons of fun. The keys have a sandpaperish feel, but there is velocity sensitivity and the pitch wheel is pretty sturdy. Sound set is surprisingly wide for the price. You’ll need a 1/8” to 1/4” adapter for external amplification, but there is a sustain pedal jack. I haven’t explored the USB capabilities, but I know this much: my grandson is going to be disappointed because I bought it for him, and it’s a keeper. Blame Mike Martin for packing so much coolness into this package.

Jake


1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3014991 11/05/19 05:38 AM
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laugh

Alright! Thanks for the info. Sounds like a good idea then! I almost wish there was a 49key version, then I could possibly sneak it in carryon (my Seaboard Rise49 didn't raise any eyebrows for 2 international trips). This one will obviously need to be stowed, but I can just keep the shipping box, which is often fine for air travel. The Roland Go:Piano looked like another option, but at $350, I'd be a little more dubious about air travel... it also looks like it has a larger footprint. The Casiotone is so lightweight, I found Zzounds.com has Hawaii Shipping for only $15. I prefer Sweetwater, but their Alaska/Hawaii shipping (the two states I've lived in the past 20 years) is pretty high.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3014994 11/05/19 06:06 AM
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Glad I could help. My Casio days started with a VL- Tone, and this board has a major fun factor that is similar. For the price point it’s decent: No triple strike pianos or Hammond clone wizardry, but way better than General MIDI . I think the premise here is the fun factor. No problem grabbing it by the handle, dragging it to my patio, and serenading the neighborhood through my Pignose amp, or noodling on it when stuck in traffic. It is a great tool for teaching beginners and even comes with a music rack.
I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Jake


1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3014995 11/05/19 06:22 AM
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This is a case of Casio competing with itself!

The CT-S300 looks like a great form factor, and would be very inviting for younger folks to jump in. However, for just $20 more, in the same line, they have the LK-S250, with lighted keys! That's got to be entertaining and I've heard it's not strickly a gimmick, it can help the super beginning students. Plus, it has a mic in which the S300 doesn't, however it doesn't have a pitch bend wheel.

And then, for just $15 more, the CTX-700 is supposed be a hell of a board. It came out not long before the Casiotones, and got rave reviews for sound quality. Instead of the streamlined board like the S300, it looks more like one of the standard issue cheap Casio boards that've been around so long. ALOT of board for the money, with more sounds and capabilities, but it's also 2 pounds heavier and 3 1/2" deeper. It also has a mic in as well as a line in.

As much as I'd be inclined towards the CTX-700, the more capable and better sounding board (it might be good enough for a rehearsal), for your needs you might want to go with the S300 or LK-S250 for the cuteness and simplicity factor. Hell, it even has a built-in handle!


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015001 11/05/19 09:24 AM
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Yeah, I suspect this is a case where different sub-divisions had different ideas, and they just went with all of them... I get having different levels in order to up-sell consumers, but in this case, the 3 higher lines each offer different competing features. Furthermore, the numbering systems don't scream "buy me, I'm better!"

In any case, the S300 looks like the right choice for what I need right now, don't really have use for a mic or lighted keys.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015021 11/05/19 03:19 PM
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Please report back with your review. The Casiotones look very appealing!


Randy
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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015024 11/05/19 03:31 PM
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The CT-S300 is ridiculously fun. The form factor is so small and our team in Tokyo really did an awesome job with the overall build - it is very solid. It also has a new keyboard action which is quick and responsive. I've referred to it as the Ukulele of keyboards laugh .

It is really fun to take everywhere but also at home on your desk in front of your computer.

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015034 11/05/19 05:10 PM
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Is there any sound in there that is inspiring? I have a Yamaha NP12. It‘s good for practicing when mobility is important, but very uninspiring to play - probably because ever sound apparently has only one velocity layer. Are there e.g. more layers for AP or EP in the S300?


2019 W.Hoffmann T122 upright, Roland FP-50, Roland RD64, Korg Microkorg
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015042 11/05/19 06:21 PM
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For Island jamming, I'll take the organic tone of a Melodica over any budget electronic keyboard.

I wish there were more 49-key options in the battery-powered genre. 49 keys is backpack-able and carryon-able, 61 keys much less so, and 49 keys works fine for 2-handed playing.


Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Gretel #3015055 11/05/19 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Gretel
Is there any sound in there that is inspiring? I have a Yamaha NP12. It‘s good for practicing when mobility is important, but very uninspiring to play - probably because ever sound apparently has only one velocity layer. Are there e.g. more layers for AP or EP in the S300?


Some of the sounds are two layers. That being said, the very wide variety of tones in the CT-S300 and the added plus of having some drum patterns makes it quite a bit different than the NP series.

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015062 11/05/19 08:40 PM
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Thanks for the quick response Martin. Yeah, a few drum patterns already help quite a bit with having fun with a quick jam or so. And it really looks quite sleek.


2019 W.Hoffmann T122 upright, Roland FP-50, Roland RD64, Korg Microkorg
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015067 11/05/19 09:12 PM
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"Ukelele of keyboards", as a Hawai resident, I both laugh and cry at that statement. I was just thinking of getting my brother-in-law an Uke for Christmas.

But I would agree a 49key version would be the ULTIMATE travel board. I find 4 octaves to be sufficient for low-key group jamming scenarios. 5octaves becomes suddenly another class in size and a bit unwieldily for packing. I think the problem is, too many young people aren't jamming with friends these days, they're sitting in their bat caves making "beats" instead of playing badly with others and getting better. If you've got a friend with a guitar and a bass, 4 octaves suddenly becomes enough for simple stuff. I'm an 88 man myself, and when playing with my bands I'll use every key, but at a jam session... whatever is available I'll be happy with.

Melodicas... I've got one, but they're awkward group instruments. They tend to dominate and they make poor rhythm instruments. Most of the time when jamming, I'm comping, which means percussion-based keyboard instrument for me. B3 if I'm setup right. I'm not going to pretend to be a good melodica player, and bad melodica is an unholy experience. There are a million options for smaller lead keyboard instruments (small accordions, melodicas, tiny mono synths), but not a lot of options for good rhythm instruments. That's what I'm after.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
RandyFF #3015074 11/05/19 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Randelph


And then, for just $15 more, the CTX-700 is supposed be a hell of a board. It came out not long before the Casiotones, and got rave reviews for sound quality. Instead of the streamlined board like the S300, it looks more like one of the standard issue cheap Casio boards that've been around so long. ALOT of board for the money, with more sounds and capabilities, but it's also 2 pounds heavier and 3 1/2" deeper. It also has a mic in as well as a line in.


That's what I have. I like it.... The plasticy keys squeak sometimes but I am just playing alone in my living room with it so I can ignore that. I've gotten a LOT of playing hours out of it and it holds up. Nice sounds too.

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015080 11/05/19 11:17 PM
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Does the S-300 have the same Grand Piano 1 as the CTX-700 ?
Besides the new textured keys, what else is difference between their key actions in terms of spring response and resistance? Besides the textured keys, is the S-300 action improved over the CTX-700 action for piano?


Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 | Casio CT-X700 | 1966 Mason & Hamlin piano
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015104 11/06/19 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by EricBarker
"Ukelele of keyboards", as a Hawai resident, I both laugh and cry at that statement. I was just thinking of getting my brother-in-law an Uke for Christmas.

But I would agree a 49key version would be the ULTIMATE travel board. I find 4 octaves to be sufficient for low-key group jamming scenarios. 5octaves becomes suddenly another class in size and a bit unwieldily for packing. I think the problem is, too many young people aren't jamming with friends these days, they're sitting in their bat caves making "beats" instead of playing badly with others and getting better. If you've got a friend with a guitar and a bass, 4 octaves suddenly becomes enough for simple stuff. I'm an 88 man myself, and when playing with my bands I'll use every key, but at a jam session... whatever is available I'll be happy with.

Melodicas... I've got one, but they're awkward group instruments. They tend to dominate and they make poor rhythm instruments. Most of the time when jamming, I'm comping, which means percussion-based keyboard instrument for me. B3 if I'm setup right. I'm not going to pretend to be a good melodica player, and bad melodica is an unholy experience. There are a million options for smaller lead keyboard instruments (small accordions, melodicas, tiny mono synths), but not a lot of options for good rhythm instruments. That's what I'm after.

Yes, 49 keys is the ideal travel size! I do find it very limiting, don't like playing on less than 61 notes if I can help it.

I play a Yamaha Pianica 37 note melodica in jams all the time. It has a large protective case, but I just throw it in my backpack, it wouldn't come close to fitting and I have a large backpack. From the little I know, it's the best value under $100 for a melodica, and has the reputation of being much more in tune than even some more expensive ones. It's pretty tough, even without a case its held up well over time. As a keyboard player and former flute player, I hit the ground running with it.

I often don't really like the sound of the melodica, you're getting alot of harmonica kind of sound up close to your ears. But put it on a mic with generous reverb, come into and away from the mic for control of volume, and it sounds wonderful.

Same with my Yamaha alto recorder, another backpack friendly instrument. I played a soprano recorder for years until I realized it's challenging to not be too loud and shrill for others. The alto recorder is slower to play than the soprano but has such a lovely tone and really comes to life in reverberant spaces or with reverb. Even without reverb it can sound pretty sweet.

It's nice to have at least 2 wind instruments to change things up!


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Jazz+ #3015106 11/06/19 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
Does the S-300 have the same Grand Piano 1 as the CTX-700 ?
Besides the new textured keys, what else is difference between their key actions in terms of spring response and resistance? Besides the textured keys, is the S-300 action improved over the CTX-700 action for piano?

Cool, I was going to ask Mike about the action as well. Is it as good or better for organ / synth / piano / EPs than the Casiotones? Of course you're a company rep, so I'm only wondering what your personal preference is between these boards for different instrument types.


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015112 11/06/19 11:50 AM
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I have a Casio CT-X3000 and it sounds great! I like the instruments on it.


Yamaha MX49, Casio SK1/WK-7600, Korg Minilogue, Alesis SR-16, Casio CT-X3000, FL Studio, many VSTs, percussion, woodwinds, strings, and sound effects.
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015167 11/07/19 06:12 AM
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I just picked one up at my local dealer. When I walked in the door, they had LITERALLY just unpacked their first shipment and one was on the counter. I said, "I'll take that one, please!" and we were all shocked. I broke it out and jammed on it a bit. Halfway through I turned to them and said, "oh, by the way, I've decided to buy it, I'm just noodling!" They knocked $20 off because I did a funny impression of my band leader, who everyone knows in this town. I'm thoroughly impressed with the board as a whole for its price. The piano sounds are solid, the speakers are nice and loud, they've got some half-decent organs and synth tones. Their E Pianos are kind of un-recognizable (you can't really pick out a specific Wurli, Rhodes, DX7, etc) but quite workable... the one "FM Piano" they have sounds nothing like an FM Piano to my ears, but it's still pleasing. I didn't really bother going through all the noodly bells & whistles, that's not really what I got this for.

Compared to the Roland Go:Keys (obviously its main competitor). The two seem fairly similar. I didn't spend a lot of time with the Go:Keys, but the action was similar, though the texture of the Casio is superior. The Go:Keys has the edge on footprint, with ZERO bezel around the ends of the 61 keys, which I always prefer. The Casio has about 5cm on either end. However, the Casio is slightly shorter and has that nice handle. Go:Piano obviously has the edge, the action is NOTICEABLY better than the Go:Keys, and the piano sounds are superior to both. However, at almost 3x the price, the Casio totally wins on price point. The Go:Keys seems like a total dead-end now, only slightly cheaper than the Go:Piano while the Casiotone gives it a very serious run for its money. In the store I was worried that the hall reverb was built-in, but when I got it home, I quickly found how to shut it off or lower it down to a "Room" setting (there are about 8 settings in all). I tend to play pretty dry these days.

All-in-all a very serviceable travel keyboard. Ironically, the Piano sound absolutely CREAMS the piano on my Mojo61. However, locals have fallen in love with my organ (I've gotten into bubbling with the reggae crowd as of late), so I think I'll still break out the Mojo for most local jam sessions. I mostly bought it for the two trips I'm taking to big island to play with Alaskan friends. If I only use it for those two trips alone, it will be worth the money. Beyond that is just extra!

Thumbs up!


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015171 11/07/19 07:47 AM
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yeahthat

Glad you joined the crowd. It truly is a blast.

Jake


1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
RandyFF #3015181 11/07/19 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
Originally Posted by Jazz+
Does the S-300 have the same Grand Piano 1 as the CTX-700 ?
Besides the new textured keys, what else is difference between their key actions in terms of spring response and resistance? Besides the textured keys, is the S-300 action improved over the CTX-700 action for piano?

Cool, I was going to ask Mike about the action as well. Is it as good or better for organ / synth / piano / EPs than the Casiotones? Of course you're a company rep, so I'm only wondering what your personal preference is between these boards for different instrument types.


No it doesn't have the same sounds as the CT-X700. As for the action I'm really happy with it. I hope we'll see this action on other non-weighted Casio products moving forward, I prefer it to what we have on the CT-X series. It is quick and responsive, great for a variety sounds...quiet too.

Last edited by Mike Martin; 11/07/19 03:03 PM.
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015214 11/07/19 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by EricBarker
... locals have fallen in love with my organ ...


No. I will not go there.

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015259 11/07/19 11:53 PM
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I'm finally seeing a move away from "thin key" front style, even on low-end boards. I think this is a VERY positive development. Thin keys (there's got to be a proper name, but I don't know it) without a front or side skirt, always strike me as more prone to breaking, as something could easily get wedged in and snap it off during transport. It also worries me that dirt and grime could get into the mechanics much more easily. I was surprised that both the Casiotone and Go:Keys had skirts. 10 years ago, you pretty much only saw that on weighted beds or waterfall organs.

Also, I think I just have a natural psychosomatic response towards thin keys, I know it's silly, but I just feel more at ease when playing with piano-style keys, maybe because I grew up playing acoustic.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015283 11/08/19 04:53 AM
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I feel the same way. Not sure why - maybe it‘s just psychology but maybe the feel is actually different?


2019 W.Hoffmann T122 upright, Roland FP-50, Roland RD64, Korg Microkorg
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Gretel #3015356 11/08/19 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Gretel
I feel the same way. Not sure why - maybe it‘s just psychology but maybe the feel is actually different?


Maybe? I dunno. Side skirt I do think you feel. If you're playing at the edge of the white keys, you can feel the edge of the next key. Front fall-off, I'm not so sure. Maybe the weighting would be different? But I dunno.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3015370 11/09/19 01:00 AM
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I am very curious about the spring response and keybed of the of the new action. I look forward to trying it, and perhaps having it appear in the next version of the CT-X series.

By the way, which CTX model allows a user:
1: Turn off the EP effects ?
2: Use Audio Out and keep the Internal Speakers On?

Last edited by Jazz+; 11/09/19 01:04 AM.

Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 | Casio CT-X700 | 1966 Mason & Hamlin piano
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Mike Martin #3015443 11/09/19 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Martin
Originally Posted by Randelph
Originally Posted by Jazz+
Does the S-300 have the same Grand Piano 1 as the CTX-700 ?
Besides the new textured keys, what else is difference between their key actions in terms of spring response and resistance? Besides the textured keys, is the S-300 action improved over the CTX-700 action for piano?

Cool, I was going to ask Mike about the action as well. Is it as good or better for organ / synth / piano / EPs than the Casiotones? Of course you're a company rep, so I'm only wondering what your personal preference is between these boards for different instrument types.


No it doesn't have the same sounds as the CT-X700. As for the action I'm really happy with it. I hope we'll see this action on other non-weighted Casio products moving forward, I prefer it to what we have on the CT-X series. It is quick and responsive, great for a variety sounds...quiet too.

Thank You! AFAIK, most of the people who frequent this forum understand that the feel of the keybed is very subjective, so having an opinion, even while being a rep, is helpful.

I would imagine that the action on either of these lines are not that great for piano. Do you have a preference there? I imagine it'd be similar to the Numa Compact 2x, whether you're OK with it for it for piano would require playing it. Are the main piano sounds the same between these lines? I had a WK-7600 and a MZ-X500, and with both of those boards I was OK with the piano sounds, which was a surprise for me, esp with the 7600.


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
RandyFF #3019173 12/11/19 04:10 PM
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I've had an ongoing quest for a "couch keyboard" and recently got a Black Friday deal on a CT-S300 ($115). I only had a couple days to play with it before I had carpal tunnel and orbital tunnel surgery yesterday but I thought give my initial impressions while I'm recovering.

Here are my couch keyboard requirements with some comments on how well the CT-S300 meets them:

- 4-5 octaves with full size velocity sensitive keys
For a keyboard in this class, I really like it. It's light but has some resistance in the travel that makes it OK for playing piano and e-piano. I concur with Mike's comments.

- built-in sounds good enough to practice songs, voicings, scales
I was slightly disappointed in the main piano sound based on my expectations from watching demo videos. The attacks are decent but short sustain in the mid-range bothered me a bit. Didn't have a lot of time with other sounds bit found an epiano that was fun to play. But overall plenty good enough for my couch practice.

- minimal footprint
It does have a couple extra inches width to accommodate a pitch wheel and I wiil take that as a trade-off. The depth is fine. As a bonus, I love the buuit-in handle which doubles as the mounting for the music stand. The overall build is quite good for this price level. It doesn't look or feel like a toy.

- light weight so I can place on lap
Acceptable at 7 pounds (8 with batteries)

- speakers loud enough for acoustic jams in a small area
The speakers seem fine for this purpose. Not super-high fidelity bit I've heard much worse at higher prices.

- usb-midi class compliant for easy integration with iPad
Worked with no hassle using standard USB to iPad lightning connector.

- power via AC or rechargeable batteries
Worked fine with 6 AA Energizer NI-MH batteries (even though Casio says you must use Panasonic eneloop)I did not used the recommended


One annoyance: I had the idea that I would put the iPad on the music stand, connect USB midi and then run iPad audio output back to audio input on keyboard so I could use those stereo speakers. This "works" but introduces lots of digital noise (affected by cable positioning, display changes,etc) I tried various things to see if it would help (different cables, using AC power instead of batteries) all to no avail. I'm not too optimistic since the User Manual basically says not to do this configuration (while not explainng why):

"When connecting a smart device to the Digital Keyboard, do not connect both a USB cable and an audio cable at the same time."

Overall I'm quite pleased for the price and think I will use this a lot while watching football, golf,etc. and on vacation.

Last edited by Sam Mullins; 12/11/19 04:14 PM.

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Sam Mullins #3019179 12/11/19 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Mullins
One annoyance: I had the idea that I would put the iPad on the music stand, connect USB midi and then run iPad audio output back to audio input on keyboard so I could use those stereo speakers. This "works" but introduces lots of digital noise (affected by cable positioning, display changes,etc) I tried various things to see if it would help (different cables, using AC power instead of batteries) all to no avail. I'm not too optimistic since the User Manual basically says not to do this configuration (while not explainng why):

"When connecting a smart device to the Digital Keyboard, do not connect both a USB cable and an audio cable at the same time."

Overall I'm quite pleased for the price and think I will use this a lot while watching football, golf,etc. and on vacation.


Just a follow-up: After doing a web search, this appears to be a problem that is not unique to CT-S300. Many keyboards appear to exhibit this behavior in this configuration (Keyboard USB MIDI Out -> iPad, iPad audio out -> Keyboard audio in)..often referred to as "USB ground loop". I see that Mike Martin commented on a Casio forum that this as a general problem of the technologies involved, not necessarily a problem with a particular keyboard, i.e. it stems from the fact that USB is not grounded.


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
www.stickmanor.com
There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Sam Mullins #3019245 12/12/19 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Sam Mullins

Just a follow-up: After doing a web search, this appears to be a problem that is not unique to CT-S300. Many keyboards appear to exhibit this behavior in this configuration (Keyboard USB MIDI Out -> iPad, iPad audio out -> Keyboard audio in)..often referred to as "USB ground loop". I see that Mike Martin commented on a Casio forum that this as a general problem of the technologies involved, not necessarily a problem with a particular keyboard, i.e. it stems from the fact that USB is not grounded.

To be more accurate, the problem is the fact that USB is not isolated (the way 5-pin MIDI is, for example). Can be solved with one of these: USB Ground Loop Isolator

- Jimbo


"It's called an expression pedal for a reason: It's not a volume pedal." -- Dr. Lonnie Smith
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
JimboKeys #3019248 12/12/19 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by JimboKeys
Originally Posted by Sam Mullins

Just a follow-up: After doing a web search, this appears to be a problem that is not unique to CT-S300. Many keyboards appear to exhibit this behavior in this configuration (Keyboard USB MIDI Out -> iPad, iPad audio out -> Keyboard audio in)..often referred to as "USB ground loop". I see that Mike Martin commented on a Casio forum that this as a general problem of the technologies involved, not necessarily a problem with a particular keyboard, i.e. it stems from the fact that USB is not grounded.

To be more accurate, the problem is the fact that USB is not isolated (the way 5-pin MIDI is, for example). Can be solved with one of these: USB Ground Loop Isolator

- Jimbo


Interesting. Probably won’t spend the $45 to find out if it solves my particular issue. Not a big problem for me and also trying to minimize connections on my couch setup smile. Thanks for the info though!


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
www.stickmanor.com
There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3019340 12/13/19 12:20 AM
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I wasn't too crazy about patch #1 Stereo Grand Piano, probably because I don't plan on running this in stereo. However, patch #2, Grand Piano seems OK.
Give a listen here:

Casio CT-S300

I tried it out with my Livetrak L12......another sweet piece.

Jake


1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
lightbg #3019378 12/13/19 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by lightbg
I wasn't too crazy about patch #1 Stereo Grand Piano, probably because I don't plan on running this in stereo. However, patch #2, Grand Piano seems OK.
Give a listen here:

Casio CT-S300

I tried it out with my Livetrak L12......another sweet piece.

Jake


Good playing! I think this demonstrates what I was saying; it sounds pretty good on the attack and passages without a lot of sustain sound good.

My brother also has a Livetrak L12 and likes it a lot; .nicely thought out practical combination of features for a good price.


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
www.stickmanor.com
There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Sam Mullins #3019836 12/17/19 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Mullins
Originally Posted by JimboKeys
Originally Posted by Sam Mullins

Just a follow-up: After doing a web search, this appears to be a problem that is not unique to CT-S300. Many keyboards appear to exhibit this behavior in this configuration (Keyboard USB MIDI Out -> iPad, iPad audio out -> Keyboard audio in)..often referred to as "USB ground loop". I see that Mike Martin commented on a Casio forum that this as a general problem of the technologies involved, not necessarily a problem with a particular keyboard, i.e. it stems from the fact that USB is not grounded.

To be more accurate, the problem is the fact that USB is not isolated (the way 5-pin MIDI is, for example). Can be solved with one of these: USB Ground Loop Isolator

- Jimbo


Interesting. Probably won’t spend the $45 to find out if it solves my particular issue. Not a big problem for me and also trying to minimize connections on my couch setup smile. Thanks for the info though!


Update: I did go ahead and order the device that Jimbo suggested (actually $50) and it did indeed drastically reduce the noise. Was originally hesitant to spend $50 for a keyboard I spent $115 for, but I figured it might come in handy in other audio situations with USB devices. So now happily playing Ivory Grand with CT-S300, an iPad and a two short cables...on my couch! thu

Thanks again Jimbo.


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
www.stickmanor.com
There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3019847 12/17/19 05:30 PM
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I took a quick look at the user manual, and I didn't see a way to split the keyboard.........is that possible?

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Lou_NC #3019852 12/17/19 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Lou_NC
I took a quick look at the user manual, and I didn't see a way to split the keyboard.........is that possible?


Not that I can tell. There are some tones which have splits built in (e.g. bass/piano) but even then you don't hae control of the split point.


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
www.stickmanor.com
There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3024729 01/20/20 06:41 PM
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Bumping this thread as I will soon have a similar need.

The wife and I are planning a 5-week vacation in the Europe to celebrate our retirements. We're going to spend a week in London and four weeks in Italy in four different places. I want to bring something small and light with me, and the CT-S300 looks like a contender. I can't be away from playing for that long, and want something simple and light to practice/play during downtime.

However, I'm concerned about the logistics of it all.

This will most likely have to be checked and not carried on the plane (we're taking small aircraft between London and Italy). There are four flights in total, plus a few trains and rental car. I would prefer a case/bag over the box, as it would be less bulky to handle. I don't want a flight case due to the cost and weight, but would prefer something like the Fusion Keyboard 04 or Mono Vertigo 61. Does anyone have experience with traveling with a firm gig bag instead of a flight case?

I'm also a bit concerned about carrying it around as we move from place to place. I'll have a rolling suitcase and a backpack which will latch onto the roller when necessary. It would be very handy to find a gig bag that I can fling over my shoulder.

Your thoughts and experiences are appreciated.


Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3024734 01/20/20 07:04 PM
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Mike,

If you're looking for two handed practice the S300 is tough to beat. However, if you are trying to minimize as much as possible why not try a Yamaha reface CP and buddy it up with some sequences on your phone? Way portable, built in speakers, battery powered, and although mini keyed still playable. Also small enough to pack in a suitcase.
Just a thought.


Jake


1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
lightbg #3024749 01/20/20 07:55 PM
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Hi Jake, thanks for the reply.

3 octaves are not going to cut it, as I need something for true two handed practice. I'd also like to stay away from mini keys.

Given that, even a 49-key controller won't fit into the 24" suitcase. The new iRig Keys 49 controller is contender, even though I think IK stuff is pricey. And I'd still have the same logistics challenges.


Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Rusty Mike #3024768 01/20/20 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Rusty Mike
The wife and I are planning a 5-week vacation in the Europe to celebrate our retirements. We're going to spend a week in London and four weeks in Italy in four different places. I want to bring something small and light with me, and the CT-S300 looks like a contender. I can't be away from playing for that long, and want something simple and light to practice/play during downtime.


I just kept the original box, put some extra bubble wrap in it, and checked it on the plane. I figure it's about 95% as secure as a TSA flight case, far better than a "stiff gig bag" could ever be, and totally free.

Just be aware, you're probably going to need to take the underground from Heathrow and around town. It's very possible, but a little cumbersome to haul around lots of gear. I did it this summer, as I was playing Seaboard at a conference. Europeans don't take as much on trips as Americans, so you will probably stand out like a sore thumb, but I didn't really mind.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3024772 01/20/20 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by EricBarker
Originally Posted by Rusty Mike
The wife and I are planning a 5-week vacation in the Europe to celebrate our retirements. We're going to spend a week in London and four weeks in Italy in four different places. I want to bring something small and light with me, and the CT-S300 looks like a contender. I can't be away from playing for that long, and want something simple and light to practice/play during downtime.


I just kept the original box, put some extra bubble wrap in it, and checked it on the plane. I figure it's about 95% as secure as a TSA flight case, far better than a "stiff gig bag" could ever be, and totally free.

Just be aware, you're probably going to need to take the underground from Heathrow and around town. It's very possible, but a little cumbersome to haul around lots of gear. I did it this summer, as I was playing Seaboard at a conference. Europeans don't take as much on trips as Americans, so you will probably stand out like a sore thumb, but I didn't really mind.


Heathrow Express to Paddington, then a cab to the hotel. It will not move from there until we leave for Bologna, then it’s just a reverse trip.

I understand about the box being protective for the flights, but it will be a royal PITA everywhere else. Venice is one of our Italy stops, and regular luggage on the vaporetto is bad enough, but I can’t imagine trying to haul a cardboard box around.

Maybe I should just scrap the whole idea and try to make due with my iRig Keys Pro. While in London I can steal away to Paddington and play the uprights they have in the concourse.


Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3024827 01/21/20 10:26 AM
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Regarding travel cases, Amazon features various photography stand cases that might serve your purpose for reasonable cost. You may have to add a little padding and get creative.

HERE is an example.

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
SteveCoscia #3024968 01/22/20 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveCoscia
Regarding travel cases, Amazon features various photography stand cases that might serve your purpose for reasonable cost. You may have to add a little padding and get creative.

HERE is an example.


That's a great suggestion Steve. I forgot all about that, despite having bought a tripod bag in the past for my short speaker stands. Thanks so much for the input.


Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Rusty Mike #3025031 01/22/20 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rusty Mike
Heathrow Express to Paddington, then a cab to the hotel.


Heathrow Express? Are you set on that? I checked it out when I was there this summer, and it's supposed to be only slightly faster and about 5x the price. Everyone I talked to seemed to suggest it was a total scam. I can't comment about the quality though, as we just got Oyster cards and hopped on the tube to Piccadilly (right next to Paddington).

That is a great suggestion about tripod bags. I would want to rig up some kind of major padding, though. At that point, you might consider putting the original box inside the bag if you can make it fit.

I'm so ready for one of these kickstarters with "sectional pianos" to come to fruition. Roli Lumi gets close, but they're not full size keys and cost a fortune due to the silly lights. There are some other projects out there with 2-octave sections that fit together, but nothing has ever made it to market.


Puck Funk! smile

Equipment: Laptop running lots of nerdy software, some keyboards, noise makers…yada yada yada…maybe a cat?
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3038636 04/13/20 09:28 PM
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Anybody compared the action of these two? Action feel and response is my main concern.

Casio CT-S300
Roland Go Keys 61
Yamaha NP12

Last edited by Jazz+; 04/13/20 09:37 PM.

Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 | Casio CT-X700 | 1966 Mason & Hamlin piano
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Sam Mullins #3045546 05/24/20 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Sam Mullins
Update: I did go ahead and order the device that Jimbo suggested (actually $50) and it did indeed drastically reduce the noise. Was originally hesitant to spend $50 for a keyboard I spent $115 for, but I figured it might come in handy in other audio situations with USB devices. So now happily playing Ivory Grand with CT-S300, an iPad and a two short cables...on my couch! thu

Thanks again Jimbo.

I also encountered the electrical noise issue with my new Casio CT-S300 when trying to use the USB port and Audio In simultaneously, and so it was with some interest that I read the conversation between Sam Mullins and JimboKeys about the ground loop. The USB Ground Loop isolator discussed costs £49 here in the UK (actually, there's a newer version called iDefender+), and I was very reluctant to spend that much to solve the problem for a fairly low cost keyboard.

But thinking about the problem for a while, I realised that there would probably be a cheaper way to solve it. If the ground loop exists between the USB port and the Audio In port, then surely as long as any of those two ports are isolated, the ground loop should be removed.

To test my theory, I purchased a cheap ground loop isolator for a 3.5mm audio jack, and plugged that into the Audio In port. Total cost: slightly less than £5.

And it works! The humming/buzzing completely disappears when the 3.5mm ground loop isolator is used. So I'm glad to have been able to solve the problem at 1/10th the cost of going down the route of getting the USB isolator. I just thought I'd share this information in case anyone else is looking to solve the same problem.

Last edited by paronym; 05/24/20 12:12 AM.
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Jazz+ #3045558 05/24/20 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Jazz+
Anybody compared the action of these two? Action feel and response is my main concern.
Casio CT-S300
Roland Go Keys 61
Yamaha NP12
Haven’t tried the Casio but I owned a Go Piano 61 for 3 years, it has a better action than the the NP12, but only in the sense that McDonald’s has better French Fries than Burger King - there’s a difference but it’s trivial. Both actions are springy - suited to a staccato and/or heavy/blunt legato playing style - but difficult for nuanced dynamics in-between. I prefer the action on the Yamaha CP, over both the Go Piano and NP12 - but it’s only 37 mini-keys, even then the Yamaha CP is my favorite “little” keyboard.

The Go Piano 61 was frustrating because it’s “almost there”. The form factor is nearly perfect. I traveled all around Europe, N. America and Asia with it and never had to check it in. The airlines always let me hand carry it. I found a very snug backpack style rifle bag that kept the dimensions small - it was skinnier than a slim guitar or saxophone! I loved the Go Piano for that, always ready for an impromptu gig or jam session - literally anywhere. But the springy action drove me nuts after awhile. After 3 years I couldn’t stand it anymore and sold it.

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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
paronym #3045597 05/24/20 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by paronym
Originally Posted by Sam Mullins
Update: I did go ahead and order the device that Jimbo suggested (actually $50) and it did indeed drastically reduce the noise. Was originally hesitant to spend $50 for a keyboard I spent $115 for, but I figured it might come in handy in other audio situations with USB devices. So now happily playing Ivory Grand with CT-S300, an iPad and a two short cables...on my couch! thu

Thanks again Jimbo.

I also encountered the electrical noise issue with my new Casio CT-S300 when trying to use the USB port and Audio In simultaneously, and so it was with some interest that I read the conversation between Sam Mullins and JimboKeys about the ground loop. The USB Ground Loop isolator discussed costs £49 here in the UK (actually, there's a newer version called iDefender+), and I was very reluctant to spend that much to solve the problem for a fairly low cost keyboard.

But thinking about the problem for a while, I realised that there would probably be a cheaper way to solve it. If the ground loop exists between the USB port and the Audio In port, then surely as long as any of those two ports are isolated, the ground loop should be removed.

To test my theory, I purchased a cheap ground loop isolator for a 3.5mm audio jack, and plugged that into the Audio In port. Total cost: slightly less than £5.

And it works! The humming/buzzing completely disappears when the 3.5mm ground loop isolator is used. So I'm glad to have been able to solve the problem at 1/10th the cost of going down the route of getting the USB isolator. I just thought I'd share this information in case anyone else is looking to solve the same problem.

Excellent! Glad you found a cheaper solution
..and wondering why I didn't think of something similar blush

FYI, subsequent to the original discussion I upgraded from old iPad air 2 to a new iPad mini 5 and the noise issue was far less on that system..to the point that i don't really need the isolator.

Last edited by Sam Mullins; 05/24/20 09:20 AM.

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
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There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3051534 06/28/20 06:50 PM
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For CT-S300 owners who travel.

I found an Amazon soft case that is a perfect fit. I'll put a foam layer on top to protect the keys.
Here is the Amazon Link.

[Linked Image from coscia.com]

2 members like this: ElmerJFudd, Mike Martin
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3051550 06/28/20 10:40 PM
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@ Steve, thanks for the share, that's about what I want to spend for a bag for one of these!

Do they qualify as overhead luggage? Might be a bit long.

Here's a thought for those of you thinking of using it for family gatherings:
For $20 more the LK-250 has most of the features (but not the PW!) plus the lighted keys. I obviously have no use for that but I'll probably get that one instead of the CT-S300 because the lighted keys are a fun way to introduce piano lessons. I see myself as something of a music and keyboard evangelist in the family, and this presents a low-cost, fun to play board that parents and kids are likely to enjoy.


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
SteveCoscia #3051618 06/29/20 02:56 PM
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Thanks Steve! May have to pick this up.

I just noticed that I never posted a pic of my CT-S300/iPad couch rig in this thread. I did post it in the "Dig my Rig" thread, but there is probably more interest here.

[Linked Image from stickmanor.com]

- Casio CTS-S300 with built-in speakers (powered by rechargeable batteries)
- iPad mini 5 with assorted apps (Korg Module/Ivory, Neo Soul Keys, Sampletank, various soft synths)
- short 3.5mm audio cable from iPad to Casio external audio
- USB to lightning adapter from Casio to iPad
- All of above velcro'd together
- optionally a sustain pedal

Really enjoying this.


Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2
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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3051625 06/29/20 03:43 PM
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Received mine a few days ago, and have only had a chance to do cursory playing. I'm pleasantly surprised by the velocity mapping. I had a Yamaha NP-11 some years back and hated the overly sensitive nature of playing - even the lightest touch resulted in a harsh sound. The Casiotone is much better - I can actually get some expression out of it.

It's a very handy and fun to play instrument that I can use to practice while I'm traveling or sitting out on my patio. Lot of bang for the buck!


Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
EricBarker #3051633 06/29/20 04:03 PM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I was excited about this revisiting of the CT when announced and am looking forward to picking one up instead of the GoPiano. Perfect for popping in to work with singers or sit at the kitchen table to do some transcribing.


Live: Casio PX-560, Roland VR-700
Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Yamaha S90ES
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
ElmerJFudd #3051682 06/29/20 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I was excited about this revisiting of the CT when announced and am looking forward to picking one up instead of the GoPiano. Perfect for popping in to work with singers or sit at the kitchen table to do some transcribing.
And, it has a mic input for your singers! Doesn't sound like you can change the pre-configured fx on the voice.


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard?
Sam Mullins #3051685 06/29/20 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Mullins
Thanks Steve! May have to pick this up.

I just noticed that I never posted a pic of my CT-S300/iPad couch rig in this thread. I did post it in the "Dig my Rig" thread, but there is probably more interest here.

[Linked Image from stickmanor.com]

- Casio CTS-S300 with built-in speakers (powered by rechargeable batteries)
- iPad mini 5 with assorted apps (Korg Module/Ivory, Neo Soul Keys, Sampletank, various soft synths)
- short 3.5mm audio cable from iPad to Casio external audio
- USB to lightning adapter from Casio to iPad
- All of above velcro'd together
- optionally a sustain pedal

Really enjoying this.
Cool, thanks for sharing, velcroing them together is a good idea. I've been wondering what to do with my ipad mini 2


Randy
Korg PA 1000 // Kawai ES110 // iRig Keys I/O 49 // Yamaha melodica, alto recorder
QSC K8.2 // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB
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