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Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? #3014975 11/05/19 03:12 AM
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EricBarker Offline OP
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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?


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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!


Korg PA 1000 / NS 88 Classic / iRig Keys I/O 49
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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: EricBarker] #3015001 11/05/19 09:24 AM
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EricBarker Offline OP
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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.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: EricBarker] #3015021 11/05/19 03:19 PM
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Randelph Offline
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Please report back with your review. The Casiotones look very appealing!


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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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? [Re: 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?

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: EricBarker] #3015042 11/05/19 06:21 PM
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Adan Offline
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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.


Crumar Mojo 61, Vintage Vibe 64, Yamaha CP73, a bunch of melodicas

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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: Gretel] #3015055 11/05/19 08:00 PM
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Mike Martin Offline
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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? [Re: 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.

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: EricBarker] #3015067 11/05/19 09:12 PM
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EricBarker Offline OP
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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.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: Randelph] #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? [Re: 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?


Casio PX-S3000 | Mojo 61 | Casio CT-X700 | 1966 Mason & Hamlin piano
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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!


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Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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.


Korg PA 1000 / NS 88 Classic / iRig Keys I/O 49
Win10 laptop i7 8GB 500GB
Yamaha melodica, alto recorder / Congas
Roland Street Cube EX / QSC K10, K8.2 / SS V.3 / Klipsch KMC 3
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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? [Re: 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!


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: EricBarker] #3015171 11/07/19 07:47 AM
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yeahthat

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

Jake


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"It needs a Hammond"
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: Randelph] #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? [Re: 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? [Re: 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.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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?

Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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.


"All's fair in love, war, and the recording studio."

MacBook Pro running MainStage and various plugins (NI and other)
Arturia Keylab88, Mojo61, Seaboard Rise49, Vortex Keytar (RIP), Trumpet
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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.

Casio PX-S3000 | Mojo 61 | Casio CT-X700 | 1966 Mason & Hamlin piano
Re: Casiotone S300 as really cheap travel keyboard? [Re: 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.


Korg PA 1000 / NS 88 Classic / iRig Keys I/O 49
Win10 laptop i7 8GB 500GB
Yamaha melodica, alto recorder / Congas
Roland Street Cube EX / QSC K10, K8.2 / SS V.3 / Klipsch KMC 3

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