NAMM teaser pic – Check out the Casio XW-P1 Performance Synthesizer

January 7, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

This is something we definitely need to check out at NAMM – don’t miss it :-)

Circuit bending – Coco Electrik Build

December 20, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Circuit bent with 24 modifications + a new wooden framework and control interface. See the build here… http://www.cocoelectrik.co.uk/2011/12/s-cat-casio-mt40-build/

The Casio Casiotone MT-40 is a musical keyboard, formerly produced by Casio and originally developed for the consumer market. It is 9 voice polyphonic, with 37 main keys and 14 smaller bass keys. Eight notes may be played on the main keys, and one note on the bass. The bass section has one timbre, and the main section has 22, assignable to one of four presets. Like most small Casio keyboards, it also has a drum section with 6 different beats, a tempo knob, and a “fill” button. The fill button plays sixteenth note pulses of either the “snare” or “kick” as long as it is held down. Production started in the early 1980s and ceased shortly thereafter. The successor of the MT-40 came with a gray case, and was sold as the MT-41.

The keyboard is a prime candidate for modification through circuit bending, owing to simple circuits and a series of smaller potentiometers inside for factory adjustments, there are two examples of circuit bent units on Youtube, which have been built by S-CAT. The relative scarcity of these makes bending relatively risky, and most are left as stock.

The MT-40 had a built-in pattern based on the Eddie Cochran song “Somethin’ Else”. Because of this, a synthesizer version of the song’s bassline ended up as the basis of one of the most popular dancehall music riddims of Jamaican music – the Sleng Teng riddim which started the “Digital Reggae” revolution in 1985.

It has also secured a niche in indie music. It occurs occasionally in songs by The Magnetic Fields, and is featured prominently on most of Emperor X’s album Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip on an Edgeless Platform. Its thin fuzz can be heard on lesser known Australian indie band Turnstyle’s top 20 single Spray Water On The Stereo. In the UK, The Farmer’s Boys, who were signed to EMI and beloved of John Peel, used it on a number of singles and album tracks – with an ironing board as a keyboard stand.

Ableton Live – Kasio-M4L virtual phase distortion synth

November 17, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Ableton has released Kasio-M4L, a free Max for Live instrument by Oli Larkin.

Like its namesake CZ-series synths, Kasio-M4L uses Phase Distortion synthesis – in which the phase of a sine wave is modified in various ways to produce new waveforms. Kasio-M4L builds on its digital legacy, producing plastic basses, sharp bell-like timbres and shimmering resonant pads. Utilizing two CZ-style oscillators, ring modulation, three Envelope Generators and an LFO, a wide variety of timbres are possible. Kasio-M4L serves to bring the classic sounds of Phase Distortion to all Max for Live users.

Kasio-M4L comes with 32 presets inspired by the original CZ-synths. All controls are laid out on one easy-to-use panel for instant tweaking. Select from eight CZ waveforms for each oscillator in the “Wave” section. Different waveforms can be set for each alternating cycle; the second oscillator can also be detuned and mixed as a ring modulator signal. The ADSR Envelope Generator sections control amplitude, pitch and the all-important DCW (digitally controlled wave-shaping) which varies the amount of phase distortion. Vibrato is controlled via the LFO section.

Kasio-M4L is a free download from Ableton. Requires Ableton Live 8.2.6 or higher and Max for Live.

More information:Kasio-M4L

Time machine: CASIO VL-1 Keyboard 1981

October 29, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

More a toy then a real thing, but still :-)

The Casio VL-1 or VL-Tone as it’s also called has 29 little calculator-type button keys, five preset and one user memory patches, built-in rhythm machine (waltz, swing, rock, samba, etc.) and a 100-note sequencer. There is no chance at any external or MIDI control and there are no filters or effects. There is an LFO with vibrato and tremolo effects and an ADSR envelope.

The Casio VL-1 is a low cost monophonic keyboard from the year 1981. It has some rhythm patterns and a few preset sounds. It even has a mini synthesizer function (no, there is no filter). You can change waveforms, LFO speed, envelopes… the editing procedure is a bit complicated, but it works! If you have a VL-1 and want to program your own sounds, you need the manual – otherwise there is no chance to find out… :-)

The VL-1 has an output jack, it runs on batteries or with an AC adaptor. You can also use the VL-1 as a calculator! :-)

The Casio VL-1 was even used on recordings. It was used by Human League, Trio (da da da..), Stevie Wonder, Vengaboys and Robbie Williams. The VL-Tone is a real classic Casio!

iMaschine Sampled Into Modular Circuit Bent Casio Sk-1

October 14, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

iMASCHINE is a professional instrument designed for beat producers of all levels – you don’t need to have experience with MASCHINE to create spontaneous beats. With its intuitive threshold-based pad sampling, note repeat, auto-loop length feature, on-board mixer with six handy effects and the unique audio recording function, iMASCHINE makes it easy to instantly create grooves whenever the mood hits.
Use the included drum kits and melodic sounds, all in professional WAV-format, or expand your library with the iMASCHINE EXPANSIONS – available directly from your device via the in-app store.

The SK-1 has been used by a few major recording artists for its simplicity and lo-fi sound. It became very popular in the late 1990s among the circuit bending crowd after the first guide to bending it was published by Reed Ghazala in Experimental Musical Instruments magazine, though the SK-1 was being modified as early as 1987 when Keyboard Magazine published an article on adding MIDI support[1]. The synthesizer was one of the first pieces of equipment that Autechre had when they began recording music. Musician and score composer Michael Andrews featured a circuit bent SK-1 heavily in the Me and You and Everyone We Know musical score. It was used by notable Jungle artist DJ Hype for his seminal production attempts, as written in book All Crews by Brian Belle-Fortune, and rapper and producer Large Professor used it in his early years of beat-making.

Casio PT80 – Today´s vintage synth exploration, from 1986

August 11, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The PT-80 consists of a 2 octave monophonic keyboard with the sounds: piano, harpsichord, organ, violin, flute, clarinet, trumpet and celeste. The small keys on the left side is an auto chord section that is synchronized to the rhytm section. The rhytms are: Rock, disco, 16-beat, 2-beat swing, 4-beat swing, samba, bossanova, beguine, slow-rock, march, tango, waltz.

The rhythms are good and a useful thing is the ability to make fill-ins. If you, for instance, have choosen a disco rhythm and it is running, then press the disco button again and the fill-in comes.

Another feature of this model is the changeable ROM-pack that contains 4 melodies. These melodies can be played by the instrument alone or as a two way act: The instrument supplies the accompaniment, you do the melody.

In this video:

Casio PT-80 is routed via Radias as a external input to add vibrato and delay.
Virus Ti2 used for arpeggiator just to show the capability of Casio PT-80 for leads.
Not the very best demo, but I just received this cute little synth toy!
Alba Ecstasy

Casio WK-7500 keyboard at Summer NAMM 2011

July 23, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Demo of Casio’s 76 Key Digital Keyboard Workstation

The new Casio WK-7500 offers powerful and extensive features at a price that is unheard of in the portable keyboard market. It offers 800 world-class tones, 250 preset rhythms, 17 track sequencer, 32 channel mixer, as well as audio recording capabilities.  Any piece of music you create can be recorded as an audio file on an SDHC card.  9 sliders extend your versatility and provide an impressive 50 drawbar organ tones. Whether you are an amateur or professional musician, the WK-7500 will allow you to create, edit and play your compositions at home, in the studio or on the stage.

Video shared by SOS

Swedish House Mafia – Casio Tone VL-5 vs. Teenage Engineering OP-1

July 18, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

http://youtu.be/z1zj4Vy56eg

Casio tone vl-5 (1982) vs. Teenage Engineering op-1 (2010)

Featured hardware:

This quite rare keyboard was the polyphonic successor of the famous Casio VL-Tone 1. Unfortunately it is missing the great built-in synthesizer, the octave switch and even the natural violin sound of the VL-1. Instead it has only 10 simple preset sounds. The rhythms are more complex but awkward to select. By an optical barcode reader pen (Casio MS-1) songs can be scanned from special barcode song books into the internal sequencer memory. The sequencer is only monophonic, but at least you can manually play to it.

The hardware of this thing contains a lot of hand- rewired complex component mess that looks rather like a prototype. It also has odd sequencer bugs those are mentioned in the manual.

main features:

  • 37 button keys
  • built-in small speaker (thin sounding, mounted in a resonance pot)
  • polyphony 4 notes (2 notes during sequencer playback)
  • 10 preset sounds {flute, bagpipe, clarinet, violin, trumpet, pipe organ, harpsichord, piano, pretty, funny}
  • “tone memory” 4 step switch to assign 4 of the preset sounds for quick access
  • 8 preset rhythms {waltz, march, rock, swing, samba, rhumba, slow rock, metronome}
  • sustain button
  • volume and “rhythm/ melody balance” sliders
  • tempo slider
  • LCD (displays numbers of preset sound & rhythm and sequencer note numbers)
  • semi- analogue sound generator. The digital envelopes (with audible zipper noise) are linear and thus sounds unrealistic because they fade silent too soon.
  • percussion consist of shift register noise for snare/ hihat and for the drums squarewave blips those have 3 pitches and 2 lengths. One sound is a long blip layered with noise. All percussion employ digital decay envelopes with much zipper noise.
  • complex multi- chip hardware:
    • CPU1= “NEC D910G 011, K2106K” (80 pin SMD)
    • CPU2= “HD43191A07, 2A 25″ (80 pin SMD)
    • SRAM?= “NEC A19046-140, D444C, Japan” (20 pin DIL)
    • 2x IC “LB1100, 1M3″ (20 pin DIL)
    • IC “LB1100, 1M4″ (20 pin DIL)
  • simple monophonic sequencer (240 notes, editor (insert & delete, rhythm start point), “one key play” to change note duration)
  • optional barcode reader pen to load songs from special song books into the sequencer
  • tuning trimmer at case bottom
  • jacks for AC- adapter, headphone, line out & barcode pen

Exploring the Casio PT-82

May 19, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · 1 Comment 

Here’s a bit of a background on the PT-82. This keyboard from 1986 has many similarities with the Casio VL-Tone 1 and PT-1, but includes a “melody guide” key lighting feature for music teaching (not the keys itself light up but a row of small LEDs above them) and a ROM- Pack music cartridge slot. Unfortunately this instrument is missing the great built-in synthesizer, sequencer and 3 octave switch of the VL-Tone.

Although the music playback from the ROM- Pack includes wonderful polyphonic accompaniments, the player can play own musics only monophonic with thin and dull sounding blip rhythms. A bit unusual is that this white keyboard has brightly coloured orange and red buttons and red lines while Casio normally preferred pastel colours. Also a red case version of the PT-82 was made. In 1987 it was re-released in grey as Casio PT-87.

The PT-82 was likely intended as a technically simplified successor of the Casio PT-80. The speaker has an unpleasant, loud mid- range resonance. The main voice sounds are the same like with the PT-80, but tend to sound a little thinner and harsher. These sounds resemble much a Casio VL-Tone 1; unfortunately they don’t include the famous “fantasy” sound of the latter.

In this video:

This was my first ever instrument when i was 4 years old. I was wating too long to make something with this! So this is a music track from this and only with this. It has an exeptional meaning for me…

Reverb, delay,some chorus and an octaver for the organ bass. All sounds are presets of the PT-82. No other instrument is responsible for this track.

CIRCUIT BENT Star Wars Darth Vader Voice Changer & Casio SK-1

April 25, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Continuing the space theme from previous post :-)

The Vader voice changer was something that I’d started years ago but due to my inexperience, I ballsed it up. Now it’s all freshly spanked and fully awesome.
The unit contains 3 Vader samples:
‘What is your bidding, my master?’
‘Impressive’
and his asthmatic wheeze.
Also there’s the voice changing aspect.
It’s a bit weird, it does a pitch shift down, but not a full octave, with some slight modulation. It’s gritty and dirty and guaranteed to lead you down the path to the Darkside.

The mods are a bit limited. I’ve added a pitch dial for the samples, which when cranked high will result in a some glitching (although it wouldn’t do it for me when I shot the video) and an overdrive dial that affects both the sample and voice effects. There’s also a line in for the changer and a line-out for amplification, the speaker is still intact for on the fly sonic Sith noise terrorism and there’s 3 LEDs for added ambience.

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