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What do people think of the 2 new Casio synths?
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#1
1st November 2012
Old 1st November 2012
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What do people think of the 2 new Casio synths?

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1st November 2012
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Played a P1, One of the best arp/step sequencers I've ever used, incredible and very configurable. You can get something deep going really quickly. The solo synth sounds huge for leads basses and external audio in is a nice touch on this class of instrument.

The only poor section is the Rompler sounds, which are cheap home-keyboard quality, I.e. bad piano, strings, brass, drums, ac bass, but what were you expecting lol. I'm confident with a bit of processing/mangling even these sounds could prove fruitful.
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1st November 2012
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These seem pretty cheap. As a midi-controller + arp + sequencer this seems like a cool deal. Any other feedback?
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1st November 2012
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I know GS member 'Diametro' has one. He seemed quite positive about it.

Hopefully he will see this thread.
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#5
1st November 2012
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Only played with them a little in the the store, really like them, they seem really useful, also battery power, space on the side for an iPad or Monotribe, whatever.

The arp/sequencer is prob the best part. The Hex Layer on the P1 seems very promising. Some of the sounds are great, others are rubbish. They don't have the same exact soundset. I liked some of the presets on the G1 but prob prefer the P1 but the G1 samples!

They look and feel very cheap even compared to my 80's Casios (so do most new < 500 synths). But they're kinda cool too and might be inspiring.

Anyone know if the arp/sequencer can control other synths?
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1st November 2012
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Indeed ... I enjoy mine, the P1, quite a bit ...

That said ... it's currently leaning up against the wall (I was using mine primarily to keep me occupied during a knee injury and had to use it across my lap ... The 11 pounds made it much easier, and the many features makes it something I've still not tried everything with ... )

Yes, the dual sequencers are unique, esp. at the price point ... in fact, that phrase will come up a lot ...

On the P1 ... the orange one without the sample looper, unique features include the drawbar organ which I think sounds quite good ... The ability to easily control part volume with the sliders is another ... It's more of a performance tool imo rather than a sound creation tool though ... Most of the synthesis options are accessed via the small LCD, which gets the job done but not super inspirational ... (The G1 has more synth param options attached to the sliders ... )

The sequencers are pure magic ... With the phrase sequencer being polyphonic like the brilliant and formerly unique one in Micron (afaik) ... You can easily record a riff and then play it single-finger ... But then you can add notes during the sequence to transpose them ... It's hard to describe but it's so good it seems like cheating lol ... Then there's the step sequencer to add more texture ...

I actually think the ROMpler section -- and remember, it's ALL ROMpler except that access to shape the sound is different and optimized for each section -- isn't bad at all ... it's good actually, very playable ... But the sounds are relatively few and purposely generic ... but there's a good overview ...

Where the P1/G1 shines is quickly adding layers and shaping them to create huge, unique powerful sounds ... In practice, it's one of it's best features ...

As a first board or for jamming, practice or even gigging I think it's brilliant ... There's A LOT going on here ... And the build quality is good, the key action is better than acceptable ... The sound is better than I thought it would be, esp. once you tweak to taste ... and I actually like the filter .. In general, it's a lot deeper, thought out and more interesting than it should be ... again, esp. at the price point ...

There's also the rubberized spot for your phone or an ipad .... with the multiple input jacks, that makes it very easy to play along with tracks or beats ... Or get an Alesis ioDock or some other MIDI/recording solution and suddenly you have a DAW and/or access to nice softsynths ... You can still control the iPad synths with the XWs via a "camera connection kit" ($29). All in a very small footprint and about 15 pounds ... And still with five octaves of keys (Even without the extra octave I can still play most of my keyboard pieces ... )


As a replacement for something higher-end already in your studio ... I'm not as convinced ... Now that I'm back sitting in chairs and my studio re-asssembled, my Fantom X7 is king again and I just can't see the Casio usurping ... It may occupy a space on the side eventually as Boomstars or some other knobby analog mono desktop(s) kick out the V-Synth XT or ioDock/iPad on the second tier ... depending on whether I use it/keep it as a jam/practice instrument ... which I'm inclined to do ...

I think the XW-P1 is a great instrument and can stack up to just about anything ... but in the end, it's best by itself or when money and/or weight concerns are topping the list ...

Any more questions ... just ask ... I have some? What would you be using it for? What else do you have?
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1st November 2012
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I bought a P1 about 10 days ago after much deliberation. I think it's pretty well built overall. I've not had the time to do much deep programming, but it has some great sounds in it and is very tweakable.

As has been said, it's the sequencer and the ability to layer sounds that makes it a a lot of value for the money. I'm an intermediate keyboardist and it made a nice addition to my JX-8P and JV-1080. The keys may take some getting used to, they are fairly spongy but I became accustomed to them quickly. The ability to slide a flash card in the back could be very useful as are the ability to input a mic or other instrument and the miniplug for input for a music source. I have an Android tablet attached to mine and the rubber tablet pad is a cool feature.

Is it the best at everything? No. I see it of more value as a live instrument than a studio piece, but may be proved wrong on that after I've spent more time with it.
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2nd November 2012
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Thanks for the replies guys.

Having the best appregiator you ever heard sounds like quite an accomplishment. What do its synths sound like, anyone have vids?
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2nd November 2012
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I tried out an XW-P1, but wasn't taken immediately by it. Didn't really like the keybed and the mod/pitch wheels are tiny!
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12th December 2012
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Just stumbled upon this thread from last month. Sounds like you have an excellent understanding of the XW-P1 Diametro.

I've been around the XW for almost a year since I had early prototypes. To this day I keep uncovering things that it can do. The sequencers are magical and can easily be used to use external instruments independently over MIDI or USB. Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I'll subscribe to this thread in case there are any questions.

-Mike Martin
Casio America, Inc.
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12th December 2012
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I would not take one to a gig, which was my plan when they were announced. Too plasticy, maybe they could be kept in a studio but not for gigging, that's for sure.
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12th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Martin View Post
Just stumbled upon this thread from last month. Sounds like you have an excellent understanding of the XW-P1 Diametro.

I've been around the XW for almost a year since I had early prototypes. To this day I keep uncovering things that it can do. The sequencers are magical and can easily be used to use external instruments independently over MIDI or USB. Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I'll subscribe to this thread in case there are any questions.

-Mike Martin
Casio America, Inc.
+1 The P1 is very deep indeed and takes some time to learn. Six weeks after my first post here and I've learned a great deal more about the instrument. For example, it sounds huge through a good amp. I tried out a variety of pedals with it and have gotten some great tones. A bit of overdrive and a rotary speaker emulation pedal with the drawbar organ sounds stellar. I've also come to realize how sturdy it really is. There is some smart engineering beneath that plastic outer shell.
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12th December 2012
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really like the innovation Mike Martin is pushing over at Casio- synth makers need a kick in the A** to quit living off the past and get back to cutting edge technology. Yamaha, Roland, Kurzweil, etc are just pushing 10 year old technology and asking sky high prices for it. I'm glad someone new is taking them on.

One of the big areas to improve in is interfaces- making gear that is easy and quick to compose with. The use of sliders, sequencers in the Casio is a big step in the right direction. So much more could be done in this area.

My big hope is that Casio doesn't wait 4 years to do it again and comes out with another killer machine real soon. The XW series is the best bang for the buck of any synth you can buy right now- no contest.
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13th December 2012
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I got an XW-P1 back in the spring and really like it. It is a very under rated synth and does an awful lot.

@Mike Martin one idea for you since you are reading this. It would be KILLER if Casio could make an "XW-CZ" that has same sequencers and arp that the XW-P1, BUT instead of the Solo Synth make it have a CZ synth engine inside. I LOVE my Casio CZ's (I have a CZ 3000 and a CZ 230s.) One of the things that truly makes the CZ series unique is the 8 stage envelope. Using the 8 drawbars to edit that would be amazing

Then for the rompler sounds let it have the standard GM sounds but also include some rompler sounds from the storied Casio history. I am thinking of things like the "Fantasy" voice from the Casio VL-1, the "synth drums" voice from the SK1, and even include some classic drums from say the VL and Sk series, the "Rapman", and the RZ-1 as drum kits.

If you really wanted to go nuts you could probably also very easily emulate the classic VL tone as well using the 8 "drawbars" as data sliders for the digits you use in the calculator to program the real VL-1.

Casio has a long history and there are a lot of us out here that would love such a beast
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13th December 2012
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Looks like most of you have the p1 over the g1. Any reason to that?
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13th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extenzo View Post
Looks like most of you have the p1 over the g1. Any reason to that?
I got the P1 because of the Hex Layer feature. It stacks 5 tones and then you have sliders to mix them. You can get very beautiful sounds with it.

The P1 also came out several months before the G1
#17
13th December 2012
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Originally Posted by Lune View Post
really like the innovation Mike Martin is pushing over at Casio
Thank you, but to be clear we have a really great team over in Japan. They're the ones with the real talent and innovation. The step sequencer was a total surprise to me and admittedly the first time I saw it I thought it was a bit nuts....of course none of the sounds were done at that point so it didn't make sense to me in a musical way. As it's been mentioned the step sequencer is one of the most brilliant aspects of the XW series and since sequences can be transposed on the fly you can do some amazing animated sounds (think Wavestation) instead of just drum and bass.

I certainly appreciate the enthusiasm and the future product ideas. Keep them coming.

-Mike Martin
Casio America, Inc.
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13th December 2012
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Since you asked.... How about an inexpensive external hardware programmer like the Roland PG-800?
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14th December 2012
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another great thing about the Casio XW's is that it can be an amazing midi controller for other synths and VSTs.

All the great sequencers and the arp transmit over midi so you can use them for other things via USB or standard midi port. I have a old Yamaha FB01 module that I like to drive this way, and it sits nicely on the rubber iPad holder

Some of the arp patterns are pretty complex, so another thing I like to do is dial in a complex arp pattern , then via midi play that pattern into another synth and use the midi data to trigger it's arp pattern. So you get an arp pattern driving another arp pattern. It sounds very random yet very polished at the same time
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14th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
I got the P1 because of the Hex Layer feature. It stacks 5 tones and then you have sliders to mix them. You can get very beautiful sounds with it.

The P1 also came out several months before the G1
Actually Hex Layer has six laters

I picked up a P1GD ('limited edition' color, like a lime gold) a couple days ago and hated it at first. I couldn't figure out why all these clicks and pops were happening, I assumed terrible sampling of the PCM wave forms. But then someone was all "you have to make the A and R envelope settings 001" and I felt a little dumb. But I've never used PCM synths before, either

Anyway, I like mine. I haven't dug into the sequencer, yet, and it aliases like a motherf***er in the upper range (often the last 2-2.5 extreme upper octaves are useless aside from glitchy bloops and bleeps, they're so atonal there is no more semitones between them lol). Great sample fodder, that aliasing, imo :D

But for $500 it's a good enough instrument, and tbh programming it with arrow keys and a dial isn't too tragic. It's a little quirky, but like I said, I like it and hope Casio makes more models.

You can get huge sounds out of the Hex Layer mode of the P1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
@Mike Martin one idea for you since you are reading this. It would be KILLER if Casio could make an "XW-CZ" that has same sequencers and arp that the XW-P1, BUT instead of the Solo Synth make it have a CZ synth engine inside. I LOVE my Casio CZ's (I have a CZ 3000 and a CZ 230s.) One of the things that truly makes the CZ series unique is the 8 stage envelope. Using the 8 drawbars to edit that would be amazing

Then for the rompler sounds let it have the standard GM sounds but also include some rompler sounds from the storied Casio history. I am thinking of things like the "Fantasy" voice from the Casio VL-1, the "synth drums" voice from the SK1, and even include some classic drums from say the VL and Sk series, the "Rapman", and the RZ-1 as drum kits.

If you really wanted to go nuts you could probably also very easily emulate the classic VL tone as well using the 8 "drawbars" as data sliders for the digits you use in the calculator to program the real VL-1.

Casio has a long history and there are a lot of us out here that would love such a beast
Funny, I asked for a phase distortion variant, the 'XW-Z1' over on another forum lol. But you've expanded on the idea a bit more.
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#21
15th December 2012
Old 15th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Martin View Post
Just stumbled upon this thread from last month. Sounds like you have an excellent understanding of the XW-P1 Diametro.

I've been around the XW for almost a year since I had early prototypes. To this day I keep uncovering things that it can do. The sequencers are magical and can easily be used to use external instruments independently over MIDI or USB. Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I'll subscribe to this thread in case there are any questions.

-Mike Martin
Casio America, Inc.
Mike - Please pass on to the whole Casio team - great job on that synth! How about a smaller, tabletop keyless "groovebox" version? It would be a great compliment to software based workflows, and for live performers. This is a niche that has paid off well for both Elektron and Korg. The UI and "fun" factor of the step sequencer is really wonderful.

Cheers!

Gustavo Lanzas
#22
15th December 2012
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@ Diametro or other owners:

Do you fancy a little demo for the uninitiated? Maybe showing off the Hex Layer feature.

It would no doubt be appreciated.

Thx
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17th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cramseur View Post
@ Diametro or other owners:

Do you fancy a little demo for the uninitiated? Maybe showing off the Hex Layer feature.

It would no doubt be appreciated.

Thx
if you have not seen them yet Sonic State did a great job here
Casio XW-P1 Sonicstate review - YouTube



and it's in Japanese but musictrack did a great one here with lots of sounds
?DEMO?CASIO XW-P1 - YouTube

#24
19th December 2012
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I just ordered the P1 off of ebay- got lucky and snagged a very low buy-it-now price just two hours after it was posted. I am very excited about this machine and the intuitive creativeness it offers. I hope to create a hex layer Fairlight patch. One interesting use of the hex layer is to create complex evolving sounds with very little programming. Just waiting for the box on my porch.
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20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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Looks tasty...dont think ill get one though :\
#26
20th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune View Post
I just ordered the P1 off of ebay- got lucky and snagged a very low buy-it-now price just two hours after it was posted. I am very excited about this machine and the intuitive creativeness it offers. I hope to create a hex layer Fairlight patch. One interesting use of the hex layer is to create complex evolving sounds with very little programming. Just waiting for the box on my porch.
good luck and I hope you enjoy it, make sure you go here

New Sounds Coming for the XW-P1 - YouTube

and check out the new sounds that Mike and the team programmed you candownload them from the link
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#27
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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just saw sam ash has both for 400, not sure if they have a cash rebate, one ad said so.

i might have to pick up the red one for that price,,, seems like a killer deal.
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20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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IMHO, the P1's raw oscillator sound is really rich and fat. I personally like it a LOT better than many other heavy hitter VAs.

If Casio continues to develop the pro synth line, we could have some amazing sounding keyboards in our future. Amazing and affordable!
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#29
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
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BTW, I don't think anyone has mentioned in this thread that all the original CZ waves are available as PCMs to use and work with on these keyboards.
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#30
20th December 2012
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The XW-P1 is a very commercially aggressive product which fully exploits the few advantages that hardware synthesizers have over software for most consumers- dedicated controls and full musical functionality in a single, easily portable package.

I have one on-route to be delivered by Mr.Claus this Monday at midnight (Thanks to a loving girlfriend) and am eager to set it up as my Pomodoro break jamming synth.

It will also be sitting under a Sequential Circuits Six-Trak which now fills that role, and it's very possible that some step-sequenced, raw analog oscillator stacks from that early '80's instrument might find their way into the XW-P1's analog input, for some truly wild combinations of old and new music technology.
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