Casio is capturing a bit of Daft Punk magic with the new Casiotone CT-S1000V, which comes with the ability to “sing” using a built-in, customizable, voice synthesizer.
The CT-S1000V, when used in concert with Casio’s app, not only sings any lyric you punch in, it also lets you fine-tune how the voice sounds with adjustable vibrato, pitch, and singer “age.” While you shouldn’t expect this keyboard to really sound anything close to an actual human singing, having a Peter Frampton-style robo companion duet with you is just as enjoyable.
The inclusion of a built-in vocoder of sorts does feel like a bit of a gimmick, but for players making the right kind of music (Casio drops references to Kraftwerk and Daft punk in its marketing material), the feature could actually be pretty versatile and convenient. In capable hands, it looks like you can make some really impressive electronic tunes, but on the other hand you can also go full Gene Belcher and program whatever outlandish lyrics you want to into the CT-S1000V.
Custom lyrics — Casio preloaded 100 common phrases gathered from familiar songs into the robo-singing keyboard, but you have the option to overwrite them or fill in an 50 extra spaces with your own custom ones. With the Lyric Creator companion app, you can type in whatever phrases you want to into the CT-S1000V, which supports both English and Japanese text.
Once you’ve landed on the accompanying lyrics, you can really adjust how when they play and sound. The Casio keyboard offers 22 vocalization modes, where your custom lyrics can sound like a talkbox, choir, robot and even a whisper. You can also choose between playing the lyrics in phrase mode, which plays the lyric all at once, or note mode, where the lyrics are played one syllable at a time. On top of that, the three knobs on the CT-S1000V can adjust how old the voice sounds, as well as the portamento and vibrato.
Outside the robot voice capabilities, the CT-S1000V is still a solid home 61-key keyboard. The keyboard has 800 high-resolution sounds that include all instrument categories, 243 built-in accompaniment rhythms, 50 user-programmable rhythms and a simplified chord fingering mode to make playing even easier.
Keeping things fun — The keyboard comes with a traditional power supply, but you have the option to run it on six AA batteries. The CT-S1000V also comes with a music rest and a Bluetooth MIDI and audio adapter. The Casio website said the keyboard is coming soon and will be priced at $680.
Sure, the robot voice may seem like a silly novelty at first, but the CT-S1000V looks like it’ll provide an endless number of possibilities to keep you entertained and trying new things while playing piano. Who knows, it could just be the way to make sure we stay on top of practicing.