Synthesizers&KeyboardsSound Module/ Tone GeneratorModular SystemsDrum Machines, Percussion SynthsOtherDJSoftwareSamplers
Electric GuitarsProcessors, Effects, PedalsAmplifiersTuners&metronomes

Casio tried to write his name alongside well-known manufacturers of digital musical instruments but their pragmatic approach went against those principles the musical world was all about.

Casio company was founded in April 1946 by the engineering technologist Tadao Kashio in Tokyo. Today the brand is best known as a manufacturer of calculators, audio equipment, handheld personal computers, cameras, tablets, wristwatches and, of course, electronic musical instruments. The brand quickly gained popularity by constantly improving its products and developing new models.

Synthesizers and digital pianos from Casio are widely used first of all by beginning musicians for learning but also by professionals. CZ, CTK, WK series, electric pianos Celviano, Privia are of great popularity among the company’s electric musical instruments.

In 1980 the company released its first series of Casiotone instruments. The instruments used the Vowel-Consonant synthesis which imitated the sounds of other instruments (quite a mediocre and approximate imitation). The keyboard of the Casiotone series included a rhythm generator with a choice of rhythm patterns and an automatic accompaniment playback function. However it had a distinctive feature of being miniature and was designed for children's fingers rather than for professional musicians. Nevertheless they were extremely common and accessible for a while which made them popular among garage rock bands or even quite well-known indie musicians, for example, Hot Chip and Tame Impala.

After the release of the first electric piano PT series mono synthesizers appeared on the market including PT-30, PT-50, PT-80 and PT-82. These instruments continued Casiotone series.

CZ series, which was released in the mid-1980s, included CZ-101, CZ-230S, CZ-1000 synthesizers (the second fully programmable brand synthesizer), CZ-2000S, CZ-2600, CZ-3000, CZ-5000, and CZ -1. Synthesizers influenced Yamaha, which also wanted to create a budget series of programmable digital synthesizers – Yamaha released the famous DX line. CZ was a family of instruments with phase distortion synthesis invented by the brand engineer Mark Fukuda. Digital synthesis lacking filter made the sound thin and slender – it had nothing in common with those lively analog machines. Phase distortion was designed to compensate for the lack of analog filters in its own way. Each digital oscillator had one or two waveforms and, unlike other synthesizers, played the waves back not in combination but in succession. CZ-101 and CZ-1000 had 8 digital oscillators enabling an 8-note polyphony only if the patch used one oscillator per voice. CZ-3000, CZ-5000 and CZ-1 had 16 digital oscillators. 8-step envelope generators were much more flexible than traditional ADSR - due to individual values of rate and level for each stage. Rate was responsible for the speed of the envelope, and level - for the pitch, the cutoff frequency of the filter and the volume. Also there was a stage of sustain.

In 1985 perhaps the cheapest synthesizer of all time appeared - SK-1: a 4-note low-quality polyphony, quite a toy recording of samples via the built-in microphone or linear input featured on the rear panel. The list of its quantitative merits includes 13 preset envelopes, preset-rhythms and accompaniment.

During the 80s a considerable number of its versions was launched: SK-2, SK-5, SK-8, 8A, SK-10, SK-60, SK-100, SK-200 and SK-2100.

Hybrid analog-digital synthesizers with Spectrum Dynamic (SD) sound synthesis appeared in the late 80s. SD synthesis reminded of a traditional system with DCO with the only difference - the harmonic spectrum of some digital waveforms varied in dynamics according to the amplitude of the envelope. Due to poor marketing and the final rejection of synth making Casio has never been able to make SD synthesis popular. The series of synthesizers with the SD synthesis sound numbered such models as HZ-600, mini-versions with 49 keys MT-600 and HT-700 (unlike the first model of the series it had no auto accompaniment function), HT-3000 (with new auto-harmonize and ending functions to create auto-rhythms), HT-3500, HT-6000 (with ADSR envelope generator, updated presets and increased patch capacity).

The new AHL sound technology by Casio (Acoustic & Highly-compressed Large-waveform) which is about realistic reproduction of acoustic instruments affected the voice of CTK-4200 LK-280, WK-220, CDP-220 series. CTK models are instruments with a standard 61-key keyboard and include CTK-5200, CTK-4400, CTK-3200, CTK-2400, CTK-2300, CTK-1300, CTK-1250, CTK-1200, CTK-1150, CTK-245, CTK-240 models. The instruments are designed for beginners since they have a whole system of learning to play the instrument with a built-in screen to display what you’re doing. Such instruments were characterized by a song sequencer, auto accompaniment, a large number of presets. WK series included models with an increased number of keys (76) and appeared to be a more affordable version of a full-fledged digital piano due to the extended keyboard. CDP-series presented a unique combination of the synthesizer and digital piano featuring a sustain pedal and an increased number of timbres and keys (88).

The line of electronic pianos Privia is represented by both more budget digital pianos and expensive Pro models which have been produced since 2003. The instruments include Casio Linear Morphing technology for realistic live sounds, 256 notes of polyphony. The models of the series are equipped with a weighted keyboard and a Scaled Hammer Action technology imitating the dynamics of a real piano.

The electronic hybrid piano series called Celviano has included models of elite instruments GP-500BP, GP-400BK, GP-300BK capable of providing an unprecedented level of sound authenticity. A more affordable series of digital pianos included PX models. The Celviano instrument technology - Multi-dimensional Morphing - provides smooth transitions between fast and soft play technics. Acoustic Simulator technology allows you to accurately reproduce acoustic sounds, and Sound Source provides decent imitation of live instruments. The keyboard of the instrument is based on the Hammer Response principles featuring hammer mechanics. Piano series also offers 3 pedals of Grand Pedal System.

The Casio brand, of course, is recognized as one of the most common and famous brands in electronics. Reasonably building its policy around the sales, finding its target audience, the company realized that it isn’t worth trying to succeed in everything and at once, in the early 90s changing its course in production. Casio didn’t have Roland’s plans or ambition neither it had the desire to earn the modest glory of a one-hit wonder. The brand occupied a completely new niche – not seen on the market before - becoming the most recognizable brand in the electronic products market.