Casio keyboard pianos have been very popular for the last 40 years.
The company was established in 1946. Since 1980, Casio has been producing many budget-friendly keyboards that are widely accessible. The first Casio electrical musical instrument was the Casiotone 201 keyboard. Since then, through multiple generations of evolution, Casio currently offers many affordable keyboard pianos in its lineup.
If you are new to the keyboard and digital piano realm and may have limited knowledge about keyboards, this post is for you.
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Mini Keyboards not for Serious Learning to Play
The cheapest Casio keyboards are the SA series. These mini keyboards sell for about $50-$70 with 32 – 44 keys. The keys are not touch-sensitive, meaning the sound will be at the same volume no matter how hard you press them.
In the Casio SA series, there are two types of keyboards: the SA-46 (green) and SA-47 (gray) have 32 mini keys; the SA-76 (orange), SA-77 (gray), and SA-78 (pink). Besides the number of keys and the body color, these mini keyboards have the functions:
- 100 tones
- 50 rhythm patterns
- 10 songs
- 5 drum pads for easy selection
- LCD for selections
- the piano/organ toggle button
- built-in grip slot for carrying
- operated on 6 AA-batteries
- headphones jack and power jack
- power adaptor not included
These mini keyboards have two small speakers and a maximum polyphony of eight notes. While these keyboards are solid-built and very good for travel, I would not recommend them for learning to play the keyboard or piano.
Casio Keyboards – The CT-S200 and CT-S300
To celebrate its 40th anniversary of keyboard making, Casio brought back the Casiotone brand with updated CT-S series keyboard pianos.
Casiotone CT-S200 and CT-S300
- 61 full-size piano-style keys
- 48-notes of polyphony
- 400 tones
- 77 accompaniment rhythms
- 60 built-in songs
- LCD screen for controls and settings
- personalized settings
These models have a Lightweight design with an integrated carrying handle that doubles up as a slot for music rest.
All these features are packed into a good quality instrument for under US$200 that weighs 7lbs 4oz (3.3 kg).
In terms of Casio CT-S200 vs. Casio CT-S300, the CT-S200 provides three color selections: black, white, and red, while the CT-S300 only has black. However, the CT-300 has some enhancements, such as a Pitch Bend wheel and touch-sensitive keys.
Even though the CT-S300 sells for a slightly higher price than the CT-S200, the touch-sensitive keys make the CT-S300 a worthy beginner keyboard.
Both models provide decent connectivity like
- USB MIDI port for connection to smart devices and using Casio Chordona Play mobile app
- Headphones jack
- sustain pedal plug-in
Casio also has a light-key version of the CT-S300, which is the LK-S250 (the “LK” designates for lights in the keys). While the CT-S300 and LK-S250 are at similar prices, there are two critical differences besides the light keys. The LK-S250 does not have the Pitch Bend wheel but comes with a microphone input jack for you to sing along.
When a keyboard with a light key may be more fun to play with, it probably also creates some distraction. While it is a personal preference, we usually would not recommend the light-key version of the keyboards.
The jewel in Casio’s keyboard pianos is its CT-X700 series. Casio equips the CT-X700 with its innovative AiX sound source, which can produce a wide range of sound qualities from powerful bass tones to clear high tones.
As a beginner Casio keyboard piano, the CT-X700 features
- 61 touch-sensitive keys
- 48-notes of polyphony
- 600 tones
- 195 accompaniment rhythms
- 160 built-in songs
- 6-track onboard recorder
- 20 reverberation effects
- hundreds of personalized preset
It is worth noting that the CT-X700 can layer dual voices and split the keyboard into different voices. These features enable more musical and creative opportunities. However, there is no way to adjust the volume independently for each layer or side like in more expensive models such as PX-S3000.
In comparison with CT-S300, the CT-X700 touch sensitivity has four levels instead of 3 levels in S300. Moreover, the sound engine of CT-X700 AiX is superior to the dated HL (Highly-compressed Large-waveform) sound engine in CT-S300.
When considering a keyboard or piano, the two most important aspects are sound and keys. For the beginner Casio keyboard piano sells for under US$200, the clear winner is the CT-X700.
However, some other features give the CT-S300 some merits.
- Regarding portability, the CT-X700 is about 30% heavier than the CT-S300. Additionally, the X700 does not have a built-in carrying handle.
- The CT-S300 features the dance music mode, which allows users to arrange rhythmic patterns and apply real-time modulating effects just like a DJ would do on a dance floor.
We believe both CT-S300 and CT-X700 are viable choices for beginners. Which one you eventually choose largely depends on what features are important to you.
Hope this article helps you to make an informed choice! Let me know should you have more questions!
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