Casio keyboard turns your text into pop-inspired vocal harmonies
There are a number of ways that musicians can get their instruments to sing. Sampled vocals can be loaded into a synth, you can use a vocoder, or you can stick a tube in your mouth and run it to an effects pedal. Now Casio has developed a keyboard that can voice words and phrases tapped into a mobile app.
The Casiotone CT-S1000V keyboard offers 22 vocalist types, which Casio says have been "drawn from the history of synthetic vocals in pop music" – so you've got robot voices, vocoder-like textures, talkboxes, choir harmonies, whispers and more.
The instrument also comes preloaded with a hundred "Lyric Tones" phrases inspired by popular songs, and 50 more can be added using the iOS/Android Lyric Creator app.
Instead of plugging in a microphone to have the vocal synthesis engine sing custom lyrics, the musician can simply tap text into the app, set the rhythm and push down keys. Whole phrases can be sounded all at once at a pitch determined by the notes on the keyboard, or a syllable at a time with each key press.
Polyphonic playback is supported, and synthesized vocalists can be customized with a number of parameters and effects (including vocal age, vibrato and portamento). Phrases can even be sequenced together to form complete songs.
The CT-S1000V is no one trick pony though, it comes with 64-voice polyphony, 800 high-resolution instrument sounds, 243 rhythms that can accompany play, and there's space for 50 user-programmable beats too. There are 100 studio-quality DSP effects as well, including amp and cabinet sims, reverbs, delays and choruses.
Songs can be arranged as you go via intro, normal, fills, variation and end sections, and a built-in MIDI recorder can store up to five performances, with six tracks and 40,000 notes per song available. A 16-bit/44-kHz sampler is onboard, with users able to capture up to 10 seconds of audio through the stereo input.
And the keyboard sports its own bass-reflex stereo speakers, can be powered by six optional AA-sized batteries or via an included AC adapter, ships with a Bluetooth MIDI and audio adapter that plugs into the USB port around back, allowing users to wirelessly connect to a computer or mobile device.
The CT-S1000V will be available by the end of January for a minimum advertised price of US$449.99. If you don't want the vocal synthesis capabilities but want to tap into the other capabilities, the CT-S500 keyboard can be had now for a MAP of $379.99. The video below has more.