PRO AUDIO
Taylor

Taylor
January 24, 2012

Casio XW-P1 and XW-G1 Synths – Announcement at NAMM 2012

So, in the weeks leading up to NAMM, there was a bit of eye rolling about Casio’s announcement that they would be re-entering the world of professional synthesizers. This is an unfortunate side effect of Casio’s exit from this market in the 80s. At some point Casio set their sites on the consumer market and have been firmly occupying from rooms and dorm room closets with their home keyboards for so many decades that a large enough percentage of folks have completely forgotten their influential CZ synths. The Casio CZ synths were based on a synthesis method known as Phase Distortion Synthesis. I am not going to get too deep into this, but Phase Distortion had some similarities to FM synthesis and Casio’s synths built during this period are classics that fetch good money from eager collectors on eBay.

That said, as one of those geeks who does remember, after an initial reaction of “whatever,” I looked more into this synth offering from Casio and found myself more and more excited to see it in person. Casio’s XW-P1 Performance Synthesizer and the XW-G1 Groove synthesizer were, before we even headed to the airport, high on my list for products to catch up with at NAMM.

Whether everyone remembered Casio’s former golden age or not, at some point the buzz caught on, because the Casio booth became quite a hub for excitement. At one point, as people surrounded the booth to take in the new wonders on display, a few dudes started jamming an impromptu rendition of Toto’s Africa. Finger foods were eaten, there was much rejoicing.

All things considered, Casio appear to have a nice little combo on their hands. With the XW-P1, a comprehensive array of performance controls are provided, including drawbars. The HexLayer system (Casio’s name for their methods for blending the oscillators and external sources to single sounds) additionally provides for a flexible system for layering and splitting sounds to create fluid live performance patches. With the XW-G1, the sequencer present on both units is augmented with a loop sampler offering 19 seconds of sampling time and a player that allows 10 user tones to be kept on hand for instant recall.

I’ll be interested to see how the enthusiasm for these units transfers to market in terms of whether or not these are seen occupying stages in the coming months, but I’d say the outlook for Casio’s return to the market is good. They are a welcome player in the field and I am hopeful that the threat motivates certain other companies to stay competitive and keep innovating. We’ll see what the future holds- but for now, here are the specs on these two:

XW-P1 Features

  • 6 Oscillator Monophonic Solo Synthesizer
  • HexLayer – A single sound made up of 6 components for gig ready splits and layers
  • Drawbar Organ Mode with 9 sliders, adjustable rotary speaker, key click, vibrato and percussion
  • 400 fully editable PCM based sounds like stereo pianos, vintage electric pianos, strings, guitars, drums and more.
  • Step Sequencer with 9 instrument tracks and 4 controller tracks
  • 16 step programmable Arpeggiator
  • Phrase sequencer to record and playback your riffs
  • Performance mode providing 4 internal or external instrument zones with instant recall of effects, Step Sequences, Arpeggiators and Phrases
  • 4 real-time controller knobs
  • Pitch and Modulation Wheels
  • ¼” Mic and Line puts to process your voice or other instruments
  • Stereo 1/8” line input to connect an MP3 player, laptop or tablet
  • USB and MIDI ports
  • ¼” Line Outputs
  • Included Power Supply
  • Can operate on 6 D batteries

XW-G1 Features

  • 6 Oscillator Monophonic Solo Synthesizer
  • Sample Looper – Up to 19 Seconds of sampling time
  • Sample Player – 10 user tones with up to 5 samples each can be stored in Flash Memory for instant recall
  • 300 fully editable PCM based sounds
  • Step Sequencer with 9 instrument tracks and 4 controller tracks
  • 16 step programmable Arpeggiator
  • Phrase sequencer to record and playback your riffs
  • Performance mode providing 4 internal or external instrument zones with instant recall of effects, Step Sequences, Arpeggiators and Phrases
  • 4 real-time controller knobs
  • Pitch and Modulation Wheels
  • ¼” Mic and Line puts to process your voice or other instruments
  • Stereo 1/8” line input to connect an MP3 player, laptop or tablet
  • USB and MIDI ports
  • ¼” Line Outputs
  • Included Power Supply
  • Can operate on 6 D batteries

Comments

  1. Ed says:

    Very good!

  2. Great blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get feedback from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Kudos!