Music Maker Equipment Scene
New Casio keyboards, video and instruments
This month it may be interesting to look at the latest activities of Casio Electronics, who have resolved during early 1983 to change both their business profile and their product line-up.
During 1982 Casio instruments sold in very large numbers, virtually creating their own markets where none existed before. The successful use of their micro- and mini-keyboards by chart bands such as the Human League and Trio convinced thousands of musicians and non-musicians that interesting sounds could be made without spending large amounts of money on equipment. As sales increased, trade prices fell and the only problem in the final analysis was that of some models selling too quickly.
For 1983 Casio promise better records, better administration, and better sales training and showrooms. In addition they are about to delete and update several of their keyboards, with some quite surprising developments in terms of voicing, programming and interfacing to be seen.
The popular CT-403, for instance, is to be replaced by the CT-405. Again a full-size 4-octave instrument, the 405 has twenty preset sounds and is fitted with a 'cross tonal modulation' circuit which, it is claimed, expands these sounds into the realms of both conventional synthesisers and authentic instruments. The effects section includes sustain, vibrato, delayed vibrato and 'simulated reverberation'.
The accompaniment section gives the usual rhythms and choice of one finger or fully fingered chords with manual bass, and in addition four choices of bass patterns, four choices of accompaniment chords and four choices of arpeggios. Recommended price including VAT is £325.
The PT-30 has evolved from the VL-1,and now has two and a half octaves of conventional miniaturised keys together with calculator type keys for accompaniment chords. Its specification is quite astounding for a small instrument — eight preset voices, twelve rhythms, six arpeggios, three chord accompaniments, and an LCD rhythm display indicating the state of the 508 event memory. The memory can be divided into 8 sub-groups which can be chained as required for very long compositions, and all information can be stored on a standard cassette player using an optional interface. Recommended price including VAT is £79.
The MT-41 is a new version of the MT-40 with improved sounds, more versatile bass patterns and a new recommended price including VAT of £99.
The MT-45 is a more elaborate mini-keyboard, with similar voicings to the MT-41 but with the addition of arpeggiator, choice of bass patterns, rhythm fills and intros. Recommended price including VAT is £125.
Near the top of Casio's mini-keyboard range is the MT-65, which has four octaves of miniaturised keys and twelve voices with cross tonal modulation and simulated reverberation.
A matrix of switches give a selection of bass voicings, chord accompaniments and arpeggio patterns in addition to the usual easy-play devices. Recommended price including VAT is £175.
Finally the CT-501, a four-octave version of the CT-701 again including the bar code reading features, with 20 preset sounds, 16 rhythms and chord section and smart styling for domestic use. Recommended price including VAT is £375.
Other new products include the CT-602, a simplified CT-701 with 5 octaves of standard keys but without the bar code reader; the MT-11, a compact and simple 8-voice mini-keyboard along the lines of the popular M10; and the TA-1 cassette interface itself, which should give Casio another lease of life and take their compositional abilities into the realms of vastly more expensive microcomposers and similar computers.
The video scene is on the move again, with new equipment, new compact formats on the way for portable work, and new low software prices. Konishiroku UK have announced what they describe as the world's smallest colour video camera, the Konica Colour VC. Compatible with all video deck systems and weighing only 690 grammes including cable, the VC is expected to appeal to a wide range of domestic and commercial users. It's highly efficient design reduces power consumption by 10 to 20 per cent, it is claimed, as compared to conventional portable cameras, and so extends the recording time available on battery-powered video machines.
The camera features a ½" electrostatic focusing SATICON tube and an F1.8, 10-30mm zoom lens. There's a built-in electret condenser microphone, and an optional 1" screen electronic viewfinder.
The current model for the Japanese and American markets uses the NTSC 525 line system, and the European PAL system model is expected to become available in June.
Further details from Alastair Sedgwick, (Contact Details).
Spector Guitars are now beginning to limit their sub-contracting work after experiencing an upsurge in sales of their own designs. Principal among these is the NS-Bass series, designed by Ned Steinberger (now internationally known for the headless Steinberger Bass) in 1976. All Spector's handcrafted guitars are intended to offer state-of-the-art engineering at reasonable prices, and there is a choice of bolt-on and fixed neck instruments, rare woods, pearl inlay work and oil or high-gloss finishes. The NS basses feature Schaller machine heads, EMG or DiMarzio pickups and active equalisation giving 15dB boost and cut of bass and treble.
Spector Guitars, (Contact Details).