Hands On the Casiotone CT-S1000V
I've ordered the new Casiotone CT-S1000V which is currently making a bit of splash around the blogs of late. I think I may feature it on my FAWM 2022 album this year. It's supposed to arrive just before that so I should be able to play around with it and get some use-cases for you all after FAWM is over and I have something to showcase.
I'm almost entirely just interested in the vocal synthesis functions of the synth and not that it reportedly has a lot of pretty decent sounds on board.
There are random youtube commenters throwing down that this is merely a toy, but I'm not all that concerned with that. I like experimenting within limitations. The limitations themselves are often part of the instrument and expression.
If you've got one, wander over to the Casiotone CT-S1000V homemademusic profile page and let us know what you think in the dedicated forum there. And share some music while you're at. If you've got it to share.
The keyboard came a day earlier than Guitar Center indicated when I purchased it, so I drove out to pick it up after work. It's a couple days later and I've got it set up in my studio and so far have just had a little time to explore the onboard sounds.
They're organized by type with a large number of pianos starting off the 800+ options. For me, there are some that I liked instantly, but nothing really at this point that would likely have me using these sounds over what I have available in software elsewhere. Our choices these days are countless.
It's a busy work week and a couple days pass by before one morning I download the app. For iOS it doesn't appear when you search for "Casio." I found it by searching "Casio Vocal." The app is called Casio Lyric Creator. It's not mentioned in the quick start guide that came with the instrument, although it's probably a highly essential piece to making this thing literally sing.
I have a song that's been kicking around in various stages for 20 years plus that is going to be perfect to jump in and explore the vocal synthesis capabilities of the Casiotone CT S1000V I think.
The app has a Connection button that links out to here: https://web.casio.com/app/en/lyric_creator/support/connect.html
I learn the lyric app unfortunately doesn't connect to the keyboard via the bluetooth adapter that comes with it. I need a lighting to USB connector which I think was left behind at a hotel in San Diego so I order another and it should be hear when I get home from work tonight. After which, the fun and games shall continue.
More fun and games
The Lightning to USB connector came and did not work with my iPhone. I did find my official Apple Camera Connection Kit adapter and that doesn't work either. I'm connecting it as instructed to the micro-USB port, but the app is not responding at all. I've tried a number of micro-USB chords, all of which are less than the specified 2 meter length. The documentation does say not to use chords which are dedicated to charging, but I don't really recall using micro-USB chords for anything except charging, so I don't know really know if my chords are charging-dedicated or not.
The keyboard comes with bluetooth connector for playing audio over bluetooth. This seems like a function that is less essential than using the keyboard for the lyric function. Casio could have included the proper Micro-USB cable.
I downloaded the manual and it seems to indicate that I may possibly be able to transfer the lyric files to the keyboard via a USB Flash drive. So I think that's my next attempt. It's now Sunday and Casio support isn't staffed today.
Just in case the above doesn't work.
- For Customer Service or Repair Support in the USA at 1-800-706-2534 during regular business hours (currently Monday-Friday 9:00a.m. - 5:00pm EST, Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.)
- For Technical support in USA at 1-800-435-7732 during regular business hours (currently Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00pm EST for all products, Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m)
- For Customers in Canada at 1-800-661-2274
Transferring Lyrics via USB Flash
After a 10 minute formatting gala, I tried again with different USB sticks. The formatting was quicker so it could be the first USB stick I tried was old and subpar (kinda like me), but the Casio keyboard tells me it has no media; it's not seeing the lyi file when attempting to load all data. I'm not sure what the problem is. Perhaps the keyboard isn't set to load lyric files from the USB.
Youtubers Start Weighing In
It looks like we're starting to see youtube videos about the instrument that are actual hands-on experiences with the lyric/vocal aspects, rather than just mouthing the specs and playing some non-related presets.
This one is a good real world example, I think. He says it all has to do with the chord combination and to make sure you have the right chord.
So I order another chord off amazon: https://amzn.to/3ro0BiR (affiliate link -- thanks).
And, what do you know, I connect that to this: https://amzn.to/3HlhVdY
… which connects to my iPhone 12 Max and the Casio Lyric app connects!
I start by creating a few words of the lyric as recommended by the iNNovational Channel . You just type the lyrics and the app separates words into 1/8 note syllables for you. You can edit the notes if you wish, but I don't do that this time.
After saving your lyric you Transfer it by clicking the ellipsis icon on the upper right of the lyric box and pressing the Transfer button. A first dialog appears with your selection parameters and after confirming another screen appears. This one tries to save the file to my iCloud drive for some reason by default, which is what I did because it's not apparent that's what it's actually doing. After a minute or so of the keyboard preparing and whatnot, I got an error with no file saved. Arrrrgh!
I try it again, this time, noticing the iCloud weirdness, I uncollapse the iCloud files and see there is a "drive" icon for the Casio underneath and select that and transfer. This time, I also get an error, but the Casio keyboard's screen shows that a file is saved in the User 1 location, and pressing the keys it plays! Success!!
This is very cool. The song I'm working on is something I've had in various states and recordings over the years. It's a personal favorite of my collaborations. It's called If I Fell Off This Earth Tonight. It was a song I made with Tapegerm sources provided by Bev Stanton (Arthur Loves Plastic) and Lisa Moscatiello (vocals). Lisa sang the title and I used that as inspiration to write the rest of the song.
After playing around with a short slice, "If I Fell," I try transferring a longer section, "If I fell off this earth tonight." This transfer was quick (around 1-2 seconds) and no error.
To begin with, the Casio wasn't exactly sounding like it was singing the words particularly clear. Fortunately there are a lot of settings to dial and they are easy and intuitive. You've got a modulation dial just above the standard scale knob to the left of the keyboard. You've also got a vocal tone dial that changes the vocal character's age and gender. On top of that, you have 20+ different vocal tones ranging from choirs to grave growls.
When playing the vocal you can choose between playing the entire lyric or playing each note with each subsequent press of a key. And when playing the later you can also choose to apply a "select" parameter which allows you to press notes on the lower keys that select which "notes" (or syllables) sound when you play notes on the upper keys.
With this combination I think you get the real performance fun out of the instrument and it's not too difficult when you're working with five or six words; it's probably less than a dozen syllables.
Here's me playing around with this first exploratory session…