Casio has been a supplier of electronic tools and devices since 1946, known in the world of music for their starter instruments and keyboards, in particular. Casio released its first musical instrument in 1980 with the Casiotone 201 keyboard. Since then, Casio has produced a variety of musical keyboards geared towards the beginner to intermediate level musician with a brief foray into the professional music gear arena.
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Announcing in 1979 that they would step into the world of music, Casio released it's first keyboard in January of 1980. Calling it the CT-201 (short for Casiotone), the small 49 note keyboard had a solitary built-in speaker in the upper right, a vibrato switch, and 29 preset sounds. Made of genuine wood coated with an imitation mahogany wood grain, the sound listings were not engraved in the wood itself but printed on a thin plastic overlay that was in danger of wear with heavy use.
The CT-101 is an expansion of the CT-201 and is a basic analogue keyboard. It had eight note polyphony (the amount of notes that can be played at once) on a 49 note keyboard and 29 on-board sounds like its predecessor, as well as two effects: sustain and vibrato. The look was changed slightly with a black finish on top and wood grain below the keys and on the ends. The CT-101 has been used by musical artists such as The Human League and Moby.
The CZ-101 was the first in a line of attempts by Casio to break into the professional music market and were significant in their improvements over the CT line. The size of the keyboard was the same as its forerunners but the features were expanded. The number of on-board preset sounds was 32 which could be expanded by 16 with an external card. A significant change was in the amount of oscillators (a sound generator of different sound wave patterns into different forms and shapes), which increased to seven. Also, instead of VCOs (voltage control oscillators) these used a process called digital phase distortion synthesis which Casio pioneered. It modified the actual waveforms to reduce the desired sounds and was similar to the Yamaha DX keyboard sounds and an improvement in their quality.
By far the most advanced keyboard made in the CZ line, it boasted a full 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch, 16 voice polyphony, 128 sounds with the option of adding an expansion card with 64 more sounds, MIDI implementation, and an eight track built-in sequencer.
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