I swear, I had one of these as a kid! It’s the nostalgia factor, and the memories of our generation’s childhood, which fuels the “modern 80s” fandom which has become popular in the past decade. I love it! I like to think I had a great early childhood, where things from the eighties remind you of a period in time where things were ground-breaking and fun. Then, along came my desire to start to collect these gadgets and aspire to purchase more fun synthesizers in the future.
The Casio PT-1 is quite a rudimentary synth, it is clearly intended to be a toy. However with an output port, a record mode, and a beat selection mode complete with tempo adjustment capabilities, you could definitely use the Casio PT-1 as a musical instrument. Some have, many have duplicated these sounds using D.A.W. (Digital Audio Workstation) software technology, and much more.
I recently acquired one of these forgotten gems off eBay recently (a Hot Pink one at that!), and I am loving it. It shows how much our technology has evolved over the past twenty years. Basically, you get four voices (synth sounds) to choose from, “Piano,” “Fantasy,” “Violin,” and “Flute.” According to today’s standards they all sound quite cheesy, but isn’t that the point? To make things even better, you also get a wide variety of pre-made drum loops to play while you compose on your Casio-PT1 synth. Drum patterns range from 4-Beat, Rock 1 and 2, Waltz, March, Marimba, etc. The sounds sound quite low bit, much like an 8-bit drum machine complete with distortion, beeps, noise, and boops.
The record mode generally allows you to record a piano riff or pattern to use later, in the same session you have the keyboard turned on. The play button doesn’t trigger your recorded clip on time with a drum beat, it has a half second delay after the pre-recorded pattern finishes, with no looping capability. Another draw-back (or competitive advantage to some) of the Casio PT-1 is the fact it cannot play chords, or doesn’t have an arpeggiator. I love the how the sounds cut off on this thing when you try to break down chords and play them on this thing. You can also play scales, and make a convincing solo almost good enough for a guitar.
Overall, this synth is very fun to tinker around with, and will definitely give you a blast from the past. Isn’t that what all this 80s throwback revival stuff all about anyways? It’s a treat that will have you thinking about all the things you did when you were a kid, that’s for sure. The lack of certain things we almost take for granted in modern synthesizers, actually help enhance this product, and makes it feel more genuine to use in a studio environment.
Thanks for reading this technical review, I hope you look back into this era and think fondly. Cheers.
This commercial is for another Casio synthesizer, but is too awesome not to be posted.
-Chris Big Money