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Anderton

Casio XW-P1 Performance Synthesizer

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I was intending to buy a miniak or microstation but I saw this and I probably end up saving up.


I'm really unsure which one to buy, I have the MPC 2500 and not sure if the G1 has the same sounds as the P1?. Or should I just stick to the P1?.

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Quote Originally Posted by wmfitzgerald

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I think there may be quite a few of us who are interested in using this as a 2nd keyboard. Although the PCM tones may not be the strongest point of this keyboard for many of us they need to be 'good enough' for playing covers in clubs/pubs. So strings, brass, organ are important to us. I for one do not want to using three keyboards, portability is one of the attractive feature of casio keyboards. I have a Privia PX-3 which with tweaking in a club/pub setting is perfectly OK.


None of my local stores have an XW-P1 in yet so I would be interested in hearing what can be done to produce:


a brass section

a sax section

string quartet.


How close the organs can get for example to those used in Walk of life, A Whiter Shade of Pale, House of the rising Sun.

 

Will do brass, sax, and strings shortly. Organs are excellent, so no worries there. But I'll do some examples anyway.

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Y'know...at first I thought it was maybe a mistake to derail this thread into the PCM sounds, but I'm starting to think what's happening is that people are already pretty much convinced about the synthesis aspects, and want to know what else the XW-P1 can do. So I'll hit the PCM sounds for a little bit more, then move on to the other features.

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The Casio XW-P1 Performance Synth, I am shocked as for so many years the sounds that came out of a Casio where not pleasant to hear as many who ever had one or played one knew what they sound like but I think Casio took a bold new step with this new keyboard even though there is a huge amount of pro keyboards on the market today. I remember in the old days when roland putting out a plastic Sh-1 Synth and many laughed at it and today you have musicians going nuts over its sound as roland tries to bring it back today, From a price point not being to critical about the Casio XW-P1 I have to give Casio the thumbs up on the concept of something new, I seen this for many years as music gear gets old and turns into a gold mine for the artist looking for a specific sound to complete his projects or performance. The funny little toy piano has grown up and I wouldn’t be surprised you will see this keyboard every where.

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ok- So in am jumping in here at the end. I think I was one of the first people on here to own an XW-P1. I was very critical, or perhaps, suspicious of the build quality and voiced this. I got slammed pretty hard by several posters "its an 11 pound keyboard and you are complaining that it is light' was the one that got really under my skin. SABOD to that one. My point was, Casio was very much trying to re-establish a foothold in the semi-pro synth market, or at least that was my perception. I still think the chassis feels weak or a bit flimsy and toy like. The key bed does not turn me on too much either, but, it is far from the worst I have owned. I was going to return it, however, I kept mine, because, dollar for dollar, it offers an AMAZING array of sounds and features, as well as having generally well thought out interfaces, workflow, etc. I still wish the chassis were more like a higher end board, but, there was a target price point to hit. NOTHING in my use of it has disappointed sound wise. The thing is fat, and has some features that are really cool (drawbar organ) and some unique ways of creating sounds (hex sounds). I have not experienced ANY sound glitches with it, or crashes. I contrast that to my Venom, which I love sound wise, glitching while changes patches. This would drive me mad if I were gigging with it, but, I am not. The Casio has not missed a beat. So, while I think there is room for improvement, I also think that this is one of the coolest, cheapest workstations to come out in a long time. It reminds me of Ensoniq in a way, punching above it's weight. It is not perfect, but I can't think of anything I would rather spend $499 on either KB wise, especially if I had a small home studio or was a utility KB player gigging out sometimes. Also worth noting, the rep has been on it as far as answering questions, being responsive and knowing his product. In any of his responses, I have no seen him miss a beat. That indicates to me a commitment to the product and the line, and that also has value.

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Quote Originally Posted by deanmass

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ok- So in am jumping in here at the end. I think I was one of the first people on here to own an XW-P1...

 

Well after that summary, I guess we can all go home now smile.gif


Seriously, I think that's a fair, balanced, and focused evaluation (although I should point out we haven't come close to reaching the end yet!). I would take a little bit of an issue with your assessment of the keybed, because I like the slight amount of resistance quite a bit compared to "lighter" synth keyboards. And while I agree that the chassis may have a flimsy vibe, I've tried to see if that translates to truly flimsy construction. Although I haven't taken it apart yet, it does seem to be reinforced, and it's difficult to flex.


I think your comparison to Ensoniq is on-target, but I'd also include the construction in that. While they seemed suspect when introduced, I have to say that my TS-10 and ASR are still going strong after all these years, including quite a bit of stage time. While I can't predict the future, I think that the XW-P1 may surprise those who expect it to self-destruct after a couple years.


It's encouraging to know that given that you've probably logged more time on it than most, you've experienced no glitches or crashes. Neither have I, but I figured maybe I was just lucky, or hadn't pushed it hard enough. Also, the operating system is something I haven't commented on much, but I'm finding it quite easy to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B...although I will add that my comprehension of it improved considerably after downloading the Editor, which gave me a better grasp of the overall "landscape."


Thanks for chiming in Deanmass with an excellent mini-review, and feel free to stop back as the review develops.


P.S. Regarding your Venom - make sure you've downloaded the latest firmware if you haven't already. Also, continue to monitor the Casio site for updates.

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Quote Originally Posted by Anderton

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Will do brass, sax, and strings shortly. Organs are excellent, so no worries there. But I'll do some examples anyway.

 

Many thanks.

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I think we should all not be overly concerned about build quality just because a keyboard is lightweight. I have an old Wk-3500 that has been bumped around and never had a problem. What's more important is whether you like the features, the sound and the feel of the keybed. Would be very rare to find a keyboard that breaks under normal use. Casio is not a new player in the game so if they release a new keyboard they should know better than to have one that could break. With modern plastics and CAD,they could design one that is durable and yet light.

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Quote Originally Posted by monsterism

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Does anyone know if the XW-G1 has the same soundsets as the P1?

 

The XW-G1 and XW-P1 share the same solo synth architecture. As far as the PCM tones, the XW-G1 does not have as many and there are some other differences.


- XW-G1 has a double strike piano, not triple like the XW-P1

- XW-G1 has additional drum samples that the XW-P1 does not have.

- XW-G1 has more waveforms available in the solo synth

- XW-G1 can load in samples and sample itself

- Only XW-P1 has Hex Layers

- Only XW-P1 has Drawbar organs


In general the focus on the XW-G1 is around the Step Sequencer and the performer that will use those features in a live situation. While the XW-P1 is faster to navigate through sounds (by category). Sonically, the Hex Layers on the XW-P1 allow it to go into some territory the G1 can't. The G1 however can load samples (such as drum sounds) allowing it to have a unique voice.


My suggestion - if you're a traditional keyboardist (need splits and layers and complex sounds and pads) then stick with the XW-P1. If your focus is EDM then the G1 may be the way to go because what it can provide in terms of drum sounds and live performance with the Step Sequencer.

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I'm getting a G1. Then I can rock on my Casio Stack :p I actually did not know it was a sampler. My little Korg Microstation is a great bedroom composer, but the I really wish it sampled, just a little. This feature is really cool. I assume these are shipping now?

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Quote Originally Posted by deanmass

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I'm getting a G1...I assume these are shipping now?

 

Acccording to Mike they're shipping in limited quantities now, with more to come this month.

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From here on in I'm gonna leave this review to the pros. I feel that I may have voiced some confusion or opinion on certain sounds and questions only to find out that with some twidlin' and noodlin' and especially, reading and REreading the manual I have accomplished and answered my own questions - so far every question I have about this machines capabilities has been answered with a resounding "YES IT CAN!" I especially want to mention that I've gotten the piano sounds tweaked so that I can't tell if its my Privia or the XW. Currently I'm trying to tackle waveform theory to create my own synth sounds. I hope one day there will be a site where people can post their presets, maybe then I'll have something worthwhile to post. Till then, thanks Craig and Mike and others for this interesting and evolving review.

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Mike,


I wonder if you can explain a bit more about polyphony on the XW-P1. The manual states that there are from 1 to 32 for some tones. I do understand that layering etc. does reduce polyphony.


For instance, do the Drawbar organ tones have 64 note polyphony?

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Quote Originally Posted by Mike Martin

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The XW-G1 and XW-P1 share the same solo synth architecture. As far as the PCM tones, the XW-G1 does not have as many and there are some other differences.


- XW-G1 has a double strike piano, not triple like the XW-P1

- XW-G1 has additional drum samples that the XW-P1 does not have.

- XW-G1 has more waveforms available in the solo synth

- XW-G1 can load in samples and sample itself

- Only XW-P1 has Hex Layers

- Only XW-P1 has Drawbar organs


In general the focus on the XW-G1 is around the Step Sequencer and the performer that will use those features in a live situation. While the XW-P1 is faster to navigate through sounds (by category). Sonically, the Hex Layers on the XW-P1 allow it to go into some territory the G1 can't. The G1 however can load samples (such as drum sounds) allowing it to have a unique voice.


My suggestion - if you're a traditional keyboardist (need splits and layers and complex sounds and pads) then stick with the XW-P1. If your focus is EDM then the G1 may be the way to go because what it can provide in terms of drum sounds and live performance with the Step Sequencer.

 

Thanks for the reply.


This is going to be my first synth, I have a MPC so I doubt I ever use the sequencer and while the additions of the drums are nice in the G1 again I doubt I would use that.


However, can someone the phrase sampler sounds nice to use but would I use that if I have a MPC?, plus since I live nowhere within distance in the UK where I can try the Casio I'm reliant on internet feedback and videos.


The music I produce which I produce is hip-hop glitch, music like Daedaelus, Flying Lotus etc. I'm not asking for a synth that reproduce these sounds but its the sonic soundset I'm looking for to delve.


At he moment the P1 has more sounds but the G1 is pretty cool but need to see how its used better since there's hardly any videos except for the Japanese one. However, from what I gathered and correct me if I'm wrong all the phrase sampling is just record a simple riff up to 19 secs long which then loops and then I can add additional overdubs then assign this to a preset to play that loop later on?.

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Quote Originally Posted by wmfitzgerald

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Mike,


I wonder if you can explain a bit more about polyphony on the XW-P1. The manual states that there are from 1 to 32 for some tones. I do understand that layering etc. does reduce polyphony.


For instance, do the Drawbar organ tones have 64 note polyphony?

 

Some instruments such as the Solo Synth, are monophonic. The SoloSynth however can use anywhere from one to six notes of polyphony depending on how many oscillators are used. The pianos are stereo so the 64 note polyphony is cut in half when playing a stereo piano tone. As for the drawbar organs, I'll have to confirm and get back to you.

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For instance, do the Drawbar organ tones have 64 note polyphony?

 

With only 10 fingers and 61 keys why would this be important? I pre-ordered mine and was one of the first to receive it.

I have had the sequencer doing some pretty wild stuff with multiple layers, using the drawbar as the solo voice and have not noticed any dropped notes.

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Quote Originally Posted by kbeaumont

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With only 10 fingers and 61 keys why would this be important? I pre-ordered mine and was one of the first to receive it.

I have had the sequencer doing some pretty wild stuff with multiple layers, using the drawbar as the solo voice and have not noticed any dropped notes.

 

You probably won't notice dropped notes. The DPM-3 referenced at the beginning of the review had 16 voices IIRC, and it didn't get in the way much.


The reason why "more voices is better" is because you can have worse-case situations, like a piano or pad patch with a really long release on each note. So if you play 10 notes with a long release and then another 10, now you have 20 voices sounding at once.


Most voice-stealing algorithms are done "intelligently," like deleting only those voices almost at the end of the decay, or a combination of level and which was played first. This is why with most keyboards, you don't notice notes dropping out, even if they do.

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It makes sense with most PCM sounds, especially playing to a midi file. As for drawbar organ most advertise as 'full polyphony' which I assume means 61 for 61 keys etc.

The Nord Electro 3 73 has polyphony of 40 - 60. The only time I ever had an issue that was noticeable was a Yamaha MM8 with 32 note polyphony it was fairly easy to drop notes doing arpeggio runs down the keyboard with the sustain pedal engaged.

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Ahh....the DPM 3......Most underrated box of awesome ever, with the possible exception of the SX/SP/PC1600 combo.

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ok i've had my p1 for about a week and man, it sounds so friggin cool that i havnt had time to explore all its features yet. i mean it just sounds awesome!!!

its made of plastic- yes plastic, but not flimsy or cheap by any means. i feel like this thing is constructed well and wont crumble into a million pieces one day.

Its sounds is so fat and unique i honestly feel like anyone could really find a use for this board in their set up.


Question: i made a rather weak attempt at using this with my MPC which i notice someone has been asking about. ran into some problems. I'm having a hard time intergrating this into a studio setup IE: MPC sequences and p1 slaves. Mike tried to explain how the midi channels work once and i did not grasp it.

Anyone here have any answers?

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Quote Originally Posted by copesland

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Question: i made a rather weak attempt at using this with my MPC which i notice someone has been asking about. ran into some problems. I'm having a hard time intergrating this into a studio setup IE: MPC sequences and p1 slaves. Mike tried to explain how the midi channels work once and i did not grasp it.

Anyone here have any answers?

 

Could you be more specific? Are you trying to drive XW-P1 sounds over MIDI from sequences within the MPC? Bear in mind that this is not an MPC forum, nor do I have one, so I can only investigate using MIDI with the XW-P1 on a more general level.

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