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#176529 - 09/26/00 12:50 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Clif Anderson Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/00
Posts: 532
Do the Casio's transmit their accompaniments over midi. Do the Casio's allow custom styles. I am not sure, but I think the answers to the questions are both "no". Without these features, Casio will continue to be relegated to the low end. Good sounds are important, but that is almost too obvious to mention.

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#176530 - 09/26/00 02:18 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Jeff Ganaposki Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/00
Posts: 31
Loc: Riverdale, GA USA
In my haste, I omitted what I was referring to in the previous post regarding controls versus sound. I didn't mean the signal generation, but the sound quality of the speaker system.
In other words, would it be preferable for CASIO to devote the hardware to user controls or to better speakers & amps.

User reviews: http://www.epinions.com/inst-Keyboards-MZ-2000_Keyboard
http://www.casiotom.com/board/messages/2586.html

Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Ganaposki:
"Alstrom, Ed" ealstrom at casio dot com




[This message has been edited by Jeff Ganaposki (edited 09-26-2000).]
_________________________
jetgraphics@yahoo.com

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#176531 - 09/26/00 04:32 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Clif Anderson Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/00
Posts: 532
Hi Jeff

I think most people would demo an arranger for 15 min, and hear the sounds and styles through the onboard amplication and speakers. They would make the purchasing decision based on those factors. So for Casio's bottom line, they are putting the emphasis in the wrong place.

My position is a little off the beaten track. I assume that I cannot buy exactly what I want, so I am willing to add something to the arranger. I would be willing to live without good lead sounds, amplification, and speakers. I can add a Roland 5080 or Triton Rack, and can add powered speakers, maybe Roland PM-3.

What I cannot live without are the thousands styles available free on the Internet. I also cannot live without vocal harmony that coordinates with the styles. I can live without lots of continuous controllers on the arranger because I can add them. However, adding continuous controllers (e.g., a bank of sliders or a second keyboard) is a lot less convenient than adding a sound module because you have to reach them and the arranger concurrently. So if you leave out the odd duck (me), the Casio should do what everyone else does--leave off the controllers and work on the sounds.

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#176532 - 09/26/00 04:53 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Fran Carango Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9204
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Casio, going back to at least the CK601 has a parameter to send the arranger out of the midi port. And guess what? it sends GM map, unlike its rival during the same period..Fran
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#176533 - 09/27/00 03:02 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Jeff Ganaposki Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/00
Posts: 31
Loc: Riverdale, GA USA
I emailed Ed Alstrom of CASIO about questions that appeared here:

> nine sliders, pitch and mod wheels, aftertouch, jacks for two pedals and two foot switches. More style and sound categories than Yamaha, but no bank switching (as required by Roland and Korg).

[Alstrom, Ed] Incorrect! Can be done over MIDI.

> Graphic sound editing. The display
> controls are just like on a Yamaha PSR-9k.

[Alstrom, Ed] MZ-2000 is without question an easier machine to navigate and learn than PSR-9000.


>There are control sliders and foot pedal
> inputs. Can these controls transmit data into the MIDI
> stream?
[Alstrom, Ed] Yes.

[Note: There are 9 sliders & 9 buttons, in addition to the Mod, Pitch, and user defineable button to the left of the keys]

> Does the mic input access to the DSP also allow it to make
> harmonies, like the Yamaha PSR-740?
[Alstrom, Ed] No. You can probably add 3 external harmonizers for
the money you'll save, though.

[True enough. A Digitech Vocalist isn't that expensive]

> When a user modifies or creates a sound, can it be saved?
[Alstrom, Ed] Yes.

> In other words, what memory is devoted to user created
> sounds, patterns, arrangements?
[Alstrom, Ed] Separate memory for each of these.

There you have it from CASIO...
It's not a PSR9000, but for the money, it's going to be a decent MIDI controller, with velocity & aftertouch, style arranger, arpeggiator, and 16 track recorder.

P.S.
I annoyed Mr. Alstrom so much, he gave me the email URL for the head of development in Japan. If you'd like to make a "Christmas list" of goodies you'd like to see on the next CASIO, email me & I'll compile a list. I was warned that Mr. Akio Iba does not speak English as well, and would appreciate terse statements...

P.P.S.
I was told that they're also considering an Internet connection (whether on the keyboard or via a host computer, I am not sure) for future keyboards.

[This message has been edited by Jeff Ganaposki (edited 09-27-2000).]
_________________________
jetgraphics@yahoo.com

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#176534 - 09/27/00 03:23 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Clif Anderson Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/00
Posts: 532
Hi Jeff

A minor point, but Ed misunderstood one of my positives as a negative. When I said "no bank switching", this referred to the fact that all sound categories could be called with a single button press. This is good. Yamaha also allows this. You will note that on many Korg's and Roland, the sound category button do double duty. This means you have to push a "shift" button and then the category (e.g., strings) button. In general, having dedicated buttons is more convenient, even though using a shift button can look more elegant by reducing the total number of buttons.

I am getting some valuable information here. Thanks, Fran, for correcting me on the midi out facility on Casios. Also, I did not know Casios respected to bank switches over midi. At the risk of repeating myself, Casio is now leading the pack (except for General Music SK) in terms of control features. I would love to see the Casio product line migrate upscale with better sounds, room for 1000s of user styles, and vocal harmony. (I rather have one vocal harmonizer on board, than three outboard.)

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#176535 - 10/09/00 01:34 AM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Jeff Ganaposki Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/00
Posts: 31
Loc: Riverdale, GA USA
Quick report of a live test of the MZ-2000 at MARS music store in Atlanta.

::Interesting points - the keyboard is MUCH BETTER than their earlier models. My S.O. found it easier to reach octaves than on the Yamaha - a smidge narrower. The key edges have a smoother bevel than the Yamaha PSR740. Velocity and Aftertouch were fine. The key feel was not mushy.
:: The pictures do not do it justice. This is a BIG (& Thick) keyboard, and the user controls & Screen are angled much more toward the user.
::Layout was very good. Easy to figure out what to do without a manual. The screen / button arrangement was great (not unlike the PSR-9000). One can use the data wheel or press screen buttons to select splits, layers, and mix the signal levels. The "exit" button backs you out of the menu you're in. And 4 different screen layouts (Big font for old farts like me, who can't read tiny print!)
::Sounds - We started at the pianos, and my S.O. chugged her way through all the piano selections, and was pleasantly surprised - she liked all of them. The organs were splendid - especially the drawbars. Nice percussion - the cymbals sizzled and didn't cut off. "Dirty" guitar tones with pick attack. The flutes had a nice chuffy breath when you whacked the keys - the velocity control made it sound "real". The sitar's aftertouch detuned the note and buzzed like the real thing - real neat. Koto was good. The brass had a nice burr and the synth brass brought back memories of 1970's synth solos. ZPI does offer something more than plain vanilla samples - the sounds varied as one's playing changed. The sound quality of the high end frequencies was impressive - subtle and sweet. Not having tested all the sounds, I can't say they're all great. But of the selections we heard, not a one sounded bad.
::The assignable DSP was effective. Pressing the button brought up a menu of hundreds of configurations - delays, EQ, wah, phasing, filter sweeps, etc., and you could assign up to 4, plus three global DSPs (reverb, chorus, master).
::Nice I/O. Sustain pedal. Expression pedal. Serial computer. The line outs are high impedance, as is the mic input.
- - If it's any indication, MARS sold out their first shipment within a week. My first look has me convinced that CASIO MZ-2000 is a contender.

The official retail price is $1800.
Mars offers it for $1200. www.marsmusic.com
zZounds in Chicago offers it at $1079. www.zzounds.com
Music123 $1099 (with 10% off coupon) has it for $991 (free shipping). www.music123.com

P.S. After a quick look in the manual (very thick - well written!), the only mention of a battery was about a lithium for ram memory - and no wall wart - YES!
http://www.mz2000.com

[This message has been edited by Jeff Ganaposki (edited 10-09-2000).]
_________________________
jetgraphics@yahoo.com

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#176536 - 10/09/00 11:34 AM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Ilija Petkovski Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 193
Loc: Apeldoorn
Imagine what a compliment and how negative people are!! They say: a Casio MZ-2000 cannot compare with a Yamaha PSR9000(pro).
Well can you compare $3000 with $1000-1200 ??

NO OF COURSE NOT!

Its like a Subaru Impreza GT Turbo! For that money you drive as fast as a Porsche!

Congratulations Casio!

Ilija

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#176537 - 10/14/00 02:27 PM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Jeff Ganaposki Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/00
Posts: 31
Loc: Riverdale, GA USA
CASIO MZ2000 Addendum to review

Sound Source - Zygotech Polynomial Interpolation (ZPI) - combination of optimized data compression and polynomial interpolation to produce more sound per unit memory. (487 tones, 15 drumsets, 40 user programmable/synth, 20 drawbar tones)

DSP - 4 assignable channels x 240 selectable types; 3 system (reverb x 15, chorus x 20, master x 50)

Drawbar Organ - 9 drawbars - plus other options to change to "dirty" tone or add key click.

Synthesizer (VCA, ADSR, LFO, filtering) IS built in. 40 user memory locations for your patches.

Rhythm accompaniments - 120 preset + 10 user

Interactive accompaniment - Dynamic changes to the accompaniment pattern based upon your playing style.

"Song Studio" function - analyzes Standard MIDI file and generates an accompaniment. It can also extract chord patterns and progressions, and display the chords on the screen.

Song Sequencer - 17 track sequencer x 10 songs (40,000 notes) - SMF data compatible - Editing functions: punch in, copy, event edit, and others.

Pattern Sequencer - 8 parts x 10 User patterns (22,000 notes - Accompaniment) - 480 factory presets

Registration memory - 8 sets x 8 banks of your customized setups.

Arpeggiator - 15 types

Auto-harmonize - 12 types
_________________________
jetgraphics@yahoo.com

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#176538 - 10/15/00 02:18 AM Re: MZ-2000 - Casio's folly?
Clif Anderson Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/00
Posts: 532
Wow, that "Song Studio" function sounds impressive. I wonder how well it works.

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