You would get a shock if you looked at the very first ‘keyboards’ that were ever used. The Casio CT-X700 61-Key Portable Keyboard couldn’t possibly have been imagined in the 3rd century BC. That is when the Hydraulis, or the water organ, was created.
Keyboards have come a long way since then. There have been some illustrious names involved in their development. As the need for a portable piano became a necessity, it was always going to happen. We just had to wait for a few other things to be invented.
Electricity was one, and finally, the transistor, which removed the need for valves and allowed certain changes to become possible.
First real beginnings…
In 1929, it was the electric piano. In 1935, Hammond’s first organ impressed the world, followed in 1939 by the Novachord, which may well have been the first analog synth.
Harold Rhodes created an electric piano, and we all know where that went. By the 60s, Fender had bought it, and it was featured on many recordings. Development was gathering pace. Hammond organs got bigger, and some famous names used them. The B3 and C3 became icons of the rock world. They had to cut them in half to transport them.
More companies get in the game…
But then along came Vox with the Continental. The first really portable organ with real quality, you might say, visible on stages all over the world.
It wasn’t long before we had Yamaha, Roland, and Bob Moog with his synthesizer. In the 70s, the business idea seemed to split. Some designs concentrated on the piano, others that went down the developing synth path. But it was the Japanese that brought them together.
Keyboards that sounded like the piano and/or organ but also had strings, brass, and just about everything else. Roland, Yamaha, and Korg were the stars. Rockjam from the UK also made a minor impact. But close behind its Japanese competitors was Casio.
Who? They made cheap, fun watches, didn’t they?
From digital watches and calculators to great keyboards and a few other things in between. That is the story of this remarkable company. Founded in 1949 by three brothers in an impoverished post-war Japan, they became the Casio computer company in 1957.
We all had them, watches with calculators or just the early calculators themselves. It was a name synonymous with cheap, funny, novelty items. But Casio was an awful lot more than that, and they knew it. Innovations in digital cameras, ceramic lens technology, and liquid crystal displays proved that.
But then came the keyboards in the 80s. At first, typical of Casio, small little things like toys. They learned quickly, and suddenly we got the real deal. Now they are recognized as being one of, if not the biggest manufacturer of keyboards for the starter musician.
First stop, Casio…
A quality product, at a great price with all that, is included. Casio is the first stop for many people on their musical journey. The Casio CT-X700 Portable Keyboard is another in their long line of instruments. But is it any good? Let’s find out in our in-depth Casio CT-X700 61-Key Portable Keyboard Review…
This is one of the latest in a long line of Casio portable keyboards. And, as is usual these days, they are made to accommodate a variety of skill levels.
Of course, they are more than suitable for the young beginner. But this keyboard goes a stage further.
A keyboard for all levels…
There is a stark reality that some people have to face. They may be very accomplished musicians, but sometimes a quality instrument is out of their price range. This keyboard solves that problem.
This is great for the beginner, but there is enough built-in to make it suitable for a higher level of performance. And it is at a price that will be hard to beat.
What does it bring?
A strong build, plenty of features and functions, and an impressive sound just for starters. This is a keyboard that makes a very clear statement. No matter where you stand on your journey in music, or whatever your budget, you don’t need to sacrifice quality.
So, let’s take a closer look at the Casio CT-X700 Portable Keyboard…
This has got the hallmark of a well-made keyboard. As soon as you pick it up, it feels strong in the hand. Made from a quality, tough molded plastic at under 10 pounds, it is lightweight. And at just 13.78 by 37.32 by 4.29 inches, extremely portable.
There are 61 touch-responsive full-size keys. They are not weighted but pressure-sensitive. If you choose, you can turn off the touch-sensitive feature.
A feature of Casio keyboards for many years is note labeling. On this keyboard, the individual notes are labeled, and also the drum or other percussion instruments related to it are included. A great feature for those just finding their way around a piano or a multi-instrument keyboard.
As a further guide, the LCD screen shows the notes that you are playing. And it includes the treble or bass clef and shows the note illuminated as you play it.
There would need to be some form of basic sound coming from the keyboard. If only so it hasn’t always got to be connected to an amp. The speakers are best described as rather small and modest.
They are quite loud enough for use at home, but that is about all. And the sound quality is not the best as you might not expect. The higher frequencies are OK, but it lacks any reference at all with lower frequencies. But then, this is not built as a standalone concert instrument. But, when amplified, it will be more than adequate.
Of course, there are many sound and performance features, including rhythms, but we shall discuss those in more detail later.
Worthy of consideration is the built-in six-track recorder. With this, you can quickly record anything you are playing. This might be for practice purposes or if you are composing or creating your own music. There’s also a library of 100 songs built-in for practice.
Once again, evidence that Casio is attempting to make this keyboard suitable for both complete beginners and more accomplished musicians.
On the rear…
There are all the connections you will need. There is a ¼ inch headphone socket and a ⅛ inch input for audio. Plus, importantly, a USB-MIDI connection that is class-compliant. This gives you an immediate connection to a computer, smartphone, or tablet and doubles up as a MIDI controller.
Included is an AC adapter for mains use. It will also run on six AA batteries that are not included.
There is no pitch bend or a modulation wheel, which are the only things that are missing from the next level up of keyboard. But at this price point, you could probably forgive those omissions.
It was designed in Japan and made in China.
Extra Performance Features Built-in
There are some features that you can expect with this keyboard. Some of which you would often find only on more expensive products. You can layer the sounds, which means having two instruments playing the same note and tune. You can link any instruments together, but Piano and strings together are common favorites.
There is also a split facility where you can have the keyboard split into two sections. A good idea if you have a teacher who wants to play along with you.
You can also transpose the key on the Casio CT-X700.
As we have said, 61 full-size touch-responsive keys that give you 600 different sounds and 195 rhythms. And they are all in there.
Grand pianos that sound like they have come from the concert hall. Electric pianos that evoke songs of yesteryear and vintage-sounding phasers. The orchestra at your fingertips with flutes, and sax giving you real breathy sounds for realism.
Brass and String sections are everywhere in various formats. Play the bass guitar, and listen to the sound of the instrument, react to how hard you hit the key. Create drum parts from everything imaginable that you could hit and a few more besides. We will look more closely at those in a minute.
Everything for everyone…
Beginners will be fascinated and will be introduced to sounds they never knew existed. Experienced musicians might find just the sound they were looking for to include in a project.
Sounds and tones that will go way beyond what you would think possible from what is, after all, a budget instrument. But isn’t that what Casio is all about?
The AIX in the box…
The reason for this is Casio’s ‘AIX Sound Source.’ What they use inside the workings to generate the tones and textures to the sound. As with all keyboards of this nature, some sounds are great, others that are not, and some that are just okay. The pianos on this keyboard especially, are very good. The strings are good, and some of the world instruments are excellent.
Having such a large soundbank can only be good, even if some of the instrument’s sounds are a bit less than realistic.
For the experienced player, they will be impressed with a range of effects they can give their playing. There are Reverbs, EQ, and Chorus options. The Reverbs especially are worth considering. They include options to create the feeling of the usual room and hall sizes. But also extend to cathedrals and even stadiums.
This keyboard punches well above its weight and is going to give you a surprise.
If you are someone that likes to play along with other musicians, then this is the keyboard for you. With the built-in preprogrammed rhythm sections, you will always have a band to play with. You can create your own or just use what is inside, and there are plenty of those to choose from.
Plus, there are plenty of genres and styles crossing years of musical history. Hundreds of rhythms that incorporate old favorites and modern hits. Acoustic drums and the electronic variety all are well-represented, along with world drums and sound effects.
Your own Lessons
But what about if you have never touched a keyboard before? If that is the case, you’ve got the right keyboard. Built-in lesson plans to help you on your way. Easy to learn songs. The display showing you the notation and the finger positions as you go along.
This keyboard making personalizing lessons very easy.
The MIDI connections
For a keyboard to be taken seriously by those that can play and might want to use it, there must be MIDI compatibility. That is a given.
The Casio CT-X700 has a USB-MIDI class-compliant connecting port that will connect you. This will include any Mac, PC, iOS, or Android computer or device. Suddenly, you are in the world of music-making. Hook up your keyboard into a DAW on your computer. Use the sound editing options within your system. This is going to give you a shock as to just how good it will perform.
If you choose, you can use the sounds within your system, be it Garageband or whatever. You will feel the quality of the action of the keyboard and how it plays under the fingers.
Casio CT-X700 61-Key Portable Keyboard Pros and Cons
- Good quality build.
- Lightweight and very portable.
- 61 touch-responsive full-size keys.
- Illuminated LCD screen.
- Built-in speakers.
- Layering, Split keyboard, and transposition options.
- Class-compliant USB-MIDI connection.
- 600 sounds and 195 rhythms built-in.
- Reverb, Chorus, and EQ options.
- Great price point.
- Lesson options and ‘play along’ built-in.
- No pitch bend or modulation wheel.
- The built-in speakers are not of the best quality.
Looking for Something Else?
There is a wide variety of keyboards out there. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Cheap Keyboard Piano, the Best Portable Keyboard Pianos, the Best 88 Key Keyboards, the Best Keyboard Synthesizer, and the Best Kawai Digital Piano you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our reviews of the Best Digital Keyboards Under $1000, the Best Digital Pianos Beginners, the Best Digital Keyboards Under $500, the Best Digital Grand Piano, and the Best Digital Piano Reviews currently on the market.
Casio CT-X700 61-Key Portable Keyboard – Final Thoughts
We have to say that this is an excellent keyboard. We have seen some comments regarding its playability that we consider unreasonable. One mentioned that it is not as expressive to the touch as most ‘high-end’ MIDI controllers. Whoever said that must have wandered in from a parallel universe. This isn’t a high-end MIDI controller. It was never designed to be.
The only reason they might have said that was that after playing it, they hadn’t looked at the price ticket. They had assumed it was a high-end product. That is a testament in itself. It can compete with some of the ‘high end’ products at a fraction of the price.
As we said in the very beginning, no matter where you are on your musical journey, there is no need to sacrifice quality because of budget.
Until next time, may the music make you merry.