Casio SK-1

Casio SK-1 Image

Well, people call it the poor man's sampler. It is the cheapest sampler in the world. Followed by the SK-5, the second cheapest in the world. It's a polyphonic synthesizer (just four voices) with very cheap sounds and it can store one sample in its memory. The sampling is 8-bit PCM, 9.38kHz, giving about 1.4 seconds. It's so gritty... Samples can only be recorded through the awful mini-mic built-in to the upper-right corner or a 3.5mm line-input plug on the backside of the synth. Alas, its memory clears when turned off.

Obviously it's designed as a cheap toy for consumers. This is the sort of sampler-toy you end up belching into with your friends and play burp-songs for a laugh! There are 11 built-in accompaniment-style drum patterns (disco, rock, samba, etc.) which are all embarrassingly fun and totally unusable. The keyboard uses mini plastic keys. It lacks MIDI, lacks effects, edit-ability, memory, and filtering. However there are 13 envelope shapes that can affect your sample or synth sounds somewhat. There is also portamento, vibrato, and chord accompaniment with the chord selector system.

Casio SK-1 Image

Rare pink model

If you gotta make some lo-fi cheese samples then you might want to try the SK-1, after all it is very cheap! Of course, as cheap as they come and with the built-in sampling, the SK-1 is a great candidate for circuit-bending! It is used by Fatboy Slim, Beck, Autechre, Portishead, Bloodhound Gang, Nine Inch Nails, Incubus and Blur.

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42 Visitor comments
HEADCLEANER
December 14, 2013 @ 4:55 pm
nothing crap about it..you get awesome punchy,filthy lo-fi samples.lots of versatility like portamento,vibrato, 13 env. and a special synthesizing button.i think this is my first sampler i was able to use portamento on my samples.they forgot mention a 1/4 inch input on the back.
Pulse Emitter
April 17, 2013 @ 12:20 am
i was fortunate to have a friend growing up in the 80’s who had one of these. man, hours and hours of fun! i later got one for myself and continued to have good times with it. realized you can build your own sounds with the additive synth feature and envelopes. then i circuit bent it which made all sorts of new sounds but it’s never worked since, whoops.
LMSCP
April 15, 2013 @ 2:12 pm
Casio SK-8 + Korg Monotron: Dirty fun! Record some Monotron samples in the Casio, tune them down to the max to get more GRIT, start a beat, output back in the Monotron. Be AMAZED!
AviatorRaven
April 11, 2013 @ 2:05 pm
I use to play with one of these all the time when I was a kid. My grandpa had a pretty beat up one that he found at the thrift store or somewhere.
Paul FitzZaland
April 2, 2013 @ 12:13 am
The SK-1 is one of my favourite portable keyboards. I spend several hours a week on ferry boats and I always have it with me.

On it's own the piano sound has a nice bright quality and the analog flute with portamento is cool. The real fun is running the jazz organ patch through a Monotron filter and then a Monotron Delay to get a warm crunchy sound that's reminiscent of a distorted guitar. I have a Korg DS-10+ that I use for drums and baselines and together you can get a pretty big sound from a bunch of really small instruments.

I highly recommend the SK-1!
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 4 voices
  • Oscillators - additive synth section: 5 PCM tones: piano, brass ensemble, trumpet, synth drums, human voice; 3 synth tones: flute, pipe organ, jazz organ
  • Sampler - Holds 1 Sample: 8-bit PCM, 9.38kHz, approx. 1.4 seconds, loop/ envelope select functions
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Filter - None
  • VCA - None; 13 Envelope shapes
  • Drums - 11 drum patterns: disco, rock, pops, march, samba, bossa nova, rhumba, 4 beat, swing, slow rock, waltz
  • Sequencer - 100 steps of polyphonic programming or 99 step chord sequence with and 198 steps each of two solo voices.
  • Keyboard - 32 mini-keys
  • Memory - Volatile, lost when powered off
  • Control - None
  • Date Produced - 1985
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images by Vintage Synth Explorer and Perfect Circuit Audio.

    Additional information provided by Chris and Jeph.

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