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.

Lookup Casio SK-1 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Casio SK-1? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

43 Visitor comments
June 26, 2010 @ 5:52 pm
Istill have mine. Its mint but alas the box went west years ago.
Great for chewing up samples and then re-recording back into the DAW. Unless I get a good offer for it, it isnt going anywhere!
Son of MooG
April 24, 2010 @ 7:32 am
My entry into the world of sampling. I sold it years after i got my Mirage, but sometimes i wish it back...
March 17, 2010 @ 11:21 pm
My best friend gave me his once we were in college and I found one in a pawn shop for $4.50. So much fun. I remember one time hitting sample and flicking the mic, then looping it. Played it on low F and recorded it out to a cassette recorded. Then I re-sampled it back in. Repeated this a couple of times and had a really awesome helicopter noise.
Alex Denning
December 12, 2009 @ 2:58 pm
the poor mans sampler? the SK-1 deserves every bit of praise it gets, this was the childhood fantasy of millions of people worldwide during the 80's and even today people are still enjoying the retro charm of this keyboard, you only have to type it in on youtube to realise that. kids would watch there favourite synth pop groups on TV and just want to make there own kind of noise, and this keyboard gave them a chance to do that. And yes it has its faults but who cares, its given millions of people world wide countless hours of fun and effectively laughed in the face of other more expensive synths of the time that the average joe like me could never afford! and thats why i love this keyboard and its predecessors, thank you casio :)
korg ds-10 home
September 24, 2009 @ 8:31 am
It's a great keyboard but there's one thing that really bugs me about the Casio SK-1: you can't turn off the rhythm when you play chords. I find that really weird.
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 3.84 (691 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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

    Additional information provided by Chris and Jeph.

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