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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43 Visitor comments
Pete Marriott
October 31, 2011 @ 4:04 am
I just purchased my 3rd one yesterday afternoon. The 1st one I own was back in the 80's when they first came out and ironically I made my very first record with it.

The 2nd one I got was last year and then I sent it to a guy in Arizona via EBay who claimed he could install a MIDI IN port and a chip that would extend the sampling time. I've yet to hear from him ever again.

The Casio SK-1 holds a great deal of memories for me and it started my production career, so I'm very happy to have another one because I love it!
Alex K.
October 23, 2011 @ 3:06 pm
Got mine for $10 at Goodwill today. It's a fun little keyboard and the brass preset is surprisingly usable.
margus kiis
February 3, 2011 @ 5:39 pm
It`s pretty magical keyboard which elements I still explore after 5 years. Sampling is one thing but its strange "synthesize" plug is still quite mystery for me.
Unlike any other "toy" SK-1`s preset sounds are warm and unsynthetic. Brass is similar to MiniMoog primal sound which allows easily to cover Tubeway Army songs. Portamento button allows create sounds for sci-fi and horror movies. :P
Underestimated instrument anyway.
October 25, 2010 @ 9:07 pm
Find samples of other synths or other cool sound files.Now plug it to your computer`s line out and plug the other end to the line in on the Casio SK-1,hit the sample button and might be impressed, you might even stop burping into it and get creative.

Do not expect super hi quality sound out of this remember this is a LOFi 8bit sampler.That`s what I love about it.
Fatal Orbit
June 30, 2010 @ 12:04 pm
I had one as a kid. I saw it in the Sears catalog and saved up for it. It seems cheesy now, but it was the best non-toy musical thing I had until then. I gave it away some years later when I went to university, to a cousin I think. I should see if it's still kicking around somewhere, I could use it now.
VSE Rating

Don’t bother

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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