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.

Check Casio SK-1 Prices on eBay

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42 Visitor comments
gridsleep
January 19, 2012 @ 8:54 am
Power supplies going for away less than Radio Shack prices can be found all over eBay, usually with free shipping. Just make sure the voltage is exact and the polarity matches or can be reversed as necessary. If you don't find one listed with all the numbers, just as the seller, they are usually happy to tell you everything. RS used to sell universal adapter with all the plug types in one box for about $10-15. Now the supply is in one package and each little adapter plug is packaged separately. They are there when you need them, but dang RS must think they are a boutique outlet shop these days
Lando CAli
January 18, 2012 @ 6:40 pm
Just found one in a free box!! SCORE!!
Johanna
December 21, 2011 @ 7:10 pm
Hi--
Just got one at a local animal shelter thrift store. I tried it out last night and I like it very much. The only problem is that it does not have an A/C adapter so I am using batteries at the moment. Radio Shack wanted almost $40.00 for a replacement adapter!!! So, does anyone know where I can get one?? Thanks! I think this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship:-)
Matthew Callis
November 25, 2011 @ 10:34 pm
I really enjoy the SK-1 I have, and you can add a MIDI to it, as seen here: http://highlyliquid.com/kits/umr/
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.

http://youtu.be/8jXgIKCB5mI

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!
 
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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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