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
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!
March 30, 2013 @ 2:56 pm
WHOA! Blast from the past! My FIRST synth RIGHT there the Casio SK-1.
13 year old boy sampling burps and farts.... he ehe ehe
January 16, 2013 @ 5:56 pm
Hello all i did a hack quite some time ago, but i was wondering if there is a diagram somewhere out there with the main prossor pin order showing each insturment and what pin there on . other than that i have had 3 and i love them after a good hack they are 10x more usefull
Walter Ego
October 4, 2012 @ 2:51 pm
Just nabbed an SK-1. Lots of fun. I recognized what I think is the Disco rhythm in the song Candy Girl by Soviet. The rhythm sounds are similar but not identical to those on the VL-1, as opposed to, say, the CT or MT series Casios.

2 things people don't mention often: 1. It has a basic organ-style synth you can build yourself from harmonics. 2. It has 13 envelopes to choose from.

I have been having a wonderful time sampling a nice fat tone from my Korg Monotron Duo and turning into a fun lead sound and also very useful polyphonic string machine with a surprisingly warm tone.
Cheap Chip
August 2, 2012 @ 12:55 pm
The SK-1 IS also used by Iggy Pop and the Stooges, by the way. Saw it last Sunday at Greenville Festival, Paaren, Germany. The Saxophonist used it for "I wanna be your dog".... Exactly: The toy piano preset. Awful sound, but it works. I had one SK-1 in the 80s, when it was new. The review above says all about this keyboard, it's 100 percent true. Although I had a lot of fun and inspiration with that... For max. 20€ I would buy it again:)
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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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