Consumer-grade home keyboard
released in 1985
. Notable features include cheap synth tones, cheap rhythms, and ultra lo-fi
sampling abilities. Below is all kinds of information about this lovely trashy toy that I've grown to love
since I received it as a Christmas present as a child.
Fun things to do with your SK-1:
As most people have done as kids, sample
your fart, burp, the tv, or noise you want to hear humorously pitched up or down. Hours of fun, and especially good for road trip
For musicians, especially electronic musician
s, its a great way to get lo-fi stuff into your recordings. You won't get any minute-long samples, as the maximum sample length is very short, however it is a great source for percussion
and weird effects.
If you sample your fingers flicking the air (make sure its loud enough), the SK-1 will truncate
the sample down to just the flick sound. The sample is so short that looping it will produce a woody sounding synth tone that is really pretty nifty.
32 miniature keys
Audio inputs: 1/4" & 1/8"
Audio output: 1/8"
Power via 5 AA batteries or DC 7.5V
Sound is produced a number of ways within the SK-1. PCM
sampled tones, "harmonic synthesis" tones (a very simple additive
synthesizer that is explained below), and sampled tones.
, brass ensemble
, human voice
, synth drums.
Harmonic synthesis tones:
, pipe organ
, jazz organ
input via built-in microphone or audio inputs. 8-bit
, maximum length of 1.4 seconds. Holds 1 sample at a time.
There are 13 amplitude envelope
s to apply to your sampled sound. Most have names like "damped tone," "organ with attack," or something similarly non-specific. You can get close to echo
, but most will slightly vary aspects of a standard ADSR
Harmonic synthesis voice:
The last button under "pipe organ" will bring up the harmonic synthesis voice onto the keys. Pushing the "synthesizing" button will switch the SK-1 into harmonic synthesis mode. Your current sound (starts with fundamental
) will sustain until the process is complete (synthesizing button is pushed again). You cannot trigger any notes within this mode. Slightly varied sine
waves are mapped to 9 keys (16-foot, 8-foot, 5 1/2-foot, 4-foot, 2 2/3-foot, 2-foot, 1 3/5-foot, 1 1/3-foot, 1-foot). Each push of a key within the range will increase the particular sine within the voice. The range of sounds is fairly limited, most ending up sounding like a cheap bell or organ.
6 drum sounds (bass drum
, open hat
, closed hat
, two tom
s) used monophonic
ally with tempo control. Fill-in button will insert a fill associated with the current rhythm.
s (5 1/3'), March
(2 2/3'), Bossa Nova
(1 3/5'), 4 Beat (1 1/3'), Swing
(1'), Slow Rock
Things to know:
The SK-1 has 4 note polyphony
The memory is volatile
, so all sample, sequence
, and edited harmonic synth voice data is lost when powered off.
After approximately 7 minutes, the keyboard will shut off automatically.
is available, like most home keyboards, to turn your genius keystrokes into genius keystrokes with terrible matching chords.
Current (as of 10/4/02) used price is $5-50. There are usually a few up on eBay
Has been used by notable artists such as Fatboy Slim
, and Portishead
The range of sounds that are possible to produce with the SK-1 is fairly limited, but can be expanded by opening up the case and playing with its pieces. It is a particularly popular keyboard to do this with, as it can be battery-operated and has easily accessible circuits. Popular modifications include a MIDI retrofit
and circuit bend
Related Casio gear:
Realistic Concertmate 500
Realistic Concertmate 650
Realistic Concertmate 800
Circuit bending the SK-1
Info & Manual
Dr. Joseph Paradiso's SK-1
The SK-1 Manual