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  CT-202 At a Glance
Picture needed arrowReleased: 1981  Specifications
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Simon Beck writes:
This was the second full-sized keyboard from Casio. I bought my CT-202 in 1981 direct from Casio UK. At the time my keyboard setup consisted of a Hohner Pianet T and an amplifier, so the new instrument represented something of a breakthrough.

The system of synthesis used was called "Consonant-Vowel" and consisted of two digital oscillators per voice, each having a static waveform and a volume envelope. The effective cross-fading of the two different waveforms gave a certain amount of animation to the sound, and definitely made a change from the analogue filter sweeps made by just about every other synth at the time. A similar (but more sophisticated) system had been used previously by Allen/RMI in their Keyboard Computer, and was later used by AlphaSyntauri in their Apple II-based system.

The sounds are selected by sliding a single switch and pressing a key on the keyboard. The names of the sounds are written above the keyboard, the white notes selecting percussive sounds and the black notes sustained ones. Any four sounds can be assigned to push-buttons for quick access while playing, and "sustain" (actually extra release time) and three preset levels/speeds of vibrato can be added. There is a 5-watt built-in amplifier and speaker, and the whole instrument is made very solidly from plywood and tough plastic. Power is provided direct from the mains via a standard Euroconnector (no wall warts here!).

At the time, Casio's clean, sparkling sounds were practically unique (Digital FM was still being developed), and Elvis Costello and the BBC Radiophonics Workshop were among early Casio users. (A CT-202 can also be seen in Spinal Tap's keyboard rig!) And my own CT-202? It's now in a glass case in the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, South London for all to see.

Comments About the Sounds:
Bear in mind that these are neither sampled sounds nor conventionally synthesised ones. Sounds vary from excellent (Pipe Organ 2, Horn, Bandoneon, Taisho Koto) via strange (Synthe-Sound, Funky Clavi, Electric Guitar 3) to downright dire (Trumpet, Violin, Bagpipe, Piano). Some, such as Viola are transformed by being put through a humble chorus pedal (the resultant string sound makes a Solina seem quite rough). The actual choice of sounds is a bit odd - FOUR harps? SEVEN acoustic guitars??? but there are some real gems among them.

(Thanks to Simon Beck for this info.)

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