Around 6 months ago I got to have a brief look at a pair of Casio synthesizers that got me all excited. It had been years since I had played with a Casio synthesizer and these reignited an old fire in my soul. So, now I am more than happy to have a more in depth look at one of these keyboards again, the Casio XW-G1 synthesizer.
NOT JUST FOR THE BAND
The XW-G1 has been built as a performance synthesizer, focusing on how the user can create sounds on the fly, rather than being put together for studio production. Casio are cleverly presenting a keyboard that DJs and electronic music producers alike will want to integrate into their live sets. The first thing to consider is that you do not need to be a classical pianist to get a great sound out of this synthesizer. It is going to snuggle in with the other tools any modern DJ uses and will be a logical addition to their workflow. The inbuilt sampler and looper is what makes this such a powerful tool for the modern DJ and integrated with a controller or CDJ combination it allows you to create some truly unique and amazing tracks on the fly.
The sounds are generated from Casio’s Hybrid Processing Sound Source, stemming from a 6 oscillator monophonic solo synthesizer engine. Essentially, what you get is a wide range of sounds that have a real classic analogue sound to them, but have the control and flexibility of a modern digital synth engine. Each voice can be made up of two virtual analogue oscillators, two PCM based oscillators, a noise oscillator and an external input source defined as an oscillator. Each oscillator having its own envelope generator and filters as well as a master filter across the entire sound. Before you get to the stage, you can sculpt and craft your own set of sounds to work with that have more complexity to them that anything you are likely to hear in a typical sample library.
EASE OF CONTROL
It is the power of the synth engine within the XW-G1 that gives you the awesome sound and the clever interface that allows you the flexibility and creative control to bring those sounds into a live set. It then becomes a synthesizer, looper, sampler and drum machine all bundled into one unit. For those DJs who love to bring their own beats to life on stage with hardware, this is the unit for you. If you don’t play keyboard confidently, that is no reason to shy away from the XW-G1 either. You just need to think of it as another controller with a serious loop engine behind it and ignore the keys in their traditional sense. If they are simply treated as pads for triggering samples and beats, the ease of workflow while in the mix just gets better.
Hits and Misses
Quick and easy looping function
Incredible depth of sound when building your own patches
Plenty of real time control functions
iPad integration for more mobile use
Can be operated on batteries if needed
Maybe a little large for some DJ booths
- Sound Engine: Hybrid
- Number of Keys: 61
- Polyphony: 300 Notes
- Number of Presets: 300
- Arpeggiator: Yes
- Sampling: Yes – up to 19 secs
- USB: Yes – MIDI USB
- MIDI: In/Out/Thru
- Audio In: 2 x TRS
- Audio out: 2 x TRS, 1 x Stereo TRS Headphone