Casio MZ-X: A New Generation of Interactive Arranging Stations
The Casio brand surprised everyone again: the MZ-2000 series, which has been known in the professional environment for about 15 years, has replenished with new-generation arrangement stations. Versatility used to be a hallmark of the instruments of this series, but today engineers have surpassed themselves - it seems that we have equipment that can process any music, regardless of genre, direction and style.
The MZ-X series includes two instrument models, called the MZ-X300 (basic) and the MZ-X500. The latest model has advanced functionality.
The equipment of the instruments, as always, is at its best: a color touch screen, rotary knobs, convenient sliders. The speaker system is an original combination of power (20 watts per channel) and the possibility of amplifying bass, giving the sound volume and “juiciness”. In addition, all instruments are equipped with pads, the number of which varies depending on the model: the MX-Z300 has 4, and the MZ-X500 has 16 pads.
The MXi next-generation sound processor has 128-voice polyphony support. The instrument itself is equipped with linear inputs and outputs, two connectors for pedals, as well as USB, USB to host and MIDI ports.
The design of the tools has undergone significant changes: now they embody a creative futuristic concept. We add that ergonomics have been significantly improved - all the necessary controls are at hand, and the display has an intuitive interface for quick and flexible parameter settings.
The content of the article
- Auto Accompaniment Section
- Registration memory
- Sound features
- Acoustic system
- Mixer and Effect Blocks
- Screen and navigation
- Sequencer operation and audio recording
Auto Accompaniment Section
Perhaps the most significant changes have affected the auto accompaniment section. Firstly, now the arranger has at his disposal 2 introductions and 2 conclusions. Secondly, the developers increased the number of variations from 2 to 4, and also added new functions for working with sound: smooth input and output of volume, interruption and deceleration, turning the midi file into an accompaniment of any style. Thirdly, the range of supported musical directions was significantly expanded: there was a place not only for the genres of European music, but also for styles from Arab countries, India, the Near and Middle East. In total, synthesizers support 280 and 330 styles, depending on the model.
Appreciate the clear sound of musical instruments ">
Now the musician has even more opportunities for creativity - the number of banks in the registration memory has been increased to 32, and the number of registration cells in each installation has been brought up to 8.
In addition to quantitative, there are qualitative changes: a special filter will inaudibly switch between different tools right in the process.
The processor of the new generation is called MXi, and the word Expressive, that is, “expressiveness, expressiveness” is hiding in this abbreviation. The choice of such a name is not accidental - numerous parameters and controls make the sound of the material truly expressive, imaginative and textured.
The first thing you need to pay attention to is polyphony of 128 voices. This fact alone suggests that the technology of working with sound is above all praise. The presence of a number of timbre-forming elements and their settings makes the synthesizers of this series unique in their own way. Judge for yourselves: tones can be arranged in zones of sensitivity, where they will instantly respond to the emergence of new layers in music, for example, flutes in the smooth sound of a piano. In addition, the tones are easily distributed on the keyboard, and the dependence of the layers on criteria such as the envelope of the amplifier, LFO, and all kinds of filters can make them even more expressive, bright and expressive.
The developers did not pass by the HEX layer function , which was previously used in professional equipment from CASIO. It allows you to create a complex and unique complex of six sounds in one timbre. Considering that it is possible to make their deep adjustments in the form of volume, effects and panning, we can conclude that the arranger gets truly unlimited possibilities for experiments.
Special attention should be paid to the touch screen. This will definitely attract the views of the other part of music lovers to the synthesizer - those who have a rich imagination, but get confused in the variety of technical “lotions” of any arrangement station. Now it’s much easier to control the tool.
A bass synthesizer acts as a second instrument engine. Its function is to create and synthesize unique compositions, from the smooth and soft sound of a solo to the biting, aggressive bass sound inherent in modern music.
A few touches on the screen will bring up various menus with settings that can be changed using nine sliders and three rotary knobs. Fast, convenient, easy. All sliders are multifunctional and allow you to edit each emulation.
Also note the improved quality of instrument voices. Many of them were simply rewritten, some were taken from the AiR library of digital pianos PX-5S / PX-560, known to every professional musician. The timbres of drums, accordions, strings and drums became lively, vibrant, expressive. In some of them, the developers added sounds of blows to the body and other interesting effects.
The acoustics of the instrument deserve only the highest rating. The speakers confidently hold both high and low sounds, do not wheeze, do not “fall through” in the middle of the range. Stereophony is up to standard. The Bass Reflex system with a 4.3-liter workspace enhances bass sound.
Power of 20 watts per channel is enough to have a great party in a small room. Want to sing your songs "> Pads
Pads - this is a unique extension of the functionality of the instrument, the capabilities of which were previously simply inaccessible. For example, they allow you to play single sounds of percussion or strings, sample, direct chord accompaniment sequences and more. The pads with which the older model is equipped are multifunctional and work with a normal touch.
The pads are easy to control. Divide them into equal groups, each of which will be responsible for creating certain effects, for example, changing harmony, creating arpeggiated phrases, turning on rhythmic figures, integrating new percussion loops, etc. The new musical riff will be saved in a few touches of the screen.
Working with pads is a real pleasure for a professional. Want to create a new effect "> Mixer and Effect Blocks
The synthesizer has a 48 channel mixer. Tracks are located on the screen in 4, and all the necessary settings and available effects - volume, panorama, chorus, delays, DSP, reverb - are called up with just one touch. The remote control has a master compressor and a four-band parametric master equalizer, buttons for turning off channels and switching to SOLO mode.
Screen and navigation
We must pay tribute to developers who not only keep up to date, but also care about the usability of the tool. Synthesizers do not have a keypad, and all instrument control is via a color touch screen. Regulators are located under the display.
The screen responds not only to touch, but also to simulate paging. The on-screen menu is a set of icons. Use the numeric keypad or the Value knob to enter.
On the left side are buttons for working with sounds and styles. The pads are located in the upper right part of the control panel, the auto accompaniment control system is under the screen, the metronome buttons and multi-function sliders are to the left of it, and the additional options buttons are on the right.
“Creative” work with the screen is expressed in the flexible configuration of DSP effects: on their page there is a special area with a coordinate system in which you can quickly change one or another effect.
A set of knobs, sliders, pads, pedals and screen features is an amazing set of tools for any musical experiment.
Sequencer operation and audio recording
On the “board” of the synthesizer is a MIDI sequencer for 16 tracks and the ability to record an audio file in * .wav 44.1 kHz format to a memory card via USB.
The instrument memory stores up to 100 songs, each of which stores up to 50, 000 MIDI events. Auto accompaniment data, as well as effects and other overhead information, as in other top CASIO instruments, are recorded on the system track.
The sequencer works with ordinary recordings, and with their overlay, and with records created through the sidebar. When working with tracks, you can do anything from simple combining to editing MIDI events. In addition, convenient work with measures, quantization, and pitch shift is implemented.
To edit events, the developers have allocated a separate menu with a convenient interface. For example, you can set a filter that limits the range of events that can be changed.
The MZ-X300 and MZ-X500 synthesizers left all their competitors a few steps behind and became “higher in the head” of all their predecessors, including the CTK-7200 and other well-known models. The first look at these tools is fascinating, and working with them is a pleasure. Stunning design, well-thought-out ergonomics, high functionality, a convenient touch screen, intuitive settings and changes in settings, “clean” acoustics - all this allows the musician to create, improvise and enjoy the sound of a truly “adult” instrument.