Casio SA-76

  • Year Produced: 2015
  • Synthesizer Chip: Custom (Plays PCM samples)
  • Polyphony: 8 Voices
  • Stereo: Yes
  • Number of Keys: 44 Mini-Keys
  • Velocity Detection: No
  • MIDI: No
  • Line Out: Headphone Jack only
  • Number of built-in instruments:  100
  • Synthesizer Controls:No
  • Other controls: Drum Pads
  • Variations: very similar to the Casio SA-46, with a few extra keys.

David’s Thoughts:

Normally I concentrate on vintage 80’s keyboards.  But the SA-76 caught my eye when walking through Fry’s electronics once.  I saw the little keyboard there for $49 and I wanted to see what a modern kid’s keyboard sounded like.  So I bought it.  The sounds are super impressive.  While it is obvious to me that the sounds are inferior to a professional keyboard, I would imagine many regular people probably can’t tell the difference.

The keyboard is very basic, meaning it has almost no controls beyond selecting an instrument or a rhythm.  It has no means of sustain at all.  So if you want to simulate that, you just have to hold the keys down longer, using two hands if necessary.   It does have a little LCD that shows a staff and what note you are playing.  This is sort of handy if you have trouble reading music like I do.  You can sort of find the note you need by pressing several keys until it pops up.  The reverse is true as well, if you have created a tune and you want to transcribe it to notation.

The keyboard is slightly unusual on the accompaniment.  Rather than allow you to select a chord, it has several preset background tunes that change chords on their own.  You have to adapt your music to fit their progression.  I typically never use auto-accompaniment on keyboards anyway since I multi-track record everything I do.

One fascinating thing I noticed is that when playing the built in Christmas songs, you can clearly hear sleigh bells jingling… yet, the keyboard does not have an instrument that the player can access for these sleigh bells. Strange.

Also, the keyboard may only have 44 keys.  But at least when you select a bass instrument it automatically transposes the keyboard down for you so that you can get some decent bass sounds.  So this makes the keyboard much more versatile for multi-track recording.

Check out some of the projects I’ve done on this keyboard.