Casio CT-S300/CT-S400 opinions (grand piano sound, keybed)?

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Hello everybody,

(almost) first post here. I'm pretty much a newbie to really playing keyboard, even though I'm already past 40.

I'm interested to hear (preferably from real users' experiences) opinions about the two keyboards in the subject. Only those two - I *do* consider alternatives, but that's beyond this discussion. Both keyboards were reported to be pretty close in price but where I live, the 400 is about 70€ (almost 40%) more expensive than the 300.

I tried to do my homework the best I can:

The CT-S300 ist the top model of the CT-S100/200/300 range (the only one with touch response). I really love this form factor and its weight. It comes with the older AHL sound engine (that the older CT-K 'mainstream' range used).

The CT-S400 ist one of the two newest additions (CT-S400/500) to the CT-S line, which unfortunately (IMHO) does not fully retain the CT-S100/200/300 form factor. OTOH it comes with the newer, alledgedly much-improved AIX sound engine (like the newer CT-X 'mainstream' range uses).

Oddly, the 400 has "Stage Piano" as the default, not the more common "Grand Piano" (like the 300). This leads me to my fist question. I wasn't able to find a good demonstration of the "Grand Piano" sound (voice no.2) of the 400, to have a real comparison with the "Grand Piano" (voice no.1) of the 300. I didn't find the 300's default piano sound too bad, albeit a tad 'thin' (all other sounds are mono and nothing to write home about, but that's not overly important to me). OTOH, the 400's AIX sounds always sound in a strange way artificial and intrusive to me, especially after listenting to them for a while. That includes said "Stage Piano".
Unfortunately, I don't have a chance to try real-life examples of both keyboards. And my non-existing playing skill would render a 'live' comparison moot, anyway.
So, does anyone know either one or (ideally) both of those keyboards and can give an assessment of the respective (Grand) piano sounds?

Second, the keybed (I hope that's the right word). Reviews are overly positive over the 400's keys (for the price point) which are said to be a big improvement over the CT-S200/300's. However, I found several comments on Amazon that the 400's keybed goes out of shape/keys get skewed after relatively short time. A flaw that would typically go unnoticed by 'professional' reviewers. Therefore I would appreciate member's experiences whether (i) the CT-300 keys are at least acceptable, (ii) how 300 and 400 really compare and (iii) how the 400 really withstands long-term regular use.

Of course, usability (e.g. No. of registration memory slots) and features may also be an important consideration for choosing a keyboard, but that's not the focus of this post. I'm not interested in Bluetooth, for example (I prefer wires anyway). OTOH, I'll have to evaluate the findings for both of my questions will have to be in light of the price difference.

Thanks in advance.
Sorry for being so wordy ;-)
 

happyrat1

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Considering they were announced two weeks ago I doubt anyone was actually able to buy one and review it for you.

You might not see a response to this thread for months after this.

As for the rest of the brochure features you mentioned, not really my cup of tea.

Gary ;)
 
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?

The CT-S300 has been on the market (as in: you can really buy it) for more than 2 years, the CT-S400 for at least half a year.

Are you thinking of some other models?
 
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It is the 500 & 1000 that are new in the Casiotone range is the 100, 200, 250, & 300.

the Casio arranger range is the CT X 700, 3000, 5000, the 5000 is the one I tried and sent back as the OS was dire.

If you want my honest answer, I would only buy a Casio CT S model for an under 10 child.

70€ really is the price for a childs keyboard not a keyboard for someone to seriously learn, imo that is.

The CT X is a better buy but tyhe operating system is not user friendly at all.

My suggestion would be to look at a Korg EK 50 or a Yamaha PSR E463 or the newly released 473 if you want a arranger style keyboard with 61 keys.

For 88 key digital pianos with arranger features then Korg XE20, Yamaha DGX 670 or Casio PX S3100 are the ones to consider.

It really depends upon what style you want to learn but if you are fully committed to learning push the boat out and buy a Korg Pa700 or Yamaha PSR SX700.
 
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Maybe I really should have included the words "entry-level" in the original post.
But I thought it was already too long … ;-)

From Mr. Gearfacts, for your viewing pleasure:

CT-S300:

CT-S400:

I chose the two models for a reason (which is their size). I already have a keyboard that is too big. And the Korg EK-50 is about twice the price of the CT-S300.

Edit: And 70€ ist the price *difference*, not the price.
 
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The Y_man

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I have the old CTK running AHL and a new CT-X running AIX - the differences in piano voices are massive (as in the AHL is *really* crap)

The Y-man
 
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You get what you pay for.

If a company sent me a free keyboard it would get a glowing review.

As for Jeremy See’s reviews, the only keyboards I have seen him critical of has been Casio’s.

What is it you actually want from a starter level keyboard?
 
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@ The Y-man: Thanks a lot. The first statement on topic, it seems (if only a little brief).

I actually already know Jeremy See's videos (this one and many others). As well as videos from Gearfacts, JPS (ThePianoforever, interesting guy, e.g. his comments on the honesty of reviews in general), Piano Tone, Casio Chaos Theory, KeyboardKrazy49, Keen on Keys, PianoManChuck, John Mike, pcpanik-Musik, Masataka Kono, Espen Kraft & others, both English and German, yada yada.
I have more than 200 review videos about keyboards, both current and vintage, alone saved to my hard drive (name list was extracted from that collection).
Anyone will have a hard time naming any current sub-400$ keyboard that I haven't already considered. I was not joking when I wrote that I did my homework.

@ All:
Could we possibly bring this thread back on track? Please.
I was asking two very specific questions about two specific models. Nothing else. I admit, one was a multi-part question, but nonetheless.
I was *not* asking for general buying advice. And this is the Casio subforum, after all.

To recapitulate: this is about the Casio CT-S300 and CT-S400.
Question no. 1
was
> can [anyone] give an assessment of the respective (Grand) piano sounds?
Question no. 2 was
> whether (i) the CT-300 keys are at least acceptable, (ii) how 300 and 400 really compare and (iii) how the 400 really withstands long-term regular use.
Admittedly, "long-term" and "at least half a year on the market" (post #4) are a bit of a contradiction, but that shouldn't matter much.

@ Biggles (#10; sorry, haven't figured out the proper use of the reply function yet):
> You get what you pay for.
I'm completely aware of that. I don't expect miracles. And I never said otherwise. But again, this is only about a comparison of two instruments of (vaguely) the same price level.
> What is it you actually want from a starter level keyboard?
Nowhere did I write I was looking for "a" starter level keyboard. And while I don't think anyone has to justify their questions, I already stated the reasoning for the initial questions (#7, emphasis added):
> I chose the two models for a reason (which is their size). I already have a keyboard that is too big.
I have very specific, good reasons for that rationale (which should be obvious from the second part of the quote). Absolute sound quality is not required ('acceptable' is enough), while at least some level of reliability (see question no. 2) is. The only other keyboard that comes close (disregarding the Casio CT-S1, another story) is the Roland Go Keys, which definitely exceeds the budget limitations (actually the CT-S400 at prices here already stretches it quite a bit).

I'm not still at the beginning of my quest, either. I'm working with very limited space here. I already had a very old (1991), cheap Yamaha PSR keyboard that I had picked up on a yardsale about 25y ago, but never used. 49-keys and sounds like a sick joke (all-FM synthesis, 'nuff said). I then dabbled with MIDI, DAWs and VST hosts. A 49-key MIDI keyboard would actually suit the space best, but the computer/keyboard combo is convoluted (I'm acutally a computer guy, but that's much more trouble than it's worth), and 49 keys is not enough anyway. I'll keep that stuff around in storage for another time though. Then I came across a nice used Yamaha PSR-E423 locally for a good price. Had to disassemble it to extract some small kid's toy, but works fine now. But … that thing is just MONSTROUS in that small room. Not only for the space it consumes (it really obstructs movement), but it also optically dominates the space in a way that bugs me. That's when I finally went out to find the most compact 61-key solution possible and ended up with the CT-S300 and CT-S400, after lots and lots of research. This is not meant to be the end-all-be-all. It's actually more like a temporary or secondary solution.

Not out to offend anyone, but I'm getting kind of tired of running into a kind of "You're new, so you're obviously stupid. You should clearly want something *different*. For *that* we have the following advice:" attitude over and over again. <Rest of rant deleted, don't want to get banned after all :-D> Lots of false assumptions around. Sorry to say that.

Apologies for another overly long post. But that wouldn't have been necessary if just people would read questions properly and stick to the (clear) intention of the initial posting. And not let their own preconceptions go wild.

So could we please finally get back on topic, instead of (as is all-too common) trying to talk someone into wanting something different than what was actually asked for?
 
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I love your candidnes and deem myself the same (I love to be precise).
So, did you ever get one of those?
I'm about to buy exactly one of those two, and have EXACTLY the same worries about keybed of 400 (it can clearly be seen in a shop that keys are not as firm and straight as on 300), but 400 has many other perks, and famous AiX...
What else did you found on 400's keybed?
 
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Truckiano, sorry for my late reply, but I haven't been back to this forum for a while.
To finally answer your question: No, I never got one of those two models. Did you?

At some point, I stumbled across a CT-S200 in that lovely red color (which is why I bought it) locally that I could acquire really cheaply in mint condition. After a while, I discarded it due to its lack of touch response.
What I *can* say about it, since the CT-S200 is in large parts identical to the CT-S300, is that I didn't find the sound terrible, the default (AHL) piano sound was quite acceptable IMHO. The other sounds aren't great, but I didn't find them atrocious either. The keybed was, as far as I recall (it's been a while), fine, except for the aforementioned lack of touch response. IIRC it was about on par with the 2 or 3 entry-level Yamahas I tried. OTOH, I am not the most experienced person to judge that.

But when I discarded the CT-S200, I was already on a new trip to get a key-lighting 'learning' keyboard, which I considered a good idea at the time. There aren't many of those around, although both the Yamaha EZ-300 and Casio LK-S450 (largely identical to the CT-S400) seem to have a good reputation. But I'm cheap, so I ended up with a used Yamaha EZ-220, an older model from 2012 loosely based on the PSR-E323/223 or PSR-E333/233 generation.
I discarded the lighting key idea, too, after a short while, but the Yamaha EZ-220 is also a decent beginner's keyboard (at least for the used prices) without it. It's got allround fine sounds, and I have nothing to complain about the keybed. The accompaniment features are somehow lacking, and it has neither sound layering nor split, but all that is not a problem for me at this stage. Plus, it is still quite compact compared to the PSR-E4x3 models (esp. the current E473), which kind of reflects back to the start of this thread.

That being said, after I finally decided to get out of a never-ending planning & dabbling phase some months ago and found me a real teacher, I'm now at a new crossroads, but that's material for a new thread, and unsuitable for the Casio subforum anyway.
 
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Hey! No worries!
Thank you for the personal response.
I settled with the CT-S300 :)
I went back to the store and tried both 300 and 400 side by side, and 400 really had flimsier keybed, terrible I'd say, and I personally don't like those speakers covered with cloth... And since I am a beginner I wouldn't really appreciate advanced AiX sound and other things of 400, apart from speakers. So, the keybed tipped me over. I'm still puzzled by Casio's choice of keybeds, but I believe that they couldn't built it in the price frame with both responsiveness and durability. So, I happily went with the durability for my level.
CT-S300 is phenomenal in design, I'm actually speechless about it - compact and rugged with a handle, speakers are just fine, I tend to play it on middle loudness or on headphones, so in that regard it's very good. Keybed is just fine for me, for a begginer: it is a bit stiff, but it looks very dependable and durable, I also found out (by testing) that below Roland Phantom series, which I plan in the future (if this endeavour develops as I hope), anything other is one way or another - the same. When I played Phantom, I thought "this is it", soft and responsive as one could dream of.
CT-S300 has basic accompaniments, but enough to sample the idea, rhythms are basic but good for me, sounds are usable, very few are good - but I don't want to be distracted by them anyway, I play many melodies with various layered and modern pianos, various organs too. Keybed response is good enough to practice dynamics, and USB connection is a bliss!
I bought it new at the discount for just over 200$, which is probably the best I could hope for. I feel it as a perfect match on all grounds (for a begginer), and I can tell there is a room for growth and development with it.
 
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Thank you for your update and your first hand-report. It's also quite convenient timing for me. Ironically, the topic has just become relevant for me again. A nice used CT-S1 has come up locally today. I was always intrigued by the minimalistic, piano-centric concept of the CT-S1. What I've read was not quite conclusive whether it has the same keybed (most seem to suggest it has) as the CT-S400 or not. I'll have to take your comments into account and have a long, critical look at the keybed when I get there. For now, I'll just have to let that offer simmer a bit, as the price is not yet quite right ;)
OTOH, the CT-S1 would be a bit of an odd move for me, since after having been into piano/keyboard lessons for a while, I was just beginning to wonder whether 61 keys isn't actually too restricting and I maybe should try to cram something of the next size up (76 keys) into the tight space I have.
 
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Good to hear that you are progressing well :)
I have never thought of 76er, it is completely different level, both in knowledge and in keyboard options, as I see it. But, maybe when I overgrow CT-S300 I'll be ready for a bigger Phantom! Never though of it... Now I do 😁
 
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There aren't too many 76-key keyboards on the market. Casio e.g. used to make some, but doesn't do so anymore. The Yamaha PSR-EW310 looks interesting. A Fantom would be a bit of a stretch for me. For now … ;)
 
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