Casio’s long-time foray into the keyboard business has been met with mixed reviews over the years.
This has not stopped them producing a wide range of keyboards that have had successful sale records and kept them in business.
The CTK-2400 is marketed as a sampling keyboard and this feature is what may attract buyers to it.
As a standalone instrument it provides a good starting instrument to young, curious musicians who like to explore musical possibilities through creative sound use and want an instrument that will give them access to some fun elements and assist them in making music.
The CTK-2400 has a large selection of functions that serve to enhance even the most novice of musicians to produce some substantial musical productions.
The CTK-2400 is a pretty decent entry-level keyboard with some added extra features that offer a little more bang for your buck.
Being a cheaper model keyboard, the sounds were very typical of the general MIDI tones that have become quite standard with keyboards from the early 90’s.
The keyboard offers 48 actual MIDI tones and 400 other sounds which cover the range of different instrument types and a section of electronic sounds to boot.
With no advanced tone-generating technology, the CTK-2400, although offering a large variety of sounds, gives a pretty bland palette of the usual tones seen on many other keyboards.
A small selection of effects such as reverb and chorus offer some customizable adjustment of the sound but the rather one-dimensional tones do not improve significantly with the added effects. The general MIDI tones lack the complexity of true sampled sounds.
The overall large selection of four hundred tones does include a few tones that are quite pleasant but because of the general lack of depth in the tones, the sounds quickly tire on the ear.
To the more discerning player the sounds come across as too computer generated and do not inspire much musical creativity.
Sound-wise the sampling feature of the keyboard records a realistic short phrase and allows for a reasonably faithful playback of the sound across the range of the keyboard.
The 61 full size keys give the feel of playing a proper instrument, but the notes are not velocity sensitive, meaning that one cannot play loud or soft through pressure sensitivity to any large extent.
The keys behave pretty much as an on/off switch for the tones set on the instrument. This will frustrate players who have learnt to play on acoustic instruments requiring a touch and pressure sensitivity.
The plastic keys offer little resistance to being pressed and respond like those of an organ.
Musicians that have even a medium level of skill, may find the touch too simplistic and with many other budget keyboards offering features such as velocity-sensitivity, after-touch and weighting, the touch on this instrument feels a lot cheaper than even many other bottom of the range options.
Technical Specs of the CTK-2400
- Keyboard: 61 (Piano-style)
- Polyphony: 48 notes
- Sound Source: AHL 48 GM voices
- Transpose: -12 to +12 semitones
- Tuning: A4 = 415.5Hz to 465.9Hz (initial Default : 440.0Hz)
- Tones: 400
- Sampling Function: Maximum Sampling Time 2 sec. (Long Sampling Mode), 1 (Long Sampling) or 5 (Short Sampling) tones
- Digital Effects: 10
- Rhythms: 150 (including 20 for piano play and 55 world rhythms
- Song Bank: 110 (including 20 Exercise Phrases)
- Metronome: 30 to 255BPM
- Demo Song: 90 songs loop play (excepting Exercise Phrase)
- Display: 92mm x 40mm LCD
- Speakers: 10cm x 2
- Amplifiers: 2W + 2W
- Power Supply: 9.5V DC (AD-E95100L) / 6 AA-size batteries
- Auto Power Off
- Built In Mic
- Lesson Function
- Fingered and One Finger chords
- Fill In
- Start/Stop/Synchro Accompaniment styles
- Samson HP30 headphones
- X-style stand
- Power supply
Features of the CTK-2400
The sampling feature gives the keyboard some nice extra features that add to the creativity one can explore on the instrument.
It allows one to record up to two seconds of sampling and use it to play created sounds across the pitch range of the instrument.
It also allows for a shorter sampling tone such as a hand-clap or click and to use these in the rhythm sections of the keyboard.
The sampled sounds are reproduced quite realistically and give a creative edge to the instrument.
The lesson feature on the keyboard includes some 110 songs and piano exercises that are played by the keyboard and shown on the LCD display- both the notes and the fingering needed.
One can slow down or speed up the songs as well as separate parts into left and right hands.
This feature allows the user to teach oneself to play a large variety of popular piano pieces without the need for a teacher.
A large variety of sounds and accompaniment features provide users with the ability to enhance their creative exploits and create some great music.
The keyboard can link to a computer via USB and allows the user to connect the keyboard to memory devices and music software programs.
There is also a transpose function as well as a tuning function available.
The Pros of the Casio CTK-2400
The keyboard has full size keys that while not, weighted at least give the feel of playing on a real piano. As such it is a nice beginner keyboard for those wanting to learn to play or experiment with music for the first time.
The added sampling feature and assignable pad feature gives a great creative outlet for some fun musical performances and users will probably spend many hours experimenting with this handy musical option.
A large variety of effects and tones give the user a wide choice to play with and give some creative expression to users. For keyboards in the under $200 price range the CTK-2400 offers some added value in terms of features and functionality.
The LCD screen gives some assistance to the user to help them learn to play the demo songs included on the machine.
A range of beginner to intermediate songs are included and it won’t take long for those who have never played to find themselves following the screen prompts and performing their favorites together with the accompaniment inclusions on the keyboard.
The price is attractive and as an experimental musical instrument it does offer young beginners an instrument that they can learn to play with ease.
Younger children will enjoy the light keys and have fun with the rhythm presets as well as creating and recording their own sounds and using them as notes on the keys.
The Cons of the Casio CTK-2400
The sounds on the keyboard sound digitally generated and do not have the depth of complexity that is found on so many of the newer models available today.
The 61 keys can be a bit limiting for full expression and particularly when the user wants to use the bass tones for accompaniment.
The low polyphony of only 48 notes leads to a lack of sustaining notes when the limit is reached and this happens quickly once layering takes place through the use of the accompaniment functions.
The lack of velocity sensitive keys also means that musicians, used to the keys of a real piano, will feel severely hampered in their ability to express themselves on the instrument and the ability to control the volume of a note through fingers is non-existent.
The teaching facility is not as dedicated as some of those on other models, which gives full chord usage and allows for breakdown of left and right hand or for performing smaller sections of the piece.
This may frustrate students who are trying to put a piece together and want to work on a particular section or break it down into more manageable portions.
It is also not an instrument that has a range of connectors to other instruments and devices and this also means that it is limited in its use together with a computer or for storing and recording pieces.
The keyboard does not stand out with any landmark features and even the sampling feature (its main selling point) would not suit the professional musician interested in creating more professional samples.
For me, the tones on the instrument end up being a source of frustration as they are not as realistic as those of many other keyboards on the market today and become rather monotonous to the ears.
Those that are new to music may find it quite a fun instrument and it can assist new musicians to learn about musical performances and improve their skills.
The bottom line of this Casio CTK-2400 review is the following: it might be the best cheap entry level piano keyboard for budding musicians who like creatively experimenting with their music, but anyone wanting more from their instrument should look elsewhere.
It is more of a novelty instrument that initially may give users a good musical experience but later flags in its ability to keep the user interested.
Musicians will find that as their skills develop they will quickly be wanting to get more out of their instrument and the life-span of this keyboard will have reached its expiry date.