SOLD FS: Casio WK-1800 76 key portable keyboard $290 Neg. Call/Msg: Nine 8 1 2 Eight 0 1 2

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Owner moving house. Price to go! Pick it immediately.

As a member of the Society Of Gigs And Gigging Musicians Everywhere (SOGAGME), I'm always on the lookout for keyboards that sound good, transport easily, and provide good family values (read this as "cheap").
I discovered the WK-1800's sibling, the 1600, in a Sam's Club during the pre-Christmas shopping crunch. The muted silver case with the bright blue display looked more appealing than the lines of Yuletide delay at the checkout lanes, so I wandered over to its long 76 note keyboard and played a few chords. Wow! What a nice piano sound from a ... what is this thing? A Casio? Oh please, what's a nice piano like you doing in a Casio?
An hour later, when the crowds had thinned around the checkstands, a new crowd had gathered around this shiny Christmas toy. And I had played my first gig of the Christmas season on a Casio keyboard in a discount warehouse! For free! Yes, the board got my attention.
So I sought out my local keyboard dealer, found the WK-1800 model with the disk drive, and after running it through it's paces for a few more hours, knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas. Besides world peace, of course.
Sheesh, the spirit of Casio Christmas past must have overtaken me.
The Facts ina Nutshell: The WK-1800 is a programmable 76 key, 32 note polyphonic, auto-accompaniment and auto-arranging/synth/sequencer/drum-machine and General MIDI soundboard, with built-in 5W+5W stereo speakers, and a floppy disk drive thrown in for good measure.
- sounds are programmable (32 user-patch locations). The synthesizer allows for two pcm samples per sound program, so the more wimpy sounding GM instruments can be fattened up.
- control layout is excellent, with dedicated buttons for most commonly used functions. Cursor keys, + & - keys for data adjusting (no data wheel - sob), most needed buttons for live playing are located on the panel area right above the keyboard. Performance controls surround the large central display.
- very legible, brightly backlit display, contrast adjustable, with grand staff note display plus onscreen keyboard display for played and MIDI received notes. WOW! This large display is as well-organized and useful as I've seen in any synth.
- onboard speakers/bass ports deliver good sound quality without the need for an extra amp (usable for small rooms; with the volume set at 50%, it's about as loud as an unamplified grand piano)
- the lightweight plastic cabinet is a super-cool silver-grey color (appearance is everything), and the bright blue display glowing in the center of the main panel is a very inviting sight. Contrary to Casio's kiddiekeyboards, this machine looks awesome and ready to fire phasers.
- 76 keys (E1-G7 {Middle C=C4} ) and it only
- weighs 21lbs.
- if you need to sequence or practice in the back of the band van, will do all of the above running on 6 D cell batteries!
- it carries a street price of $400 US
- the disk drive will read standard MIDI files (SMF0) - Yay!
The WK-1800 seems to fill quite a few slots on the SOGAGME wishlist. The built-in speakers/amp solve the hassle of amplifier placement in cramped setup areas. Since they are pointed up and angled slightly toward the player, volume complaints from people seated too near the line of speaker fire are eliminated. On a stage venue, the built-ins become monitor speakers. The stupid, clunky monitor amp can sometimes stay at home.
WK's 76 keys also fix most of the complaints we keyboard players have about working on the shorty-boards.
The disk drive is indispensable for chain-playing music for our fabulous intermissions.
The total weight of 21lbs. makes this the winner of the "76-key tote-me-everywhere" award.
The soundset, while not great overall, has enough useful sounds for live gigging. Some of the factory presets, at location #130 and up, are excellent. Try #157 for a lovely strings/english horn pad. Play the intro to E.T. Yes, Ell-i-ott! The organs are heavy hitters also. The grandpiano patch, while not Kurzweil great, is very usable as a solo voice, and layers well with the other kids on the soundblock.
The $400 price is so good that gigging players may want one to keep one in the back of the van as a backup board. ("Yes, I'm sorry to hear about the fire in your piano, ma'am, but for an extra charge I can bring in my super-digitally-empowered keyboard").

As a lifetime menber of SOGAGME, I recommend the WK-1800, with the above-mentioned reservations, for pro use. It accomplishes many of the daily chores that musicians demand of their keyboards. It's fun to play around with, sounds good, and is a fairly simple introduction to the world of electronic music-making. At a street price of only $400, it's an inexpensive addition to any computer system or gigging setup. And, since its 76 note keyboard will drive any module via MIDI, it could serve as an ultra-lightweight controller board for those venues where you don't want to lug the big keyboard hoss out of the studio-barn.

Comments About the Sounds:
FYI, I prefer a 5 point rating system instead of four, because you have the option of using #3, average. I consider the WK-1800 sounds overall to be about average for a GM synth.Many of the factory patches (#130 and above) are very good. And many of the GM type patches are thin and generically General MIDI sounding dreck. The organs, in particular, sound very good, and are among the most useful presets onboard.The main patch on this board is #000 Grand Piano, and it sounds good. Not Kurzweil great, but it's better than many of the piano patches that come with sample-playback synths, and it's usable as a solo voice.
(Thanks to tommyde for this info.)

Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Anthony Bennett a hobbyist user writes:
This was the first big board that I owned. Truly a great piece of equipment. The sounds and ease of use is absolutely outstanding. Sorry to say that I sold mine to a friend. Big mistake. I purchased the WK300 thinking I was getting a better machine, wrong. The recording, tunes, ryhthms are so much better. I've thrown the 3000 in the closet and that's were it's gonna stay unless some wants to buy it. I would have to give the 1800 a 5
Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jul-20-077 at 09:23

Hector a part-time user from Chile (southamerica) writes:
This a very good keyboard synthezizer, it has many good sound , some sounds has profesional features, You can make a profesional sound of a clasical instrument like Harpsichord With the sound number 143 or 145 you need to go to synth function and mixed it with Harpsichord number 006 (in synth function it's the number 008)then you have to clean that with the function of synth .I play in a metal band like Stratovarius or Nightwish. so I need sounds like that and I can say that the Casio wk 1800 it's a very good buy if you want a Keyboard with profesional sounds for a low cost . It's good to compose songs and save in a diskette. It's almost like a ROLAND but no so expensive.I like a lot. Charly Garcia now has this Keyboard and he plays with it in his tour .
Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jul-15-044 at 18:42
ddselvig a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I really love all the functions on my WK-1800. While I don't play keyboard very well, I use it a lot in developing my music for guitar. I love the record and playback features of the builtin sequencer. It's great for a transcription tool and if you hook up the MIDI port to a computer, you can print out sheet music of any composition using software like Voyetra Orchestrator. Sure saves a lot of manual effort when transcribing.You can develop a complete song with all the percussion and keyboard voices to choose from. The sequencer has 16 tracks to work, so you have a lot to work with.
While most downloadable MIDI files on the Internet are SMF1 format, you can download free utilities that will convert them to SMF0 format so that they can be played on this keyboard. You can put a lot of songs on a 3.5" diskette. I use this feature to fill in for our band when we take breaks during a gig. Just pop in a diskette and let it play.
Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Oct-22-033 at 09:51
Mercurial a professional user from London writes:
It's a really good keyboard to get, both for professionals and beginners! The sound's good and has a wide range of tones. Try it!
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