GEAR REVIEW: CASIO WK-7500 Workstation

When I mention Casio’s WK-7500 to keyboardists, they mention how Casio is making an attempt to overcome their association with toys. This keyboard or “workstation,” as the company calls it, is way too complicated for a child to figure out, and no one will mistake it for a toy. It is so professional that during the process of testing out all of its different functions, I forgot it was also just a keyboard. Bottom line, forget what you think you know about the Casio name. This is a pro rig that demands to be taken seriously.

The instruction manual can overwhelm at first. There is so much to choose from, to customize, to think about before you put your fingers on the keys. The keyboard comes with a double-sided, poster size, type 10 appendix listing the 700+ tones, 250+ rhythms, 250+ music presets, and the drum assignments by key. The mixer graphic takes most of the space on the display, leaving less room for the tone and rhythm display. The keyboard utilizes abbreviations to make up for the lack of space, which I found difficult to get used to when starting out. If the display was larger, all the information could be displayed easily. The instruction manual is just as confusing for a “workstation” novice. Eventually, of course, I turned the keyboard on and started to play.

The keys have some weight on them, but it feels more like a Casio keyboard than a piano. When you turn it on for the first time, the keys are as weighted as possible, but the user can change how weighted he/she would like them. If you want it to feel like a toy, you can take off the effect.

If it feels like a Casio, there are a lot of options (if I haven’t stressed that enough yet) that update and improve on the classics. I loved the tone editor, which allows you to manipulate a selected tone’s volume parameters, pitch parameters, and other settings. The user can save up to 100 customized tones. It is also possible to use the “mixer” to apply effects to the keyboard. There is a lot of variety, and some of the effects are fun. I think that for most users, the keyboards 700 pre-made sounds will function on most occasions, but it’s nice to know the option is there.

I also liked the recording capabilities. The keyboard comes with a 5-song recording capability, and each song is capable of overdubbing 16 tracks, although I did not get the chance to plug in a computer or memory card to the keyboard, which provides more memory for saving/recording. The WK-7500’s USB port can also act as a MIDI controller, which opens up other worlds of sounds.

If Casio is trying to turn their keyboards into “workstations,” they are on the right track. The keyboard sounds good. There are a lot of new features (I like the drawbar organ feature, but it doesn’t sell the keyboard) and everything can be adjusted to your liking, even if it takes some studying (or accidental success). Casio kept their classic rhythm accompaniment feature, but it takes second place to the playability of this new keyboard.

Price: $499

Pros: Good sound, great price. Plenty of tonal variety. Drawbar organ feature is fun. Adjusting sound is easy.

Cons: Small display. Menus can be intimidating to new users. Weighted keys still have a “keyboard” feel.

FEATURES:

76 keys

Hundreds of built-in tones

9 sliders extend versatility and provide 50 drawbar organ tones

17-track sequencer for editing and tweaking performances

250 preset rhythms with full accompaniment

Front panel sliders provide control over volume, pan, effect sends for each channel

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2 Comments

  1. Inae Oh

    September 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Riveting stuff!

  2. Gokhan Arel

    April 11, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Dear Louis Frank,

    a few days ago I bought one WK 7500. While I was searching the model for me, I reed your review. Thanks a lot about all information.
    I would like to ask one question. In your review you mention that “When you turn it on for the first time, the keys are as weighted as possible, but the user can change how weighted he/she would like them.” I couldn’t find this setting neither on the keyboard nor in the manual. If you can describe how to change this settings I’ll be glad. Thanks a lot.

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