Casio MZ Series Review

New Music Gear Review: Casio MZ-Series Workstations

The Casio MZ-X300 and MZ-X500 (shown) are arranger workstation keyboards with new sounds, innovative effects and new rhythms created by worldwide developers. The Casio MZ Series keyboards come with built-in speakers and dual 20-watt amplifiers that create room-filling sound.

The MZ-X300 has 900 preset tones and 280 rhythm patterns, while the MZ-X500 features 1,100 preset tones and 330 rhythm patterns ranging from standard beats used in rock, jazz and pop music to rhythms from various regions of the world. Both keyboards are capable of 128-note polyphony and feature digital effects based on 20 different algorithms.

Notably, both Casio MZ series keyboards have a 5.2-inch LCD color touch screens for easily selecting and modifying any rhythm or tone. The Casio MZ-X500 adds 16 touch-responsive multi-pads (the MZ-X300 has four pads) for triggering sounds, samples or playing musical phrases and/or additional melodies “on the fly.”

There is an auto accompaniment mode for assigning chord progressions to the 16 pads—eliminating playing with the left hand, so the user can focus on playing melodies, samples and more.

Both of the all-black MZ-X300 and blue MZ-X500 keyboards sell for $1,099 and $1,499 respectively.

Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine.