Auto-accompaniment keyboard (electronic musical instrument)

image: eBay #2570408450

The Casio Casiotone MT-500 is a classic late '80s Casio model.  It features 12 rhythms (aka "super drums"), 20 tones, and 4 great rubber pads with interchangeable drum and percussion sounds, all in stereo :-)

The omnipresent Casio-Chord is available, and it's possible to vary the accompaniments thanks to five sliders that change the pattern of the bass drum/bass, the snare/rim shot/tom, the cymbal/high hat, the hand clap/agogo/bongo, and finally the chord structure.

Separate sliders are available to control and mix the volumes of the accompaniment and the rhythm, change the tempo, and adjust the main outputs.


The keyboard is standard Casio mini-keys, four octaves, and it's surprisingly easy to play even for large hands.  It's not velocity-sensitive.

The rhythms and tones themselves are early PCM, and are typical Casio.  Among the tones there are a few standouts, like the excellent pipe organ, and the synth. guitar, but if you like retro styles, you'll like this keyboard.

A difference between this and other Casio keyboards of the same era is that it's not possible to change the preset tones in any way... no envelope, vibrato... like it's possible to do on other Casio models.

The rhythms sound nice and punchy, and gloriously lo-fi.  There's also a synchro-start/fill-in button, and a set of two outputs for external drum pads.

Check out the audio demos here below... 



Casio MT-500 Casiotone audio demos


Rhythm name with audio demo My comments
16 beat Nice syncopated 16-beat rhythm
bossa nova Relaxed, summery and warm :-)
disco Great Simmons-style disco tom-toms
march Nice military snare
pops 1 Nice and happy
pops 2 Very nice retro style :-)
reggae Superb reggae beat!
rock Good rock 'n' roll
samba Classic samba accompaniment
slow rock Typical '60s style
swing Fluid and jazzy
waltz Nice


Tone name with audio demo My comments
bells Static but sparkly.
clavichord Nice preset - works as Clavinet
double reed Pretty realistic, bassoon-like
elec. guitar Overdriven Strat (with a bit of imagination...)
elec. piano Of FM, not Rhodes, variety.
flute Nice vibrato
glockenspiel Nice sample
harpsichord Realistic and useful
human voice Very interesting and analog sounding!
jazz organ 1 Solid Hammond organ
jazz organ 2 Variation with a bit of pseudo-reverb
panpipe Realistic
piano Typical early Casio piano
pipe organ Beautiful pipe organ patch
synth. guitar Powerful
synth. reed Different
synth. sound 1 Good synth sound that would benefit immensely from quality fx processing
synth. sound 2 Nice variation
vibraphone Ok
violin Expressive

And here's what possible to do using the four yellow hexagonal drum pads:

drum solos  a series of rhythms improvised on the pads, switching the various sounds assigned to them.


Features at a glance
Year of release: 198_
Presets: 20
Rhythms: 12
Keyboard: 4-octave mini-keys
Responds to velocity: no
Sound generation method: PCM
MIDI: no
Sound expansion capabilities: no
Effects: no
Controls: sliders
Outputs: stereo RCA, phones
Display: no


Casio MT-500 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)



Casio MT-500 manual




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