Follow the link in the text to interact with Stef Animal's brilliant simulator; get lost in the addictive interface and rich sounds. Read to the end to learn how to submit your tunes and to listen to what others have made!
The Casio CA-100 Simulator is a ‘fan-fiction’ software version of the mediocre Casio ToneBank CA-100 keyboard from 1990.
This was the first keyboard I ever had and I remember being disappointed that I couldn’t make it sound like Pet Shop Boys or Eurythmics. It has crummy ‘PCM’ digital sounds (analog keyboards had gone out of fashion just a few years before) which are drenched in a cheap-sounding, compulsory reverb. It is also strangely muddy sounding. Did someone at Casio accidentally bump the treble dial during recording?
In its favour, the Casio CA-100 has an appealing blue and green look, a red DEMO button that plays a fun Rick Astley tune (not that one, the other one), and 100 sound presets!
Sadly, the Casio CA-100 Simulator reproduces the disappointing sound of the original keyboard. It does feature a programmable step sequencer grid for creating beautiful looping melodies though. It also has a drum machine section for making phat Casio beats!
a screenshot of the simulator in action!
The Casio CA-100 Simulator is too fiddly for phones — open it up on your home computer or laptop! If the sound is lagging or inconsistent, try closing any other browser tabs you have open, or closing any applications that might be hogging your computer's simple little brain.
(You'll probably have more fun if you just muck around instead of reading this, but if you're one of those people that absolutely has to read the instructions then here you go.)
Using your mouse cursor, place notes on the sequencer grid. Click on a note again to remove it.
The default sound is PIANO but you can change to any of five options using the up and down arrows.
Each sound has two octaves to choose from — change this by pressing the OCTAVE up and down arrows.
Use the '+' and '-' buttons (on the 'title bar' of the sequence grid) to change the length of your sequence. There is a maximum of thirty-two steps and a minimum of one. One is a bit silly as an option but we live in a silly world.
The TEMPO up and down controls change the speed that your pattern will play. Can go real slow up to real fast. Find your comfy spot.
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The two coloured buttons at the bottom left of the screen switch between the MELODY SEQUENCER and the DRUM SEQUENCER.
The MELODY grid is monophonic (only one note can be played at a time).
The DRUM grid is fully polyphonic — you can play any number of drum sounds at once. Try playing them all if you're feeling super gnarly.
The DRUM SEQUENCER has two special percussion effects that extend the sound palette beyond that of the IRL Casio CA-100 — ECHO and FUZZ. These add depth and coolness. Try them out if you are feeling deep and/or cool.
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Also you should try out the DEMO button (five bucks says you already have eh). The bespoke tune showcases the Casio CA-100 Simulator’s sound potential.
We, at Pyramid Club, would love to hear the music that you make using this incredible machine. If you produce a track made solely with the sounds from the Casio CA-100 Simulator (you can multi-track and process if you wish; we'll even accept some vocals) we will start a soundcloud playlist here. And if we get enough submissions we will put it up on Bandcamp! Set yourself to celebrating the palette of the Casio CA-100 Simulator now!! (send your tunes to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading: This One is a Banger).
Stef Animal is a musician and game-maker from Ōtepoti Dunedin.
She enjoys making music with unloved or unfashionable electronic instruments.
She released ‘Top Gear’ in 2018 and ‘The Spooky House’ in 2019 and also plays in Wellington dream-rock band The Golden Awesome.