Casio has always been producing a variety of keyboards aimed at first-timers. The Casiotone line has multiple products that will help you or your child get started with the instrument. Amongst these, the LK-S450 has multiple fun features to help you get on your way. One of these is illuminated keys that let you know which notes to play. I spent some time with this model and I’m here to report on how everything works and sounds.
First of all, make sure you watch my review video which documents my initial impressions and some of the sounds and features of the keyboard.
The Casiotone LK-S450 is a feature-packed keyboard
Casio managed to pack a lot of different features into the LK-S450. The 61 note instrument has lighted, keyboard style keys. They are touch sensitive, which means that they will react according to the force you use to play them. Playing harder will make the volume louder and vice versa. You can even set it to three different levels to accommodate your personal style.
Lots of sounds and rhythm tracks
You’ll have access to 600 tones on the keyboard. They cover a wide variety of instruments, including pianos, electric pianos, organs, harpsichords, strings, brass, synths, guitars, percussion, etc. I don’t think you’ll ever wish you had more. Additionally, there is an accompaniment mode that has arrangement features. You’ll be able to create complete song arrangements thanks to 200 rhythm tracks. There are dedicated buttons to cue various song sections such as: intros, main sections, variations, fills and endings. It’s an excellent way to develop musicality and work on your rhythm.
There is a generous number of effects built-in; there are 20 different reverbs and 10 choruses. The polyphony is limited to 48 voices. This represents the quantity of simultaneous sounds that the keyboard can emit (including trails from sustain pedals and reverbs). This figure is on the low side and experienced players will definitely notice its limitations.
Additional features and connectivity options
Additional features include a layering option, which lets you combine two sounds. This greatly increases the number of textures you have at your disposal. You can also split the keyboard into two different tones. A metronome will help you work on your rhythm and technique. You’ll also be able to record your song ideas or listen back to your playing thanks to a built-in MIDI recorder.
The back panel has multiple connection possibilities including a sustain pedal jack (a pedal is not included in the box), a microphone input (with a separate volume knob), an auxiliary input (1/8th of an inch), an audio output/headphone jack and two USB ports; one for flash drives and the other to connect to a computer and use the unit as a controller. These two digital ports only transmit MIDI information and no audio.
Last but not least, there are two strap pins on each side of the instrument. You’ll be able to use a guitar strap for example to sit down comfortably anywhere, even if you don’t have a stand or a desk to support the keyboard.
While a Bluetooth connection is not available out of the box, purchasing the WU-BT10 adapter will enable to use audio and MIDI features wirelessly. This includes playing music from your cellphone or tablet, which is a great way to practice repertoire or use backing tracks. You’ll also be able to interface with Casio’s learning app, the Chordana Play app. This app has 50 built-in songs which you can learn with included scores. You’ll be able to work in a very efficient manner with tempo adjustments, section repeats, and even transposing to make things easier. If you don’t want to purchase an additional peripheral to use the app, you can also connect to your tablet or mobile with a USB cable, to transmit MIDI.
Lighted keys to help learning
The LK-S450 has a very handy feature that will help beginners learn the instrument: lighted keys. Not only does it look cool, it also pairs really well with the built-in songs. The lighted keys indicate which note to play next and with a bit of repetition, you can effectively memorize very recognizable pieces of music in a surprisingly short amount of time. You can select an individual hand to learn and the keyboard will play the other. Tempo adjustment is available to help you get used to the fingerings and melodies. Make sure to take a look at my video to see how this looks in action.
Sound and feel of the Casiotone LK-S450
There are a lot of tones packed into the LK-S450. At this price point and amount, it usually means they aren’t the most detailed and rich timbres. This is the case with this model. The sounds are definitely recognizable though and I didn’t run into any that sounded bad. The great thing is that if you need more tones or different ones, you can easily plug it into a computer via USB and use virtual instruments of any kind.
The keys themselves are very light and have a rather thin, plastic sensation. There is a slight texture applied to the white keys, which helps with conserving some realism. To my taste, it’s better than some of the slippery finishes you can find on models at this price point. Some teachers really insist on weighted keys. If you plan on jumping into lessons right away, make sure you discuss this with your educator before buying.
Final thoughts on the Casiotone LK-S450
There are lots of features packed into the Casiotone LK-S450, especially considering the price. It’s definitely geared at beginners, but experienced players and educators might find it useful as a vacation/portable instrument or as a teaching tool. There are many features that will be useful for learning and to keep you busy. While the sounds aren’t the most detailed on the market, there is a lot of them and they cover the vast majority of the tones you’ll ever want to use. The limited polyphony will soon be a problem as the keyboardist progresses in skill, especially if they play with a sustain pedal. That being said, it’s a viable product to introduce anyone to the piano/keyboard without a huge monetary investment.
Check out the Casio LK-S450 keyboard on Best Buy’s website.