Casio MT205/220

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Casio MT 205

Both these keyboards are part of the 'super drums' range (as the  520/540), although the 205 doesn't sport the yellow miniature drumpads,it still has 4 sockets for the DP1 pads to be plugged into.

Whilst being something of a novelty,the capacity to look like you own a Simmons drum set whilst having costed fractions of the price makes hitting a drumpad that much more fun. It's also a cheap way to let a drum player have access to electronic drum sounds without buying a kit,merely by using the plug-ins to the keyboard!

The 205 sports 6 selectors and an upper/lower switch giving 12 presets in all. The usual array of piano,organ,synth,human voice,vib,guitar,trumpet,strings choices are evident,which make up the voices on most of the budget keyboards. In the 205's case all the presets are clear-sounding from the PCM tone generation.None of them stand out as being impressive,but the flute has a breathy attack,making it more substantial that the usual sine wave type flutes.

There are 5 selectors for the drum and bass/chord variations and the drum sounds themselves are the set found on all the MT range,though I think the 70s style toms and agogo that are on the MT500 are missing. The same upper/lower selection method applies to the styles,covering again,the expected drum patterns - Rock,Samba,March,16 Beat,Bossanova etc. There are two green buttons for slowing and speeding the tempo. The rhythm unit also sports intro/fill and sync start end ending to add flourishes to otherwise monotonous patterns. 

The rhythm and accomp sections have their own volume sliders to do some mixing before the stereo output exits via a single 3.5 jack at the rear of the unit,which doubles as the headphone socket. 4 stereo 3.5 jacks at the right hand side are the sockets for the DP1 pads.

The variants of Casio/Fingered chord are apparent on the auto section giving choices as to how the accomp section chooses the auto chord. There is also auto power off to save batteries.

Good points: The DP1 plug-ins are the fun aspect of these units. The drum variation options add some spice to what you might otherwise have quickly become bored of. The 205 also sports a memory feature for recording your own melodies,which negates the use of a sequencer,which is lucky as there is no MIDI on these units.

Niggles: Not much to moan about -these do what they say on the can.

Expect to pay: I have picked up MT units for under £3 so you can get mega-bargains with the MT200 series.

Size and weight:  65 x 19 x 6 cm    2.35kg (apprx)

Casio MT220

The 220 keeps all of the 205 features but adds 4 yellow drum pads which allow direct playing of 4 of the drum sounds. This is not quite as useful as it sounds,because unlike the MT500 you are stuck with the 4 choices CASIO made,which are cymbal,snare,hi and lo bongo. 

Apart from colouring and the arrangement of the controls,the 220 is the same PCM sound engine and has all the same options as the 205.

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