This is another great sounding 4 note polyphonic My Music Center successor. Regarding the pretty designed case with transparent parts, characteristic sound and well responding midsize keys it may sometime become a real "cult" thing in future. This instrument made in China doesn't look really toy- like but rather futuristic and noble (despite the circles may remind to Lego building blocks) and (after upgrading with sound output jacks and gentle illumination) would certainly also do great in a band.
There is no brand name on this instrument (only the text: "HK REGISTERED DESIGN NO. 9910121.6, PRC REGISTERED DESIGN NO.99302109.3" at case bottom), but on eBay someone told me there that the German mailorder shop Quelle sold it under the fantasyless trade name "Cyber Keyboard" (product no. "944.183 3"). The Master (Norbert Wiener, founder of Cybernetics on planet Earth) would certainly revolve in his grave regarding how many things were mindlessly named "cyber..." while nobody respects the true philosophical meaning of the Master's doctrine Cybernetics anymore. I later saw on eBay the original box with manufacturers name Potex on it. A version with clear violet control panel and the blue parts in clear green was released by Kawasaki. The Cyber Keyboard was likely a direct successor of the inferior Kawasaki Pro 37.
(Note: This keyboard has nice digital synth timbres, but don't buy one of these so far your only intention is to get a keyboard with faithfully imitated natural instrument sounds. This is a grainy lo-fi instrument and many of its sounds don't sound at all like what their name suggests, thus bought with wrong expectation it may disappoint you.)
All preset sounds have a gritty synthetic lo-fi chorus with weak tremolo (4Hz) and resemble much My Music Center. Unlike the latter, they have less aliasing noise and the envelopes differ more. Although most sounds are not remotely realistic, they have their own reedy style and are nicely playable, because unlike many similar instruments the keyboard has no matrix flaws and responds fast enough. The "piano" resembles by its chorus a bit honky- tonk- like. The "trumpet" sounds by the chorus rather like a harmonica; the "oboe" sounds similar. The "music box" has sustain and resembles more a bowed glass that fades silent. The "bass" decay phase fades silent very slowly and resembles more a honky- tonk piano. The "guitar" has the same timbre with shorter envelope and sounds a bit brassy. The flute has strong zipper noise during its slow attack phase and fades a bit quieter during decay phase; by the strange tremolo it doesn't sound realistic (resembles perhaps a street organ?). The "e.piano" sounds more like a musicbox. "jazz guitar" sounds harsh and sitar- like, like the famous harsh My Music Center guitar. The "e.guitar" resembles more an e-piano or honky- tonk piano than a guitar. The "banjo" at least resembles what it is supposed to be, although the sustain is a bit too long. The "violin" is a hollow and glassy synth strings sound (not realistic). The "organ" has a slightly hollow timbre and strong zipper noise during its slow attack phase and fades a bit quieter during decay phase; it reminds to a dull accordion. The "harp" is another honky- tonk piano sound, which timbre slightly resembles a harpsichord. The "sax" has a thin and reedy timbre that resembles an accordion. The "french horn" has almost a dull strings timbre (like "violin" on My Music Center?) with very long sustain.
With the "sound effect" button (pressed in a sequence) the preset sounds can be modified by 3 effects. The "vibrato" is a very slow square vibrato (about 2 Hz) and disables the chorus subvoice of the preset sounds. The vibrato is monophonic and restarts on the unchanged pitch after every new note, thus it stays inaudible during fast trilled notes since it finds no time to toggle. The "reverb" is a mislabelled very detuned chorus that makes all sounds even more honky- tonk- like. The "echo" effect retriggers the played notes with about 4 Hz and lower fading volume (i.e. no long continuous tones can be played in this mode). Because the retrigger oscillator is polyphonic and the phase of its switching frequency depends on the note start time, you can create chords with interesting pulsing textures by varying the note timing of long notes. (Another keyboard for such textures is the great Casio SA-35.) The effects are switched off by the "stop" button and can not be combined with rhythm or the sequencer.
The percussion uses a different sample set than My Music Center and has nice lo-fi samples. The 5 drumpad buttons play monophonic (samples mute each other), but strange is that when trilled they play polyphonic and thus make a nice phasing effect. The 5 "special mix" sound effect pad buttons play always monophonic. The "disk mix !!!" is a record scratch sound. The word "yo !!!" is spoken by a low male voice, "woo !!!" has rising and then falling pitch and is either distorted shouted or another record scratch sound. "ha !!!" sounds like shouted during karate, while "do !!!" is no voice but only a low blip sound (like a distorted woodblock or coconut shell). Annoying is that these buttons are quite tiny and have spiky hard plastic nipples on them (at least they respond reasonable).
The percussion of the rhythms resembles the Play 'n' Jam keyboard. All preset rhythms contain a nice sounding accompaniment (bass + piano chord), that is unfortunately fixed- key and thus badly usable for melody play. But some may be usable for tekkno- like things and they can be muted and re- enabled with the "chord on/ off" button without stopping the rhythm. The rhythms unfortunately always reset the tempo to default and enable their accompaniment, thus they can be badly switched during live play (but they are anyway not OBS but can be only stepped through by a group button). Annoying is also that tempo has only 8 steps (from very slow to fairly fast).
The demo melodies are complex (over-?) orchestrated but partly sound quite detuned and the arrangements don't resemble my other keyboards. Also the chords have a gently detuned style that reminds to Atari XL POKEY musics. The 12 demo melodies are:
|removal of these screws voids warranty...|