If you’re learning to play the piano, or you want to write songs, the Casio CTK-6250 keyboard is a great way to make it fun. Everything is included to get you started bringing your musical ideas to life.
It features a piano-style touch response keyboard, song sequencer, tone editor, multiple digital effects, mixer, a USB MIDI interface, SD card storage, and 700 editable sounds. A built-in multitrack recorder lets you create your own multipart MIDI songs. In short, the CTK-6250 has all the tools you need to practice, compose, and perform music.
Its distinctive red and black case design really stands out. The front panel is clearly laid out and easy to understand. A large LCD display makes it easy to edit tones and songs or access other features.
At less than 13 pounds, it’s portable but solidly built. Many lower-priced keyboards tend to be flimsy and flexible, but the CTK-6250 case feels quite sturdy. Power is supplied either from the included adapter or six D-size batteries.
The CTK-6250 has a full 5 octaves (61 notes) of velocity-sensitive keys. This means that the tone changes when you play harder, just like with a real piano. The keyboard doesn’t transmit MIDI aftertouch, although the song player will recognize it from an external source.
The keys are unweighted, so they feel lighter and more like an organ than a piano. But that could be an advantage, depending on the touch you prefer. You can play as many as 24 or 48 notes at once, depending on the tone selected.
You can transpose the instrument in half steps as much as an octave up or down, to better match your voice or other instruments. And you can adjust the tuning from the standard pitch of A = 440 Hertz, up or down as much as a half step, so that you’re in tune with other players.
Also, you can change the keyboard’s “temperament,” the way it’s tuned. Normally this is set to “equal temperament,” where all the notes are equally spaced. But the CTK-6250 provides a full 16 tuning options, from historical systems like Just Intonation and Pythagorean to more exotic foreign choices like Segah or Chahargah.
More Keyboard Features
The pitch wheel on the left side of the Casio CTK-6250 keyboard lets you bend notes up and down. You can set the sensitivity of the pitch wheel from a half-step to a full two octaves.
Another feature guaranteed to stimulate your creativity is the arpeggiator. Just press the Auto Harmonize/Arpeggiator button and select from 150 different patterns. Then, whatever notes you hold down on the keyboard are played as broken chords (arpeggios).
Also, with the Harmonize/Arpeggiator button, you can choose from 12 different harmonizations of the melodies you play. Play single notes, and you’ll get added fifths, octaves, or three-note chords in several different styles.
700 Built-in Sounds Plus User Sounds
The CTK-6250 comes with 700 built-in instrument sounds, which Casio calls “tones.” You can also create and save ten custom tones and recall them at the press of a button. The sound synthesis engine uses Casio’s proprietary “Acoustic & Highly-compressed Large-waveform” (AHL) technology. It makes it possible to accurately recreate the sound of acoustic instruments, especially the piano.
You can layer two different sounds on top of each other. So, for example, when you play a note, you hear piano and strings at the same time.
The keyboard can also be set to Split mode. This lets you play different sounds with the left and right hands. You can choose exactly where you want the keyboard split.
Finally, there’s a “three tone” mode, which gives you the best of both worlds: a split keyboard with two layered tones on the upper section.
Casio has made these split and layered modes very flexible. For each part, you can set the octave transposition and stereo position, and assign digital effects.
Play Along With 210 Rhythms
When you’re learning to play piano or synthesizer, keeping a steady beat is important. And it’s more fun to jam and come up with new ideas when you have the right rhythmic accompaniment to back you up. So the CTK-6250 includes a choice of 210 built-in “rhythms” you can use with the Auto Accompaniment feature. These patterns comprise up to eight parts, with drums, percussion, bass, and chords.
You can select from a wide variety of preset styles, including rock, jazz, Latin and more. Each rhythm includes 6 accompaniment patterns: Intro, Normal, Variation, Fill, Fill Variation and Ending, so you can build a rhythmic backing track for an entire song. Even better, you can easily create and save 100 rhythms of your own using the built-in Pattern Sequencer.
By simply pressing any of the Rhythm buttons on the front panel, you can select from a wide variety of styles. Preset rhythms include rock, pop, jazz, Latin, and many more. And you can use the Rhythm Editor to create and save your own rhythmic grooves with intros, endings, and fills.
Sweeten Your Sound With Effects
The CTK-6250 includes a variety of high-quality digital effects to add life to your songs. Not only can you add reverb and chorus to your entire mix, but there are 100 different effects presets you can apply to individual tracks. These range from more common effects like compression, tremolo, and delay to such esoteric ones as rotary speaker emulation and ring modulation. For all effects, you can customize the sound to suit your taste.
Multitrack Sound Recorder And Mixer
The CTK-6250 also includes a 17-track MIDI song recorder (16 tracks for your arrangement, plus a system track for auto accompaniment and other options). Each track can have its own tone so you can create some very sophisticated arrangements. There’s enough onboard memory for you to save and recall 5 complete songs.
After you lay down your tracks, you can mix them down to stereo with the internal audio mixer. It has 32 parts, so you can include a live performance with a split or layered keyboard, auto-harmony, a metronome, etc.
Registration Memory To Remember Your Setups
Front panel buttons let you save and instantly recall your current setup, including tones, rhythms, effects, and other settings, in special registration memory. The CTK-6250 can store a total of 32 setups.
Powerful Built-in Amplifier & Speakers
The CTK-6250 includes an internal stereo amplifier and speakers. So you don’t need any other gear to make music anywhere. The amp puts out six full watts of power per channel, enough to drive the six-inch bass speaker and two treble speakers per side. You can further tweak the overall sound with the built-in equalizer. The EQ is designed for fast operation, offering five presets that cut or boost the bass or treble.
Ins & Outs
On the back of the CTK-6250 is a jack for connecting an external pedal (not included). You can configure this pedal to operate in different modes. By default, it’s a traditional sustain (damper) pedal, but you can change it to work as a “sostenuto” pedal, sustaining only notes already held down when the pedal is pressed.
Other options are as a soft pedal, or to start and stop rhythms. Unfortunately, with only one jack, you can’t connect three pedals as on a real piano.
Noticeably absent is a microphone input. Unlike some other Casio keyboard models, you can’t plug in a mic directly. However, you can connect a small audio mixer to the stereo Audio In connector, allowing you to add multiple mics or other instruments to your mix.
A built-in USB port lets you connect your CTK-6250 keyboard to a computer. This will enable you to record your multitrack songs as MIDI files, save them on the computer and play them later.
You can also install an optional SD card of up to 32GB in the SD slot on the back. The card can store your music files and user data.
If you’d rather listen to your CTK-6250 through an external amp and speakers, you can connect it using a pair of 1/4-inch jacks on the back. A stereo headphone jack is also provided.
Casio CTK-6250 Keyboard Conclusion
The Casio CTK-6250 keyboard is an excellent choice for any beginning or advanced musician who wants a wide variety of tones and the ability to create complete songs that sound great. Its many features make it a lot of fun to play. And with built-in speakers and optional battery power, it’s a good choice for songwriters needing a portable and low-cost system.
For the beginning keyboard student, it’s missing a few features found in some competing products. In particular, there’s no option for the keys to light up. Also, it doesn’t have any special teaching modes or bundled instructional software. So this might not be your first choice for beginning self-study.