Casio PT-10 & Friends [Patreon Exclusive] [Decent Sampler]


The iconic sound of a vintage Casio PT-10. For Patrons only.


A viewer named Hamza contacted me from Germany. He had just bought a Casio PT-10 at a flea market and thought I would enjoy it; he wanted to send it to me. As it happens, my family and I were just about to head out on vacation, a long overdue trip back to my parents’ home in Switzerland. Since I would be in Europe anyway, I decided to have Hamza send the Casio to the tiny medieval village where they live. Upon arrival, my father handed me the package, which had showed up the day before we did. Inside was this charming vintage synth from 1987, complete with box and manual (in German):

A Casio PT-10 in its original box.

Here’s what it looks like out of its box:

A photo of a Casio PT-10

My family and I spent the next eight days touring the Swiss and French alps. Every morning, I would get the keyboard out of my suitcase and play it for a few minutes, so I got to know it quite well. I made a commitment that I would only write music using the PT-10 while on vacation.

The PT-10 is pared down version of the legendary Casio VL-1. It has four possible voices: Piano, Fantasy, Violin, and Flute. The two ‘F’ voices, Fantasy and Flute, are my favorites by far.

I was surprised by how much character the sounds had, instantly triggering a personal memory: when I was a kid, I had a friend named Joe whose parents were separated (for some reason, almost all of my friends’ parents were split). On the weekend, he would go to his dad’s house, a tiny flat on Boylston Street in Boston. His dad was named Randy, and he called everyone ‘bozo’. I’m sure there was more to his personality than that, but as a kid you’re only so perceptive. Anyway, his place was a classic bachelor pad–he had a Macintosh Plus stacked on top of a bunch of milk crates in the hallway, which Joe and I would sometimes use to play games, and I also remember he had a Casio VL-1 that he kept in a sleeve next to his mattress. There wasn’t a lot to do at his place, and I remember spending a long time with it one day. So anyway that’s what this sound evokes for me. Since I’m not sure that memory will be useful for anyone else, instead I’ll say: If you’re someone who appreciates the first two Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark records, you will love these sounds.

Since the PT-10 doesn’t actually have a headphone output, I had to open it up to add one so that I could record the dry signal. While I was inside, I tried my hand at circuit bending. There are a number of different contact points that can be exploited, useful for all sorts of glitchy sounds, but ultimately, I decided to leave things as they were. If I stumble on a second one of these, I will definitely buy it and make the modifications.

This sample library contains both that dry signal and a room mic recording of each of the PT-10 four sounds. Each voices also includes two alternate versions: sounds that were created with a variety of outboard pedals, as well as a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

– Dave

The sample library works with the free Decent Sampler player plugin. Download it here.


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