Casio CDP-S360 review: What is it?
Okay, we're just going to say it, beginner musicians have never had it so good. The sheer amount of quality instruments aimed squarely at the musical novice is staggering - with beginner digital pianos and keyboards being the most fiercely competitive, for sure. For this reason, it can be particularly tricky to navigate hoards of electronic keyboards, stage pianos, and MIDI controllers on the market. Luckily there is a shining beacon in the sea of electronic instruments - Casio.
Over the last few decades, Casio has positioned themselves as the leading force in the beginner keyboard space - and with the new PX S-7000 a strong contender for high-end pianos as well. While the Tokyo-based manufacturer has a number of piano ranges from the aforementioned Privia to Celviano, we are going to be taking a look at the latest addition to the very popular CDP range - the Casio CDP-S360.
Being released as a successor to the favoured Casio CDP-S350, the new CDP-S360 builds on its predecessor's success by upgrading core elements for an improved playing experience - this results in a fresh beginner piano that has all the fun elements of a home keyboard onboard.
As you'd expect, Casio promises improved sound, better playability, and more features on their latest instrument, with the biggest change coming in the form of the polyphony, which doubles from 64 on the previous iteration to a much more respectable 128.
So, with that said, let's see how the new Casio fairs against the previous model and whether it's a marked improvement on an already great piano.
Casio CDP-S360 review: Performance & verdict
If you're at all acquainted with the CDP-S360, then you'll already be fairly familiar with the feature set of the newer version. Actually, that brings us to our first observation. There isn't that much difference between these two pianos.
The CDP-S360 uses the same Casio Scaled Hammer II keyboard, which, while it hasn't had an upgrade, we aren't all too concerned about it - frankly, if it ain't broken and all that. For us, this is a very solid feeling action that should satisfy beginner and professional players alike.
As you can probably tell from the name, this keybed attempts to recreate the feel of a graded grand piano - heavier on low notes and lighter at the top - and while it may not be as weighty as a Yamaha or Roland, it certainly feels very enjoyable to play. Each key is responsive, and the fine-grained finish on the key surface adds an extra layer of detail we very much appreciate.
Okay, that brings us on to the sounds hidden away inside this sleek, petite piano. The CDP-S360 boasts an impressive library of tones, with a whopping 700 voices onboard. This is particularly impressive when you consider that the majority of digital pianos tend to opt for only a handful of acoustic pianos and E. piano tones. However, while the sheer number of sounds included on the S360 could be seen as a plus - and to many players, it will be - for us, it feels like quantity over quality at times.
The core piano voices are all of a very high standard, with the grand piano sound being particularly good, but once you move into the more eccentric sounds, they seem to become increasingly less usable as you scroll through. Don't get us wrong, there are a few gems in there, with some synth and string voices being fun to mess around with, but we find it hard to believe that beginner pianists are lining up to play the helicopter or applause setting.
As well as the exhaustive list of tones, there are also a number of accompaniment styles and rhythms to play along to - 200, to be exact. The auto-accompaniment feature generates a dynamic backing track that uses the notes played by your left hand to generate chords, basslines and a drum beat. You can even save some of your favourites into the Registration Memories, so you can incorporate them into a live performance.
On the subject of sounds, a welcome change from the previous model is the increased polyphony. While the older version only had 64 notes of polyphony, the CDP-S360 now sports the far more respectable 128.
Design and features
: Don’t need a slew of sounds and rhythms? Well, the Casio PX-S1100 is the instrument for you. This ultra-stylish, easy-to-use piano is easily one of our favourites in the Casio catalogue right now.
: The Yamaha P-45 is a robust instrument with superb playability, high-quality sounds and outstanding build quality.
In our eyes, Casio has become the market leader in slimline fully weighted keys pianos. With the ultra-slender PX-S1100, PX-S3100 and PX-770 in their ever-expanding line-up, Casio proves they can make a space-saving instrument that doesn't compromise on playability, tone and style.
Of course, this praise extends to the CDP-S360. This piano has a very clean and uncluttered silhouette, with an intuitive button layout that even the youngest of players can get to grips with. Scrolling through the sounds and backing tracks is a breeze, and the LCD screen is easy to read.
Like most Casio pianos, the CDP-S360 comes with a sustain pedal. While the sustain pedal is more than serviceable, we would prefer a piano-style pedal to be included. Nevertheless, we do understand that this is a budget instrument, and therefore Casio is unlikely to offer a more premium pedal as standard. If you do want to upgrade the pedal, you can purchase the Casiol SP-34 pedal unit, which provides the full functionality found on an acoustic piano.
On the rear of the piano, you'll find a common set of sockets for connecting your keyboard to a manner of different devices. With 2 USB types, audio in, headphone out and pedalboard controls, the Casio CDP-S360 is pretty well connected. It's worth noting that Bluetooth doesn't come as standard, but you can gain this feature with yet another optional extra, the Casio WU-BT10 dongle.
Casio CDP-S360 review: Hands-on demos
Alamo Music Center - Pianos and Keyboards
CASIO Music Global
Casio CDP-S360 review: Specifications
- Keyboard: Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard Ⅱ
- Number of Keys: 88
- Touch Response: 3 sensitivity levels, off
- Number of Tones: 700
- Maximum Polyphony: 128
- Effects: Reverb (10 types), Chorus (4 types), DSP (Preset for some tones)
- Arpeggiator: 100 types
- Built-in Songs: 152 (including 50 Exercise Phrases)
- Speaker: [13cm x 7cm (Oval)] x2 2-Speakers
- Dimensions: 1,322 x 232 x 99 mm (w/o music stand)
- Weight: 10.9 kg
- Included Accessories: Pedal (SP-3), Music Stand, AC Adaptor (AD-A12150LW)
- Contact: Casio