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bodisattva

Manual/tech support

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This is in regards to Casio's manuals and tutorials.

(Specifically, my new XW-P1)

To preface: I admit that I am "old school", and not a computer genius. That being said, neither am I a total idiot. I have two degrees (math and applied science) and was a Sgt. in the USAF. (Talk about having to deal with some idiotic, mostly useless manuals!) I also was a keyboards player back in the days of mini-MOOGS and ARP 2500's and 2600's. (I owned all of them) I'm constantly buying gear, and have never had any problems with manuals or tech support from any of the companies I've dealt with. Until now.

BTW: I have been constantly "graded" genius level in all of my schooling, service, etc.

When I was a teenager, MENSA contacted me, asking me to join. I'm now 60, have been around the block a few times, and while I admit I'm certainly not the smartest guy in the world (!), I'm most assuredly not a dummy.

 

All that being said (not wanting to brag, I'm just wanting to make a point) I have to tell the people at Casio that their manuals are the saddest, most pathetic waste of perfectly good trees I have ever EVER seen in my life! Never have I seen a more abominable, worthless pieces of s***.

The tutorials are excellent --- as far as they go --- which is about 1/2 way through the first chapter of the necessary information. But...Why should a youtube tutorial be necessary at all???

Seriously???

As to "tech support": When I contacted your tech support, I was consistently given completely false and useless information. When I finally insisted on speaking with "the expert", i.e. the guy at Casio that knows more than anyone else about these keyboards, the guy I was connected to told me he didn't even have access to an XW-P1!!!

In short - strictly because of this issue - I will NEVER IN MY LIFE ever buy a Casio product again.

Yes, I'm 60, but I expect to be purchasing large amounts of gear (as I always have) for at least ten more years. None of it will be Casio.

PS. Mr. Martin answered ONE of my questions, and was quite polite, but after receiving a few more questions (very politely worded, not at all like this post), I guess he got tired of answering questions and he simply stopped communicating with me.

Way to go, guys!

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We're all INTIMATELY familiar here with just how crappy the Casio XW documentation really is, BUT, THAT'S THE REASON THIS FORUM EXISTS.

 

Mike Martin has no real official status on this board.  It is not run by nor financed AFAIK by Casio at all.  Mike and Jared contribute to the discussions as often as time permits them but they DO HAVE REAL JOBS WITH CASIO.

 

On the other hand, there's literally a dozen other brilliant and knowledgeable people on this forum who HAVE read and understood the manuals and are simply chomping at the bit to answer everything from the lamest NOOBIE questions to the most abstract and detailed step by step explanations of synthesizer mysteries which mere mortals dare not ponder.

 

First off, did you look at the XW FAQ thread at all?  I try to link every possible Q & A thread I can if I think it is likely to come up again sometime and at this point it has grown to include close to 40 commonly asked topics and I am constantly adding to the list.

 

If you don't find your question posted then post it yourself and try and exercise a bit of patience while people in time zones half way across the world get around to reading it and formulating a proper response.

 

If you want to rag on Casio's lousy documentation, then that's your perogative, but when you rag on Mike Martin who is singlehandedly the most knowledgeable person on the web when it comes to the XW synths, then kindly take your vitriol elsewhere.

 

Have a nice day :)

 

Gary
 

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It has been proven that people learn faster and better when showed how to do something as opposed to learning it from a book or manual.

That is why there are you tube  tutorial video's.

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Hi bodisattva,

I hope this wasn't your first post to the Casio Music Forums. In any case it's clear you are new here. Have you ever heard the saying "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."? Sure you have. It's unfortunate that you squandered yours on a complaint. I'm surprised a genius like yourself did not anticipate the probable reactions to such extreme negativity. But all is not lost. As Gary says post some questions and everyone here will do their best to answer them. We'll forgive you. Honest. If, OTOH, you are just trolling then.....whatever.

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LOL I'm taking this serious but have to see the humor in this post forum members whom been here a while know about the less then "It wont make my day" manual and those who have catch on that info started sharing their experience dissecting the little by little info from that manual in human readable information so far it helped lots of people including me that said :)) .. I only "try" to read a manual in case of emergency struggles. Ill bet nobody ever read the manual of an remote control. :P .   

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It has been proven that people learn faster and better when showed how to do something as opposed to learning it from a book or manual.

That is why there are you tube  tutorial video's.

That's debatable.

SOME people prefer learning that way.

It takes me seconds to glance over a paragraph of text, but many minutes to sit through a video. If it's a really complicated step by step type of procedure, you are going to either have to take notes while watching, or go back for repeated viewing. I've watched countless hours of motion graphics tutorials, and to go from "first do this, then click here, then adjust this value..." to actually LEARNING something is a long process.

As much as people like to hate on the XW manual, I've seen worse. To me, the main issue is the complexity of the instrument, not anything inherently wrong with the manual.

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I have to agree that the Casio Manual fits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum from worst to best out there as well. My Korg TR76 and Microkorg manuals were utter crap while My Kurzweil PC3K is bar none one of the best documented synths I have ever seen, both in terms of the 400 page Factory manual as well as aftermarket publications and tutorial videos and knowledgeable support forums.  My M-Audio Venom manuals are nothing to write home about either.

 

What it boils down to I guess is a keyboard manufacturer's design philosophy.  One's like Korg are only interested in moving large volumes of product with support ending the same day that the replacement model begins to ship.

 

Others, like Kurzweil are in it for the long haul, building in backward compatibility into their newer models and building a knowledgebase which is applicable across their entire product line.  Then again it also helps if they hire technical writers who actually understand the product and speak English as their mother tongue.

 

Anyway, Casio definitely dropped the ball writing their manual but opened a door for an aftermarket companion volume explaining in plain English how to make the keyboard do what you want it to.

 

Perhaps in a few years if no one picks up on it, I'll even do it myself, scouring the forums and tutorial videos for scraps of info and compile the necessary XW Companion Guide myself, though being the lazy sod who I am by nature, I'd really rather just be able to order the book from Amazon with all the heavy lifting done for me :P

 

Anyway, that's my take on it.  :)

 

Gary

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In their defense,I have to say that the Korg M3 manuals are quite good. There's a smaller getting started one and a huge parameter guide, and both are written in correct English (or were translated properly at least). I think the most pathetic ones I've seen have been from Yamaha, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that some products have better or worse manuals than others from the same manufacturer.

A third party XW guide would be awesome though!

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Happyrat1, I look forward to downloading the .pdf of your XW guide. :)

I assume you expect it should be a free download, right? Like music, nowadays. All the time and effort to create such a hopefully well-written guide should be rewarded with...bupkis. If I'm making the wrong assumption, then how much would you pay for such a PDF file? I'm VERY interested to know.

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AlenK beat me to it.  PDF????  DOWNLOAD????  MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

I'll laser print and hand bind my copies on brown paper if I have to but I ain't gonna invest a few thousand hours compiling, editing and formatting a textbook only to have it end up on The Pirate Bay people :P

 

It always amazes me that among pirates, self professed "artists" are among the biggest ones of all. :D

 

Contrary to popular belief "information does NOT always want to be free!"

 

Seriously though, even if I were to gather up all the topics covered in here in the FAQ thread and glean thru all of the tutorial videos and decode the sanskrit heiroglyphs of the user manual and MIDI spec I'd still have a hard time padding out more than a hundred and forty pages right now.  For publication I'd still have to add about a hundred pages or so of diagrams, screenshots and liberal chunks of filler.

 

Now if anyone out there wants to undertake such a project, spend the better part of a year creating it and putting it up as a Print on Demand volume on Lulu or Amazon, then by all means don't let my jaded comments deter you.

 

If you charged about $19.95 per copy you might actually earn about $12 an hour for your trouble and efforts.

 

If the local newspaper paid my gas I think I'd make more money delivering copies of the Mississauga News in my spare time than I think this would pay. :D

 

Writing... :P  Been there :P  Done That :P  Thanks but no thanks :P

 

Gary :D :D :D

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I receive a pretty significant amount of email directly from users.  I also receive tons of Private Messages on this forum.  I simply can not respond to all of them.   Asking questions in a public place like this helps everyone.  Here we also have some pretty dedicated users like Happyrat1 who has created a phenomenal FAQ for the XW's.  

 

As for the manual, I've been pretty clear on my feelings about it.  There are worse ones by other companies and there are some that are better.  However, just doing a quick count I've counted 11 videos on our Youtube page that are educational videos for these products. That includes the live clinics where you have the opportunity to ask me questions directly.  NO OTHER keyboard manufacturer is doing these kinds of things.  Oh, and there is a blog with dozens of other tutorials. 

Bodisattva, I encourage you to take a look around at the things Casio is doing that make us unique rather than the things that we don't.

 

Have a nice day,

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I see a chance to dole out some compliments so I will comment.  

 

From my experience, Casio has awesome support and service.  If the user community here on the forums can't answer a question, then there's easily reachable official support from Casio EMI.   This user forum and groups on Facebook are chocked full of great people who are willing to help anyone who has trouble using their new keyboard.   Our great forum members who posted above me are an example of that.  As a collection of users, we can answer most any question that comes up.  If we are stumped as to the answer, Mike Martin or Jared Beaney is right there to step in and help. 

 

As for the manuals.....I have no problem with them.  I have successfully answered hundreds of questions on this forum and on the facebook groups by reading and learning from the manuals and diving in and using the keyboard.  They make great reference resources.  They cover all of the functions fairly effectively in charts and give a good outline of the menu system architecture.  The complexity and power of these Casio keyboards simply takes time to learn.  That's the key.  

 

And I'll say this for Mike.  He's been super busy lately making new tutorial videos for us and preparing new sound banks for the PX-5S and XW series.  All of this will be available for free.  OUTSTANDING!   At the same time he's traveling and doing shows yet he still finds time to answer questions on the numerous forums and facebook groups.  I won't ask for anything more and continue to be impressed by his dedication.  Thank you Mike.

 

And...Have a nice day.   :)

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Couldn't have said it better, I agree 100% BradMZ. Half the fun is after all discovery-what are the capabilities of a given invention, and can I stretch it?  If I can't let me squeeze out the best of what it is, whether it's a manual or an instrument. I remember (yeh I'm that old) the first patch cord synths, god only knows what was going to come out! If everyone thought that the norm was perfect, we'd all be roasting mastodons over an open fire, beating sticks together and over each other's heads. (no offense to anyone who's doing that whatever floats yer boat). B)

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I assume you expect it should be a free download, right? Like music, nowadays. All the time and effort to create such a hopefully well-written guide should be rewarded with...bupkis. If I'm making the wrong assumption, then how much would you pay for such a PDF file? I'm VERY interested to know.

No, I don't expect it should be a free download.  I recently bought a eCopy of "Logic Pro X - How It Works" and I paid $19.95 for it with free updates of which I received two thus far.

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No, I don't expect it should be a free download. I recently bought a eCopy of "Logic Pro X - How It Works" and I paid $19.95 for it with free updates of which I received two thus far.

Well, that's gratifying. Sorry if I came off as confrontational. It's just that too many people nowadays expect almost EVERYTHING file-based to be free. The business models that would allow someone to get rewarded for putting in the effort to create something are very limited in that kind of world.

Suppose, just for argument's sake, that I WAS in the process of creating just such a guide for the XW-P1. At least now I know if I were to offer this purely hypothetical tome as a download I would make some small multiple of $20. Small multiple because in short order someone would upload it to a file sharing site and that would be all she wrote (or he in this case :)).

 

PS. Heck, I might even make $0.02 an hour on such an effort. Hot dog!

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Well, that's gratifying. Sorry if I came off as confrontational. It's just that too many people nowadays expect almost EVERYTHING file-based to be free. The business models that would allow someone to get rewarded for putting in the effort to create something are very limited in that kind of world.

Suppose, just for argument's sake, that I WAS in the process of creating just such a guide for the XW-P1. At least now I know if I were to offer this purely hypothetical tome as a download I would make some small multiple of $20. Small multiple because in short order someone would upload it to a file sharing site and that would be all she wrote (or he in this case :)).

Not a problem. What I do like about some folks that make eBooks is they usually give free updates after the book has been released, when they or their readers find a typo, or they learn something new. This had been the case twice now with the eBook I mentioned.

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Honestly, I thought the manual was pretty straight forward... Besides not adding a knob controller numbered list to the appendix(Yes, I know, it's not a part of the manual  :P )

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It definitely takes work to understand the manual. But once you figure out the relatively poor English and get used to the way Casio re-uses the same words to mean different things depending on the context (part and channel are sometimes used interchangeably, part is used where they meant track, etc.) its actually pretty useable.

Nevertheless, it is with no false modesty that I say I could write a better one in my sleep. (Yes, I write professionally in my spare time.) But at this late date there would be no point. Now, a tutorial to go along with the manual would still be useful IMO. But who's going to pay to have one written? That would be necessary IMHO because it's already been established that the self-publishing route is not likely to yield many sheckles. Something that size and as detailed as it would have to be doesn't get banged out in a few days or even weeks. It takes real effort over many months. And it really can't be done in a complete way without Casio's direct involvement; there are too many technical aspects of the XW synths that should be in such a docment but are not revealed in any of the existing documents available to users.

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For such a complicated instrument I.e with so many things put into it manual is pretty thin .My previous instruments Yamaha qy700 sequencer and Korg m50 had manuals with at least 200 pages (if I remember correctly) even though are much less complicated ,on other hand that why I got XW so I can spend many hours discovering it's many capabilities.

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The manual is very concise, but as my experience grows I've started to see that as a blessing. I especially like the basic functional arrangement in terms of the steps needed to complete each task, although a bit of redundancy occasionally would make it easier to follow. There is a bit too much cross referencing to similar steps elsewhere in the manual which means I have to shuffle pages more than I would like. I also like the menu tables which describe each parameter, although some of them could give a bit more detail. Definitions of things like Reverb Type 1 and Reverb Type 2 and Reflection Types 1 to 8 would be a big help. Perhaps a glossary is in order. I would also like more information about the units used for some of the parameters. Increments in octaves, semitones, etc. are easy to understand; but what is the unit used for the time-based envelope settings or the various applications of depth? Apart from that, I don't think it's too bad. I prefer a shorter manual to a long winded tome I'd never get through.

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