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MZ X 500 versus CTX 5000 - is the price difference worth it?


Mayo Vox

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Mayo-at the risk of admitting I don't have either-but the my PX560 is fairly similar to the MZ-X500 as far as touchscreen features-but more recording features and sampling than the 560-I would download and study for a few minutes (or more) both manuals available at the Casio website-and try to find user posted demos of both on Youtube-but listen with good headphones through your computer, will give you a more accurate approximation of the tones compared in each.  If I had to choose-I would select the MZ almost based entirely upon the touchscreen, which makes accessing tones and many other features so much easier to work with. I believe both have the ability to create user rhythms (auto-accompaniment patterns) and the sampling may be something worthwhile to you which the CTX series does not have. And the quality of the tones-the CTX may have a slight edge with some but not all tones-I think for example the acoustic and electric pianos will compare fsavorably-and the MZ has organ drawbars again missing on the CTX. From my use of similar drawbars with my XW-P1, it does add quite a bit of direct access to organ variations, a real plus for the style of music I play.

 

One other consideration-the CTX series are still (so far) readily accessible in the marketplace from what I see. The MZ-X series is now pretty rare and will only become more so. If you can grab one of these at a good price, you might not see another for a long time. If you don't like it the CTX will still be around (I'm guessing) in😜 the marketplace-and you can sell me your MZ-X500 cheap if you don't like it....:www.MessenTools.com-Frutas-pianodance:

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Super THNX Jokeyman

 

I was considering the touch screen it looks very nice, to be honest.

 

The next advantage of the MZ seems to be a "break" in the rhythms. 

 

I found it very useful on the Korg keyboards.

 

Thanks so much, and I'll post what I will decide.

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On 12/12/2023 at 1:08 PM, Mayo Vox said:

Super THNX Jokeyman

 

I was considering the touch screen it looks very nice, to be honest.

 

The next advantage of the MZ seems to be a "break" in the rhythms. 

 

I found it very useful on the Korg keyboards.

 

Thanks so much, and I'll post what I will decide.

-BREAK- on the MZ-X it only adds a measure without sound and it is not possible to create a variation with this button.

I have the CTX and the MZ-X but the MZ-X is much superior to the CT-X in terms of editing Rhythms

, It has a Drawbar, Hexalayer and you can even add Sampled Sounds. The MZ-X was built to be the Top of the Line arranger by Casio while the CT-X is a MID LEVEL

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My posts get deleted, but I'll try to post again :)

 

90% of sounds built in MZ-X and CT-X are exactly the same.

The MZ-X has far better pianos and strings, compared to CT-X.

MZ-X has better editing capabilities for sure, and better synth options, BUT

MZ-X has very weak DSP, compared to CT-X.

In MZ-X, you can only have two DSP effects at same time (one per sound)

On CT-X, you can have 3 sounds at same time, with 4 DSP effects on each.

Also, DSP quality on CT-X is far better.

Also, on MZ-X, you can't use USB cable for sound and data transfer, only for MIDI. You have to use flash drive if you want to transfer tones or styles.

 

Also, MZX has a EDM drum kit, which has same drum arrangement as Yamaha EDM drum kit, so porting styles is much more easier.

Also, MZX can import Yamaha styles directly, which is for legal purposes, I believe, is called "SMF" import, but in real life, MZX reads and interprets all Yamaha specific CASM data properly. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/18/2023 at 7:50 AM, Just Alex said:

Also, MZX has a EDM drum kit, which has same drum arrangement as Yamaha EDM drum kit, so porting styles is much more easier.

Also, MZX can import Yamaha styles directly, which is for legal purposes, I believe, is called "SMF" import, but in real life, MZX reads and interprets all Yamaha specific CASM data properly. 

This is a very interesting feature ! 😉

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On 12/17/2023 at 2:54 PM, Silvano Silva said:

I have the CTX and the MZ-X but the MZ-X is much superior to the CT-X in terms of editing Rhythms

Can please someone exemplify what additional rhythm editing features has the MZ-X series compared to the CT-X series !

 

And by the way, in the same "Variation" of a Rhythm on the MZ-X series can be created different auto-accompaniment pattern formulas for different chords, as for example in the CVs of Korg arrangers ?

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MZ-X has graphical display, so you see all the rhythm settings at a glance, also, due to large number of assignable knobs and sliders, many rhythm settings can be controlled in real time, while editing.

 

Another difference is that you can assign non-drum instrument to #9 channel, but can't apply any chord modifiers to that channel, so I really don't understand the purpose of that option, only if you have same sampled vocals or FX, which does not need to be transposed.

 

For the Korg, sorry I don't understand what you mean.  MZ-X uses same AC7 format as other keyboards, so if there are some limitations in format itself, they will be also limitations on MZ-X.

 

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On 1/7/2024 at 7:40 PM, Just Alex said:

MZ-X has graphical display, so you see all the rhythm settings at a glance, also, due to large number of assignable knobs and sliders, many rhythm settings can be controlled in real time, while editing.

 

Another difference is that you can assign non-drum instrument to #9 channel, but can't apply any chord modifiers to that channel, so I really don't understand the purpose of that option, only if you have same sampled vocals or FX, which does not need to be transposed.

 

For the Korg, sorry I don't understand what you mean.  MZ-X uses same AC7 format as other keyboards, so if there are some limitations in format itself, they will be also limitations on MZ-X.

 

Therefore, the MZ-X series has in the auto-accompaniment section the same rhythm editing features and no other additional extra settings compared to the CT-X series. But the MZ-X series has a more intuitive and more practical graphic interface thanks to the touchscreen display. 

The truth is that would have been very useful on the CT-X series a GUI like in the MZ-X series, with a touchscreen display and more real-time tone and rhythm controllers (buttons, knobs, sliders, etc.) on the front panel. But at its price we cannot have so many claims from the CT-X series.

I have other problems to solve now in my personal life, but in the future I will try to compensate all the missing live controllers in my CT-X5000 with a iPad MIDI App, something like the "MIDI Designer Pro2" for example.

 

Regarding to the Korg CVs, my question was if I can configure the MZ-X auto-accompaniment rhythm such that, in Variation 1 for example, the Bass line to have a certain accompaniment pattern for CMaj chord, another accompaniment pattern for C7 chord, and a completely different accompaniment pattern for Cdim chord.

Korg arrangers allows 6 CVs (Chord Variations) for each Style/Rhythm Variation, and each CV is configurable by the user. Which can set as for a certain chord, a certain CV, which play a certain accompaniment pattern. For another chord can set another CV which play another accompaniment pattern. And so on, up to 6 CVs, which allow the user to play 6 different user preconfigured accompaniment patterns through 6 different chords in the same Style/Rhythm Variation.

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7 hours ago, Brad Saucier said:

CTX pattern sequencer does not have an event editor.  

.  

It's not about the event editor of the pattern sequencer.

 

The CVs on Korg arrangers it's about the Chord Variation Patterns in the Style/Rhythm Variation (6 different chords can play each one a different user preconfigured accompaniment pattern in the same Style/Rhythm Variation)

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Ok, the question is clear. As said, AC7 format has some limitations, so you can only have two variations with different lines - Minor and Major. That is already available on CT-X too, just you don't have access via editor to it, since style editing features of CT-X are quite limited. Also, on MZ-X you have intro2/ending2, which are also available on CT-X, just there are no buttons for that :D

 

As I said before, Casio can do something like CT-X6000 - Sound engine of CT-X coupled with GUI and cabinet of MZ-X, but they decided to do a singing chimpunks series, with CT-S.  Also, it should be said that CT-X firmware is far better "polished" than MZ-X, where numerous bugs are still present and no one going to fix them.

 

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5 hours ago, Just Alex said:

As I said before, Casio can do something like CT-X6000 - Sound engine of CT-X coupled with GUI and cabinet of MZ-X, but they decided to do a singing chimpunks series, with CT-S...

 

 

Unfortunately, we live in times of austerity and poverty. The manufacturers sell us the musical instruments that we can afford to buy. And, if the situation will continue like this, in the near future we will end up to have available on the market only two models of keyboards. One with a single white key ("Casio CT-S White Key"). And other one with a single black key ("Casio CT-S Black Key"). Like in this photo... 😜😂

 

IMG_7865.jpeg.7aacded4636d4e7b8a919e59c405e2ed.jpeg

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12 hours ago, Just Alex said:

Also, it should be said that CT-X firmware is far better "polished" than MZ-X, where numerous bugs are still present and no one going to fix them.

For this reason, I sold my MZ-X 500. The bugs have driven me crazy.

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Really, I never read much about these. I had thought I missed out when I couldn't buy one when these first appeared. Could you describe a few?  Considering how many similarities there seems to be with my PX560 which only revealed one true "bug" or more properly, malfunction in software-I'm surprised the MZ-X did not get bug-proofed.

 

I suspect the massive disruptions in the markets everywhere from the Covid pandemic affected music manufacturers everywhere as the difficult economic factors now are influenced by world-wide disruptions. Products such as the MZ's suddenly disappeared from the market, as have quite a few others from my limited research. Even Kurzweil seems to have "dumbed-down" some of their products lately, probably due to the increased difficulty of making money, and the prevalence of complete software home studios, rather than having more live bands using hardware, since again if nightclubs and other live music venues cannot make a profit-live music is the first to go.

 

So hardware music instruments are not supported much anymore, from just about anyone. Alesis devolved from making one of the most advanced synths in history 15 odd years ago-the A6 Andromeda-to making inexpensive auto-arranger boards and 'scaled-down" digital pianos. A shame, but that's business. iI understand Moog just was bought out by "InMusic"-who are supposed to back Akai and Alesis devices and others-I know first-hand how much their best stuff has pretty much been abandoned by InMusic. Now Moog apparently got sucked into the same black hole, a shame. Sorry for the rant, got off topic i guess.
 

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Yeah, @Jokeyman123 you missed out without playing the MZ-X 500!

 

From the specs it is a wonderfull keyboard and it would be so in reality, if there weren´t so many bugs AND if the keybed wasn´t made of thin plastic.

I don´t understand, why casio makes such a lovley concept and than fails with the implementation in reality in such a way.

 

First thing:

If you take a nice keybed, for example some Fatar or an old DX7 keybed or a hammer action like the RH3 from Korg, you can play the Machine very nice and detailed. Some tuning of the Sound is needed, to fit in the characteristics of the external keybed.

 

Second:

Sound tuning: I can´t understand, why casio delivered this powerfull machine with such weak presets. The preset sounds don't do the machine justice. If you beginn to tweak them and put some internal FX on it - - - that´s the moment where the magic starts. (... and unfortunately the frustration)

 

Third:

Software bugs - working with INTERNAL  SAMPLES works pretty fine. Samples will be load correctly and in a short time. Some Samples sound digital and sharp... but the intern sample set works well for me (I like the cheese classic sounds 😅) When you beginn to put internal FX (DSP and Master FX) you get a real spacy and fat sound. By the way, the sound is much more clear, than in the MZ-2000, which i like very much. BUT the FX parameters are not recalled reliable. Especially with the registration memory. Sometimes even some other parameters like paning, detuning will not recalled correctly - sometimes yes, sometimes no.... grrr

 

Fourth:

Software bugs - working with EXTERNAL  SAMPLES: This is - in theory - a wonderfull and surprising function in a keyboard like this one. You can load in your own samples. Therefore Casio offers a software editor, wich is a littlebit cryptic, but it works. The MZ-X has 512 MB samplememory for user sounds. For me that is enough. It allows loading in multisamples, you can arrange them in the editor. - Perfect. You can use these samples in hex layers. What a powerfull thing.

BUT: The time it takes to load is much to long. And it is not reliable. Sometimes some samples will not be loaded. So your hex layer sound plays only half. Even the MZ-X has a preload function for a few sounds, it is not working correctly. Sometimes the samplex 'fall out of memory' while you are playing.... grrr

That together with the buggy FX recall.... is frustrating

 

Over all:

The keyboard in whole for me is cerebralized. It addresses the mind rather than the gut. It is more a keyboardish computer-thing with black and white keys. And less a music instrument, which allows you intuitiv playing. So sad, because Casio has the knowhow to build user interfaces with a highly intuitiv connection between hardware and software, in example see the MZ-2000.

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Yes, the prestets that come with instrument are not so good, but I would not say this is a bug.

 

There are a lot of bugs like random symbols displayed, not all buttons working in all menus, some settings  can't be saved sometimes (but sometimes can), not all features available are described or working as they should. See some here: 

What's interesting, there's an updated version of MZ-X500, for Latin America market, with refreshed look and never firmware (1.61), which has SOME of these bugs fixed, but that firmware is not available for download.

 

Btw, CT-X series are still made-  mine was CT-X5000 C2, and recently I went to a shop and now they have C7 modification.

 

And for the COVID, I don't see any Yamaha releases cancelled or being late, due to that :)

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just Alex, in your post from the 18th of December, you say "Also, MZX can import Yamaha styles directly, which is for legal purposes, I believe, is called "SMF" import, but in real life, MZX reads and interprets all Yamaha specific CASM data properly. "

 

Just to make sure, you think that one can load Yamaha styles, with ".sty" extension, directly? In this case, one can

1) Use Yamaha's MIDI Song to Style app, and

2) Convert any song you 

3) Use these styles for Casio MZ?

 

If this is doable, that i sexcellent

 

 

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I don't know anything about the MZX and CTX specifically, but here's some interesting facts I've discovered re auto-accompaniment patterns.

 

I have dozens of Yamaha PSR-540 .sty files to play with, I forgot from where, and simply changing the file extension from .sty to .mid makes these files (at least these 540 rhythm files) playable as midi files-which I use in XGWorks or any midi file player, DAW, etc. I also used some of these to design my own auto-accompaniment styles playable in the Casios.

 

Another surprise-Band-in-a-Box which can be surprisingly useful even after all these years-can play these Yamaha .sty files-since Band-in-a-Box uses the same file extension for its styles. However-the Band-in-a-Box .sty files will not play if changed over to a .mid file.

 

Is this of any use to anybody? Who knows...but thought you all might be interested to know this "factoid" about the .sty files, but I recall each generation of Yamaha arranger, the styles are not always cross-compatible between their own keyboards-and thus may not always "behave" when trying to convert from one form to another. I've also done this with Korg styles too. Is any of this legal? Probably as long as I only use for myself and to re-sell. I take copyright seriously. If you think big brother isn't paying attention, remember "torrents" and the "Pirates Den", and many others which are now "Lost in Space".

                                                                                                 :spacecraft-1:

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