Casio feature a variety of digital piano ranges. One of which is the CPG, which simply stands for ‘Compact Grand Piano’. This review takes and in-depth look at the pocket friendly, yet impressive, Casio CGP-700 digital piano.
The Casio CGP-700 is a professional digital piano with a modern look. The piano is only available in a black finish and the piano is made of solid matte plastic housing. Despite the plastic housing, the piano still looks elegant and far from being just another digital piano.
Casio’s CGP-700 comes with its own wooden piano stand. Inclusion of a piano stand is always a welcomed addition as users do not have to spend more money buying external stands. On the CGP-700 the stand also doubles as part of the speaker system.
There is a total of six speakers on the Casio CGP-700. Four of these are on the keyboard itself whereas the remaining two are part of the piano stand. A great feature of the stand is that it can be rotated outwards so that the two speakers on it face the audience. In doing so, one can perform without suing external amplifiers.
The Casio CGP-700 is a compact instrument and weighs in at 11.7kg on its own. Once fully assembled, the CGP-700 weighs in at 25.7kg. The lightweight nature of the instrument makes it a dream for musician that is constantly on the go. It is easy to transport without the using having to struggle with its weight.
Measuring in at 52” in length and only 11.5” in depth, the Casio CGP-700 is arguably one of the most compact digital pianos in the market in comparison to a competing model such as the Yamaha DGX-660 which measures at 17.7” in depth and weighs in at 20.8kg.
Some digital keyboard manufacturers include digital displays in their piano designs. This has been a common feature in Casio’s pianos, especially the celebrated Casio Privia range. The Casio CGP-700 comes with a 5.3” colour touchscreen even though it is not part of the Privia range of digital pianos.
Whilst most manufacturers simply include a digital display, Casio’s incorporation of a touchscreen makes for an impressive looking instrument, not to mention it is significantly easier to navigate.
Given the price-tag of the Casio CGP-700, the inclusion of a touchscreen as part of the design makes the digital piano stand aside from other competitors.
Aside from the touchscreen display, the Casio CGP-700 also makes use of several buttons and controls. In total, there are 27 buttons. Despite this number, in no way does this cause a cluttered appearance due to the small nature of the buttons.
There is a volume knob as well as a pitch wheel, standard features when it comes to controls on a digital piano.
Unlike other Casio models like the PX-770, the Casio CGP-700 does not come with its own in-built triple pedal board as part of the overall design. Instead the piano features an external pedal which is a basic sustain footswitch.
The Casio CGP-700 has a rather impressive keyboard given the price tag of this instrument. We take a detailed look at what makes this keyboard stand out from the competition and why it’s a great addition for any musician, whether a novice or a seasoned virtuoso.
Featuring Casio’s well-known Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II, the Casio CGP-700 provides the user with a realistic feel when playing. This realistic element can be attributed to the use of a hammer system in the keyboard.
This simply means that opposed to using springs in the keys, the Casio CGP-700 makes use of small hammers that replicate the movement of the hammers in an acoustic piano. This brings the user even closer to a more realistic playing experience.
The Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard II is available on every Casio digital piano under $2000 therefore it is not a feature unique to the CGP-700. However, it is nevertheless a massive part of what makes the digital piano worth the outlay.
An attribute of the keyboard worth paying attention to is the Graded Hammer Action effect. This attribute is found on acoustic pianos whereby keys in the lower register are heavy, and as the player gradually rises across the keyboard the keys become lighter.
The graded hammer action will be a massive plus to players used to playing on an acoustic piano due to how similar it feels to playing the real thing.
Casio's CGP-700 features a 3-sensor system under each key. This adds to the overall playability of the CGP-700 as most digital pianos only have 2 electronic sensors. As a result, this is another characteristic the helps the Casio CGP-700 stand out from other competing piano models.
The three-sensor system allows for greater accuracy when it comes to velocity detection and provides the user with the ability to play faster.
One thing we noted is that keyboards under the $1500 price-tag usually do not employ the use of a three-sensor system. However, Casio use a different strategy and they include this in all their digital pianos.
Touch sensitivity is another noteworthy feature of the Casio CGP-700 keyboard. Essentially, there are three touch sensitivity pre-sets the user can choose from: Light, Normal and Heavy. The keyboard responds in a distinct manner depending on how hard or soft you play.
The adjustable touch sensitivity feature allows for greater dynamic range while playing since it relies on the velocity of which you press the keys.
Alternatively, the touch sensitivity feature can be switched off so that all the keys produce the same volume regardless of how hard or soft they are played.
A lot of digital pianos on the market feature keys with a glossy finish. This can sometimes be undesirable and may be irritating to play. The Casio CGP-700 on the other hand makes features Simulated Ebony & Ivory keytops with a matte textured surface.
This may not seem like something huge worth considering, but the fact is that the matte textured surface allows for better grip when playing, not to mention it genuinely feels more realistic. It also provides for better moisture absorption during intense performances.
Casio take a bit of a different approach in regard to sound source in the CGP-700. Whilst most Casio pianos feature the use of the AiR (Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator) sound source, the Casio CGP-700 makes use of the MXi (Multi-Expressive Integrated) sound processor.
There are several differences between the two sound sources.
Firstly, unlike the AiR sound source, the piano sounds played through the MXi are not as polished. This is not something that is immediately noticeable, but users who have played pianos with the AiR sound source will be able to tell a difference.
Secondly, the MXi does not include several features which are found in the AiR sound source such as string resonance simulator, linear morphing and key-off simulator. Essentially, these facilitate for a more natural and realistic piano sound.
All-in-all, despite the difference in sound sources, the Casio CGP-700 is nevertheless a great sounding instrument and truthfully, very few people can tell the difference between the two sound sources. It would take an experienced player with a very keen ear to immediately spot the difference.
With so many sounds at its price-tag, the Casio CGP-700 offers a world of possibility and hands down beats any other competing digital pianos in this price range. In fact, the CGP-700 contains even more sounds than some digital pianos that are double its price!
Having so many sounds is a massive advantage as it allows for greater room in terms of creativity. Not to mention there is no point in acquiring new instruments when the same can be achieved with the wonderful instrument library in the Casio CGP-700.
It is quite literally impossible to get tired of playing the Casio CGP-700 when it offers so many interesting sounds and possibilities.
Sound effects have become part and parcel of digital pianos and the Casio CGP-700 does not disappoint in that department. The digital piano offers 17 reverb effects, 16 choruses, 6 delays and adjustable brilliance.
Sound effects can really spice up your performances and bring monotonous tones to life. As such, the Casio CGP-700 offers a lot of room for experimentation until you find the perfect tone for yourself.
In terms of the speaker system, the Casio CGP-700 has a powerful 40W speaker system. In total, there are six speakers;
- 2 x 6W (on either side the keyboard) 4 in total
- 2 x 14W (piano stand)
The Casio CGP-700 can be used without the stand, but the sound quality will not be as loud or as clear given the in-built speakers on the stand are larger and louder than the ones on the keyboard.
The Casio CGP-700 speaker system is good enough to compete with that of the Casio PX-870 given they are both 40W. Some players have noted that the PX-870 speakers are good enough to mimic the loudness of an acoustic piano. Therefore, the same could be argued for the Casio CGP-700
Most digital pianos on the market feature a 128-note polyphony and the Casio CGP-700 is no different.
Pianos with high polyphony ensure that no notes get cut off while the user is playing regardless of how intricate or complex the composition is. The 128-note polyphony on the Casio CGP-700 is more than enough and it is unlikely that most player will actually make use of the full 128-note polyphony.
With that being said, it is enough to accommodate both novice piano players and more experienced performers.
Featuring several different playing modes, the Casio CGP-700 allows for a variety of options for users to choose from:
The Dual Mode feature allows for the user to layer two different instruments that will sound at the same time when the key is played. That means that users can play a piano sound and a brass sound at the same time.
This simple feature allows for interesting compositions and sounds to be created. Layering two instruments together could create an entirely new tone altogether. Not to mention the volume balance allows for one sound to be louder than the other.
As such, this allows for more room for creative experimentation as users are not bound to only being able to use stock sounds that come with the piano
However, the bass sound cannot be used in the dual mode option.
When the Split Mode option is selected, the keyboard parts in the middle and allows for the user to load two different sounds on each half of the keyboard. For instance, you could be playing a piano sound on the left-hand side and play a string sound on the right-hand side.
The default split point is the F#3 key but users have the option of moving this. User can go as far as being able to split layered sounds so that there are essentially four instruments playing simultaneously.
Split mode means you can jam without having to worry about lugging around many different instruments.
Casio’s Duet Play feature is as simple and straightforward as it sounds. When selected, the Casio CGP-700 splits down the middle into two equal sections, each with its own middle c (this simply means they will have identical pitch ranges)
The duet play mimics the function of having two keyboards. This is particularly useful when teaching music to a student, or even collaborating with another piano to create interesting compositions.
Transposing, Octave Shifting & Tuning
As with most digital pianos on the market, the Casio CGP-700 features several pitch shifting options that allow the user to achieve different pitch ranges.
With the in-built Transpose function, the Casio CGP-700 allows for the user to raise or lower the pitch of the entire keyboard in semitone steps. A simple and straightforward feature that allows for speedy pitch shifting without much of a hassle at all.
Almost all digital pianos in this day and age feature the inclusion of a transpose option, therefore it would be lax of Casio not to include this. However, as usually, Casio do not miss their mark.
There is also a straightforward Fine-tuning function available with the Casio CGP-700 allows for the user to change the tuning of the piano in 0.1Hz steps. Usually, the standard tuning on pianos is A4 = 440Hz.
While most entry level players may not feel the necessity in changing the tuning, the Casio CGP-700 allows for the adventurous player to experiment and engage compositions and pieces of higher difficulty.
Casio include an Octave shifting function on the CGP-700. This feature is as straightforward as its name suggests and allows for the pitch to be changed in octave measurements until your desired pitch is achieved.
Recording and Playback
The Casio CGP-700 features two recording options for users; MIDI and Audio recording.
The MIDI recording feature is common in most, if not all, Casio digital pianos. Basically, when one records in MIDI the actual song audio itself is not recorded; instead the performance data is captured and stored. This includes the tone, the key, the velocity of key strokes etc.
MIDI recording is particularly useful as it allows for user to manipulate and edit this data after they are done recording. This allows for one to make changes to the tempo as well as the tone of the MIDI recording.
The best thing about the MIDI recording feature on the CPG-700 is that it allows for up to 16 tracks to be recorded on a song. This is a massive bonus seeing as many Casio digital piano models such as the PX-870 and the PX-770 only allow for two tracks to be recorded at a time.
The inclusion of 16 tracks allows for users to create full compositions with a variety of sounds. It provides an unprecedented amount of latitude to compose complex multi-layered songs and arrangements. Not to mention that users can listen to already recorded tracks as they record the next ones. So much win!
Because MIDI data does not take a lot of storage space, the Casio CGP-700 is capable of recording and storing up to 100 MIDI songs in its internal memory. Again, a huge step up from Casio models like the PX-870 which, despite its price-tag, can only store one MIDI song at a time.
The biggest advantage is that users no longer have to hurriedly export MIDI data to external devices out of fear of overwriting previously saved data.
Another brilliant addition to the MIDI recorder is the inclusion of the punch-in recording feature. This allows for users to re-record certain parts of the tracks.
The Audio recording option on the Casio CPG-700 is a great addition as many digital piano models do not facilitate for this possibility.
As the names suggests, this feature records the audio signal being played and saves the data in high quality WAV format (16bit, 44.1 kHz, Stereo). This is essentially the typical audio format used by most audio recording studios.
While this feature is indeed welcomed with open arms, the main downside is that the recorded audio cannot be stored on the Casio CGP-700’s internal memory storage. Users must save the data to external devices such as flash-drives.
Despite this one drawback, WAV recordings are more accessible than MIDI recordings as they do not require special software in order to listen to (MIDI files will require the use of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) when exported so they can be played back and edited)
WAV files can be played on most devices including phones, laptops, iPods, etc
The Casio CGP-700 makes use of a rather interesting and exciting feature known as the Accompaniment function. As the name suggests, users pick from 200 different accompaniment rhythms that play alongside your performance. Essentially, this recreates the feel of playing along with a full band.
A great thing about this feature is that it reacts along to the chords you play. The Casio CGP-700 allows for chord fingering modes to be selected whereby you can use the full range of the keyboard to specify cords or you can use the left side of the keyboard for simplified chords.
This is great for anyone looking to practice without the hassle of leaving their house and lugging around their gear to rehearsals. Shout-out to Casio!
There is also the One-touch pre-set option that is available in the accompaniment function. This basically assigns the most favourable tempo and tone options for the particular accompaniment pattern you have selected.
As with most, if not all, modern day digital pianos, the Casio CGP-700 has its own in-built Metronome to help users stay in tempo.
Basically, a metronome allows for you to stay in tempo by providing a basic ‘click track’ for you to follow. This is usually a non-intrusive sound with the main purpose of guiding you to play on beat.
Another cool feature is the Auto-harmonize option that comes with the Casio CGP-700.
In nutshell, this option adds additional notes when you’re playing thus creating a fuller and deeper sound.
The auto-harmonize option, when selected, is applied to the right-hand side of the keyboard and there are 12 different harmony effects to select from.
As with most Casio models, the CGP-700 has a comprehensive number of connectivity options to choose from.
The Casio CGP-700 has two 1/8” jack in-puts available thus allowing the user to connect two pairs of headphones at a time. Once plugged in, all audio output from the speakers is automatically stopped. As a musician, inspiration can strike at any time, so this is great for those late-night jams.
There are two USB terminals on the Casio CGP-700.
The USB type A allows for the user to connect external devices such as flash drives and allows for the quick transfer of MIDI data. Seeing as audio recordings can only be saved on external devices, the inclusion of this USB port is essential.
It also features a USB type B which then allows for the Casio CGP-700 to be directly connected to a computer. This allows for the seamless transfer of MIDI data. Not to mention that the piano itself can be used as a MIDI Controller, a massive win for music producers and musicians in general.
On the back of the Casio CGP-700 is the standard Line Out R, L/Mono jacks. The industry standard ¼” jacks can be used to connect the piano to an external speaker system, amplifiers, mixers etc. This is great as the Casio CGP-700 can be used in large concerts and events.
Included in the Casio CGP-700 is the audio in stereo mini jack. This is simple and straight forward as it allows for music to be played from external devices through the digital piano’s speakers.
As explored in the design section, the Casio CGP-700 comes with its own in-built stand that it can be disconnected from for travel and gigging purposes.
The stylish wooden stand includes two speakers therefore if disconnected these will not produce sound. This is the only drawback but given the multiple connectivity options, it is simple to amplify the sound through another external device or speaker.
Unlike some Casio models such as the PX-870 and the PX-770, the Casio CGP-700 does not make use of in-built pedals on the stand. Instead, the digital piano comes with an external sustain pedal known as the Casio SP-3.
While this pedal will be more than adequate for novice performers, experienced players may shy away from using it as it is nowhere close to being similar to the pedals found on an acoustic piano. The only advantage is that it is very light-weight and easy to move around when performing at shows.
There are several more realistic pedal options worth looking into:
The major shortcoming of the included pedal is that users who want a more realistic pedal will have to spend more money in order to buy external devices. The Casio SP33 is probably the best option and it fully justifies its price-tag.
While not everyone will employ the use of a sustain pedal, it is nevertheless worth taking into account.
With such a high overall score, the Casio CGP-700 is a great addition and comes highly recommended.
Casio PX560 (full review)
The Casio PX560 is a great competitor/alternative to the Casio CGP-700 digital piano. This particular model features 256-note polyphony, as opposed to the 128-note polyphony found on the Casio CGP-700. Another fantastic feature about the Casio PX-560 is the recording and play back options whereby users can record up to 100 WAV audio recordings. The CGP-700 on the other hand requires that users record to external devices.
However, the Casio PX-560 is significantly pricier than the Casio CGP-700 and the speaker system is not a great as the Casio CGP-700 (the Casio CGP-700 has a 40W speaker system whereas the Casio PX-560 only has a 16W speaker system). The Casio PX-560 is only available in a blue colour, while this may not be a deal breaker for most potential customers, it is not the most contemporary colour finish.
Yamaha DGX660 (full review)
This alternative digital piano comes from a competing manufacturer, but it could be argued it gives that the Yamaha DGX-660 gives the Casio CGP-700 a run for its money when compared side-by-side. The Yamaha DGX-660 employs the use of the Yamaha Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) keyboard, this allows for a realistic feel when playing as lower register keys are heavy and they get lighter as you go higher up the piano. Just like the Casio CGP-700, the Yamaha DGX-660 also features the use of a digital display for easy navigation. Furthermore, the Yamaha DGX-660 offers 192-note polyphony in comparison to the 128-note polyphony offered by the Casio CGP-700.
The design on the Yamaha DGX-660 could be a little bit better; despite the inclusion of the digital display screen, there are still a lot of buttons that make the piano look cluttered. Fewer buttons would give the DGX-660 a more sleek and elegant appearance.