I was recently browsing through the Flickr photostream of user JINsMac and came across this very lovely looking computer. Back in 1983 when this was released, home computers really only came in two colours – black or beige – so a bright red machine with cute “chicklet” keys and a joy pad built onto the casing must have been quite eye-catching.
Once I was done trying to decide if my wife would let me hang a print of this beauty in my house, I noticed a familiar logo on the case – MSX! Regular readers might know that I have a thing for the MSX computer range, owning a Toshiba variant myself as a youngster. I can tell you, the Toshiba was NOT a looker, at least not when compared to the PV-16!
According to MSX.ORG, you could also get this in black but, honestly, who would?
I went in search of more information about Casio’s foray into the MSX world and discovered that they didn’t limit themselves to just one type of red computer, they also had models called MX-10 and PV-7 too!
MSX Zone has a nice section with hundreds of MSX variants, Casio’s included. To be fair to Toshiba, they did produce a red version of the machine I owned but my MSX heart now belongs to the PV-16.
The 80s spawned an era of entry level, consumer synthesizers that could make ANYONE sound like Herbie Hancock!
While the pros were using the Yamaha DX7, Prophet 5 or Ensoniq Mirage, the department store crowd were enjoying cost effective PCM synths that had 50 instruments (which all sounded the same), drum beats (that looped after two measures) and automatic rhythm accompaniment (that was about as dynamic as a geriatric Oom-pah band.)
However, what if you wanted to record yourself saying “jammin’ on the one” and put it to music, but you weren’t as lucky as Theo Huxtable who got to visit Stevie Wonder?
Well, now you could do it home, with the awesome Casio SK-1.
Sadly, all this tool could think of doing was sampling his sad sack dog. Also, notice the disclaimer at the end. This keyboard, as I recall, was only 4 note polyphonic – meaning it can only have 4 keys depressed at one time. That pretend playing in the commercial was not possible on the SK-1.
Later, they made the SK-5, which allowed for more samples to be stored on the keyboards memory, as well as…a drum pad. I bought one for ten dollars off a friend of mine about a month after he got it.