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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » General Discussion
Casio MT-65 / MT-68
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A E J O T Z



Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Griffith, Indiana, USA
Audio files: 148

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:02 am    Post subject: Casio MT-65 / MT-68
Subject description: classic "synth" from 1983
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[The MT-65 and MT-68 are the same instrument in different colors. The 65 is white and the 68 is charcoal grey.]

It was 1983.

I was 29 years old. I'd been playing guitar and writing songs for 15 years. I wanted to make song demos with more than just voice and guitar so I bought a Cutec 4-track cassette recorder, a used Syndrum and a Casio MT-65.

To familiarize myself with the new equipment I plugged the MT into the 4-track and played a simple melodic line. I then played that track back while improvising and recording another simple line. I filled all four tracks then played them back, balanced and panned across the stereo spectrum, while jamming along and recording the whole onto a stereo recorder.

The result made my jaw drop.

The completed piece sounded much bigger than the sum of its parts. (The term for this phenomenon is "synergy," which was also the stage name of my favorite synth musician.) I figured it was a fluke but tried it again. The same thing happened. Turns out I had a knack for layering simple melodic lines into rhythmically and harmonically complex compositions.

[It was at this time that Atari released their version of "Moon Patrol" and I bought a copy. The game's progress gauge was incremented with the letters A E J O T Z]

Forgetting the guitar music demo like it was an unpleasant dream, I spent a month improvising this new kind of music. I compiled an hour-long cassette album that I gave to friends, family and fans of my guitar music. The response was unanimous: don't quit your guitar job.

That effectively ruined my enthusiasm and the MT-65 thereafter collected dust until I left it at the curb during a move-related possession purge.

Flash forward to the turn of the 21st century. I had retired my guitar and Stereolab kept doing things that reminding me of my 1983 keyboard music. In 2011 I relented and started playing AEJOTZ music again. I even bought an old used MT-68 but it was a half-broken piece of shite that didn't survive a later move. (I was having one of the worst days of my life and I threw it.)

But there's an MT-shaped hole in me still. (One might call it MT-ness.) So I kept looking at 65's and 68's on ebay. I finally found a 68 that appears to have been carefully used and then boxed for decades. I bought it.

When it arrives I'll re-explore this classic board and present a description and review here.

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AEJOTZ is pronounced "A-Jotz"
retro-futurism now
electronics = magic
free albums at http://aejotz.bandcamp.com
listen to genre-defying synthetic music at http://sat-5.com
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A E J O T Z



Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Griffith, Indiana, USA
Audio files: 148

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My new (old) MT-68 arrived today. It vaguely smells like a thrift store but otherwise it's in very new shape. Everything works and the sounds take me way back. It's not really charcoal gray; it's more charcoal shaded brown, or something. It's such a weird subdued color that my mildly color-challenged vision is stumped. The white MT-65 was prettier but also showed the slightest smudge and wouldn't fit in with the purely accidental color scheme of the rest of my boards.

I had considered re-recording my MT-65 tune "camelot" from 1983 but I listened to it last night for the first time in about a year and, no, I'm not messing with accidental semi-perfection. That tune is quite sweet and needs to be left alone.

The MT-65/68 has 20 presets, all made with Casio's old vowel-consonant synthesis. But there are more sonic variations available. Two in/out buttons provide different envelope shapes. There are also a non-adjustable reverb/sustain switch and a vibrato/delayed vibrato switch. The delayed vibrato is very sweet.

The board is eight note polyphonic but monaural (one channel).

The accompaniment section is a little fun but mostly silly. A less silly feature is "casio chord" which generates a full major chord when you press the tonic note, a minor chord when you press the tonic and a note to its right, a seventh chord if you press the tonic and two keys to its right and a minor seventh if tonic and three keys to the right are pressed. Pretty neat.

The accompaniment section arpeggiates the chords whether fingered or "casio chorded." In fact, it arpeggiates any combination of notes, even if it's not a proper chord. Just hold some random keys down and it'll play you a melody using those notes. There are four different apreggiator patterns that adjust themselves a little to each of 12 different rhythms.

The board is pretty much a toy, but a damn nice sounding toy. The sounds are different from what you'll get from other synthesis methods. Each of my boards brings something different out of me. The MT-65/68 brings out something rather nice. I just spent half an hour playing some very sweet, almost gypsy sounding music. The Microkorg never did that to me. The haunting violin-like sound I used was the electric piano preset with both envelope mod buttons in. This board has magic.

_________________
AEJOTZ is pronounced "A-Jotz"
retro-futurism now
electronics = magic
free albums at http://aejotz.bandcamp.com
listen to genre-defying synthetic music at http://sat-5.com
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mode



Joined: Sep 30, 2017
Posts: 17
Location: SE England

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Interesting to read your posts; you're something of a veteran in terms of electronica i'd say. Is the MT-68 Phase Distortion? I use a CZ101 which is, and has a special sound which is maybe what you mean with the MT. Used with other keyboards it adds a nice extra vibe to what i'm doing. (Using rack effects as well.)
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A E J O T Z



Joined: Aug 14, 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Griffith, Indiana, USA
Audio files: 148

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The MT-65/68 uses what Casio called "vowel consonant" synthesis. I have a CZ-101, which I love to pieces. The 65/68 has a uniquely sweet sound while the CZ is the boingiest instument, ever.
_________________
AEJOTZ is pronounced "A-Jotz"
retro-futurism now
electronics = magic
free albums at http://aejotz.bandcamp.com
listen to genre-defying synthetic music at http://sat-5.com
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View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Winstontaneous



Joined: Oct 31, 2008
Posts: 42
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I still have the MT-65 I got new in the early '80s. I first bought a Yamaha Portasound keyboard but my classical-musical-loving dad thought it sounded "fake" and advised me to return it. Picked up the Casio instead, which sounded at least as synthetic but somehow passed muster with Pop. This was back in the days when you could go to Sam Goody's record store in a US mall and buy an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff or a Hondo guitar (with a built-in speaker) shaped like a banana!

The MT-65 is more synth-like than any other "personal home keyboard" I've played. There are some great sounds on offer, especially with the two envelope buttons, reverb, sustain, and (delayed) vibrato. I've done my share of 4-tracking through an assortment of pedals and other noisemakers. Tons of fun with the beats, auto-chord/arpeggiator, and bass lines. Some sounds on the track below were made with this beastie:
https://soundcloud.com/winstontaneous/sequoia

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pertho711ljp



Joined: Sep 12, 2017
Posts: 82
Location: Rochester Ny
Audio files: 79

PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Will have to look for that one. Anyways I still have my old Casio SK-1, the first keyboard I ever bought which was from a K-Mart I was doing clean-up work for back in my college years (mid-80's...) Haven't really used it for much in years.
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