Casio PT-50

ROM Pack Compatible Keyboard

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Casio PT-50 Keyboard


The Casio PT-50 was one of the first keyboards to have the ROM Pack system, the other being the MT-800. Unlike the later ROM Pack keyboards, there are no LEDs above the keys. Instead, the LCD display shows a diagram of the keyboard with small blobs that indicate the key to be played, while the alphanumeric section of the display shows the chords.

The PT-50 also seems to be the only keyboard that supported the writable "RAM Pack" cartridges, which could be used to save data from the keyboard's internal sequencer. The sequencer can either be programmed in real-time, or  by using the "One-Key" method, whereby notes  and chords and their respective durations are programmed independently. Even in real-time mode, melody and chord sequences must be programmed separately - it is  apparently not possible to record and replay a complete performance in real-time. Correction of stored data is possible, but rather fiddly. There is no way to program the "obligato" track, even though this is used when ROM Pack music is loaded into the sequencer memory (see below).

Manual play is monophonic. There are 8 voices, which sound quite dull and almost muffled, like a bad tape recording. The 16 rhythms consist of noise pulses, but without the usual metallic timbre often heard on these early keyboards. The auto accopaniment patterns sound quite nice, with fairly rich bass. The internal speaker delivers a fair amount of bass, but unfortunately resonates quite badly at the upper end of the keyboard range, particularly when using the "Flute" voice which is an octave higher than the other voices. There's also a Transposer function.

Unlike other ROM Pack keyboards, the PT-50 does not play the programmed music directly from the ROM. Instead, the music is first copied into the PT-50's internal sequencer memory and then played from there, thus overwriting anything already stored. The ROM Pack can then be removed from the keyboard, and provided batteries are installed, the music is retained in memory indefinitely, even if the keyboard is switched off.

Interestingly, there is a compartment in the underside of the keyboard to accept a "TA-1" cassette tape interface, which can be used to save and load sequencer data to/from audio cassette tapes, much like the 1980s home computers. I do not own a TA-1 so I'm not sure exactly what is possible with this device, but any attempt to use the cassette interface without it being present causes the keyboard to freeze up for a long time, and switching off and on again does not recover the situation - you just have to wait.

This is a very nice, warm-sounding keyboard, which renders ROM Pack music very nicely.

Audio Samples

More PT-50 audio samples on the RO-201 ROM Pack page.

Instruction Manuals

The original manual was bilingual, with English and Spanish sections. Only the English pages are included.