Dixon Beats Releases FREE DB1 Plugin Inspired By The Casio SK-1 Toy Keyboard


Dixon Beats releases DB1, a FREE Casio SK-1 emulation for macOS and Windows,

Casio’s SK-1 sampling keyboard first appeared in 1985, and I think it’s fair to say the little 32-key synth has aged well.

At the time of its release, Casio never intended for the SK-1 to be a world-beater; it was a bit quirky, fun, and relatively cheap.

Almost four decades later, it’s still not a world-beater, but as we’ve discussed previously, people love nostalgia. That nostalgia is often triggered most by sounds that weren’t that great initially, and the 8-bit SK-1 falls into that category.

Now, these retro sounds are sought after and considered cool, especially by makers of various types of Lo-Fi music/beats.

The DB1 plugin features all original SK-1 presets, including Piano, Flute, and Jazz Organ. Dixon Beats has added some additional presets to provide more variation (32 in total), and I particularly like the 44 Strings sound.

The interface follows the retro image of the original hardware closely, and it looks good. Along with three banks of presets, you get some other cool features that take you back to 1985 with the need to drive a DeLorean at 88mph.

On the left, next to the Volume slider, are a couple of instant nostalgia boosters: a Vinyl slider (dusty crackle) and a Wobble slider.

DB1 also has an FX page with ADSR sliders, Saturation, Width, EQ, a Filter (high/low), and convolution Reverb.

The included reverbs cover various spaces, large and small, from a church and arena to a concert hall; there’s even a car park. The right reverb on these kinds of sounds can be extremely transformative.

A Casio SK-1 is something I’d probably enjoy owning but never buy, especially now that they are a little more pricey (relatively speaking). So, DB1 provides much of that fun and nostalgia, albeit without the joy/pain of sampling via the SK-1’s built-in microphone, for free.

I like quirky sounds, and as well as the obvious Lo-Fi stuff, instruments like the CK-1 remind me of slightly oddball movie scores, like Napoleon Dynamite, and I love that. It seems like a good job by Dixon Beats and a welcome freebie!

If this retro keyboard doesn’t sound quite bad (good) enough for you, why not degrade it some more with our free BPB Dirty VHS?

DB1 is available in AU, VST, and VST3 formats for macOS and Widows.

Download: DB1 (FREE)


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James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.


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