Following in the footsteps of the YC Series Stage Keyboards and the most recent iterations of Yamaha's venerable CP Series Stage Pianos, Yamaha presents the CK Series of stage keyboards. The new CK61 and CK88 have set up shop at the intersection of pro sounds, portability, and affordability, while also bringing along a few fresh tricks to the Yamaha stage keyboard line. Versatility and a wealth of features make a serious case for a CK Series 'board as both an all-in-one keyboard rig and as a powerful-in-its-own-right compliment to a YC or CP-based setup.
The CK Series combines the concepts behind the Yamaha CP Stage Piano with the organ and synth-focused YC Stage Keyboard in one instrument, giving you a broad sonic palette to choose from. Sound categories start with piano, electric pianos, strings, and brass. There's also a dedicated organ section based on the Yamaha Reface YC mobile mini keyboard, as well as classic and modern synth sounds. With a total of 363 voices, CK provides more than twice the number of preset voices available in either the YC or CP (or more than the two combined, if you prefer to think of it that way). CK also gives you three parts to work with, allowing you to split, layer, mix and process sounds directly from the front panel.
Also inherited from YC and CP, Live Sets store and recall the exact settings for anything on the front panel, including splits, layers, and special effects. They also store and recall features such as A/D Input setting, sample playback, and LED light color. That's right – CK lets you personalize and organize your keyboard with custom colored LED lights with settings that can be saved and recalled from a Live Set.
When it comes to effects, the CK Series features three dedicated effects processors plus Master Delay, Master Reverb, and EQ. Both the Master Delay and Master Reverb have their own send level from each of the three CK parts and A/D Input. Effects can be applied to a mic or instrument plugged into the A/D inputs and heard through the CK’s speakers or outputs, or recorded to your computer via the built-in USB audio interface.
Another highlight of the CK Series is its intuitive, one-to-one user interface, designed to keep you focused on playing and creating instead of menu diving. There are dedicated Category buttons and Effects controls; the Organ gets nine dedicated drawbars with controls for the rotary speaker, percussion, and a vibrato/chorus section; Filter and Envelope Generator (EG) knobs give you instant access to the most commonly-used synth parameters.
But what about the keys? The CK Series' two models each feature a unique keyboard action aimed at different kinds of players and playing styles. The CK61 is equipped with a 61-key keyboard with Yamaha's new FSB ("Future System Basic") action, ideal for organ, synth, and other keyboard parts. Inspired by the action originally developed for Electone organs, it features a heavier initial key resistance and increased key travel for a wider range of expression and stability. The CK88 features Yamaha's perennial GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) 88-key, weighted and graded action, which is geared more toward the acoustic and electric piano end of the spectrum.
While the CK Series' feature set is already compelling, Yamaha has also decked out the line with a few additional features for even more versatility. Built-in speakers and battery-powered operation let you untether from the power adapter and your amplifier or sound system for truly portable music making. CK will run for up to five hours with rechargeable batteries or up to three hours with alkaline AAs. In addition, Bluetooth audio input makes it easy to connect a phone and listen to or jam along with your favorite tunes.