At first glance, the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard is so small, it may be tempting to think of it as a toy, and not a serious instrument. And yet this little package has a surprising punch, with more features, better sound, and just an overall fun package that kids as well as adults will find irresistible.
Quick Overview of the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard
The Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard is designed for children, with a compact size, small keys, and a fun, colorful design that will appeal to children of all ages. It is also fairly rugged, and can withstand some hard use, so it's a good option for even young children.However, it's so fun and appealing that even musically inclined adults will find it irresistible. The built-in tones, rhythms, and sound effects make it engaging for all ages. It would be a great gift for a musical friend, to take on a road or camping trip, or addition to any playroom or classroom.
Summary of the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard's Features and Specs
32 mini-size keys
10 built-in songs:
Weighs just over 2 pounds without batteries
100 built-in instrument tones
8 levels of max polyphony
Operates on AC power or 6AA batteries
Who the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard is Most Suitable For
The Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard is designed for small children, as a simple introduction to playing an instrument. The small overall size and mini-size keys are designed for young children, as are the bright colors of the base, the easily accessible drum pads, and the fun, kid-friendly rhythms and sound effects. Kids will enjoy hearing cartoon-inspired instruments, laser gun effects, and all the other fun sounds they can make with this keyboard.However, it also gets rave reviews from adults, who are surprised at how good the sound is, and love the 80s-inspired tones, cool retro look, and find it fun to play with. Some pros even use it as a portable keyboard to help compose songs, or use the unique tones and effects to layer into compositions.
What’s Included with the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard
Be warned that the basic Amazon keyboard purchase does not include a power supply. It needs to be purchased separately, or purchase a different Amazon bundle that includes the power supply. The dedicated Casio AD-E95100 is the best power supply for this keyboard because it has the correct fit that will be stable enough when children are playing with the keyboard.
Overview of the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard's Features
The Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard has a lot of features in a tiny package.
It's available in four colors, and construction is fairly sturdy and rugged, able to withstand some rough use by children.
The LCD screen is small, but provides just enough information to control your settings, navigate menus, read notes, or follow along with lessons.
One wouldn't expect a tiny beginner keyboard like this one to have polyphony or tuning controls, but the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard does. They are simplified, with only 8 levels of polyphony, but still more than one might expect in this package at this price range.
A one-touch piano/organ button lets you quickly reset to these preset settings without navigating the menu.
Piano teachers can split the keyboard in half, so that teachers and students can play beside each other and learn how to play the piano properly.
32 mini-size keys
32 mini-size keys are great for small hands, and the small size fits easily on a lap or table, making it easy to play anywhere and take anywhere. Battery power also adds to its portability, making it great for road trips and picnics.
It has a full 100 built-in instrument tones, and many of them have a kid-friendly, cartoonish-sound that is retro and fun. 50 built-in rhythms express a wide range of musical styles and genres and make it fun to play along. While more advanced musicians often prefer drum effects to be keyed, kids will love the drum buttons for their fun and ease of use.
The built-in songs are also kid-friendly, and simple enough for anyone to learn. Built-in lesson functions guide learning and practice in a simple, easy-to-follow way.
Pros & Cons of the Casio SA-46
No EQ or volume control for the drum effects independent from the key sounds. The drums are loud, and it would be nice to be able to independently control the drum volume, especially when kids are mashing on the buttons.
An Alternative Product to Consider
The Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard is an unusual combination of features that are hard to match:
It's easy to find toy-like keyboards for kids, but they have a poorer sound quality. It's easy to find comparable sound, but those keyboards are bigger and more expensive. The Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard has a special ability to appeal in looks and sound to both musical kids and musical adults, at an incredible price point, making it hard to compete with.
However, there are a lot of toy pianos for kids, and many of them have desirable features, like bright colors, recording and playback functions, built-in microphones, and other fun accessories. A good option for a portable keyboard that is intended to be a child's toy is the aPerfectLife 32 key multifunction portable keyboard.
Like the Casio SA-46, the aPerfectLife keyboard has 32 keys, is compact and lightweight, and is battery powered. It comes in a range of bright colors, and is bundled with a microphone.
However, it's also clear that the aPerfectLife 32 Keys Multifunction Portable Electronic Musical Kids Piano Keyboard is a toy; the number of instrument voices and built-in rhythms is extremely limited, there are no tuning or polyphony functions, and it can only be battery powered, with no AC adaptor. It's also not durably constructed and won't last for long when used extensively by a child.
It's a good toy, but really doesn't compare with the Casio SA-46 for features and sound, and most children will either quickly break it, or quickly outgrow it. Considering that the Casio SA-46 has so much more to offer, and is only slightly more expensive, it's generally not worth downgrading to a less robust keyboard, even if it has a fun microphone.
Accessories for the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard
Because the Casio SA-46 is so special, and so affordable, the best option is to get it as a fun instrument for the whole family, and invest in a few accessories to get the most use out of it.
Headphones are a must if you are giving the Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard to a child. The drum effects are loud, even at low volume. A great choice for the Casio SA-46 are the Elecder i37 Kids Headphones. These over-the-ear, adjustable headphones have comfortable padding for hours of wear, and are foldable and lightweight, so they are just as portable as the keyboard.
They have good sound and bass response, and filter out background noise and distractions. The cloth cord is durable and won't tangle, and they even have a one year warranty. They come in a range of bright colors, some of which just happen to perfectly match the Casio SA-46 keyboard, so it will look like it's a matched set.
Even when small kids are just playing around with a keyboard, it's not too early to help them see and learn music at the same time. Piano stickers help kids identify the names and notation of the notes they play, and are a good introduction to reading music.
However, the Casio SA-46 has very small keys, so conventional piano stickers may not fit on this tiny keyboard. The Piano Stickers for 32 Key Melodica are a good choice, because they are colorful, small, and removable when they are no longer needed.
Some adults love this keyboard so much that they wish it had more ports, so they could record MIDI from it. Naturally, there are some adventurous souls online who have done just that, and there are videos on YouTube of how to hack the Casio SA-46 to make it more versatile. This keyboard has a surprisingly diverse fan base, who have maximized the possibilities in unexpected ways.
The Casio SA-46 32-Key Portable Keyboard is so fun and appealing, it has the potential to be one of those toys that you get for the kids but end up playing with all the time yourself. It's an enjoyable way to get children interested in playing music, but also just a fun thing to have around the house or on road trips, when you want to play and enjoy music. It may be small, but it has a great range of musical features and capabilities, and has won over enthusiasts around the world.