Casio and Yamaha make electronic keyboards loaded with features for beginners as well as professionals. Although the products sold by these companies are similar, their target demographics are much different. By understanding that distinction, you can choose the brand right for your needs.
Casio introduced the Casiotone keyboard in 1980. It was one of the first electronic keyboards available on the market. It was easy to use and was able to produce the sounds of a piano, drums and guitar and included built-in speakers. Yamaha, a company that had been around since the late 1800s, began to sell keyboards in the 1980s as well and struck gold with the DX-7 digital synthesizer, which became the world's best-selling electronic keyboard at the time.
Casio excels in entry-level keyboards because their instruments are easy to use and often have built-in speakers, which not only saves money, but adds an element of portability for the beginner. Yamaha is one of the most popular companies for professional and touring musicians whose instruments often include more advanced features such as multichannel recording and effects built into the unit.
Because Casio keyboards are geared to beginners, its products can be used for family gatherings, churches and other uses where simple sounds and realistic pianos sounds are needed. Although some of their models incorporate flash recording, their products are less feature-rich than those offered by Yamaha. Yamaha has beginner models as well as full-featured workstations that can be used by songwriters of all types.
As of 2009, Casio keyboards can often be found for less than $150 at music stores. Some of the more expensive models can be more than $400, but are top-of-the-line models used by songwriters. Yamaha, on the other hand, have models as low as $100 and as high as $4,000 for professional models that include several high-end features including multitrack recording and USB ports for computer connection.
If you are a professional musician looking for a keyboard, Yamaha makes the best keyboards for touring and recording because of the features and the feel of the keys themselves. Many touring bands and artists including Chick Corea and Avril Lavigne use Yamaha keyboards exclusively. If you are a beginner and wish to learn on a less expensive, but quality keyboard, Casio offers many models such as the WK200 that are both feature-rich and inexpensive.