Casio PX-S1100 Review: Still Compact, Still Innovative…

Casio PX-S1100 Review

Since Casio Music division’s humble beginnings in 1980, they’ve cemented themselves as one of the premier digital music instrument manufacturers, aiming to merge their expertise in technological innovation with the creativity-focused field of musical instruments.

Today, we’ll be covering one of the newest additions to their piano lineup, the PX-S1100. This also serves as an update to the PX-S1000, which we reviewed in 2019.

Back when the PX-S1000 was initially released, it was lauded for being one of the most innovative takes on the digital piano formula in a very long time.

Casio PX-S1100 Specs

  • Smart Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard with simulated ebony/ivory key textures
  • 88 full-size fully weighted keys
  • Touch Sensitivity (5 types, Off)
  • Sound: Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR Sound Source
  • 192-note polyphony
  • 18 instrument sounds (5 acoustic pianos)
  • Modes: Dual (Layer), Split (Bass only)
  • 2-track MIDI recorder, audio recorder
  • 60 built-in songs (+ 10 User Songs), Part On/Off: L, R
  • Acoustic Simulator (adjustable): String/Damper/Key Off Resonance, Damper Noise, Key On/Off Action Noise (4 levels, off)
  • Metronome, Transpose, Master Tuning
  • 17 Temperament Options
  • Speakers: 8W + 8W (two 16cm x 8cm oval speakers)
  • Connections: USB type A, USB type B, Bluetooth Audio & MIDI (adapter included), Headphone jacks (2), Sustain Pedal jack, Line Out (R, L/Mono), Audio In (stereo mini jack)
  • W x D x H: 52” x 9.1” x 4” (132.2 x 23.2 x 10.2 cm)
  • 24.7 lbs (11.2 kg)
  • Release Date: October 2021

Casio’s prowess in engineering somehow managed to design the slimmest digital piano on the market, and all without sacrificing too much in terms of playability or quality.

We weren’t expecting an update quite so soon. Our recommendation of the original PX-S1000 still stands strong, and we were interested to see how Casio would iterate on the initial formula, especially given the multitude of criticisms levied against the PX-S1000’s keys.

In this review, we’ll determine if the PX-S1100 is a worthy successor, and whether it improves over the flaws of the original. Finally, we’ll figure out if the PX-S1100 is even worth considering if you’re already an owner of the original.

Below you can check the availability and current price of the Casio PX-S1100 in your region:

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Design

If you were wondering what the ‘S’ in the name stands for, it’s ‘slim’. The PX-S series (and its cousin CDP-S series by proxy) were designed from the ground up to be sleek and compact.

The design of the PX-S1100 isn’t as awe-inspiring as its predecessor, but that’s only because we’ve seen it all before. I do still appreciate the amount of effort put into the design though, as it’s something that no other manufacturer has attempted in the 3 years since.

Casio PX-S1100 Side

In terms of dimensions, the PX-S1100 is 52″ (W) x 9.1″ (D) x 4″ (H), and clocks in at an impressively lightweight 24.7 lbs (11.2 kg).

This is the exact same chassis used by the PX-S1000, which comes as no surprise. Much like the original, the PX-S1100 is one of the most portable digital pianos available on the market.

If you’re someone who has very limited space to work with, the PX-S1100 is still the most compact choice you can make without sacrificing essential features like full-size 88 weighted keys and onboard speakers.

 

In terms of build quality, the PX-S1100 retains the clean, futuristic look of the original, with a glossy plastic front panel that still looks striking 3 years on.

On the black version, the digital piano’s front panel is basically spotless apart from the volume knob, the logo and model name. When you power it on, the buttons and labels light up, shining through the transparent glass surface, and making it usable even in darker conditions.

Casio PX-S1100 Colors

The PX-S1100 also comes in white and red (limited edition). On these variants, the front panel has the text and button positions labeled with gray coloring. These also include the text backlight used in the black variant, which might make it a bit harder to read for people who are sensitive to glare.

Some of the buttons and labels are changed slightly from the PX-S1000, but the overall use is practically identical.

Now, let’s talk about how the controls feel.

Casio PX-S1100 front panel

The volume knob has a good amount of resistance, allowing for precise changes to be made without much hassle. This is always a plus, especially if you’re going to need to make frequent changes on stage.

The buttons use capacitive technology, which is similar to what you’d get on modern smartphone screens. This means that none of the buttons are physical, which definitely left me missing the tactile feel of the other instruments we recently reviewed.

While I didn’t find myself misclicking buttons during my playtest, do note that it’s no substitute for physical buttons.

One of my complaints with the original PX-S1000 still remains, where the buttons are quite limited in terms of their scope. To access a lot of features, you’ll need to rely on button-key combinations, which I’ve never been a fan of.

Casio PX-S1100 Controls

For example, to select a sound, you need to hold down a button while pressing the key corresponding to your sound of choice. The same procedure applies to tweaks like touch sensitivity, effects, and so on.

It’s not as frustrating as it might sound thanks to some intuitive hints, like how the sound is previewed every time you press a key, but it does make tweaking the PX-S1100 a bit of a hassle.

This is further exacerbated by the PX-S1100’s lack of internal preset memory, which is a huge shame given the surprising amount of customizability you can do.

It just feels like a waste to design the perfect sound, only to lose it once you turn the PX-S1100 off for the day.

I would have very much liked more buttons, as there’s a ton of empty space on the front panel, or even a screen, which would help make navigation easier. However, I do acknowledge that the PX-S1100 is priced at a relatively low-price, and these are acceptable compromises.

If you do share my gripes, do note that a screen is included on the PX-S3100, which is a more advanced version of the PX-S1100 (review coming soon!)

Casio PX-S1100 Buttons

I had the manual on hand during the playtest, and I recommend that you do the same early on to understand the many button/key combinations necessary to navigate through the instrument.

Alternatively, you could make use of Casio’s Chordana Play app, which lets you use your smart device as a user interface. We’ll cover this more in the Features section, as it’s one of the big selling points of the PX-S1100 over its predecessor.

One further aspect of the PX-S1100 adding to its portability is its ability to be powered off 6 AA batteries. I did not test the model’s endurance, but Casio claims up to 4 hours of continuous operation, which should be more than sufficient for gigging purposes if you don’t have access to main outlets.

Before ending this section off, I do want to bring up one of my biggest nitpicks with the PX-S1100’s design. The front panel is a fingerprint magnet. Considering that you’ll be jabbing the buttons constantly, I highly recommend having a microfibre cloth at the ready.

All in all, the PX-S1100 is a clone of the PX-S1000 in nearly every way, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what you thought of the original. If you liked the PX-S1000, you’ll probably have no qualms about the new one.

Personally, I’m still a fan overall, and all of my complaints in this section boil down to personal preference.

Keyboard

Casio’s key actions are relatively well-received amongst the community, with their Tri-Sensor Hammer Action keybed, as featured on their PX series (without the ‘X’), being very well-liked for delivering a realistic feel at an affordable cost.

To achieve the slim form factor of the PX-S1100, Casio needed a new redesigned key action, as the width of the keyboard wouldn’t fit the Tri Sensor Hammer Action’s full mechanism.

Casio PX-S1100 Front Side

Casio’s solution was the aptly named Smart Scaled Hammer action, which features some computational logic ‘smarts’ to combat the scaled-down nature of this mechanism. Also, it is now a two-sensor action, as opposed to the triple-sensor actions that have become the industry standard.

So how does this work, and is it actually good?

Typically, when you press down on a key, the key action passes through every sensor until it goes through the lowest sensor, indicating that you have reached the bottom. Then, as you release the key, it passes through each preceding sensor.

Casio PX-S1100 Logo

The magic happens at the middle sensor. If you’re playing trills or other techniques that involve fast repetitions, this allows you to retrigger sounds without requiring the keys to return to the original resting point.

With 2-sensor actions, this is a bit more difficult. Casio solves this with a bit of programming trickery, which is legitimately quite smart (hence the name).

When your key presses are between the two sensors in the PX-S1100, the internal chipset estimates the current position of the keys and emulates how the third sensor would function.

In practice, this works great, and I doubt I would have realized that there was some software magic going on in the background. It really feels seamless, and considering that there were minimal complaints from the general populace after the original release, I’d say Casio did a good job.

Smart Scaled Hammer Action

The key action feels a bit lighter than the competition, another understandable compromise given the size constraints, but it’s manageable and is pretty easy to get used to.

If I had to describe the disconnect, it would be with the black keys, which understandably, have a reduced pivot length. This makes it slightly harder to play into the keys, so you’ll learn to modify your playstyle quickly enough.

The keys themselves have a synthetic ivory and ebony texture that gives a good degree of grip during play. This is a nice feature for people with sweaty palms like me.

Casio PX-S1100 key texture

Also, the keys are surprisingly stable despite the reduced pivot length, which gives a smooth playing experience. There is also a ‘silent mechanism’, which dampens the noise produced by the keys without adding a soft, mushy floor to the key action.

Let’s crack open the whole can of worms regarding the PX-S key action.

There’s been a lot of heated online discourse regarding the weight of the key action. Specifically, how the black keys are lighter than the white keys.

This is something I didn’t really notice during my playtest, but I’ll also note that I’m very much used to unweighted keyboards and synth-style keys.

Personally, I think the hate on the key weight is way too overblown for what it actually is. The difference in weight might matter for classical pianists who demand realism, but for most people, this still provides a good experience that surpasses some of the older budget options.

And that brings us to one point that bears repeating. The PX-S1100 is a relatively budget-friendly option compared to its competition. It’s true that instruments like the Roland FP-30X and Yamaha P-515 provide a more realistic experience, but they also cost more.

For an MSRP of sub-$1000, I still think the PX-S1100 is really good at what it does, even if we ignore the benefit of portability.

I will also note that many other reviewers, who are keyboardists who I respect greatly, had no issues with the original PX-S1000 or the PX-S1100. If anything, this shows that the issues with the key action come down to personal preference.

I would leave you with the usual “test before you buy” spiel, but I do want to emphasize that the general sentiment across reviewers and owners of the PX-S1100 seems to be positive. This is no substitute for actual, in-person tests, but I would not take the hate as gospel.

Sound

Sounds are where the main upgrades of the PX-S1100 come into play, though I wouldn’t call them massive upgrades.

The main factors differentiating the PX-S1100 from its predecessor are improved speakers and upgraded piano samples. Considering that one of my main gripes with the original was its speakers, I was interested to see how this would go.

Casio PX-S1100 Privia

The PX-S1100 is powered by the Multi-Dimensional Morphing AiR sound engine, which is a modified variant of the sound engine powering the previous non-slim Privia instruments.

The original PX-S1000 didn’t give its new sound engine a name, but judging by the similarities, I expect that this is a ‘rose by any other name’ situation.

In total, the PX-S1100 includes 18 sounds, the exact same selection you have on the original PX-S1000.

  • 3 Grand Pianos – Concert, Bright and Mellow
  • 2 Upright Pianos – Rock and Jazz
  • 4 Electric Pianos – Rhodes, Wurlitzer, DX-7 style FM synth and CP-80-style synth piano
  • 4 Organs – Pipe, Jazz and 2 electric organs
  • 2 String Orchestras
  • 3 Miscellaneous – Harpsichord, Vibraphone and Electric Bass

We’ll begin with the grand piano sounds, as this is where you’ll be spending most of your time.


Concert Grand Sounds

Casio does not specify the concert grand they sampled, only referring to it as a ‘German concert grand’. Judging by the sound, I believe that it is a Steinway, with a balanced, large tone. This also comes in 3 different varieties, the default, a bright mix, and a mellow mix.

Personally, I like the default concert preset that you get on startup the most. This is in contrast to the original PX-S1000, where I preferred the mellow variant more. If anything, this does indicate that Casio’s claims of updated samples ring true.

Steinway Grand Piano

The differences are not necessarily major, as there are only subtle upgrades to the audio fidelity of the samples. The updated model feels like it covers a wider audio spectrum, with clearer highs and more detailed lows.

If you don’t have the PX-S1000 and the PX-S1100 side by side, you likely won’t notice the differences. If you do get a chance to do an A/B test, try playing some deliberately muddy chords, and you’ll see how the PX-S1100 manages to sound distinct.

There is a caveat to these minute upgrades though. I only truly heard these differences through the headphone output using my monitor headphones. Through the speakers and my cheap casual headphones, these differences in sample quality are barely discernible.

Regardless, good on Casio for updating the star samples. While I’ll still give competitors like Kawai and Roland the lead in terms of quality, Casio’s piano samples are definitely still radio-ready.


Acoustic Simulator

One of the benefits of the AiR sound engine is the inclusion of acoustic modeling, courtesy of the higher-end Casio instruments like the non-slim Privia and Celviano line. This allows for some degree of customization, though don’t expect in-depth options like with Roland’s Piano Designer or Kawai’s Virtual Technician.

Casio Acoustic Simulator

The tweakable parameters include 4 different intensity values, and an option to turn them off. The settings are:

  • String Resonance
  • Damper Resonance
  • Damper Noise
  • Key On Noise
  • Key Off Noise

This isn’t a lot to work with, but is serviceable for most purposes. For example, if you like to simulate a far-mic’d setup, you could turn off the damper and key on/off noises, or vice versa for a super close-up mic.

I would usually be bummed out about having very little in the way of tweakability, but it’s worth remembering that the PX-S1100 has very limited controls. The way it is implemented is at the very least, intuitive.


Other Sounds

From what I can tell, the rest of the sounds are the same as they were in the original PX-S1000.

The 1st and 2nd electric pianos are probably the standout, emulating a Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos with a bit of dirt and drive. Combined with the lighter key action, it’s a ton of fun.

The synthesized piano sounds round off the electric piano collection. These do sound a bit too bright for my tastes, but you can tweak that using the Brilliance effect as a faux-EQ.

The Jazz organ is another highlight, with a nice rotary speaker emulation, though it unfortunately does not have a tweakable rotary speed.

The rest of the sounds are nice to have, but not all too special in isolation. The harpsichord, vibraphones, strings and bass are alright, but honestly not anything to write home about. I expect that most of these miscellaneous sounds are designed to be used as layers or splits to augment the main piano sounds. Regardless, I won’t knock having more options.

Casio PX-S1100 Keyboard

Overall, the sounds on the PX-S1100 are a bit of a mixed bag. The mainstay acoustic and electric pianos are nice, but the rest don’t necessarily share the same degree of polish. Whether or not that is a downside comes down to your own preferences.

I’d say that pianists and keyboardists will enjoy the PX-S1100 just fine, especially if you’re mainly using it for practice purposes. Gigging musicians might want to look elsewhere for a wider sonic palate.


Effects

The effects section on the PX-S1100 is fairly simple, but it works well enough to add some variation for general purposes. The effects include a hall simulator, a chorus, and brilliance.

The hall simulator is further split into two components. There’s the reverb unit, and a surround sound virtualizer.

Reverb Concert Hall

The reverb section comes with 4 different algorithms, ranging from a standard concert hall to a large outdoor stadium. You can further modify the depth of the effect in 42 distinct steps. Certain presets come with pre-applied reverb effects, so you don’t need to manually tweak things every time you boot it up.

The surround virtualizer seems to add some kind of panning effect, which is even present on the speakers. I personally found it to be a bit unnecessary, so I’m glad to see that it’s off by default.

EQ

The chorus effect has 4 different intensities, ranging from light to intense flanging. At the lightest setting, this is a nice way of adding some width and softness to the electric pianos. For gigging musicians, you’ll definitely want to try this section out.

Finally, there’s the brilliance effect, which essentially serves as the quintessential EQ effect. This setting can go up or down in ranges of 3, making the sound brighter or mellower.

The fairly bare-bones FX section on the PX-S1100 has the essentials, but I definitely wish Casio added in some extras to make the PX-S1100 a more significant upgrade over the original.

I expect that this is another compromise made in the name of portability and the lack of a screen, but considering the new focus on PX-S1100 on Bluetooth connectivity, I expected Casio to include some extra options, even if they were only accessible via the app.


Polyphony

Casio PX-S1100 Polyphony

What is Polyphony?
Polyphony is the number of notes a digital piano can produce at the same time.

Most of the contemporary digital pianos are equipped with 64, 128, 192 or 256-note polyphony.

You may wonder how it is possible to have 32, 64, or even 128 notes playing at the same time, if there are only 88 keys and we never play them all at once.

First of all, many of today’s digital pianos use stereo samples, which sometimes require two or even more notes for each key played.

Furthermore, using the sustain pedal, sound effects (Reverb, Chorus), dual-mode (layering), and even the metronome ticking sound takes up additional notes of polyphony.

For example, when you depress the sustain pedal, the earliest played notes continue to sound while you’re adding new ones and the piano needs more memory to keep all the notes sounding.

Another example of polyphony consumption is when you’re playing along with a song playback (can also be your own recorded performance) or auto-accompaniment.

In this case, the piano will need polyphony not only for the notes you’re playing but also for the backing track.

When you reach the polyphony cap, the piano starts to drop the earliest played notes to free up memory for new notes, which in turn affects the quality and fullness of the sound.

You’ll rarely need all 192 or 256 voices of polyphony at once, but there are cases when you can reach 64 or even 128 note limits, especially if you like to layer several sounds and create multi-track recordings.

It’s desirable to have at least 64 notes of polyphony.

A digital piano’s polyphony count measures how many samples can be simultaneously in play before earlier sounds get abruptly cut off.

The PX-S1100 has 192 notes of maximum polyphony. This is enough to work with for most songs, even when using the layering functionality.


Speakers

The PX-S1100 comes with stereo 8W speakers.

Casio’s marketing material has been quite vocal about the upgrade to the speakers, and I was quite surprised to see that these were the same wattage as the original.

Instead, Casio opted to change the design of the speaker cones, which aims to provide a more accurate high- and low-end response across the full volume range. I’d say that the PX-S1100 succeeds in this regard.

Casio PX-S1100 Speakers

One of the small gripes I had with the original were its speakers, which sounded decent, but tended to get muddy as you bumped up the volume.

The PX-S1100 still gets a bit muddy at higher volumes, but you can push it a lot harder before you start to get artifacts.

Note that the speakers are back-firing, so you’ll preferably be placing this against a wall to get the best effect.

As long as you’re playing at a reasonable volume, you should have no issues with the PX-S1100’s speakers. I recommend getting an external amplifier for gigs though.

It’s hard to say how much of the PX-S1100’s superior sound quality can be attributed to the new speaker design, as opposed to the updated piano samples, but I’d guess that it’s a combination of both.

Regardless, it’s nice to know that you’re getting another noticeable upgrade over the original.


Conclusion on Sounds

Casio PX-S1100 Side Angle

Overall, I’d say that the PX-S1100 sounds good, though not great.

You can definitely get better-sounding digital pianos with more realistic samples and in-depth modeling, especially if you’re willing to go a little higher in terms of the budget allocation.

However, as a slim-form factor digital piano, the PX-S1100 sounds alright, and any decently skilled pianist can make this work in a performance context.

This might sound a bit more negative than the shower or praise we gave the PX-S1000, and that’s because we’ve had some legitimately incredible sounding digital pianos released recently, and their updated sound chips and speakers systems have raised the bar.

Regardless, I’ll still give the PX-S1100’s sounds my seal of approval, especially given the design constraints Casio had to work under.

Features

In terms of features, the PX-S1100 comes with most of the standard inclusions, and it also includes a nifty bonus that motivates the use of Bluetooth features.

Casio PX-S1100 Navigation

Functions

By using the button key combinations as guided by the manual, you can make changes to the PX-S1100’s operation.

If you don’t want to learn the multitude of combinations, you can also modify these settings using Casio’s Chordana Play control application on your Bluetooth-linked smartphone.

These are a few notable settings:

  • STRETCH TUNING – A complaint many had with the original PX-S1000. You can now disable stretch tuning!
  • METRONOME – Plays a steady rhythm for practice purposes, tempo and time signature can be set.
  • TRANSPOSITION – Changes the notes triggered by each key, in a range of 12 semitones up and down.
  • OCTAVE SHIFTING – Changing the octaves of individual parts when using split or layer mode.
  • TEMPERAMENT – Includes 17 different preset tunings.
  • TOUCH SENSITIVITY – 3 different intensities to fine-tune the velocity sensitivity of the keys.

Naturally, the PX-S1100 also comes with a few operation modes.


Modes

The PX-S1100 includes 3 main modes: Layer, Split, and Duo Mode.

Layer mode allows users to play two sounds simultaneously with each key press. For example, you can layer strings with the piano to get a ballad-style tone.

Dual Mode (Layering)

Split mode, as the name implies, allows users to split the keyboard into a left- and right-hand section, each with a distinct assigned preset. You can change the split point. Do note that only the bass sound is available for the left-hand side.

Split Mode

Finally, there is Duo Mode, which splits the keyboard into two sections with the same octave range. This feature is ideal for teachers who want to sit alongside their students for easy demonstrations.

Duet Play (Duo Mode)


Song Recording and Playback

MIDI icon

The PX-S1100 comes with 60 built-in songs from a wide variety of genres to showcase its sonic capabilities. However, you can also record your own songs with the recorder function.

You can only record a single song (MIDI) of up to roughly 10,000 notes. The song can consist of up to 2 parts each, allowing you to do some basic overdubbing, or splitting left- and right-hand parts over different recording sessions.

Fortunately, you can now save your songs onto a USB flash drive as audio (in WAV), something that was sorely missed on the original PX-S1000. This also works both ways, allowing you to import your songs back onto the PX-S1100 for playback.


Bluetooth Connectivity

The PX-S1100 doesn’t come with Bluetooth functionality built-in, but it now comes with the WU-BT10 Wireless MIDI and Audio Adaptor, which was previously only available as a separate purchase.

This isn’t as seamless as other digital pianos as the adapter needs to be slotted into the USB Type A jack on the back panel. However, it’s still nice to get as a bonus.

Casio WU-BT10

The Bluetooth connection supports both audio and MIDI. This means you can let the PX-S1100 function as an external Bluetooth speaker, while also allowing you to work with supported applications, such as Garageband.

This is another subtle difference with the original PX-S1000, which only supported Bluetooth audio.


Chordana Play

Chordana Play logo

If you’re like me and bemoan the lack of a screen or intuitive controls, you’ll probably find the Chordana Play app to be a great help.

This app not only allows you to control the PX-S1100’s many features, but it also integrates Casio’s piano tutorial and song-learning features. This is all packaged in a user interface that feels responsive enough, albeit a bit basic in its look.

The process of setting things up is straightforward, and the app seemed to work fine on my smartphone. Judging by the high ratings (3.9 stars on Google Play at the time of writing, which is really high compared to the competition), I’d say that most people agree.

Chordana Play app interface

If you are planning to use the PX-S1100 for performances, I’d consider the app mandatory. Without it, you cannot switch sounds without having a test tone play, which is a surefire way to ruin any gig if you’re not careful.

This is a trend in the industry, where manufacturers are forgoing screens in favor of control apps. While I still wish Casio developed a more intuitive control scheme for the update, I’m at least glad that they included the necessities to enable Bluetooth connectivity.

Connectivity

Apart from Bluetooth connectivity, the PX-S1100 also includes other connection options, potentially allowing it to be integrated into any production or performance environment.

For headphone use, the PX-S1100 comes with two 1/8″ headphone jacks on the front of the unit, located to the left of the keys. This means two people can listen at a time, though I do wish that Casio thought to include the 1/4″ jack as an option as well.

Casio PX-S1100 ports jacks

If you want to work with external amplifiers or speakers, the PX-S1100 includes stereo 1/4″ line outputs, which can be used in mono if necessary, with the left jack pulling double duty as a single mono output if the right jack is left disconnected.

A damper pedal jack is also included, and should work well with any generic sustain pedal you can find on the market.

If you decide to purchase one of the compatible triple pedal units, you’ll need to use the proprietary pedal unit port, which supports the SP-34, which comes as a separate purchase.

The PX-S1100 adds a USB Type A port, which is used for the WU-BT10 Wireless MIDI and Audio adaptor, enabling Bluetooth connectivity with the Chordana Play app. This can also be used for USB flash drives, allowing recorded songs to be saved.

Casio PX-S1100 USB ports

Finally, there is a USB Type B port, which allows the PX-S1100 to interact with a host computer. If you’re a recording artist who needs a MIDI controller, this will work for you. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be USB audio support, so you’ll need an external audio interface to use the onboard samples in your projects.

In terms of connectivity, I’d say the PX-S1100 ticks most of the boxes. While I do lament the lack of a built-in USB audio interface, there’s little to complain about.

Accessories

The default Casio PX-S1100 package comes with the following accessories:

  • Owner’s manual
  • Music rest
  • SP-3 damper pedal
  • AC adaptor
  • WU-BT10 Bluetooth Adapter

We’ll include the mandatory disclaimer to check that the AC adapter voltages match your local mains. This is especially important if you end up purchasing the PX-S1100 from an overseas dealer, as you might be at the risk of shorting out your instrument.

The PX-S1100 includes just about everything you need to get started. However, I definitely would recommend getting a few extra purchases to round things out.


Pedal

The SP-3 damper pedal is a switch-style pedal, which works, but is certainly not for everyone. If you want a classic pedal shape, or if you require soft and sostenuto support, you’ll need a separate purchase.

Casio SP-3

Casio SP-3 sustain pedal

Casio recommends the SP-34 as an optional add-on, which is the matching triple pedal set up for the PX-S1100. The SP-34 is solidly built and feels comfortable to use despite the compact size.

All that said, I don’t know if it’s a worthwhile investment. The PX-S1100 is priced quite aggressively, and the SP-34 costs a fifth the price of the base model.

Casio SP-34

Casio SP-34 pedal unit

If the PX-S1100 is mainly going to serve as your entry-level keyboard, which will eventually get replaced, you might want to hold off on this purchase, as the SP-34 uses a proprietary connector that might not work with every digital piano on the market.

Instead, I would recommend getting a single damper pedal that preferably supports half-dampering, which is a relatively affordable upgrade that can enrich your experience. Thankfully, you can use any generic pedal thanks to the universal connector, so your options are open.

Casio’s own variant is the SP20, which is a decent alternative that feels better built than the included SP-3, though I personally think it’s a bit too light, and also does not support half-pedaling.

Instead, I would recommend investing in something like Korg’s DS-1H, which is a workhorse damper pedal that has all the necessary features, while also working with the PX-S1100’s compact form factor.


Stand

The PX-S1100 comes with a matching wooden stand, the CS-68 as recommended on the product page.

The CS-68 is very solid, and the minimalist design works really well with the sleek chassis of the PX-S1100. If you want to have the PX-S1100 be a centerpiece in a room, the CS-68 gets a hearty recommendation from me.

However, do note that this only comes in black and white. If you went with the red base model, you’re out of luck.

Alternatively, you can opt to go with any generic X- or Z-stand. The PX-S1100’s compact size means it works on just about anything, though I would try to ensure that the width of the stand and the PX-S1100 matches up if at all possible.


Headphones

Casio PX-S1100 Headphones

Headphones come in very handy when you want to practice in private, focusing solely on your playing and not disturbing others nearby.

Moreover, a good pair of headphones will provide a clearer and more detailed sound compared to the onboard speakers.

Check out this guide to learn how to choose the best-sounding headphones for your keyboard.

Summary

Casio PX-S1100 Verdict

Pros
  • One of the most portable digital pianos on the market
  •  Upgraded samples and speakers
  •  Bluetooth functionality comes included in the box
  •  Still one of the most innovative digital piano designs 3 years on
  •  Can run on batteries
Cons
  • Key action is divisive
  • Glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet
  • Sound selection is a bit weak

The PX-S1100 was an interesting instrument to review. It is a rare incremental upgrade, where the basic fundamentals of the original model are kept the same with only slight tweaks to the formula.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in the recent climate of massive overhauls (Roland’s FP-X series, Yamaha’s PSR and DGX series, and Kawai’s ES series come to mind as recently released overhauls), it does feel a bit disappointing.

I’d still consider the PX-S1000 to be a worthwhile purchase today, albeit with some industry-standard features being absent.

The PX-S1100 seems to be an attempt to reconcile these differences. With the industry moving to Bluetooth-linked apps, Casio bundled an adapter with every purchase. The speakers were a bit on the muddy side due to their size, so Casio redesigned them.

These are minor upgrades, but they do make the PX-S1100 a superior package overall, superseding the PX-S1000.

Let’s talk about the popular online conspiracies for a second. Many people have huge qualms about the PX-S1000’s key action, a can of worms we’ve covered in the Keyboard section. Some believe that Casio is doing an early, expedited refresh of this line to silence the criticisms with an influx of newer reviews.

As you’ve probably been able to determine over the course of this review, I do not subscribe to this theory. I definitely wish Casio did more to justify the increment in version number, but I can’t say I’m overly peeved with the upgrades, albeit minimal.

Ultimately, the PX-S series will always have some compromises baked in. It is just impossible to fit a full-sized action and high wattage speakers within the constraints of a compact frame.

Some of my complaints are clearly a result of this, such as the limited onboard controls and the smaller speakers. Whether or not these are deal-breakers will depend on your needs, wants and preferences.

To sum it up, the PX-S1100 remains as one of the more innovative digital pianos on the market, especially for people who favor portability. I would still recommend testing it out in-person before making a purchase though, especially given how divisive this instrument has become.

Below you can check the availability and current price of the Casio PX-S1100 in your region:

US: ( What Retailer to Buy From )
Sweetwater Guitar Center Amazon

Alternatives

Casio PX-S1100 vs  Casio PX-S3100  (Full Review)

The PX-S3100 is the more advanced version of the PX-S1100, and it solves a lot of my design-focused issues.

For example, it includes a screen with a more involved control scheme, meaning that you no longer need to rely on the manual or your Bluetooth-linked app.

There’s even a pitch bend wheel and assignable knobs for performers who demand hands-on experiences. (Performers will also benefit from actually being able to save their customized presets).

The PX-S3100 includes 700 built-in sounds, hundreds more than the PX-S1100’s measly 18. This can be expanded further with a customizable effects section and built-in rhythms, equipping the PX-S3100 with arranger functionality.

Unfortunately, if your gripes with the PX-S1100 are play-focused, you’ll probably dismiss the PX-S3100. Its keys and speakers are identical to those on the PX-S1100, so there isn’t much to change your mind here.

If the PX-S3100 sounds even vaguely interesting, I’d recommend getting it over the PX-S1100. The low price hike is well worth it for the extra features.


Casio PX-S1100 vs  Roland FP-30X  (Full Review)

We reviewed the FP-30X here, and had very few complaints. Considering that the prices of the FP-30X and the PX-S1100 are in a similar ballpark, it’s unsurprising that we’d compare the two.

In many ways, the FP-30X is the antithesis of the PX-S1100.

The PX-S1100 is, first and foremost, designed around being slim and portable, resulting in many modifications to the digital piano formula that some might find controversial.

On the other hand, the FP-30X sets out to be an affordable, solid all-rounder digital piano for the modern consumer. This meant Roland went with their tried and true design, and don’t aim to rock the boat.

The FP-30X uses Roland’s PHA-4 Standard key action, which is one of the better feeling key actions at this price point. Unlike the PX-S1100, its keys have a consistent weight, which gives a more realistic feeling, while also ensuring the primary criticism levied against the PX-S series is eliminated.

Roland updated the internal chipset on the FP-30X over the old FP-30, and the sounds from their SuperNATURAL engine definitely benefit from the upgrade.

When combined with the dual 11W speakers, I’d say it sounds better than the PX-S1100, especially at higher volumes.

The FP-30X also comes with a larger soundbank of 56 sounds, and unlike the PX-S1100, even the non-piano sounds are well worth your time.

So far, the FP-30X seems better in every regard. Why would you even consider the PX-S1100?

The answer really boils down to portability. The FP-30X is both larger and heavier, which might not lend itself well to people who need to move it around constantly. If you’re someone with limited living space, this might be a deal-breaker.

In my opinion, both of these digital pianos are worth your time. If you favor portability, go with Casio’s PX-S1100. On the other hand, if you just want a workhorse digital piano that does everything well, you can’t go wrong with the FP-30X.