Trackformer XW-PD1 Introduction

XW-PD1_image02

At the CES show this week two surprise new products were announced by Casio.  The Trackformer series includes two products; the XW-DJ1 DJ Controller and the XW-PD1 Groove Center. On Facebook and forums across the web there has been a lot of discussion about the XW-PD1 in particular so over the next few weeks we’ll be using this blog to tell you what is all about.

The XW-PD1 is a stand alone groove box.  All of it sounds are self contained, it can be battery powered and it even has a built-in speaker allowing you to use it just about anywhere, if you’ve found this blog on the web you probably know that much already, so lets dive a little deeper.

One of the most interesting things about the XW-PD1 is its unique shape. 16 pads surrounded by a circle of 16 buttons. This outer ring of buttons is the key to understand the XW-PD1 and how it works. Switches on the left side of the XW-PD1 such as Step, Bank and Pattern determine what these switches are doing.  If Step is selected the 16 switches show the 16 steps of a given part in the step sequencer.  Bank allows you to switch between the groups of 16 sounds or effects that are on the pads and Pattern allows you to select patterns within a sequence.

The Step Sequencer in the XW-PD1 is very advanced. It has a total of 64 tracks. Each of the pads on the XW-PD1 gets its own track and the four groups (or banks) of 16 pads.  When you press one of the pads, the outer ring can then be used to input notes.  Of course you can also just put the XW-PD1 in record mode and start playing the pads and each of the parts will get recorded to their own track.

The next area that makes the XW-PD1 particularly unique is the combination of remixing effects that it offers. In addition to sound such as drum and bass, the pads can be assigned trigger effects. Filters, Stutters, Gates, Flangers, Delays, Distortions and more.  When an effect is triggered the knobs or even one of the sliders can be used to manipulate that effect. All of the audio that the XW-PD1 is producing runs through these effects.  In addition audio coming into the XW-PD1 through its mic or line inputs is processed allowing you to remix external audio too.

So that is a brief introduction but there is much more to talk about so stay tuned. Subscribe to this blog, add your comments and questions below or join the Casio XW users group on Facebook or join the community at the Casio Music Forums.

5 thoughts on “Trackformer XW-PD1 Introduction

  1. This looks like a great instrument. Looking forward to hearing more about it. Kind of a “Swiss Army Knife” piece of gear: Portable, versatile.. and it’s even red like a SAK! 🙂 Great job, Casio!

  2. Thanks for sharing this writeup.

    I see that the internal synth engine is monophonic but is it possible to run multiple simultaneous sequences to a single external hardware synth, creating polyphonic sequences?

    Also is the internal synth engine programmable, and if so, how programmable?

    Thanks/David

    • David,
      The XW-PD1 has USB MIDI only. As such it can control and sequence external software based instruments on a tablet, computer or iPhone. Basically each pad or note number gets its own track. There are 4 banks of 16 pads – providing a total of 64 tracks.

      As we get closer to final production we’ll discuss the capabilities of the synth engine on the blog.

      • Thanks. I know it only has USB MIDI but I assumed a box like the iConnectivity iConnectmidi2+ or iConnectmidi4+ could remedy that issue and allow me to connect my external MIDI gear? Sequencing outboard hardware would be one of the major features of this box if it can work via a USB to MIDI box. There’s not a lot of hardware sequencers on the market, especially not around the expected retail price of the XW-PD1.

      • Yes that would work. The 4 banks of 16 pads are each on their own MIDI channel. You can specific the note numbers of each pad, so you could sequence external gear this way.

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