Casio’s HexLayer system was originally in Casio’s XW-P1. Since then it has become a more powerful sound shaping tool in the other products like the PX-5S, PX-560 and MZ-X500. So what is it all about?
Simply put, a HexLayer is a single tone with up to 6 layers. Each layer has its choice of waveforms. So you can build a horn section by combining different saxophone, trumpet and trombone layers. Similarly you could create an orchestra by combining strings, clarinet, oboe, french horn, flute and more. Each of the six layers in a HexLayer tone can have their own key range and velocity range so each component doesn’t haven’t be stacked on top of each other, they can be arranged across the range of the keyboard and elements can be triggered only when specific key velocities are reached.
Synth aficionados take note that the capabilities of a HexLayer tone go far beyond acoustic instrument sounds. In the case of the PX-5S, PX-560 and MZ-X500, each of the six layers have their own pitch envelope, filter type (5 choices), filter envelope and amplitude envelope. So of course you could simply stack 6 sawtooth waveforms for a huge polysynth sound but you can also create much more complex evolving textures using these tools.
The power of HexLayers can also be used to refine and customize keyboard instruments like Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos. PX-560 and MZ-X500 owners, be sure to look through the HexLayer presets where you’ll find electric piano preset that were created using these sound shaping tools. You’ll find that layers can even be programmed to sound on the key release that helps us give some of these the electric piano tones that perfect vintage feel.
Even more amazing is that some instruments allow for multiple HexLayer tones at once! The possibilities are endless.
Author: Mike Martin