Digital synthesizer

My first synthesizer!!!

My first "real" synthesizer, so it will always have a special place in my heart.  I bought this used in a small Rome music store in 1987.

I upgraded to the wonderful world of "P.D." (Phase Distortion) synthesis from my trusty Gem DSK-8, which my aunt bought for me (thank you, aunt!) on 5/22/1986 (still remember the day!), because even though the DSK-8 was capable of "realistic", that is- pcm sounds, and even some mean weird sounds, I had occasion to play a Korg Poly-800 that belonged to a school mate, and fell in love with it.

A "real" synthesizer sounded so warm, full, interesting, and "polished", as opposed to the "plastic-sounding" home keyboard I was used to.

So, for the modicum sum of 300,000 lire (back then the Euro was still in the dreams of some European functionaries) I became the proud owner of a Casio CZ-1000.

I spent many nights programming new sounds with it!  I still have a notebook full of hand-written patches.  I was totally in love with the CZ-1000, and literally fell asleep programming patches and recording the outcomes on my VestaFire 4-track cassette recorder!

I higly recommend reading the CZ-1000 (or CZ-101, it's the same) manual if you are starting in the world of synthesizers!!!  There are two books, and in the first there is an excellent explanation of how synthesis works, hands on examples, etc... it is how I learned!

The CZ series came after the mythical Yamaha DX7, so Phase Distortion sounds similar to FM, but does have a character of its own.

Don't forget to check out the "Internal" presets!  They are beautiful!  To recall them, turn your unit upside down, and press the reset button with a toothpick or similar object:  Ta-da, the Internal sounds are back.

The CZ is capable of a myriad of interesting sounds, the Factory and Internal sounds are only scratching the surface of what the PD synthesis can do...

I also have a couple of CZ patch books around, I have to find them...


Casio CZ-1000 audio demos

Note:  I didn't have my Indigo I/O with me when I recorded these samples, so I recorded through the laptop's internal audio card.  There is some background noise due to the laptops card, and also to the CZ-1000 - the AD/DA converters and the technology of the mid-80s weren't so perfect yet.

Patch name with audio demo My comments
Preset bank
01 BRASS ENS.1 Classic synth brass -
02 TRUMPET I think for 1985 this was a very respectable trumpet!!
03 VIOLIN Captures beautifully the characteristics of a real violin
04 STRING ENS.1 Beautiful synthesizer strings!!!
05 ELEC.PIANO Great programming!  (sorry about the noisy recording)
06 ELEC.ORGAN Classic CZ organ sound!!!  This patch was used in a lot of classic techno and house tracks of the 1990s, and ended up in the ROM of many E-mu keyboards and modules.
07 FLUTE Beautiful emulation
08 SYNTH.BASS Stupendous synth bass!!!  I've always loved this patch, and I used it heavily in my early tracks.
09 BRASS ENS.2 With slower attack and filtered.
10 VIBRAPHONE Classic sounds, similar to Yamaha DX7 and similar 6 and 4 operator synths.
11 CRISPY XYLOPHONE Woody sounds are a specialty in the CZ series :-)
12 SYNTH.STRINGS Beautiful, classic mid-80s syn strings
13 FAIRY TALE Dreamy and charming...
14 ACCORDION Very realistic
15 WHISTLE Superbly programmed!
16 PERCUSSION Press many keys at the same time, it's an applause ;-)


Patch name with audio demo My comments
Internal bank
01 FANTASTIC PIANO Beautiful synthesizer piano (again, sorry for the noisy example)
02 BRASS ENS3 Surprisingly analog sounding
03 SYNTH.GLOCKEN More crystalline, DX7-like sounds
04 STRING ENS2 Warm and thick
06 XYLOPHONE More great woodiness
07 FANTASTIC SOUND 1 Superb, mysterious!
08 FAT BASS Very fat!  (too bad it's a noisy recording)
09 FUNKY CLAVI. Classic CZ harpsichord/Clavinet sound
10 SOFT ORGAN Nice and sweet
11 CARILLON Melancholic and cine-dramatic
12 SOUTHERN WING Typical pitched-up attack
13 SYNTH.STRING 2 Nice variation
15 FANTASTIC SOUND 2 My favorite sound on this machine!!!  I've always been intrigued by this sound, and at the time, when I was trying to reproduce it, it taught me a lot about envelopes and envelope stages ;-)
16 STEEL DRUM 1 Jamaica, mon


Casio CZ-1000 specifications


Year of release: 198_
Polyphony: 8-voice
Sound generation method: Phase Distortion (PD)
Preset memories 16 Preset, 16, Internal, plus optional on cartridge
MIDI: in, out
Sound expansion capabilities: cartridge
Sequencer no
Arpeggiator no
Effects ring modulation


Casio CZ-1000 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)


Casio CZ-1000 manuals




SITE Type of resource DESCRIPTION

Casio CZ-1000 review with audio demo