Casio CZ-1

Casio CZ-1 Image

The CZ-1 competes with the CZ-5000 for the best all around Phase Distortion digital synth. The CZ-1 has the most advanced keyboard of all the CZ series synths. It has a full 61-note 5-octave keyboard with velocity and aftertouch sensitivity. Very professional features from a Casio synth! Otherwise it is essentially a CZ-3000 (which is essentially two CZ-1000s or CZ-101s). With the CZ-1 you get 8-stage envelopes, 2 oscillators per voice and a whole lot more with relatively easy programming. Whereas the CZ-5000 may not have had as good a keyboard, it had the benefit of an on-board 8-track real-time sequencer which the CZ-1 lacked.

If you're looking for low-cost Yamaha DX-like sounds, the Casio CZ line of Phase Distortion synths are a good buy. For performance, the CZ-1 may be the best of the CZ-series. Its dynamic keyboard and enhanced memory abilities make it ideal for live situations. Memory, MIDI and multitimbrality have all been upgraded in the CZ-1 making it one of the nicest budget synths ever to grow out of a consumer market.

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45 Visitor comments
Miss Information Age
May 30, 2009 @ 10:25 am
It's very unique. what I don't understand is why the higher-end synths dont have the easy recall and user-friendliness of casio's? I like it a great deal; you can get some very different sounds using the noise generator, and surprisingly the ring mod isn't that obtrusive. the presets are good for tweaking too. And I like the re-trigger solo mode. It's definitely something different.
John Jansen
May 4, 2009 @ 8:12 pm
Compared to Ex-7, Z1, Micro Q, etc. this sounds delightfully thin and doesn't hog the sonic landscape. Not the synth to buy if you only own one synth, but a very useful "flava". I bought mine for $69, used. I love the solo switch, knocking it down to mono.
November 3, 2008 @ 4:38 pm
Now that it's 20 years later and everyone is wiser, we all know the comparison of PD synthesis to FM synthesis is a thin one, only because they are capable of reaching similar timbres and that it uses some cross modulation (totally different from the mod/op method of FM) -- but PD is capable of more than that. PD stands alone as a unique and fun type of synthesis. For the most robust and most featured of PD synths, this is where you want to look and its a great price.
al coles
October 24, 2008 @ 5:39 pm
I picked up one of these at a pawn shop several years ago.
Never used it much with the built in sounds. It is used as a midi controller for soft synths currently. The keys on this machine are very responsive and have nice weight to them. Actually, the entire keyboard has a nice bulkiness to it, unlike the cheap plastic things they sell now for keyboard controllers.
Aftertouch really adds a lot to the sound of piano patches.
the goat
October 20, 2008 @ 4:26 am
With due respect to Casio for defining a unique angle in the days of the DX-7 and (shortly after) Roland's S-50, this is the synth that the CZ-5000 should have been.
I saw one of these being played at the Birmingham NEC, the year it was launched (for some reason Casio were not giving you hands-on), and knew they'd answered at least some of the criticism of it predecessor.
To be blunt, the 5000's sequencer was only so much use, and the addition of velocity and aftertouch far outweighs any loss of that.
Sounds exactly the same as the other PD synths, of course, but much better memory. For the best of PD synths, this is the one to get.
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User Rating

Rated 3.47 (425 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 16 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 per voice
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - Chorus
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Memory - 64 preset, 64 user patches, 64 patch external cartridge
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1986
  • Resources & Credits
  • Original image from Greg Fredericks.

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