Casio CZ-1000

Casio CZ-1000 Image

Coming from Casio you might assume entry-level and that just about sums up the CZ-1000. Fortunately it's become known for having a surprisingly good 8-stage envelope. It also uses Phase Distortion (PD) synthesis so it is quite capable of some cool digital/analog sounds! PD is Casio's own take on digital synthesis from the mid-eighties and is found in all of their CZ series. You basically modify digital waveforms (sine waves) to create various sounds. It can create wild new sounds, notably percussive sounds. But it's not too easy to program if you don't know much about waveform theory and design.

Three sets of 8-stage envelope sections are used to modulate your sounds extensively. The first is used to modify the DCO pitches over time. Another 8-stage envelope section in the DCW is used to modify the Phase Angle over time (like filtering). Finally the DCA amplifier also has an 8-stage envelope to modify the volume of sounds over time. For further tweaking the CZ-1000 employs some surprisingly analog effects. Four types of Vibrato make up a simple LFO-type section with triangle, square, ramp up or down waveforms as well as rate, depth and delay settings. Portamento adds that classic glide effect from one note to the next. Double up on the oscillators with 4-note polyphony. Built-in noise and ring modulation. It's also MIDI equipped with 4 monophonic multitimbral parts. However, with only 32 patches (16 preset, 16 user) storage is a bit slim.

The CZ-1000 is a CZ-101 with full sized keys. It is succeeded by the CZ-3000 and CZ-5000 which really fatten up the synth and provide more professional features and looks. However the CZ-1000 is without a doubt the best low-cost means of truly useable sounds for pads and lead synth sounds. It was used by Vince Clarke and Eat Static.

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39 Visitor comments
August 24, 2011 @ 10:23 am
I still have mine. What I would to do was program it to make glitchy, beeping and very synthetic sounds, then sample it and add effects and resonance filters to the sample. I would get all kinds of cool sounds do that! By itself, it doesn't sound to great, and the presets are crap. But, if someone knows what they are doing can really make it shine.
January 14, 2011 @ 10:28 pm
My first synth! Even back in the 80s it was only ok. I seem to recall using patch 13 slightly modifed quite a bit. Overall, the memory is pretty limited and it is a devil to program. But it is capable of some functional sounds-nothing really accoustic mimicing-but decent for synthy stuff.
January 3, 2011 @ 9:01 pm
I read the manual pdf here and it says I can get extra sounds (laser gun, brass 3) stored internally for my CZ 1000. Do I have to buy a separate cartridge to upload these?
October 15, 2010 @ 1:26 pm
Me and an old friend each had one. He made his do things that I've never seen on any other synth.. and I'm still looking!! Bubbling water, helicopter like none I've seen since, Baba O'Reilly intro patch... INCREDIBLE! I wish I still had mine...!! :(
September 20, 2010 @ 4:39 pm
Just revived mine today (failed volume slider) - oh how I've missed this guy. It's got a excellent edgy sawtooth, a beautifully hollow square wave, and waveform 4 is just odd. Add just a touch of detune and everything becomes thicker than molasses.
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  • 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 - 8 notes (8 oscillators)
  • Oscillators - Digital Phase Distortion Synthesis (sine, saw, square, pulse, resonance, double-sine, saw-pulse)
  • #Instruments - 4 part multitimbral
  • DCW - 8-stage envelope generators with level and rate controls with Key Follow (Adjusts Phase Angle)
  • DCA - 8-stage envelope generators with level and rate controls with Key Follow (Adjusts Volume)
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Memory - 16 preset, 16 internal and 16 cartridge patches
  • Control - YES
  • Date Produced - 1985

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