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
Rogue Ai
February 14, 2012 @ 8:17 pm
@Neil B

PD synthesis uses sine waves and is explained here: ion=get_article&article=part25
January 23, 2012 @ 11:51 am
Hi everybody! I am a proud CZ 1000 owner and I'd like to create a piano sound (not electric piano). If anybody succeeded in doing in it, please send me some hints! Thanks a lot! Mac (
January 15, 2012 @ 10:28 pm
This was my 1st synthesizer. When you're 15, back in the days synthesizers were so expensive! Then Casio came to the rescue with the CZ line. For $500, Casio made this purchase attainable. Thank you Casio, I was able to start playing in a band, I learned Jump and "I'll Wait" from Van Halen, and I used it for song writing as well. I was able to create my own sounds, even one that sounded like a piano. My friend wanted to borrow my Casio just for that sound when he played out. I still have this great synthesizer and I recently bought the new Casio flagship, WK-7500
January 13, 2012 @ 5:57 am
Picked one of these up from a market in the UK for £20 in the late 90s. Still have it but having trouble with the audio these days, as it's getting quite old. I was able to recreate the synth intro to Erasure's (Vince Clarke) Who Needs Love Like That on it so I'm guessing he used this synth for it. I love what this machine can do and eventually I am hoping to fix the sound problems on mine and get it going again.
Neil B
October 27, 2011 @ 5:16 am
This review is slightly incorrect on the description of PD synthesis - it doesnt employ sine waves, it employs complex waveforms akin to an analogue synth, i.e. Saw, Square, pulse etc. This made the sound immediately more rich than Yamaha's implementation of FM on the DX range as each source wave already consisted of many harmonics.
The same synthesis method has cropped up on Korg's recent synths, in the form of MMT sysnthesis (Radias / R3) - and it sounds great.
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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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