Casio CZ-101

Casio CZ-101 Image

It's small, it's cheap, and it's good! This is the pea-size version of the CZ-1000 with a mini-keyboard. The CZ-101 is a digital synth and although the programming is somewhat limited there are plenty of analog-like traits and sounds to interest most anybody. It has a good 8-stage envelope design and uses Phase Distortion (PD) synthesis which gives it some pretty great sounds. The sounds are very similar to the Yamaha DX synthesizers, and they're much more affordable. 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.

Casio CZ-101 Image

Make no mistake, the CZ-101 is no toy although it can be considered very entry level. 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-101 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 full-size keyboard version of the CZ-101 for a slightly more practical edge. Later CZ-series models like the CZ-3000 and CZ-5000 used this new Phase Distortion synthesis in more professional instruments. But none are as small and portable as the CZ-101 is! It can even be strapped on like a guitar and run on battery power. The CZ-101 has been used by Cirrus, Moby, Jimi Tenor, Vince Clarke, Jimmy Edgar, and They Might Be Giants.

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81 Visitor comments
jasmin
November 21, 2008 @ 4:59 pm
gipkost zvuka daje vasoj mast na volju modulacije i manipulacije razlicitim vrstama trilera
veell
September 25, 2008 @ 10:43 am
the great little digital toy!
i use it to create various non-musical noises and sounscapes and it makes them perfect!
Andreas Hviid
September 23, 2008 @ 1:44 pm
Original CZ-101 commercial from around 1986
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPWEnmEYxqs
Mad Al
August 25, 2008 @ 10:46 pm
Of note to anybody considering buying a CZ series synth... unlike the other models, the CZ-101 has no battery for the internal memory. The memory is only backed by the 6 D-cell batteries you may have put into the unit when you turn the unit off. If you aren't going to spend the cash feeding the D-cell monster, you should consider a memory cartridge a must for your CZ-101 (unless you keep it connected to a computer with librarian software).

All of the other models have a separate internal battery to back the memory during power off.
radiowaves
August 24, 2008 @ 5:50 pm
A very underrated Digital Synth, I prefer its bass, brass, percussive, and pad sounds to that of the DX7. I quickly sold my 101 and replaced it with the CZ 1 for the aftertouch and expanded polyphony but the CZ 101 will always bring back some good memories. A steal for the price that they go for. My only Complaint about the 101 is the poor key action but this is addressed in later models.
 
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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 note
  • 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 and Key Follow (Adjusts Phase Angle)
  • DCA - 8-stage envelope generators with level and rate controls and Key Follow (Adjusts Volume)
  • Keyboard - 49 note mini keyboard (no Velocity or Aftertouch)
  • Memory - 16 preset, 16 user, 16 more via external cartridge
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1985 - 88

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