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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80 Visitor comments
kyle kelley
December 28, 2010 @ 10:43 am
yo guys im just setting up my own studio and i got a fender mustang 2 amp which has a great digital interfacing system for the pc and A GGOOD BONUS media production software...but i have a yamaha psr-260 and a casio cz-101 ive had for ever since i started playing really its great but i need to find some new uses how can i reprogram it or hook it up to my yamaha..or possibly my computer to alter its programing, any pointers would be mych appreciated i dont have the user manual anymore and im looking for the power supply..thx
December 4, 2010 @ 1:07 pm
This little toy can sound fantastic if you forget the presets... A litte recipe: 2 detuned sawtooth (wave1) in mono mode and portamento at speed 04... some envelope and it sound like a minimoog´s little brother... even better if you put some simple external FX like delay... To my personal taste, the mini keys are a pelasure to play, and a I have keyboards with full weighted FATAR keybeds, and normal roland unweighted keys to compare... So, dont ignore this small synth!
November 16, 2010 @ 1:29 am
Thanks Surfer.. had the cz for over 15 years,, and yes its alot of fun to play around with. thanks for the confirmation about the polarity.. should be up and making some sound shortly..
thanks again..
November 16, 2010 @ 12:37 am
On Casio,the inside of the plug is (-) and the outer part is(+).I was reading your post and was like ,¨well I have an original plug right in front of me next to my computer,let me answer this¨.The adapter I have is Casio model AD-5U (it has a diagram to confirm the polarity).You an get an adapter @ Radioshack (if your in the US) and they sell the tips seperate ,just flip it how you need it (I do this to use it with my Yamaha`s).

Casio CZ 101,is awesome.Spend some time with it ,you will be rewarded.
November 12, 2010 @ 12:41 am
like many of the posts I've read, I've lost the powersupply to my cz-101. I have a universal PS, however I cant seem to find any docs on the polarity spec. Can anyone confirm from their working powersupply which is positive and which is negative?
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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