Casio FZ-1

Casio FZ-1 Image

The Casio FZ-1 is an impressive sampler/synthesizer keyboard from 1987. Its offerings at the time were very professional features. In an 8-voice polyphonic full 61-note keyboard synthesizer you get a 16-bit digital sampler with variable 9kHz to 36kHz sampling rates. 1MB of memory expandable to 2MB could provide a maximum time of almost 2 minutes sample time at 9kHz. Up to 64 samples can be held in memory and placed across the keyboard. Graphic editing on the big LCD screen provides intuitive and easier editing of your samples with tuning, truncating, looping and much more. It also has eight outputs and analog-like 8-stage filters (DCF) and envelopes (DCA).

Casio FZ-10M Image

FZ-10M

Surprisingly the FZ-1 also has a built-in synthesizer section. It uses digital synthesis employing both harmonic additive synthesis and waveform drawing. Basic waveforms available include sawtooth, square, pulse, double sine, saw/pulse, random waves and 48 harmonics. The FZ-10M (pictured above) is the rack-module version of the FZ-1 with 2MB internal memory and XLR inputs and outputs. Dated by today's standards, the FZ-1 is a neat piece of Casio history to own but could never replace your current sampler. With the look and features you'd expect from a vintage pro-sampler, this Casio has been used by Underworld, Kronos Quartet, Dee Lite, 2 Live Crew, and Kitaro.

Hohner HS-1 Image

The Hohner HS-1 is a German version of the Casio FZ-1. Only its case is light in color. This version has been used by Coldcut.

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45 Visitor comments
Dr
March 31, 2010 @ 4:37 pm
Way too slow user interface to operate. People praise it's 8 stage envelopes compared to ordinary ADSR envelopes like its a good thing.
But concidering the amount of time and work that editing this takes i concider this 8 stage rate/level type of envelope system one of the worst and very unintuitive to use. Why would someone spend half hour with tuning one ENV if it could be done in 3 seconds with ADSR+knobs combination?
Jules
October 30, 2009 @ 6:41 am
I've had my Hohner HS1 since the late 80's... It's still a great machine. All the things said about it's sound and flexibility here are true, and at the time it was indeed a Fairlight beater.

The downsides are that the backlights fail on all of them (they use an EL Foil that over time, deteriorates).... They're very difficult to replace!!

Another common fault on them is floppy disk drive failure. Unfortunately the drives use a Shugart Buss and not the now common PC-AT Buss.... So you can't just swap the dead floppy drive out. and getting hold of an HD shugart buss drive is impossible. The drive controlers also have a habit of failing. If you buy one second hand, make sure all this stuff works properly!!
Neven Dayvid
October 14, 2009 @ 6:57 pm
I used to own one in the late eighties, later sold it, and bought it back, mainly for the unique sound of its filter and its crude additive capabilities.
This is - all in all - a very musical synth/sampler, and stuff you do with it tends to mix well with little eq-ing, and just generally sounds gritty and pleasantly real, as opposed to today´s compressed-bloated sound.
Maybe this won´t be noticed by all, but if you care about your tone, you won´t go amiss with this one- and yes, i remember all the flak i got for it being a "Casio" back in its heyday... :)
Kain
October 14, 2009 @ 3:32 pm
Depeche Mode used this one on their Ultra Album.
Justin B-H
June 21, 2009 @ 11:04 am
I've had mine since 1993-just pulled it out of storage and fired it up for the first time in years. It's a surprisingly capable synth-you can sample, use standard preset waves (saw, pulse etc), generate waveforms via additive synthesis tables or draw waveforms directly on the display. The 4-pole filter is fantastically meaty for a really early resonant DCF-only 16 bit resolution so loud samples will distort if resonance is cranked up, which you can use to your advantage... The interface was really good for the time also-graphical waveform and envelope display and loop editing. Be prepared to replace the backlight if you find one though.
 
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  • 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.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Here's a demo from the Honer HS-1 version. It has a resonant bass-line with filter sweeps, electro-drums and a few lead synth blips and bleeps.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Sampler - 16-bit, 9kHz - 36kHz variable sample rate; Sample-time: 58 seconds max. at 9kHz, 14.5 seconds at 36kHz
  • Effects - None
  • Filter - DCF 8-stage Filter
  • Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Memory - 1MB internal, 3.5"HD
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987

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