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


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
June 7, 2010 @ 7:29 pm
Had one of these long time ago. I bought some really good sounding analog and piano samples in a catalog and loved them. Had problems with the disks getting messed up. Wasn't good for performance for me. 16 Bit sampler is cool though.
May 24, 2010 @ 7:34 am
I honestly think Dr must be using an entirely different machine to me.... Mine was when it was released a total Fairlight beater and it still is.... It was the worlds FIRST 16Bit sampler.

As for his complaints about the 8 stage envelope, he then goes on to say he's not a noob but is well experienced with Casio synths.... I hate to point it out, but the CZ and VZ that he says he's actually used, employ exactly the same 8 stage envelope. An there's nothing stopping you from having a 1 stage envelope if you want it. This is done simply by setting which stage is the END POINT (or decay) stage. If he wants standard ADSR... then just set stage 3 to "SUS" and stage 4 to "END".

This is still a really great piece of kit, and works flawlessly in my set-up. It also has a wonderfully rich sounding filter section. Unlike Dr with his 2 Hours of experience, this is my judgement made on the instrument after owning it from new in 1987/88 and still owning it and using it now.
May 3, 2010 @ 6:31 pm
My second sampler (after my Ensoniq Mirage), this was a great leap forward, with its separate outputs.

It's not at all 'useless junk', but you may feel it's best not to pass judgement after 2 hours of use. Stick with it, it's worth it.

The synth section never really gave me good results, but the loop function - where you could alter the start and end points of a loop on the fly to change the rhythm - gave results years ahead of its time.
March 31, 2010 @ 5:06 pm
No matter who has used it to do what but this is useless junk. 17,5Kg of that.
Used it 2 hours. 2 hours wasted time of my life.

FZ1's synth part is practically offline sample generators which produce short loops with given parameters. Calling it as synth is misleading because someone could expect that they have included some real SYNTHESIS techniques from let's say VZ series of synths.

BTW. i have made electronic music ~17 years with many synths and samplers so far so this was not typical beginners unexperienced review. I also have used other Casios pro line of equipments like CZ and VZ serie.

This was last time i buy some praised oldschool classic without testing it first. It's not worth of even carrying it home if you find it for free! Takes too much space and does so little -and what it does it does with too low quality. Sounds like bad joke!
Oh. Filter sounds nice. =)
March 31, 2010 @ 4:53 pm
And after using that half hour with one envelope you might wanna edit something else. Then you go through menus and edit something else and you find out that you need to edit those envelopes again.. :D
This is a nightmare to use! Couple lines of dedicated knobs / parameter would make miracles.

I got my FZ-1 with 80€ and i think it was still overpriced. Display was practically dead, many keys were not fully operative which renders it out of MIDI controller kb use..
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 4.19 (934 Votes)

  • 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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