Casio VL-Tone VL-1
This seemingly worthless synth/calculator hybrid weighing in at under a pound has somehow found fame and fortune despite looking like a kid's toy. Its ultra cheesy sounds have been discovered and immortalized in the hit songs of such artists as Trio for "Da Da Da" and White Town. The Casio VL-1 or VL-Tone as it's also called has 29 little calculator-type button keys, five preset and one user memory patches, built-in rhythm machine (waltz, swing, rock, samba, etc.) and a 100-note sequencer. There is no chance at any external or MIDI control and there are no filters or effects. There is an LFO with vibrato and tremolo effects and an ADSR envelope.
The tinny monophonic blips and beeps that come out of the VL-1 provide a childishly funny accent to your music, if you're into that sort of thing. The VL-1 is analog, it's tiny, it has a built-in speaker and a useless built-in calculator. The synth itself is quite small, light-weight and portable when running on batteries. The keys are unreliable and cheap soft buttons with absolutely no natural feel, response, aftertouch or velocity. The VL-1 was succeeded by the VL-10 (same spec, smaller case) and VL-5 (4-note polyphonic version with a useless bar-code reader). Strangely, the simple cheesy sounds of the VL-Tone have been used by Apollo 440, Devo, the Talking Heads, the Cars, Dee-Lite, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Vince Clarke, Beastie Boys, The Human League, Trio, White Town, and Bill Nelson.
Check Casio VL-Tone VL-1 Prices on eBay
The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.
Related forum topics
Are you looking to buy or sell a Casio VL-Tone VL-1? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.
- 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.
- Demos & Media
Audio Clip 1 - Hear the VL-Tone here. You'll either love it or hate it.
- Polyphony - Monophonic
- Oscillators - 1 VCO
- LFO - Vibrato, Tremolo
- Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer: 100 notes, 1 pattern. Rhythm Machine: March, Waltz, Swing, Rock, Samba, Beguine, Bossa Nova
- Effects - None
- Keyboard - 29 tiny keys (with 3-position octave switch)
- Memory - 1 user patch, 5 preset sounds, 10 built-in rhythm patterns
- Control - None
- Date Produced - 1979 - 1984
- Shop for Keyboards, MIDI & Gear
- Resources & Credits
Images from Keyboard Magazine Online.
Errors or Corrections? Send them here.