An extremely underestimated polysynth. One of few synthesizers from Casio's "professional" line.
Per voice you are given 8 modules (oscillators with amplitude envelopes) grouped in 4 pairs. These pairs can be stacked in so called "lines", by frequency-modulation. A "slave" module in pair can be mixed, ringmodulate or be frequency-modulated (or phase distorted- as Casio was saying to avoid patent war with Stanford and Yamaha) by "master", output from one pair can modulate frequency of "slave" module in another pair. Each module has sine, five types of sawtooth waves (from most to least filtered), and two types of noise (white and fuzzy sine). Pitch can be set to fixed, transposition (a little awkward) or (and here's great, convinient shortcut) as harmonic ratio.
To that comes eight-stage envelope for amplitude for every module and global pitch envelope, both with adjustable depth and settable "sustain", and "end" stage, of which latter unfortunately has just one use- to simplify painful scrolling, you can remove stages. The response of envelopes can be influenced by velocity, according to preset curves. You are also given 6-breakpoint key-follow envelope for both.
There's also one LFO for pitch - vibrato, and amplitude - tremolo. These are unfortunately global per voice (and it's a shame!).
Intriguing is the pitch bend response: you can set it across +/- 4(!) octaves, and allow the synth to keep tune while note is released and decaying and pitch bend messages are received.
VZ-10M also operates in very fancy performance modes: Normal is single voice, Combination is stacking max of four patches with velocity splitting/switching, keyboard crossfade, transposition etc.
Operation Memory allows saving either of them in a memory slot.
Theres also full-fledged multitimbral mode with static voice and output allocation.
Editing is pretty fancy, thanks to big emerald LCD, 16x8 chars with some nice graphic representation of pair architecture, envelopes and breakpoints. The intuitiveness (even despite fast module switching and selecting) is, however, nightmarishly reduced by many concurrent "pages" while lacking "Mark/Jump" (except amplifier envelope) function and that cursor resets position when module is selected - a tragedy when you use all 8 stages in envelope. Patches are edited "globally", i.e. patch change will affect all Operation Memory slots
The sound: big, aggressive, gritty (with great deal of aliasing). While it's often reminding of DX-type of FM, it is capable of doing some very killer and beautiful sounds- think that you can detune 8 sawtooth waves! Just hearing "See God", "PrimalScream" or "Heavy Metal" makes you certain of what power this baby posesses, but there's always that bitter aftertaste when you start editing - one step too little, like every aspect of this synth was packed in being done only halfway through.
So, FM is always 1/2 ratio, LFOs for amplitude and pitch are global, and eight-stage envelopes where you can set your own sustain point... are not loopable (and if they were, that would be the most powerful machine ever- possibly even claiming the fame from the mighty Yamahas SY/TG 77/99).
I just love it, and then just hate it...
Not for novices, tedious to program because of complexity and awkward menu-driven page switching, uses abbreviations
madtheory wrote:LOL! I never took to the TX81Z or the DX-7. I was always disappointed by the tone. In my opinion the sound of the Casio implementation of FM is superior tonally. You get warmer pads and more complex evolving sounds.
ItsMeOnly wrote:Intriguing is the pitch bend response: you can set it across +/- 4(!) octaves, and allow the synth to keep tune while note is released and decaying and pitch bend messages are received.
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