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Casio CZ101

20-Dec-2014

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Casio CZ101



Category:  Products / synth / old digital dco

Added: 27-Oct-03  |  Author: admin

New price: discontinued  |   S/H price: 20-30 quid

Casio CZ101

Damn!... Just realised we didn't have the CZ101 listed at Dancetech!... Good god!.. How could we NOT list a synth that launched a thousand dance studios!...

The Casio CZ-101 - "The Cosmo Synthesizer" as it was titled by Casio on release back around 1984/5 - So many people tapped into this affordable budget synth back in the 80's as a first-buy and it's actualy a good little synth utilising Casio's 'Phase-distortion' synthesis which is similar to FM.

16 presets and 16 'user' programs, two osc' per voice with a choice of 8 waveforms, saw, square, triangl, noise etc...an 8-stage envelope generators (5 initial attack/level/decay steps, followed by a sustain setting, followed by 3 decay/release steps)... It was also multi-timbrel...

If I remember right, it was 4-part multi... but most of the preset sounds (or decent created sounds) need 2 osc's to create interesting variations with more interesting timbres using 2 osc's, which means a reality of 4 note poly to get half decent sounds... It has no seperate outs either, so multi-mode means blended sounds on one output, however, this means you CAN use 4 channels to play one melody or pattern and subtley adjust the note timing, length and the actual sounds themselves to make fat layered sounds...

Anyways... added for posterity!... at the price they go for it's a good little unit, offering some nice percussive & arp sounds ability where polyphony ain't so important, sounds like this were much used in 80's dancehall & techno for example.

Sadly it's not a velocity sensitive keyboard if I remember right - We used one of these in a small studio I worked in for a while where it did basslines and the like.

Any user comments?....













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User Comments

Product:  Casio - CZ101
Name: Bastiaan
Email: No email added
Activity: part-timer
Date: 30-Jun-04

Lovely gritty machine. I got mine for 100 Euro with several memory
cartidges...the grey LCD was a bit foggy so I replaced it with a brand new yellow,
backlit LCD....I now have the worlds only backlit CZ101.

It is extremely capable in the gritty, twanky and up front bass department. It is
equaly well capable of creating some lovely organ type sounds and there's some
nice E-pianos and weird FX to be gotten from this puppy too.

It digital sounds are excellent sample fodder, it's easy to program and it makes
excellent sampler fodder.

One thing I didn't like it that you cannot alter the sounds dynamically (no
parameters can be assigned to velocity or midi cc's)...that would have been
awesome...it's limited, but it's dead charming. Also my unit seems to output a
high pitched noise (which is barely audible, but still a bit of a drag)

Product rating out of 5: 

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Product:  Casio - CZ101
Name: Bastiaan
Email: No email added
Activity: part-timer
Date: 30-Jun-04

Lovely gritty machine. I got mine for 100 Euro with several memory
cartidges...the grey LCD was a bit foggy so I replaced it with a brand new yellow,
backlit LCD....I now have the worlds only backlit CZ101.

It is extremely capable in the gritty, twanky and up front bass department. It is
equaly well capable of creating some lovely organ type sounds and there's some
nice E-pianos and weird FX to be gotten from this puppy too.

It digital sounds are excellent sample fodder, it's easy to program and it makes
excellent sampler fodder.

One thing I didn't like it that you cannot alter the sounds dynamically (no
parameters can be assigned to velocity or midi cc's)...that would have been
awesome...it's limited, but it's dead charming. Also my unit seems to output a
high pitched noise (which is barely audible, but still a bit of a drag)

Product rating out of 5: 

Reply |  Add review/comment



Product:  Casio - CZ101
Name: Paul Clothier
Email: No email added
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 02-Mar-06

A synth of two halves...on the one hand, its MIDI spec really pisses you off; it's practically medieval! Always starts on Channel 1, no velocity and sysex is nigh on impossible to use. On the other hand, though, the sound is incredible. It's a different type of sound to modelled analogue - you fiddle with it for ten minutes and you get the sort of sounds you couldn't quite get from your Nova etc. Hollow, spiky resonance; sync sounds which aren't exactly sync sounds. Ironically, people always say it's "FM- type sounds"...I presume they say this because they haven't quite got round to programming it and are just playing the presets, which sound exactly like crappy FM caracatures of real instruments, the sort you'd get on little Casio home keyboards in the 80's.

The abysmal MIDI spec means I'm going to be sampling sequences from it and triggering them that way, which is OK. From early impressions (I've had it two weeks), I'm finding it hard to make those impressive sounds sit within the mix - but then I'm messing about trying to add bits to existing tracks which are fairly full already. I've programmed some loops with it which sound better...perhaps it needs some effects. Lead/ sequence sounds are tight, crisp and punchy, and you've heard them on many techno and house tracks, and very probably some pad sounds on Boards of Canada tracks.

If this was your only synth, along with a Drumstation, a Zoom 1204, a 3630 compressor and an MC500, you could still win monged- out friends and make people trip. You probably couldn't with just a Poly 800 or Juno 1, and definitely not with one of the FM synths it's supposed to sound like.

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Product:  Casio - CZ101
Name: Brain_dekork
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 27-Oct-08

Great sound, but a bit of a pain to use. A comment on the original dancetech review: Any stage of the 8-stage envelopes can be set to Sustain or End (release). Rate and level can be set for each stage of the envelope, and each DCO, DCW (filter) and DCA in a voice has its own dedicated envelope! That means that for stacked (2 osc) sounds, you have six envelopes modifying the sound. Pretty incredible for a bargain-bin synth.

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Last added comment

Product:  Casio - CZ101
Name: fearoffours
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://bit.ly/9ry96s
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 15-Mar-10

[quote] Bastiaan wrote:the grey LCD was a bit foggy so I replaced it with a brand new yellow, backlit LCD....I now have the worlds only backlit CZ101.[/quote]
Hi Bastiann - is this a standard 16x2 HD4470 compatible backlit LCD? (see my link for eg)

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