The Casio CZ-1000 Synthesizer

The Casio CZ-1000 is a vintage (80s) Phase Distortion Synthesis synthesizer, that’s basically a CZ-101 with full-size keys.

It offers 8-voice polyphony and a 49-key full-size keyboard. A two oscillator per voice option lets you get thicker sounds, but reduces the polyphony to 4 voices.

The CZ’s aren’t true classic synths, but they are reliable and offer a great vintage synth value.

If you’ve used the Casio CZ-1000 synthesizer, leave a comment with your thoughts!


via AnalogAudio1:

The Casio CZ-1000 is a digital synthesizer with the “phase distortion” synthesis. It came out 1985 and it was one of the first low cost synthesizers with MIDI multimode.

The CZ-1000 looks like something between Yamaha DX7 and Korg Poly-800. Like the Korg Poly-800, it can run with batteries. The CZ-101 is virtually the same, it just has small keys.

Casio had the idea to develop a digital synth with modern digital sounds, which is easy to program like an analog synth. Indeed, it uses similar terminology (DCO, DCW, DCA) – if you understand subtractive synthesis, the CZ will be also easy for you to understand.
Instead of real filters, you have the DCW – this is the unit, which distorts the phase of the DCO. Resonance is not available, but you can produce similar sounds with special DCO waveforms. There are 8 waveforms, two of them can be used at once.

It has portamento, monophonic / polyphonic modes and cartridge storage. Like the original DX7, the display is not backlit.

The Casio can produce digital and analog-style sounds. Great house organs can be produced. Some “filter sweep” sounds are interesting (the bass in the movie). But other analog-style sounds are a bit static and boring to my ears, I would recommend the Casio for digital sounds – not for the analog sounds. Analog sounds are better on the competitor Korg Poly-800.

The timing of the sound engine is not the best – a three notes chord causes a significant delay between notes (you can hear it in the movie). But okay, it was a small budget synth.

In the video I played the CZ-1000 with a Lexicon MPX 500 reverb.

Vince Clarke used to have one in the eighties.

3 thoughts on “The Casio CZ-1000 Synthesizer

  1. I had a cz-101 in th eighties, and used it for most of a decade as a lead keyboard, as I went from dx7 to Poly8000 to EPS to ESQ to mt32 and Akai sampler to K2000 down below. The noise on it is still my favorite–I should sample it. It made great handclappy sounds, and was the perfect timbre for breath in flute sounds. It had great fingered portamento, the pitch bend wheel felt awesome, and I modded it to take power through the midi cable, so I could keytar it.

    Definitely one of my best investments ever.

  2. I'm a non-musician (actually a stage actor) who acquired a CZ-1000, used it as a keyboard for a while and now want to give it to my grandson. He studies Suzuki Piano and should have a "regular" piano tone (not the electric or fantasy piano pre-sets). Any idea how/where I can acquire it? Perhaps on a ram cartridge someone is willng to share/sell?
    Jack McCabe
    [email protected]

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