How To Program A Vintage Casio VL-1 VL-Tone Synthesizer

Optigan guru Pea Hicks shared this video tutorial for programming the Casio VL-1 VL-Tone synthesizer:

The VL-1 is a strange hybrid calculator/synthesizer. It was the first instrument in Casio’s VL-Tone line. It’s a very limited device, but has been used iconically on tracks like Trio’s Da Da Da:

Here’s what Hicks has to say about the video:

Quick improvised tutorial on how to program sounds in “ADSR” mode on the Casio VL-Tone.

I forgot to mention that the sound selector has to be set to “ADSR” for this to work. Also, once you’ve programmed your sound in, it will be held in memory until you change it, even if you power the unit off.

3 thoughts on “How To Program A Vintage Casio VL-1 VL-Tone Synthesizer

  1. Hi

    Nice find. Hey a suggestion on maybe how you can get the piano wave. Since you’re entering this (secretly) as a number in CALC mode, it won’t accept a zero. BUT, what if you place a decimal point in first, such that the zero list left of the decimal and the other 7 digital as the fractional part (or possible, decimal, then 0 and the next )

    Just a thought !!

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  2. It’s a calculator !!! no need to erase all by powering it of/on. Just add the value you want to change in the memory so for instance to change the first parameter: 30.099.000 + 10.000.000 gives 40.099.000 then MR to store.

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  3. This was my first “keyboard” as a little kid when it came out. And “Da Da Da” was one of the first songs I learned to play, natch.

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