VirtualCZ Phase Distortion Synth Inspired By Classic Casio CZ Synthesizers

Plugin Boutique has announced VirtualCZ – a new plug-in, inspired by the classic Casio CZ phase distortion synthesizers of the 80s.

The synthesis engine of the original hardware is modeled in the plug-in, which can load and transmit CZ SYSEX patches. But the plug-in goes beyond the hardware to offer new sound possibilities and usability features. It’s easier to edit, since all the important synthesis parameters have their own control. It also includes things not found on the originals such as switchable envelope generators (ADSR or 8-Stage MSEG) and Unison modes.

Key Features

  • Recreates the unique synthesis engine of the CZ synths (it models the flagship CZ-1 but does all the other ones too!)
  • Works as a SYSEX editor/librarian for all CZ hardware as well as an emulation
  • 2 CZ Phase Distortion oscillators per voice (each has 8 wave shapes, which can be different for alternate cycles)
  • 6 loop-able envelope generators per voice (switchable between easy-to-use ADSR and powerful CZ-style 8-Stage MSEG modes)
  • Tempo sync-able LFO for vibrato, with 7 shapes
  • Ring Modulation and Noise Modulation
  • 32 voice polyphonic/mono/legato modes
  • Unison and detuning effects
  • Stereo panning effects
  • Microtonal tuning support
  • Vintage stereo chorus/ensemble effect
  • Randomization of parameters
  • Easy to use interface (all key synthesis functions accessible on the front panel)
  • Includes over 200 high quality presets plus ability to load thousands of CZ patches online
  • Presets come in multiple formats: fxp/aupreset/vstpreset/tfx
  • Import/export presets for all plugin formats
  • Optional cross-format preset browser
  • Available for Mac and PC in VST2, VST3, AU and AAX plug-in formats plus standalone app

VirtualCZ comes in VST2, VST3, Audiounit and AAX plug-in formats plus as a standalone app for Mac and PC. It is available to purchase from Plugin Boutique, with an introductory price of £59-95.

31 thoughts on “VirtualCZ Phase Distortion Synth Inspired By Classic Casio CZ Synthesizers

  1. this is pretty nice, mapped to a midi controller with lots of sliders and knobs, i love that it is actually modelling and not just multi sampled like so many are

    seeing as it costs about as much as what i paid for a real cz101 is kind of a turn off but i’m sure they’ll sell quite a few anyways

  2. I have a CZ1 in my synth collection, and I’m eager to hear how the plugin compares to the real deal. Crap 80’s D/A conversion is what makes CZ synths sound so unique and distinctive. Just like I prefer the sound of a first gen DX7 over DX7II or NI’s FM7/8. If they managed to emulate these D/A imperfections, then it’s a sure winner.

  3. The backing track doesn’t sound especially ‘CZ’ to me!

    But, if the patch editing feature works on this, it would be great to have a software editor for the CZ’s. They are fun synths, but editing can be painful, especially on the 101.

  4. I hear the sound of a hundred thousand people hearing the sound and going ‘meh’, while a certain hundred people perk up their ears and say “Editor? Hell yeah, I’m in”. Yes, these are the CZ people. They know. They have felt the pain of the envelopes…

    I’d pay the 60 pounds for an ipad version, happily, provided there was some kind of free/try-before-buy option to check it out first.

    If I recall correctly, the CZ-1 doesn’t do midi CC for adjusting envelopes, you have to squirt down an entire patch, right?

  5. Wow – this is basically a software editor? Totally worth it just for that. I have a CZ-101 that never gets used, because it is such a pain to program. But it can sound really rad. Killer.

  6. An editor and microtuning support? Damn, that’s broad. It has added flavor in fixing the clumsiness of the hardware. I had a CZ-101 and employed it as a module rather than play its weensy keys. I thought it a bit too sterile solo, but it layered beautifully. It also had a few specialties that made it worthwhile, like most synths. The better envelopes are also welcome. I’d compare this favorably to the G-Force MiniMonsta, which retains that woody/wooly Moog sound while amping its usability with polyphony, effects and some unique switching options. Someone really loved this line to have built this so attentively. Very good job.

  7. Still got my CZ-1. It was my first synth and it’s still in excellent condition.. I remember a long time ago a keyboard player told me to never get rid of it due to unique synthesis and sound

  8. I used to have a CZ101 hooked up to a Commodore 64 with a random patch generator (back in the day). I was in audio-bizarro heaven. If the randomization on this new plugin is anything like it, it’s worth the price alone.

  9. Yehhhh! The CZ-1000 was my very first real programmable synthesizer. I was 15 at the time and I got to know this little guy inside out. I winded up selling it and then got myself a Roland D-10.
    As of today, I always had in mind to “re”buy a CZ. Well this looks like it might do the trick before I get the hardware. The price of this software seems fair too. I’m in for it!

  10. It’s out! Been playing with the demo and it’s everything I hoped for!! I’ve spent hours trying to get something like the CZ sound on other soft synths. I’ve been waiting for this emulation for years. Happy happy happy happy.

  11. got the cz1 here , be interested to see how this fairs , for all those headbangers who cant edit the real cz just get a cheap copy of emagic soundiver off ebay , i use one on all my digital synths , saved me many grey hairs.

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