Vintage Synth Review Of The Casio CZ-5000

In the latest Josh Is Making Music video, Josh takes a look at one of Casio’s rare vintage professional synths, the CZ-5000.

Casio is best known for its consumer keyboards, but over the years it has also ventured into making pro gear. Many synthesists are familiar with Casio’s iconic CZ-101, which an early consumer synth that was both affordable and powerful. But in the ’80s, Casio also ventured into pro electronic music gear, with keyboards like the CZ-1, CZ-5000 & the FZ-1 sampling keyboard.

Video Summary:

“The Casio CZ-5000 is such a cool and interesting synth. Although the Phase Distortion synthesis is a great feature on its own, the addition of that 8-track sequencer is killer. I wish Casio would do a modern remake of the CZ-5000. With a higher-quality screen, expanded patch memory, and velocity and aftertouch, a CZ-5000 revival would be amazing.”

Should Casio bring back its CZ line? Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments!

27 thoughts on “Vintage Synth Review Of The Casio CZ-5000

        1. If you can’t find a CZ5000 (I’ve got one) look for a 1000, 3000 or 101. Still want more? CZ1. Can’t find the hardware, I think the Arturia emulation is good. The review is because it’s interesting to learn about older instruments especially innovative ones. There are a lot of them about and not at silly money prices. Cheaper than a CS80 and I like seeing reviews on those too

      1. I had a CZ-5000 and then upgraded to a CZ-1 as soon as it came out. In my opinion, any external multitrack MIDI sequencer was better than the one in the CZ-5000. I personally used an Apple II clone with a MIDI interface card, running Master Tracks Pro.

        1. This is true with just about every vintage keyboard sequencer. They’re generally complicated to use, because controls were expensive to add back then, and limited.

  1. I have emailed in the past with a Casio rep on numerous occasions about ideas for a revival but they just won’t bite. Ultimately a CZ synth could be immeasurably improved with current tech. At the very least, way more waveforms, 3 or 4 oscillators per patch instead of 2, FX, a res filter, tons more patch storage, buttons, sliders, and knobs … Etc.

    Sounds like this might be a job for Behringer …

  2. I have one and love it. Replaced the screen with an OLED which is much improved. The sequencer would be fine it it didn’t pause momentarily before looping. WTH.

    1. With the OLED you lose the custom characters for the sequencer so you won’t be able to see note values and other important things. I’ve had two CZ-5000, neither pause momentarily before looping.

  3. If only you could do this in such a way with the modern synths with a built in sequencer
    without note stealing

    Bring them back CASIO, but make them better and more accessible for the new gen of synth heads

  4. Old synth are very nice to have … Until they broke … After that is just junk … I go a long time a after the virtual (vst) ,tons of synths , 90 to 98% close replica sound of the original … Why bother in 2022 with old, big things …

    1. It’s because old synths trigger nostalgia and days long passed and has the potential bring back innocence along with a bit of childhood.

    2. Because old synth are limited. And limitation triggers ingenuity. Until they broke? My ARP Odyssey will just turn 50 this month; sure few components broke over the time, but are replaceable. Not so bad for a consumer electronic product.

      1. and hardware synths always works as long as you maintain them; no additonal work necessary. I’ve loads of app get abandoned on iOS system upgrades. I never even turn my computer’s on anymore; with all the viruses, malware, OS incompatibilities, and system interactions, disk space, memory limitations.

    3. I had a cz5000 and sold it the instant I heard the vst emulator in action, close enough for me.
      The original never broke but the sound stopped at every tweak and I’m too old for that crap.

      Then came Chipsounds MD and bye bye to every other mini-digital synth, hard and soft.

  5. Bought one for $150 about 10 years back. Just put it back into the studio last weekend so it’s fun seeing this post. It really does have some nice sounds, total B!+€H working the parameters, but fun none the less.

  6. I had a CZ-101 and got a lot of mileage out of it as a module. Then I landed a CZ-1 and MIDI’d it to the 101. That was a potent pairing, like 90% of what DX7s did at the time. The Casios also did some great analog work. I’m with those who would take a serious look at a modern CZ with a tougher build. It could be a nice cheaper alternative to part of what a 3rd Wave can do.

    1. I have a 101, 1000, and a ZV-10m. the sound is unlike any other. the 101 really went well with my DX7, OB-8 and Linndrum back in the day. Cain did a Prologue oscillator with CZ qualities. very nice.

  7. i owned one brand new from the age of 15 until about 24. I programmed all my first demos on it.

    From the day it arrived i was gutted it was not a warm sounding Roland. My parents got sukkered by some sales dood in the store. It sounded like cheezy Casio crap. I couldnt make or find a single sound on it that sounded like something on any record i owned. The buttons would stick constantly, if you pressed them even remotely off-centre they would not click but kinda “squash” and half the time not register, it was impossible to program sounds as you had to imagine in your mind or draw out on a piece of paper the waveforms, the waveforms were not Level and Slope, they were Level which really was “length” and then Rate which really was “angle in degrees”, and the length was relative to the last part of the envelope so you had to add or subtract from the last value, so it was compounding …and so was the angle, so 90 degrees “rate” was not straight up if the last angle was 45 degrees you needed to work out the difference around the waveform position, all of this in your head with no graphic or even visual slider to look at it was a nightmare. I hated the thing. It almost ruined my childhood experience of music. Ive had regret from selling gear in my time but i do not miss the CZ5000 for one single minute.

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