Behringer CZ-1 Mini Inspired By Vintage Casio CZ Synths

Behringer today shared a preview of the CZ-1 Mini, a minisynth that copies the sound engine used in Casio’s classic CZ synth line of ’80s.

The CZ-1 Mini adds an analog filter not found on the original, which used Phase Distortion Synthesis, Casio’s response to Yamaha’s implementation of FM synthesis.

Behringer says that the CZ-1 Mini is ready for beta testing, and that it has a target price of $99 USD.

23 thoughts on “Behringer CZ-1 Mini Inspired By Vintage Casio CZ Synths

  1. It’s strange how Behringer copied Casio’s CZ synth engine, copied the name of Casio’s best CZ synth…. and then used a completely random look.


    The intellectual property law that covers knockoffs must be really complicated!

    1. Wasn’t the cz 101, released 40 yrs ago, almost a toy synth, it was cheap, plastic, had mini keys, a battery compartment and was small for the time?

      1. The Casio CZ-101 was an entry-level mini-key synth, something like $400 new.

        But it was surprisingly capable and well-built. It was the precursor to the microKorg, but it had better polyphony and felt a lot more solid, too.

        It’s crazy that Casio abandoned the line and let Korg dominate the entry-level synth space for the last 20 years. What were they thinking?

        1. I think that Casio came to the conclusion that the Synth-market at that time and probably still is/was miniscule compared to the homekeyboard and electric pianomarket. And synthesizers probably requiers more support and repairs..

      2. Yes, the CZ-101 was the smallest instrument in the lineup. It had some upscale siblings, including the flagship CZ-1 with a full sized keyboard and built-in sequencer.

        1. Also used to have two in the 80s, still have some photos of a Dingwalls gig where one was being played live and another controlled by a Yamaha QX-21 sequencer doing four different mono parts in the multitimbral mode. A lot of fun.

    1. Replace ‘music creators’ with ‘self righteous astroturfers’ or ‘strawman debaters’ for something a little more accurate.

      It’s interesting how thin skinned & defensive fanboys can be. I can’t recall anyone saying ‘you’re not allowed to make music with a Behringer rip off’ when criticising Behringer, but the fanboys love typing it anyway.

      Ironically Behringer is the one encouraging collecting by issuing so many new rip offs. They’re setting up a kind of dissonance for their audience, feels kinda troubling.

      Plus the ‘for music makers’ angle came from the company itself so their audience can consume without having to worry without ethics. Who cares about ethics when there’s this shiny, noisy new thing to buy? Just buy it anyway!

      They’re playing us all for fools. Fanboys and haters.

  2. i was impressed with the Pro-VS. for $100 it can’t be beat as a lead, bass or small chording voice. I pair it with a Poly D to get that yummy mixed complex harmonic digital envelope and swarmy VCO fundamental goodness texture. not so interested in the other six Mini’s. JT4K was very cool as well.

    1. JT is only *two* notes, VS is four notes. but only have a single filter. likely it’ll be four notes of paraphony with a single filter, single/multi trigger, etc…

  3. I had a CZ-101 and I still appreciate what it taught me about everything synth. The engine is basically FM in a much more appreciable form, with its own analog-like GUI. I learned what an outboard instrument could do in a rig, even a mere mini or module. It fit a great slot between a Mirage, Korg DW8000 and Roland Juno-1. If you’re still a bit new to synths, I recommend some form of PD, because it can teach you FM things without the same work load.

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