Cute mini-synth based on digital synthesis PD-Phase Distortion engineered in the mid eighties strongly inspired by Yamaha FM technology.
Is still PD synthesis interesting today?
KEYBOARD (3Kg weight) mainly made out of plastic in pure eighites fashion featuring 49 minikeys with no Velocity and easy to carry around
The main panel features 52 push buttons and a 16 x 2 lines display with no backlight.
On the left side there is a Wheel for pitch bending and some functions dedicated to Real time performance such as Vibrato On-Off / Portamento On-Off / Portamento Time / Bender Range. Back panel and right side have the following connections: Midi I/O (no Thru) cartridge slot (has a switch protection) Line out (jack mono) and Headphones out.
Power supply works with six 1.5 V batteries or with an external power supply type DC 9V negative in center 800 mA feed ; original factory model is labeled AD5. A special switch tab "APO" turns off the machine if not played for more than 7 minutes, a kind of battery life-saver.
PD SYNTHESIS CPU manages 8 digital sinusoidal waveforms stored into the CZ ROM. If you play the wave at different speed, the pitch is altered resulting in different notes, in any case speed read is kept constant (linear) from beginning to the end. If this speed became non-time constant, the sinusoidal will be altered for time dilatation and compression effect creating a dynamic distortion that generes more complex waveforms. PD distorts the phase angle of a sine wave (or cosine) when reading the ROM stored digital waveform and the relative amount of harmonic distortion is determinated by EG DCW .
WAVES Each voice is composed by 1 or 2 digital detunable oscillators with ringmodulation (fixed depth) + 8 sinewave pattern reading waveform presets: Saw, Square, Pulse, Sin2 Saw-Pulse + 3 simulated Resonance (Saw-Square-Trapezoidal) + 1 white noise generator -but it switch off the ring modulator process. There are some limitations like only PD waveforms from 1 to 5 can be combined together.
PERFORMANCE the keyboard manges a maximum of to 8 parts, but polyphony is halved if 2 voices are stacked.
ENEVELOPE six EG in total:
- DCW1 DCW2 are fundamental for Phase Distortion process with 8-stages + 8 levels + 8 Sustain points that determines the level at which a sound is held as long as a key is pressed.
- DOC1 DOC2 for PITCH both with 8 stages+ 8 levels + 8 Sustain points.
- DCA1 DCA2 for Amplitude both with 8 stages+ 8 levels + 8 Sustain points.
LFO a single Tremolo for Amplitude digitally scaled into stepped values. The modulator features 4 possible waveforms including Triangle, Square, Up-Saw and Down-Saw and some extra parameters like Delay-start and Variable Depth adjustment.
MIDI implementation has some latency when used in multitimbral mode, probably for a poor buffer memory. However good news is that patches can be externally edited with external software (they are fully compatible with Cz-1000 model).
MEMORY features 16 non-writable ROM sounds + 16 free slots that can be saved to a computer or to a RAM card model Casio RA-3. The memory RAM needs the internal 1.5V batteries to retain sounds (no lithium battery inside).
cz-1000: the same but bigger and normal keys plus membrane buttons cz-3000: 16 voices 1 DCO or 8 voices 2x stacking 61 keys and chorus effect cz-2000S: same as 3000 plus internal stereo speakers (also known as 2600s for other market) cz-230S: tiny as cz101 but preset non editable + speakers + PCM drums cz-5000: with (difficult) sequencer and 61 keys cz-1: the biggest with keys velocity with Aftertouch (no sequencer)
if you have some cool CZ recordings, consider sharing them. Thanks
tricks for noobs
Reset machine:remove batteries for at least 10 minutes, then use thin object to push the rest button under the hood.
- esoteric PD synthesis
- cute and easy to carry
- Display/ editing
-Multitimbral bad timing
Second hand price
"Very gritty especially good for digital noises and droning. The Casio Cz-101 is not the most powerful of CZ family but surely the cutest and most sought-after for its cheap 80' design with minikeys. "
"So if your fingers are fabulous on a keyboard but all thumbs when it comes to things electronic, get a CasioCZ-101. For a little money you could make it very big" - Casio AD