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Casio Cz101


casio cz101 mini keys!

audio demo trend price : 300€
manual factory demo video comments

Casio Cz101 (1984)


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?

phase distortion

pd synthesis waveforms

info KEYBOARD (weight: 3 Kg) mainly made out of plastic in pure eighites fashion featuring 49 minikeys with no Velocity and easy to carry around
The main panel counts 52 push buttons and a 16 * 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.
Terminal connectors: Midi interface (no Thru), cartridge slot, line out (jack mono) and headphones out.

acPower 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.

editPD 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 .
edit 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). There are some comb limitations like only PD waveforms from 1 to 5 can be mixed.
simulated resonance

playmodes PERFORMANCE the keyboard manges a maximum of to 8 parts, but polyphony is halved if 2 voices are stacked.

there are 6* 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 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 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).

memroy 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 family models

memroy CZ FAMILY

cz family models

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

: same as 3000 plus internal stereo speakers (also known as 2600s for other market)

tiny as cz101 but preset non editable + speakers + PCM drums

with (difficult) sequencer and 61 keys

the biggest with keys velocity with Aftertouch (no sequencer)
audio demo



Casio CZ-101 Demo Casio CZ 101 +cr8000 Casio Keyboard CZ-101
Casio CZ-101 Demo Casio CZ 101 + cr8000 Casio Keyboard CZ-101

tricks for noobs

Reset machine:remove batteries for at least 10 minutes, then use thin object to push the rest button under the hood.


original scan


original scan


original scan


original scan


pd synthesis DCO LFO for vibrato EG CZ


- esoteric PD synthesis
- cute and easy to carry


- Display/ editing
- memory
-Multitimbral bad timing

geek stuff


"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. "

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"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


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casio cz101 4.5 out of 5 based on 27 ratings. price €300