Zoë Blade's notebook

Casio CZ-101

CZ-101 tech specs

  • Released: 1985
  • Initial price: £345[1]
  • Company: Casio
  • Type: PD synthesiser
  • Polyphony: 8 voices[2]
  • Control: MIDI
  • Display: 16×2 character LCD
  • User programs: 16[2]
  • Preset programs: 16[2]

The CZ-101 was the first phase distortion synthesiser, released by Casio in 1985.

As a more affordable rival to Yamaha's DX7 range, Casio's CZ range seemingly provoked Yamaha into releasing the pared-back DX21 range. Casio started at the lower end of the market and climbed up, while Yamaha started at the higher end and climbed down, until they had a whole series competing with each other.

Specifically, with its miniature keys, pitch bend wheel at the back, guitar strap hooks, and ability to run on batteries, the DX100 in particular seems specifically designed to compete with the CZ-101.

CZ-1000

CZ-1000 tech specs

  • Released: 1985
  • Initial price: £495[3]
  • Company: Casio
  • Type: PD synthesiser
  • Polyphony: 8 voices[4]
  • Control: MIDI
  • Display: 16×2 character LCD
  • User programs: 16[4]
  • Preset programs: 16[4]

Casio released the CZ-1000 next, again seemingly causing Yamaha to directly compete with it by releasing the DX27. Both offered full sized keys for a more professional look and feel.

CZ-5000

CZ-5000 tech specs

The CZ-5000 overshot the rival DX21, including full sized keys, a chorus effect, and even a rudimentary internal MIDI sequencer that offered 8 tracks, albeit with only 8 notes of polyphony across all tracks combined.

CZ-3000

CZ-3000 tech specs

  • Released: 1986
  • Company: Casio
  • Type: PD synthesiser
  • Polyphony: 16 voices[6]
  • Control: MIDI
  • Display: 16×2 character LCD
  • Features: Chorus[6]
  • User programs: 32[6]
  • Preset programs: 32[6]

Finally, the CZ-3000 ditched the CZ-5000's sequencer while retaining the rest of its improvements, making a true rival for the DX21.

References

  1. "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Jan 1985
  2. "CZ-101 manual" Casio
  3. "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, May 1985
  4. "CZ-1000 manual" Casio
  5. "CZ-5000 manual" Casio
  6. "CZ-3000 manual" Casio

Reviews

CZ-101

CZ-5000

CZ-3000

Downloads

Documentation

Hardware MIDI sequencers: Casio CZ-101 | Roland TR-909 | Roland W-30 | Sequential Circuits Studio 440

PD synthesisers: Casio CZ-101