Zoë Blade's notebook

Casio FZ-1

FZ-1 tech specs

  • Released: 1987
  • Initial price: £1599[1][2]
  • Company: Casio
  • Type: Sampler
  • Polyphony: 8 voices
  • Timbrality: Multitimbral
  • Sample rates: 9 kHz, 18 kHz, 36 kHz
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit
  • Audio out: 8 + mono mix
  • Control: MIDI
  • RAM: 1 MB — 2 MB
  • Storage: 2HD 3.5" floppy disk
  • Display: 16×8 character / 96×64 pixel LCD
  • Features: Characterful lowpass filter, waveform drawing

The FZ-1 was a sampler released by Casio in 1987. It was the first 16-bit sampler in its price range. It was later offered in rackmount form, as the popular FZ-10M, and with SCSI as well, as the FZ-20M.

Hearing musicians enthuse about its gritty sound, you'd be forgiven for assuming it was a cheaper, lower fidelity alternative to Akai's S900. In fact, it sits comfortably between the S900 and S1000 in terms of both its release date and its spec.

Compared to Akai's offerings, the FZ series has a more characterful lowpass filter, which can sound good in its own right, rather than merely optionally dulling the sounds fed into it. It also has ridiculously opulent eight-stage envelopes, and the ability to directly (albeit tediously) draw waveforms.

FZ-10M

FZ-10M tech specs

  • Company: Casio
  • Type: Sampler
  • Polyphony: 8 voices
  • Timbrality: Multitimbral
  • Sample rates: 9 kHz, 18 kHz, 36 kHz
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit
  • Audio out: 8 + mono mix
  • Control: MIDI
  • RAM: 2 MB
  • Storage: 2HD 3.5" disk
  • Display: 16×8 character / 96×64 pixel LCD
  • Features: Characterful lowpass filter, waveform drawing
  • Size: 3U

The FZ-1 was later offered in rackmount form, as the 3U FZ-10M. This came with 2 MB of RAM, twice as much as the FZ-1.

FZ-20M

FZ-20M tech specs

  • Company: Casio
  • Type: Sampler
  • Polyphony: 8 voices
  • Timbrality: Multitimbral
  • Sample rates: 9 kHz, 18 kHz, 36 kHz
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit
  • Audio out: 8 + mono mix
  • Control: MIDI
  • RAM: 2 MB
  • Storage: 2HD 3.5" disk, SCSI
  • Display: 16×8 character / 96×64 pixel LCD
  • Features: Characterful lowpass filter, waveform drawing
  • Size: 3U

The FZ-10M in turn was given SCSI and rereleased as the FZ-20M.

Quotes

I use a Casio FZ-10M sampler, which sounds great, but it's very strange to use. I've just discovered that if you save a whole keyboard setup, you cannot just call up one sound from that to add it to another bank. You have to call up the whole bank. I'm sure there's a way to get around it, but the manual... One of the great features is that it does have editing facilities built in, so you don't need to buy a computer for that. But again, if I can't figure out how to use it, it's not going to be much help.

— Paul Robb, Information Society, 1988[3]

We used to use the Casio FZ-1 a lot for years 'cos it was so easy to use, and Andy still uses one in his home setup. Then when we could afford Akai S1000s we crossed over. Even then there was a certain amount of "techno fear" because they looked more complicated.

— Darren Partington, 808 State, 1992[4]

Our very first sampler was the Casio FZ-1, which up to this day, along with the ESQ, must rate as one of our best buys. The FZ-1 opened up a lot of possibilities for us, but at the time had a limited library, so we used to stack sounds off our other keyboards and sample them. We got the two meg upgrade for it when everybody else was using 128 K, but instead of using multimode, which we still haven't got into yet, we used to pile loads of samples in and use loads of key splits.

— David Harry, Oceanic, 1993[5]

The Casio FZ-1 — which in Germany is called the Hohner HS-1 — was one of the cheapest samplers you could get, and it has that scratchy, cheap sound which I actually prefer now to the Akai. We only use the Akai to record vocals, or if we don't have enough memory, but normally the Casio is exactly the sound we want. If you sample something short, like a bass drum, it kind of "breathes" — it gives this little squeaking sound which I like. And the low notes are really scratchy and bad, which is what the band's philosophy is all about: trying to get dirty sounds out of the machines.

— Alec Empire, Atari Teenage Riot, 1993[6]

I got mine because at the time it was the cheapest, but I think it's really good. It's a warmer sound than the Akai. The buttons are getting a bit sticky now, but I like the warmth.

— Rob Smith, More Rockers, 1995[7]

...we ended up sampling the whole "Mentasm" loop into the Casio FZ-1... We modified the LFO and DCF during the recording using the slider. You can hear the "Mentasm" riff buzzing and snarling at you as the filter parameters changed...

— Edmundo Perez, Second Phase, 2014[8]

Notable users

FZ-1

FZ-10M

References

  1. "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Music Technology, Apr 1987
  2. "Music Village" Music Village (Vendor), Music Technology, Oct 1987
  3. "Information Technology" Deborah Parisi, Music Technology, Dec 1988
  4. "Art Of The State" Nigel Humberstone, Sound On Sound, Oct 1992
  5. "Oceanic" Nigel Humberstone, Sound On Sound, Sep 1993
  6. "Teenage Kicks" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Oct 1993
  7. "Earth beats" Roger Brown, The Mix, Apr 1995
  8. "Key Tracks: Mundo Muzique on Second Phase's 'Mentasm'" Phil Moffa, May 2014
  9. "The State of Technology" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Nov 1989
  10. "Autechre" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Apr 2004
  11. "Mixing Lessons" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Nov 1988
  12. "[Unknown]" 1988
  13. "Scratch & Snatch" Simon Trask, Phaze 1, Jan 1989
  14. "What's That Noise?" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Aug 1990
  15. "Force Majeure" David Bradwell, Music Technology, May 1989
  16. "Machine Head" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Jul 1991
  17. "Mike Paradinas & Planet Mu" Paul Sellars, Sound On Sound, May 2002
  18. "Mike Paradinas" Tim Noakes
  19. "Underworld: The Making of Everything, Everything" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Dec 2000
  20. "The New Statesmen" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Feb 1993
  21. "Live And Direct" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Mar 1990
  22. "The Aphex Effect" Dave Robinson, Future Music, Apr 1993
  23. "Cagey, Canny, Krafty" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Jul 1993
  24. "Deep Vibrations" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Aug 1991
  25. "Interview: How LFO made 'LFO'" 909 Originals, Jul 2020
  26. "Bleepography: 19 — LFO: 'LFO'" Matt Anniss, Aug 2022

Reviews

FZ-1 / FZ-10M / FZ-20M

FZ-1

FZ-20M

Downloads

Documentation

Samplers: Akai S900 | Akai S1000 | Casio FZ-1 | Roland W-30 | Sequential Circuits Studio 440