Zoë Blade's notebook

Casio FZ-1

FZ-1 tech specs

  • Released: 1987
  • 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[1]

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[2]

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[3]

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[4]

Notable users

FZ-1

FZ-10M

References

  1. Information Technology Music Technology, Dec 1988
  2. Art Of The State Sound On Sound, Oct 1992
  3. Oceanic Sound On Sound, Sep 1993
  4. Teenage Kicks Music Technology, Oct 1993
  5. The State of Technology Music Technology, Nov 1989
  6. Autechre Sound On Sound, Apr 2004
  7. Mixing Lessons Music Technology, Nov 1988
  8. Scratch & Snatch Phaze 1, Jan 1989
  9. What's That Noise? Music Technology, Aug 1990
  10. Force Majeure Music Technology, May 1989
  11. Machine Head Music Technology, Jul 1991
  12. The New Statesmen Music Technology, Feb 1993
  13. Live And Direct Music Technology, Mar 1990
  14. The Aphex Effect Future Music, Apr 1993
  15. Cagey, Canny, Krafty Music Technology, Jul 1993
  16. Deep Vibrations Music Technology, Aug 1991

Reviews

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

FZ-1

FZ-20M

Downloads

Documentation

Samplers: Akai S1000 | Akai S900 | Casio FZ-1 | Roland W-30