Casio VZ-1

Casio VZ-1When the Casio VZ-1 appeared on the market it had a recommended retail price of £1,000 which came as a complete surprise to many musicians of the day. It didn't seem to make sense that Casio was releasing a synthesiser that seemed to be less useful than the Casio CZ-101/CZ-1000 and expect that synth to compete with the likes of the mighty Roland D50 and the immensely popular Korg M1 (which superior in so many different ways there is insufficient room here to describe them all. Rather than write off the Casio CZ-1 completely it is actually worth spending some time with it, especially when you consider how cheaply these appear on ebay.



More About The Casio VZ-1
Casio VZ-1 Specifications
Notes About The Casio VZ-1
Famous Casio VZ-1 Users
Casio VZ-1 Samples


More About The Casio VZ-1

The Casio VZ range of synthesisers create their sounds using a digital method which Casio named Interactive Phase Distortion synthesis (iPD synthesis). IPD (which has some similarities to Yamaha's FM synthesis) was supposed to be a more powerful, and updated, form the Phase distortion synthesis used in the Casio CZ range of keyboards. Unfortunately many musicians of the day found it too cold/harsh and the Casio VZ-1 did not sell well.


Casio VZ-1 Specifications

  • Polyphony: 16 voices, halved when used in multtimbral mode (able to play 2 patches)
  • Oscillators: 8 iPD Modules across 4 Pairs
  • Osc Waveforms: Saw (5 variations), sine, noise and noise plus sine
  • LFO: 2 LFOs (pitch and amplitude).
  • Filter: No filter but the 8-stage envelopes can help create movement approaching a sound similar to a filter
  • Effects: None
  • Control: Midi
  • Manufactured 1988


Casio VZ-1 Notes

Firstly the Casio VZ-1 is a rather heavy keyboard and, with somewhat brittle plastic ends, it is best to avoid dropping it, even from the shortest distance. The first VZ-1 that I owned was purchased from ebay and it arrived with one end smashed to pieces due to poor packing. I glue all of the pieces together using epoxy resin but unfortunately most of the first octave of keys were damaged. Well, as I own much better controller keyboards this did not bother me too much as I just used it like a rather large sound module however, if you wish to use this keyboard in a live situation be prepared to package it well for any journey - even from your studio to the back seat of your vehicle - I often make bubble wrap pouches for fragile synthesisers such as the Wasp.

I believe it is possible to play the VZ in a 2 part multitimbral mode and if so I would advise setting both parts to the same sound and detuning one slightly. Although this would half the polyphony the sound will appear much thicker/phatter. I prefer to layer the sound with an appropriate analogue sound or runthe VZ through an analogue filter such as theexcellent Akai MFC42 which massively extends the range of sounds the VZ can create.


Casio VZ-1 Famous Users

Although it is common to see a band on TV using keyboards and synthesisers made by the likes of Korg, Roland and Yamaha the only way you could say for certain if that synth is used in that particular song is if the band are playing live rather than to a backing track. Many companies will supply famous bands with their products but, sadly, it is extremely rare for somebody to be seen with a Casio keyboard. I can find no famous artists who are known to have used the Casio VZ-1 but I have seen bands on the "Later withs Jools Holland" show using keyboards with no branding which looked suspiciously like a Casio but the camera angle was never spot on for me to identify it accurately.


Casio VZ-1 SAMPLE PACK(more info)

  Casio VZ1

Kontakt, EXS24 + WAV

Contains over 140 VZ-1 sound patches at 24-Bit

PRICE: £17.77

P&P: £1.99 (UK ONLY)

TOTAL: £19.76


Please Note:

This collection is only available in Kontakt, EXS24 & Wav.


Our sample DVD collection includes over 140 multisampled patches for maximum authenticity. To create the 2 DVD collection we took over 11,000 individual samples. For demo tunes please see our page about our Casio VZ-1 Sample Collection