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The thing has a LED for nearly all the buttons, which already gives the CZ a great entertainment value.
Thanks to the integrated easy-to-use sequencer and the ease of programming, I sometimes have the feeling that this is the only synthesizer you will ever need.
Read a long primer about Phase Distortion.
About the CZ
However, the CZ line used phase distortion to somewhat simulate an analog filter, it had in total eight different waveforms: as well as the standard sawtooth, square, and pulse waveforms, it had a special double sine waveform, a half-sine waveform, and three waveforms with simulated filter resonance: resonant sawtooth, triangle, and trapezoidal waveforms. The simulated filter resonance was not considered to sound much like real filter resonance, being a simple waveform at the filter cutoff value instead of a real filter resonating.
The CZ synthesizers also had the ability to stack up two different sounds via the tone mix feature resulting in a functionally monophonic synthesizer; this was Casio's version of the unison feature other polyphonic synthesizers had. Each part in a two-patch stack could be a different patch, allowing great flexibility in stacked sounds. It was not possible to detune the two patches in a tone mix stack; this could be somewhat worked around, however, by giving each of the two patches a different vibrato rate.
Tips from Sonicstate reviewers
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Got one for a while and the sequencer is essentially a SZ-1 which is very limited. Better looked upon as a musical notepad, not nearly as useful as a dedicated sequencer.
i love this synth. will never sell it [especially since i wouldnt get any money for it...] i have got to get the cz-101 , it looks so nice.
I am regretting that i got rid of my CZ-5000 because it's sequencer was the best ARPEGGIATOR on the planet, and the ring modulation sounds haven't yet been fully copied by other manufacturers.
By the way CZs has no effects at all.
you can come fairly close to virtually any e-piano tone you hear using the detune control and adding ring modulation when appropriate. The very pure clavinet-like sounds you can achieve are especially nice (no bass deficit there). (...)
Mine has also been haunted for 10 years by the dried-up corpse of a tiny jumping spider which somehow managed to get inside the sealed display (seemed impossible), where it crawled around for more than a week before finally expiring. So, besides backlighting I'd say the LCD is also lacking in emergency exits. (...)
The 8-track sequencer is beyond limited - it's an electronic psychological torchure device. Illogical design choices and the absence of some primordial editing functions make it extremely difficult to do anything with the sequencer at all. For instance, there's no way to jump to a point in the song - you have to FF and REW everywhere as though it were a tape machine, at a rather slow rate to boot. And it has a one- button looping feature, but the undefeatable 4-beat pause it inserts between repeats makes it all but useless for generating loops (only step-by-step programmed tracks can be looped without this pause).(...)
Some of the strangest come when you detune and/or pitch shift to the very high frequencies the synth allows you to attain. For instance, so-so electric guitar patch can be made to say things like "wow!", "woah!", and "ahh!", and moan woefully, in a remarkably lifelike (albeit cartoonish) voice using the pitch bend wheel on the highest notes, due to the bizarre effects of the ring modulation at very high pitches (the patch detunes its second channel up more than 3 octaves).
I'VE found the on board seq very handy for liqid acid basslines
And the (discontinued) Emagic Sounddiver.
Loads of links
A litte recipe: 2 detuned sawtooth (wave1) in mono mode and portamento at speed 04... some envelope and it sound like a minimoog´s little brother... even better if you put some simple external FX like delay
(from vintagesynth.com) The description above is wrong in a lot of ways though!! "You basically modify digital waveforms (sine waves) to create various sounds." WRONG!! That's how a DX7 works.. The CZ has preset waveforms that you combine to make the sounds that you then filter with the DCW section. It's very like programming an analogue synth and very much simpler than a DX7 to do.