Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

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bendragon
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Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by bendragon » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:34 am

Before I got the unit I was told it would be a cheap knock off of the DX7 - A typical plastic sounding Casio that was terribly confusing to program. Now that I have it I have to explain what sounds are from the VZ in a mix, and its always to everyones surprise - a Casio is making that sound? Not a Korg, Roland or Yamaha? - Witchcraft! :lol:
Programming the thing is far less painful than it was made out to be as well, thanks mostly to the big LCD dot matrix screen.

8 Oscillators, 9 waveforms, 8x 8Stage envelopes, Aftertouch, Velocity, Ring Mod, Phase Mod, Graphical editing - On paper its brilliant. In practice I'd put it in the same league as the DX7, possibly higher because of the extra features and personal taste. But why is this synth considered bad? Is it because it carries the Casio name? It does everything from lush pads to that obnoxious rhodes piano (some reverb applied) - what is there to hate? (personal taste not withstanding)

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by JayEm » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:49 am

if it sounds good, use it.
w00t

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by bendragon » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:59 am

JayEm wrote:if it sounds good, use it.
It does sound good and I do use it, rather extensively. ;)

I'm just trying to understand why people think its bad. VSE give it three stars I've noticed... :S

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by walkathon » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:43 am

I've got a VZ-10m that's been sitting in a "should I sell?" pile for a while now (Other keys in my studio tend to cover the same territory). However, it does do "SEGA Outrun" type sounds brilliantly, and like a K5, makes no bones about it being a DIGITAL synth. I can see where the 8-bit kids could eek some gems out of it.

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by James Mandible » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:38 am

Funny, I was just thinking about how I'd like to have a VZ-10M earlier today after selling my CZ-1000 recently. I certainly enjoyed having the CZ, I just didn't use it enough to justify the space for the keyboard in my cramped living situation. I know they're not really the same, but it'd be nice to have something even distantly related...

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by bendragon » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:30 am

James Mandible wrote:Funny, I was just thinking about how I'd like to have a VZ-10M earlier today after selling my CZ-1000 recently. I certainly enjoyed having the CZ, I just didn't use it enough to justify the space for the keyboard in my cramped living situation. I know they're not really the same, but it'd be nice to have something even distantly related...
If you ever get out of said living conditions, invest in a VZ-1. Its much nicer to program over a large, flat keyboard.
walkathon wrote:I've got a VZ-10m that's been sitting in a "should I sell?" pile for a while now (Other keys in my studio tend to cover the same territory). However, it does do "SEGA Outrun" type sounds brilliantly, and like a K5, makes no bones about it being a DIGITAL synth. I can see where the 8-bit kids could eek some gems out of it.
If I was you, I wouldn't sell it. Its one of those things that take an age to figure out, once it does it can do more than SEGA Arcade machine sounds. Though I will admit, I do use it for said SEGA sounds. :lol: Gritty, 4op style basses especially.

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by walkathon » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:52 pm

bendragon wrote:
walkathon wrote:I've got a VZ-10m that's been sitting in a "should I sell?" pile for a while now (Other keys in my studio tend to cover the same territory). However, it does do "SEGA Outrun" type sounds brilliantly, and like a K5, makes no bones about it being a DIGITAL synth. I can see where the 8-bit kids could eek some gems out of it.
If I was you, I wouldn't sell it. Its one of those things that take an age to figure out, once it does it can do more than SEGA Arcade machine sounds. Though I will admit, I do use it for said SEGA sounds. :lol: Gritty, 4op style basses especially.
Ha, ok, I'll give it one more shot. ;) Granted, I've owned my share of CZ's but picked it up on a whim cheap a few years back. First impressions were friendly (again, INSTANT Outrun / soundcard sounds), but the last time I turned it on, it really turned me off. 3rd time = the charm?

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by rhino » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:18 pm

Yes. The name CASIO gives most younger players the willies. They just can't get the image of "toy" out of their heads long enough to LISTEN and PLAY the CZ-1, FZ-1 and VZ-1... a trio of mighty deep and innovative synths. The VZ is NOT the go-to synth for piano and strings, thick choirs, rainbow-inducing pads etc. This box spits out razorblades and rusty nails !! Yeh, the programming is two steps forwards and three steps sideways from the DX, but random discoveries are one of the best parts of synths.
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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:23 pm

I had one on loan from a friend who bought it when they were being blown out (around 1990?). I thought it sounded good, but having owned a CZ5000 previously I thought it was more difficult to program.

It also arrived just when sample-based synths were hitting the market. Compared to a D50 or M1 it was a hard sell.
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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by madtheory » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:32 pm

bendragon you gotta post some sounds!

I think the user interface is horrible, but it does make some excellent sounds. About 26 actually. Best Wurlitzer ever. Then you can layer those and forever come up with new ones just by playing with the tuning. But why did Casio make it so difficult? It takes far too much time to do stuff and it's too easy to accidentally destroy an hour of careful parameter balancing.

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by Sweep » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:00 pm

It's just the bad associations people have with the name Casio.

I rate Casio pretty highly, personally, depending on which keyboards we're talking about.

People just think of the cheap, basic keyboards they used to make (some of which were excellent for the price, anyway), and the home keyboards they make as their main lines. Nothing with built-in speakers is supposed to be cool. (Which is why hardly anybody realises the CTK900 has a built-in ring modulator.)

Yamaha might well have suffered the same fate if they'd started with cheap home keyboards. But they also did professional keyboards from the beginning, and they've never suffered with their reputation as a result.

Value Casios, check them out and buy while they remain cheap.
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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by Synthacon » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:30 pm

I have had a few Casios in my time, CZ1, CZ3000 and VZ10M.

As mentioned above they are all really Digital and sound like a grainy old computer game at times lol.

They were great at bell and tingly type sounds.

My trouble with them was never the Casio name, it was always the fact they made my head hurt at times when I was programming them, I do like digital synths but I like to be able to get around them easily and these were awkward to say the least.

The Casio name should not put people off, I once had a couple of synths by a strange organ maker from Italy called Elka, they suffered from the same thing in that the name was not Moog or Oberheim :lol:
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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by madtheory » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:35 pm

I really don't think the Casio name is a problem at all. The CZ series hold their value very well. You'd pay the same 3 figure sum for a CZ-101 now that you'd have paid 20 years ago. Most good old synths are priced like that.

Don't forget that the CZ is one of the best selling synths ever, so there's a lot of them around. They do have a good reputation.

The FZ series actually hold their value quite well too, compared to other hardware samplers. Again, they are appreciated for what they are.

The VZ is a bit unfashionable because it's an FM synth- anyone who's into that will be using FM8, getting the same type of sounds but with a much better UI and much greater scope.

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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by Sexor » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:58 pm

What about using a knobby MIDI controller to program the VZ-10M? Or is it way too many parameters?
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Re: Is the VZ1 bad because its a Casio?

Post by madtheory » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:32 pm

There is no way to control individual parameters in real time, you have to send all the sysex for a program in one go in "normal" mode. So what happens is the sound is interrupted for a second while it updates the whole program. In "combination" mode, it's even worse. It's fine for doing edits from from the computer, but useless for "realtime" stuff.

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