Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

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Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:21 am

The post on Phase Distortion got me thinking that it might be fun to pick up a CZ-101 again. I had one back when they were new. I eventually replaced it with a CZ-5000. I loved the CZ-5000 and should have never sold it. But times changed and samplers and ROMplers were all the rage, so I sold it like an idiot. :roll:

Anyway, I was shocked to see how much CZ-101s are selling for on eBay. I paid less than $350 for a brand new CZ-101! But I see people asking that amount for beat-to-c**p used CZ-101s with stuck keys, bent mod wheels, and faulty displays. What gives?

I almost never hear people praise the CZ series in the same way that they go ape sh!t over obscure, second-rate analog synths. (EDIT: Not saying that all analog synths are second rate!) So I wonder why the prices are so high. Casio sold quite a few of these synths (at least the CZ-101s). So it's not like they are in extremely short supply. But who knows, maybe they are all sitting in attics across the world and not available for sale?

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:52 am

Seriously? I picked one up from the local music shop just this last fall for $45 with a flight case... o_O
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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:21 am

commodorejohn wrote:Seriously? I picked one up from the local music shop just this last fall for $45 with a flight case... o_O
That sounds about right. :-) I can't believe that anyone would pay more than $150 (tops) for a CZ-101 (even one in pristine condition).

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by synthparts » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:03 pm

What eBay are you looking at? CZ-101s are still usually in the $100-175 range for completed auctions in the US.

I also bought mine brand new in 1985 for about $400 but that was a lot more back then than $400 today. CZs are a very good bargain now...
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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by vcs3 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:22 pm

Because they are great sounding, different from the other synths of the same era.

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:26 pm

$175 may be common but still too high for a 101 IMHO. The full size models (CZ-1, 3000, 5000) are a better buy since you can often find them in the $200 range...you get full size keys, double the voices and patches, chorus, mod wheel.
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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Aaron2 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:24 pm

meatballfulton wrote:$175 may be common but still too high for a 101 IMHO. The full size models (CZ-1, 3000, 5000) are a better buy since you can often find them in the $200 range...you get full size keys, double the voices and patches, chorus, mod wheel.
FWIW, I had a 5000, and that thing was built like a tank. Plus, it had one of the best keyboards I've played. So I agree with meatballfulton that the full-size models are probably the way to go.

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Bitexion » Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:43 pm

I listened to the audio demo on VSE, it sounds kind of like a DX synth. Is there something unique about PD vs FM synthesis? They say it's "alot easier", but why?
8 stage envelopes are cool for spaced-out ambient sounds I suppose, but do you ever use all those stages?

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:03 pm

It's easier because they arrange it to look a lot like a traditional analog subtractive synth - treating the waveshaping from sine to one of the other selected waveforms as analogous to a VCF rather than one possible setting for a complex voice architecture. You can do this with Yamaha FM, as well (the Korg DS-8 is exactly that,) but Casio went with that approach from the ground up.
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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Jabberwalky » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:58 pm

The fact that there is no global volume level for the operators is annoying. You have to do any sound changes via the envelopes. The LFO is hard wired to global pitch. Unique sounding for sure, but cumbersome, and not exactly fun to edit.

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:03 pm

Yeah, it's not a super-flexible architecture. Still, it's capable of some pretty neat sounds.
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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:22 am

I just bought a CZ-5000 from one of our fellow VSE members! I already have a ridiculous number of hardware synth modules and rack units so it was more nostalgia than anything else that drove the purchase. But still, it's going to be great fun having a CZ again, especially the CZ-5000 which is velocity sensitive.

Although I didn't really want another huge keyboard, it's actually not bad timing since I need to take my Virus Kb in for repairs. I was planning to use some dinky/cheapo 2-octave controller in the interim. But now I will have this CZ behemoth to use as my controller. LOL.

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by synthparts » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:19 am

So I guess the price wasn't so high? The CZ-5000 does not have velocity, only the CZ-1 does...
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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:33 am

synthparts wrote:So I guess the price wasn't so high? The CZ-5000 does not have velocity, only the CZ-1 does...
Yes, the seller was very cool and pointed out that the CZ-5000 does not have velocity so we canceled the sale. It was SO long ago (almost 30 years now) when I had my CZ synths that I had actually forgotten that I had the CZ-1 and not the CZ-5000. Doh! Hey, in my defense they look the same. :-)

So now I have to decide if I want to pay slightly more for a CZ-1 or try to find a CZ-101 for around $150 (assuming there is some sane seller who actually knows the value of these things and not these silly profiteers on eBay who are totally out of their minds thinking they can get $350 for a CZ-101.)

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Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by hasymo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:35 am

I had put up my CZ-5000 on Craigslist last year, for a few months, listed it at $200 but nobody even inquired.

It is tedious to program, but yeah, you can get cool sounds out of it.

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