Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
krushing
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:21 am
Real name: Petteri
Gear: Doepfer Dark Energy, Nord Lead 3R, Waldorf MicroQ, Acidlab Bassline 3, Roland TR-606
Band: Salaneuvosto
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Contact:

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by krushing » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:44 pm

hasymo wrote: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.
Tedious to program is a bit of an understatement, imo - which is essentially why I sold mine. It does sound great, but I never really got around to actually building any interesting patches because of the interface. You basically have to know what you're going for from the beginning, as "trying something out quickly" isn't really an option.

User avatar
Bitexion
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 4230
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:43 pm
Gear: Alesis Andromeda A6
Roland D-50
Creamware Minimax
Yamaha DX7s
Analogue Systems modular
Ensoniq SQ-80
Waldorf Blofeld
Location: Drammen, Norway

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Bitexion » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:02 pm

Well that kind of goes with any FM synth aswell. You have to have a clear image of what you're going to do, like choosing the algorithm for your sound is a small science on its own.

"On this sound I'll use alg #6 because it has 3x2 stacked operators so I can get 3 separate timbres".

Music Maven
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:41 am

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:46 am

I ended up getting a CZ-101 for $150 plus shipping on eBay. There was another one that sold for $130 (with free shipping) today but one of the buttons on it was pushed in (but still functional).

So people asking $350 for beat up / broken CZ-101s are just stupid crazy. LOL.

There are quite a few public domain patches for the CZ series (that I can organize in SoundDiver). So I probably won't do a whole lot of programming on the CZ. I just thought it might be cool to add some of those percussive, plucked, bellish sounds that the CZ does so well to my sound pallet. For $170, it seems worth it. :-)

User avatar
synthparts
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:05 pm
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Contact:

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by synthparts » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:29 pm

People can ASK for any crazy price they want. What you got it for is about what they actually sell for. Pretty good deal...

I always found programming the CZs pretty easy - there's a dedicated button for every parameter. MUCH easier than a DX7...
Vintage Synth Parts - http://www.synthparts.com

ahaigh01
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:40 pm
Real name: Alan
Gear: Juno60, JX8P, Emulator II, FZ-1 FZ-20m, TX81Z, 01W, K2000, SY77, RX11, DR110, R8M, D4, MIDIBASS, Akai CD3000, CZ1000, Atari MegaST2, Mac Classic, PC
Band: The Advance

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by ahaigh01 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:48 pm

It seems that on Ebay the CZ-101 often goes for as much or more than other "bigger" CZ models. I attribute this to it having mini-keys which I guess lots of people find to be a selling point. Also the CZ-101 was the first and most famous model of the series. I recently picked up a CZ-1000 off Ebay for about $75 in near mint condition to replace my beat-up CZ-1000 that I've had since new. So there are great deals to be had on CZ, you just have to wait for the right one.....

Hallu
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:37 pm

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Hallu » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:32 pm

The CZ-101 doesn't have the noisy chorus PCB, and every other CZ synth has the audio path hard routed through it. Its impossible to get a decent tone out of them because of routing through the chorus.

mute
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by mute » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:40 am

The chorus on the CZ's is like those on the Juno's and JX's. Some are noisy and some aren't so bad. Mine (CZ-1) isn't very noisy unless I crank it. There is 0 noise from it if I turn it all the way down. So I don't agree with the above comment.

As for the why the CZ-101 is so popular.. at the time of it's release it was cheap compared to everything else and sounded quite different. It sold quite well, specially compared to it's larger siblings, so theres always been alot of posts and websites on the 101. Another big consideration, is that the 101 is small and can be battery powered. The other CZ's are like the DX's.. large, heavy, and quite cumbersome.

I've had a few CZ's over the years including the 101 and 5000. I wouldn't go as far as saying its one of my favorite synths, but I've always liked the CZ sound and they pop up for so cheap that I've always found myself with one over the years. Anyways, the only one I would consider buying nowadays is the CZ-1 (unless I happened across a 101 for way cheap at a local store or something). It's the king of all PD. The 5000 has less memory but otherwise most of the same functions of the CZ-1 plus the sequencer, but I personally find no value in that. I'd rather have the velocity and aftertouch of the 1...and not just for keyboard playing but for midi sequencing as you can control the "filter"/dcw (can't overstate that) and volume much more dynamically. CZ-1 is also the only one with level per DCO/DCA (instead of just Env and Key follow). The multitimbrality and dual/split features are pretty nice as well.

The editing on the CZ's can be a little slow, but it is crazy is easy. There is a button for everything, then you move the env/break points and their levels with the up/down/inc/dec buttons. Read up on it or watch a tutorial on youtube just once, and you'll remember it for life. Unlike the DX's or other FM synths, you don't have to really worry or plan ahead for complexities in pitch/tuning on a CZ...which is one of the things that turns people off FM quite often. For example, before I dumped my DX7 and moved on to FM7 (which I still prefer over FM8) I kept a small calculator sitting on my DX. That would be completely pointless with a CZ.

As for prices, I don't find them expensive at all. They're quite the steal. Looking @ completed listings for the past several months.. 101s go from 100 to 175 $'s and the CZ-1 goes between 200-300 $'s. That's quite cheap and hella value for a lot of synth.

Music Maven
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:41 am

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:38 am

mute wrote:CZ-1 is also the only one with level per DCO/DCA (instead of just Env and Key follow).
That's interesting. It was so long ago when I had my CZ-1 that I forgot about the DCO/DCA level control. If I had room for another big keyboard, I probably would have gone with the CZ-1. But the CZ-101 will be a fun little synth that I can sit on top of one of my racks.

Music Maven
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:41 am

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:48 am

Hallu wrote:The CZ-101 doesn't have the noisy chorus PCB, and every other CZ synth has the audio path hard routed through it. Its impossible to get a decent tone out of them because of routing through the chorus.
Are you saying that the chorus, when turned down all the way, still affects the sound in a negative way, or is just noisy? I suppose this is just me, but I stopped obsessing over the noise floor of my recordings a long time ago. As all the cool, lo-fi Indie releases demonstrate, a little noise/hiss never hurt anything. Unless it's harsh, digital grunge, I think a bit of smooth white noise in the background is actually pleasing and can thicken up a mix.
Last edited by Music Maven on Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hallu
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:37 pm

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Hallu » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:24 am

Music Maven wrote:
Hallu wrote:The CZ-101 doesn't have the noisy chorus PCB, and every other CZ synth has the audio path hard routed through it. Its impossible to get a decent tone out of them because of routing through the chorus.
Are you saying that the chorus, when turned down all the way, still affects the sound in a negative way, or is just noisy? I suppose this is just me, but I stopped obsessing over the noise floor of my recordings a long time ago. As all the cool, lo-fi Indie release demonstrate, a little noise/hiss never hurt anything. Unless it's harsh, digital grunge, I think a bit of smooth white noise in the background is actually pleasing and can thicken up a mix.
The first thing. And not even so much a noise floor, but the quality of components. The CZ synths with built in chorus route everything through the chorus circuit, and it makes things sound like its coming through a really cheap mixer regardless of if the chorus is engaged.

Music Maven
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:41 am

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Music Maven » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:53 am

Hallu wrote: The first thing. And not even so much a noise floor, but the quality of components. The CZ synths with built in chorus route everything through the chorus circuit, and it makes things sound like its coming through a really cheap mixer regardless of if the chorus is engaged.
Ah, got it. My ears weren't developed enough to hear the difference back in the day. (And I never had a CZ-101 and CZ-1 side by side to compare the two.) It would be interesting to A/B them today after almost 30 years doing sound design and music production. Then again, my hearing is probably shot so I still won't be able to hear the difference. LOL.

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5192
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by madtheory » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:43 pm

I don't think that's true- but only because I've owned a lot of CZs and they all sounded the same with chorus off. But I never had them side by side, and I never sampled the raw waveforms for comparison.

You can hear the noise of the chorus circuit when you turn it up, and it's not there when you turn it down. I'll have to check the schematic, but IIRC the dry signal has the chorussed version added to it, so there's always a direct path for the dry signal.

You will hear a difference between two CZs if the DAC offset is not set correctly- that's the number one cause of crappy sounding CZs, and it's an easy fix.

User avatar
Reginator
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:57 pm
Gear: Korg: ARP Odyssey/MS-20 Kit, TTSH: Ver.1/Ver.2, ARP 1601 Sequencer (DIY), Minimoog Voyager, Waldorf Microwave Mk1 rev B, Roland: JP-8080/MC-505
Band: Reginator
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Reginator » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:35 pm

I loved my CZ101 as it was my very first synth in 1985. I was in the Navy and took it aboard ship with me and got pretty darned good at programming it. While I was sampling the raw waveforms I noticed that pressing a key over and over varied the waveforms subtly and you could hear it if you listened for it. I'm guessing the DCO was a real analog oscillator being controlled digitally??

Too bad my CZ died when I tried to make it into a rack-mount unit. This thread's got me thinking and I'll probably buy it again because you can make some great sounds with the 8 stage envelopes.

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5192
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by madtheory » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:41 pm

That variation doesn't happen with every sound, only the ones that tax the microprocessor. This is because the sound is generated in companded form, and is expanded in the DAC. Sometimes the processor can't keep up and mistracks.

User avatar
Reginator
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:57 pm
Gear: Korg: ARP Odyssey/MS-20 Kit, TTSH: Ver.1/Ver.2, ARP 1601 Sequencer (DIY), Minimoog Voyager, Waldorf Microwave Mk1 rev B, Roland: JP-8080/MC-505
Band: Reginator
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why are Casio CZ synth prices so high?

Post by Reginator » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:57 pm

madtheory wrote:That variation doesn't happen with every sound, only the ones that tax the microprocessor. This is because the sound is generated in companded form, and is expanded in the DAC. Sometimes the processor can't keep up and mistracks.
As technical as that sounds I understand it! ;)

Not sure if this is unique only to the CZ's but this "flaw" gave the sound some life.

Post Reply