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Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:03 pm
by Smoking_Gnu
I found someone selling a Casio CZ-5000 near me for $180, and after some initial discussion I could get him down to $160 at least. I've done some brief research on the synth and I'm interested in the phase-distortion concept and the possibilities of getting weird/gritty/dusty sounds out of it. That said, I have two questions:

1. Right now FM8 is my main workhorse for the aforementioned sounds. Are the sound design capabilities of the CZ-5000 unique enough to warrant its purchase?
2. If so, is $160 a good price?

Thanks!

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:25 pm
by meatballfulton
$160 is a good price. Despite it being a sixteen voice CZ-101 with double the patch memory, 61 keys, an 8-track sequencer, analog chorus (on/off only), mod wheel and AC power it usually sells for less than the 101.

PD can sound similar to PM but not identical and it's programmed very differently, more like a subtractive synth. The unusual 8-stage envelopes are probably the most interesting feature.

On the downside, there is no velocity or aftertouch sensitivity and the mod wheel is hardwired for vibrato only.

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:27 pm
by Walter Ego
If you can afford $160, and it's in good shape, then it's a good price.

I got one for $100 with the original box, Casio stand and RA-3 RAM cart. But I think that was a steal. :mrgreen:

I think the Casio CZ line is great. I have a bit of an obsession with CZ gear, though. I think it sounds different from typical FM sounds--it's a bit of a more traditional subtractive type synthesis mentality, not as foreign as Yamaha FM.

I would be very tempted at that price.

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:01 pm
by madtheory
I'm a big fan. The sequencer is pretty cool. Very quick and easy to step programme 8 loops of different length. The synth is really great for bass, better than FM. Similar quality of percussion/ bell sounds. Interesting pads but somehow for leads I don't like it. The Virtual CZ plugin can be used as a sysex editor. Just like FM8 the sysex doesn't always translate in the same way, but it's a fun process and VCZ has velocity mod which definitely enhances the playability. The CZ-1 is my favourite because you can layer sounds with detuning and level control, and save 64 of them (5000 only has one layer memory with no detuning). A CZ-1 with that sequencer would be a fun machine actually...

Full review and comparison of the various models of CZ:
http://madtheory.com/site/?p=320

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:55 am
by Cecil Dubreque
The only reason why you might not want to get the CZ-5000 would be if you wanted to hold out and find a CZ-1 instead, however you may even find that you would prefer the sequencer to the velocity sensitivity capabilities of the CZ-1.

CZ-1 = Performance daddy of the range, velocity and after touch keyboard, downside they go for a premium price.
CZ-5000 = Quite a capable on board sequencer which may be of interest to some people, cheaper and more common than the CZ-1.
CZ-101 = Half the voices of the 5000/1 and no mod wheel only an on/off button but so, so much more compact. Worth considering if you do not have space for a a synth roughly the same size as a Juno-60.

The other two from the range are what I would consider the ones to avoid.

CZ-3000 = CZ-5000 without the sequencer however they commonly sell for the same price.
CZ-1000 = CZ-101 in a bigger box but with membrane switches far more prone to failure.

I went for a 101 because it was selling for a very competitive price and I really didn't have the space for a 1 or 5000 but if you like the sound of the PD synths and have room for a big old keyboard I would say go for it. They are great fun and can make some sounds totally unique to the PD range.

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:55 pm
by desmond
For me, the touch sensitivity makes a huge difference for the CZ range, it feels far more alive and expressive to play and really brings something extra to the CZ sound engine - this alone makes the CZ1 the best buy.

If this is not something that's important to you, then the 5K is the way to go.

Both can be had super cheap. I picked up a CZ-1 and I like it a lot (my first digital synth as a kid was a CZ-101, and I programmed that thing to the ends of the earth...)

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:54 pm
by rsaintjohn
Just to echo what's already been said. $160 for the 5000 is a great deal, hop on it. For the sounds and the sequencer, you'll definitely get enough time and enjoyment out of it to easily make it worth that price. And if you fall in love with it like many of us have, you'll want the CZ-1 later. The expressiveness and extra sound features in the CZ-1 makes it seem like an entirely different line.

At the same time, I thought I might give up my 5000 once I had the CZ-1, but I didn't. I find that the two together, along with the RZ-1 drum machine, are the absolute complete CZ package. I probably hold onto my 101 just for nostalgia purposes, but I still pull it out for PD bass and bells when space is at a minimum.

Personally, I still feel the 5000 is easily worth $200 or more. The only reason I would tell someone not to spend more than $200 on one is that for $50-$100 more, the CZ-1 is the better buy (especially if you don't need the sequencer).

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:03 pm
by Walter Ego
rsaintjohn wrote:At the same time, I thought I might give up my 5000 once I had the CZ-1, but I didn't. I find that the two together, along with the RZ-1 drum machine, are the absolute complete CZ package. I probably hold onto my 101 just for nostalgia purposes, but I still pull it out for PD bass and bells when space is at a minimum.
That's a nice package. :wink2:

But seriously, I have a 5K, two 101s and the RZ and I think it's a great package, too. I plan to record a few tracks exclusively in that Casio world soon.

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:36 pm
by meatballfulton
I hope he bought the darn thing already 8-)

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:14 pm
by Smoking_Gnu
meatballfulton wrote:I hope he bought the darn thing already 8-)
Well, you folks have certainly swayed me toward doing so! I would have last weekend but had some unexpected expenses come up that took a bit out of my spending budget. If it's still around in a few weeks (and I'm guessing it will; it's already been listed on CL for about a month) I'll probably pop over and grab it.

Thanks to all for the advice.

That said, how is the HZ-1? It popped up while I was researching the CZ series and the combination of phase distortion and FM piqued my interest. Is that notably different in sound from the CZ line?

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:25 am
by StepLogik
HZ-1? Never heard of that model. Do you mean the VZ-1?

The VZ-1 is an absoute beast of a digital synth. Lot of sonic range and it has a deep bass depth that the CZ series lacked. Huge pain to program though. I had a VZ-1 and a CZ-1 in my studio for years but they just never got used that much due to the programming hassles - the VZ being worse than the CZ.

Re: Thoughts on the CZ-5000

Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:10 pm
by madtheory
The VZ makes some great noises, some of them unique. But IMO you'd be better of with FM8. The VZ gets unpredictable pretty fast, and not in a good way. Very frustrating synth once you start to dig in to it. 3 octave pitch bend was a great feature though :)