The Casio VZ-10m. Are you man enough?

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sacredcow
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The Casio VZ-10m. Are you man enough?

Post by sacredcow » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:34 pm

So, I've been looking into PD and FM synthesis for a while now. Given that I consider myself set as far as VA goes with my Nova, and lack substantial cash to get a desirable analog, I figured I'd see what I could do along the lines of Phase Distortion with around $120. Looking through various cz models, a cz-1000 at the least looked within reach, as well as a mislabeled cz-3000 on the bay that I decided not to jump on, BUT I also chanced upon the VZ-10m, or what seems like the most ballsy product casio ever put out. To the unawares, it was part of casio's original attempt at making pro level gear, but turned out to be a massive flop for whatever reasons and thus casio's pursuits outside of... well, c**p, were ended and no one ever really heard much about the VZ-10m after that. Using "interactive phase distortion," this thing gives you 8 oscillators per voice (of which there are 16, up to 8 parts multitimbral) with selectable waveforms, 8 stage pitch and amp envelopes for each, intermodulated by either phase modulation or ring modulation, weird digital overdrive, and a lot more. Look it all up for yourself if you feel like it. Anyways, with one of these on the 'bay, I decided to give it a go and set max bid at 110. I got it for a bit more than $90, surprisingly. A better deal than a $200+ cz-5000 I might say at least feature-wise, but god, this thing does look pretty intimidating, especially to someone with no experience in FM or PD synthesis. On top of that, anecdotally, I might throw out the fact that court rulings actually declared the VZ-10m not an electronic musical instrument, but "Electrical articles and electrical parts of articles, not specifically provided for." So yeah, I am excited I guess. And a bit scared. So, if anyone here has experience with this thing and can tell me about it in the brief period between now and when it gets here, that'd be appreciated. Thanks.
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Post by sacredcow » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:37 am

I'm bumping this thread until someone is man enough.
PowerMac G4 dual, DSI MoPho, E-MU XL-7, Korg ES-1mkii, Korg EA-1, Novation Nova, Kawai K4, Casio vz10m, Casio ht700, Yamaha PSS-480

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Post by tallowwaters » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:59 am

users polardark and Sealed both make good use of misfits synths like these, and both know a decent bit about it, so try pm'ing them. both have always been amiable and extremely knowledgable in the subject of the vz.

the only thing i know is that the 'see god' patch f**k rocks.
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Post by AstroDan » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:47 am

One bit of advice: 0 is 100 in Casio parameter land.
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Post by soundsubs » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:56 am

you should also investigate the Casio FZ series. despite the cheap look, they are extremely comprehensive. you can even draw waveforms on the screen, much like you can with the Roland S-50 and other synths of that time. the sampler is actually decent.

also, the vz/cz series are extremely good. you might want to try out ReFX's Plasticz to see if you like it. its basically a recreation (and cheap too) http://www.refx.de/?lang=en&page=produc ... cz/summary

everyone could use a CZ101 too, deceptively powerful in a tiny box.

hope this helps.
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Post by WDW » Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:47 am

Have a look here too: http://www.sallyandsteve.dsl.pipex.com/casio/index.htm

I picked up some pointers that got me up and running a bit faster than if I had been on my own.

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Post by WDW » Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:48 am

By the way, you stole the VZ10m for that price.

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Post by CZ Rider » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:04 am

I have a few of these iPD Casios. You can edit from the small display, but using an editor like Sound Diver is best. I think there is a freeware editor out there, but it was a little buggy.
At first sending and receiving patches/edits is a PITA. You have to enable SYSEX via a menu every time you power up the VZ as it has this turned off by default. And you can't receive a patch bank without first going to another screen and requesting the data. It will take some time to figure out.
Some of the patches you can combine as operators that may reduce the voice count to only 4 notes. Can't remember more off the top of my head, it's been a while since I have fooled around with these.They do sound unique, great pads, but the battery operated CZ's are still the king of the Casios soundwise. I have all of the iPD series that included the VZ-1, VZ-10M, VZ-8M, and the PG-380 guitar.
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Post by logicalhippo » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:17 am

I have a VZ-1. It is the most ridiculous synth I've ever owned. I just use it for the keyboard! It can make some fun detuned saw leads, but the parameters are so "interactive" (i.e. change a parameter here, and it'll change the character of something somewhere else) it's really hard to program anything cool!

Good luck!

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Post by cbmuir » Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:38 am

I have a CZ-1 and a VZ-10M. While the VZ has way more features, I think that the CZ-1 sounds better.

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Post by polardark » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:32 am

The CZ sounds very different from the VZ even though they belong to the same family of synthesizers. While the CZ is relatively easy to program the VZ is not. However the range of sounds which you can get the VZ to produce is far wider. I'd go so far as to say that the VZ is damn complex! Few synthesizers are as mentally challenging as this.

Just like with normal FM synthesizers, a bit of reverb or stereo chorus applied to the sound of the VZ goes a long way since the sound otherwise can be horribly dry.

That said, i like the keyboard on the VZ-1 and truth be told i often end up using it more for a midi controller. I've often been tempted to get the VZ-10 instead to save a bit of space.

If you're interested in unique FM/PD synths, perhaps you should check out the Evolution EVS-1 sound module as well? It's as unique as it gets.

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Post by minime123 » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:13 pm

the CZ series is nice, but i would take a VZ over a CZ any day. the vz is an incredible synth for its value. 110 is a steal. i can understand why they can sell cheap though - there are quite a few of them out there and this can be quite an unimpressive synth in the wrong hands. if you know what youre doing you can get some amazing results out of it. i gave up on using an editor with mine. i couldnt stand waiting for the patch to get transmitted to the vz every time. i like to program fast and it breaks the flow. so now i just program it from the front panel. there are a few tricks like copying and initializing parameter pages and the menu jump to the bottom or middle pages. it takes some getting used to. my only real complaint about it is that its noisy, but you get what you pay for. :) spend a lot of time getting into it. if you understand synthesis, you should be able to make some really great sounds on it. its money very well spent, in my opinion. but know your synthesis!

add the casio ht-6000 and ht-700 to the short list of casios that will deliver pro results. we just put an ht-6000 up for sale at 123synthland.com. this ones a 4 oscillator subtractive (analog style) synth that sounds great. it may come as a surprise because its also got preset 1 finger auto-accompaniment, built in speakers and all that other stuff youd associate with a POS home keyboard. thats what makes it even more special. its like a secret weapon.... the sounds and accompaniments are user programmable. :)

in case anyones interested, we have a cz1000 in the original box for sale. its another really nice synth, though i must admit that programming it tests my patience as theres no data entry fader - you need to hold down a button to change the value of a parameter and its a bit slower than it should be. the wave envelope in the cz series is where you do your filtering. its easier to create analog style sounds on the cz than the vz and there are some interesting waveforms and a cool noise source and ring modulator.

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Post by solderguy » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:45 pm

Looked through the VZ-10M manual a few months back, looks like it should be able to do 6-op FM sounds, provided you turn off one oscillator in each pair (if you don't turn off one oscillator you are stuck with a 2:1 carrier/modulator ratio, but with one oscillator in each pair disabled you can set up any c/m ratio you want). Seems like it could be a great FM machine with more complex envelopes and nicer LCD than from the other manufacturer....

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Post by minime123 » Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:03 pm

the vz has 8 "modules" of oscillators per note per single patch. theyre set up in pairs called "lines". the 2 oscillators in a line can either be mixed, ring modulated or phase distorted (which is essentially FM), and the previous line can phase distort the next. id compare it to an 8 operator FM synth.
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Post by sacredcow » Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:44 pm

minime123 wrote:the CZ series is nice, but i would take a VZ over a CZ any day. the vz is an incredible synth for its value. 110 is a steal. i can understand why they can sell cheap though - there are quite a few of them out there and this can be quite an unimpressive synth in the wrong hands. if you know what youre doing you can get some amazing results out of it. i gave up on using an editor with mine. i couldnt stand waiting for the patch to get transmitted to the vz every time. i like to program fast and it breaks the flow. so now i just program it from the front panel. there are a few tricks like copying and initializing parameter pages and the menu jump to the bottom or middle pages. it takes some getting used to. my only real complaint about it is that its noisy, but you get what you pay for. :) spend a lot of time getting into it. if you understand synthesis, you should be able to make some really great sounds on it. its money very well spent, in my opinion. but know your synthesis!

add the casio ht-6000 and ht-700 to the short list of casios that will deliver pro results. we just put an ht-6000 up for sale at 123synthland.com. this ones a 4 oscillator subtractive (analog style) synth that sounds great. it may come as a surprise because its also got preset 1 finger auto-accompaniment, built in speakers and all that other stuff youd associate with a POS home keyboard. thats what makes it even more special. its like a secret weapon.... the sounds and accompaniments are user programmable. :)

in case anyones interested, we have a cz1000 in the original box for sale. its another really nice synth, though i must admit that programming it tests my patience as theres no data entry fader - you need to hold down a button to change the value of a parameter and its a bit slower than it should be. the wave envelope in the cz series is where you do your filtering. its easier to create analog style sounds on the cz than the vz and there are some interesting waveforms and a cool noise source and ring modulator.

mini
I actually own an ht-700 and love it. The saw wave is really messed up and you can only control one parameter in real time, but still I think it's great. I've been looking for an ht-6000 for a while now, but one never popped up. Sucks that I'm out of cash now though.

Anyways, thanks everyone for the advice and comments. I was kind of scared when all the sound examples I heard were just polite fm s**t, but then I came across the deepsonic page for it:
http://www.deepsonic.ch/deep/htm/casio_vz1.php

I have a mac running os x without classic, so I doubt I'll find an editor that works, but I had planned to program from the front screen to begin with. I'm getting pretty damned excited now, I must say. I really wish I still had my ea-1 to run it through for the decimator, filter, chorus, distortion, and delay, but I'll make the best of what I got. I guess I'll write that down as a plan for the future along with an ht-6000 though.
PowerMac G4 dual, DSI MoPho, E-MU XL-7, Korg ES-1mkii, Korg EA-1, Novation Nova, Kawai K4, Casio vz10m, Casio ht700, Yamaha PSS-480

(5 good trader references and counting)

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