MATRIXSYNTH: Casio VZ-10M - Exploring the Synth and Sounds

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Casio VZ-10M - Exploring the Synth and Sounds

Published on Jul 4, 2019 ProckGnosis

"And here is a verrrry long video covering the Casio VZ-10M, including listening to a lot of patch examples, looking at how Casio implemented the phase modulation engine, and looking/listening to the basic waves and some phase-modulated waveforms available for programming.

Organization of the video is as follows:
00:00 - Casio VZ-10M ProckGnosis Theme Song (in 9/8)
00:30 - The Introduction
02:50 - Sound and Commentary
11:47 - How the VZ-10M Makes Noise (big explanation)
18:12 - More Sounds, Less Commentary
28:23 - Phase Modulation Analysis (M1 modulating M2 with different waves)
31:04 - Even More Sounds, Some Commentary

As I say in the video, the Casio VZ-10M has a lot of similarities to the Yamaha DX7, including the synth engine and how the modules are worked with like operators, but it also has some other tricks the DX7 doesn't. This includes having saw waves instead of just sine waves to phase modulate and phase modulate with, as well as being able to ring modulate the partner module.

The synth isn't great, but it is extremely interesting to work with, and it can produce some interesting sounds. When the big brother keyboard (VZ-1) was released in 1988, it was Casio's flagship synth. It's curious why Casio would have opted to produce something that, in so many ways, was similar to the already well-established DX7 and all the variants, and even sounded fairly similar.

I think it would have made more sense to release a "Super CZ" with 16 note polyphony, a phase-distortion engine, and the ability to layer, split, and fade similar to the VZ. It's possible even a "Super CZ" wouldn't have sold though, as it seems folks were just more fascinated by more realistic sounds like those offered by the Roland D-50 (released in 1987) and the Korg M1, also released in 1988 for about the same cost.

As I said in the opening of the video, I think the video could have been better organized, and better split over 2 videos, but I’m running short of time and figured it was better to just get it out."

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