Professional digital synthesizer module

Different-sounding.  This is what I think when I play and listen to this synthesizer.

A very powerful synthesizer module, classy and thoroughly professional.  This is the rack version of the VZ-1 iPD synthesizer.  Casio perfected the PD synthesis found in the CZ series, and the result offers impressive sounds.  The character is very aggressive, digital, industrial, and powerful - similar to Yamaha's FM synthesis, but with a different, more aggressive character.  Starting from a simple, pure sine wave (or different waveform), you can build very complex sounds.  The on-board waveforms are among the purest I've ever heard on a synth.

I don't think this line of synthesizers was ever very popular (and in fact after that Casio pulled back from the professional market, going back to the home market).  Which is a pity, because certainly the professional qualities of an instrument like this shouldn't be forgotten.  Bottom line:  because of the powerful editing tools, this is a synth for "tweakers" and programmers.


Casio VZ-10M audio demos



Preset name with audio demo My comments
A-1 SEE GOD Outstanding.  A beautiful, haunting, complex synthesizer pad.  Great programming job, here.
A-2 SEE GOD 2 More of the above, this time in a gentler, string-based vein.
A-3 VIB-STR SOFT Delicate, crystalline and mysterious vibraphone on a string-pad bed.
A-4 ICE AGE Nice!  Vaguely Asian-sounding, a delicious amalgam of plucked, pizzicato and flute sounds!
A-5 BRASS CHORUS Solid and analog-sounding muted brass pad.
A-6 BRASS QUART Brass quartet.  Very strong sound, reminds of the DX7.
A-7 COPPERFUNK Cool brass hits in stereo.
A-8 BS-GTNO-RICH Interesting split, with bass on the left and piano/strings on the right.
B-1 SOFT ORCHEST Cute carousel music with this great preset!
B-2 MELLOW PAD Sweet string pad.
B-3 PEACE TREATY Note the power of iPD here:  lots of different sounds, in one patch.
B-4 EP-CINEMA Electric Piano sound suitable for soundtrack scoring.
B-5 EP-SERENE Relaxed, gentle Rhodes sound, with a pad on the right channel.
B-6 FOOT VIBIANO Is the name a contraption between "vibes" and "piano"?  Why foot?
B-7 PIANO-LOCH What does Loch mean?
B-8 DIGIVOICES Eerie, digital and crisp hollow synthesizer voices.  Very nice preset.
C-1 VZ EP Typical FM-style electric piano, with plenty of gloss.
C-2 AMBIENT EP Fantastic preset!  Very hypnotic e. piano.
C-3 VZ PIANO FM-style variant.
C-4 AMBIENT EP 2 This sounds very '80s to me - think Howard Jones for example.
C-5 EPHONE Cool plucked synth, but the name??
C-6 12 STRING Emulation of a 12-string guitar - ok.
C-7 DOUBLEGUITAR Another guitar sound.
C-8 FESTIVE BELL Bells with nice echo trail, well programmed sound.
D-1 VIOLINT ATCK Violins with a marcato attack.
D-2 HORN-STRINGS Horn and string mix.
D-3 STRONG ORCH A full orchestra emulation.
D-4 SYNTH ORCH Same as above.
D-5 BRASS QUART2 Another brass quartet, powerful.
D-6 BIG BLAST Trumpets and trombones
D-7 BRASS DETUNE Cool!  Synthy version of a brass ensemble, very Emerson, Lake & Palmer!
D-8 BRASS DETUN2 Variation of above.
E-1 GITIANO COOL preset!!  A cross between e. piano and e. guitar, switched by velocity.. awesome programming job.
E-2 VZ VIBES Beautiful!!!!!!!!  This is perfect for soundtrack work!!  A sad, melancholic vibraphone sound, complete with haunting tremolo and sparkly overtones.
E-3 WARM ORGAN Typical Hammond sound.
E-4 SLAP BASS Very good recreation of the slapped bass sound.
E-5 PICK BASS Nice bass emulation!!  Very '60s "rickenbacker" effect.
E-6 FRETLESS BS Jaco Pastorius in a box
E-7 HEADBANGER Heavy guitar emulation.
E-8 HEAVY METAL Same as above.
F-1 CC LEAD Continuous Controller lead.  VERY mid-late '80s Chick Corea.
F-2 YES I GOT Another very nice synth lead sound.
F-3 VZ SOLO LEAD Variation of the above.
F-4 VZ PERC PAD Just what it says.  Note the "sizzle" of the iPD synthesis!
F-5 ELEC FLUTE Fusion sound.
F-6 TAKE A Cool jazz sound.
F-7 NEW RAGE Play of words around the "New Age" term, which was born (and very popular) around the time this synth was produced.
F-8 NEW RAGE 2 Variation of the above, with a more "woody" quality.
G-1 HEAVY SPLIT Very cool heavy guitar combo!
G-2 FUNKY TOWN Typical Funk setup, with e. piano and brass.
G-3 MELLOW SPLIT Gentle pad + lead.
G-4 STRING-FLUTE Classical split -
G-5 ETHVELOSPLIT Ethnic velocity split?  Very interesting sound, with a tremolo synth and a lead.
G-6 BASS-EP Nice sound!  Cool split with electric bass and electric piano.
G-7 BASS-VIBES Ac. bass and vibraphone.  Nice!
G-8 BS-VBNO-SRNE What does the title of this patch mean -besides "bass"??
H-1 ORCH SPLIT F Forte orchestra split
H-2 ORCH SPLIT P Piano orchestra split
H-3 NEWAGE POS-X Nice string pad.
H-4 SERENE AGE Interesting and spiky sound toys.
H-5 BEAUTY-BEAST Velocity-switch based.  Interesting concept.  Easy to spot who's Beauty and who the Beast
H-6 VELOMONICA Harmonica sound with plenty of expressiveness.
H-7 TRUMPOCITY More brass
H-8 HARP ROLL Another dulcis in fundo - very well programmed harp sound.



Preset name with audio demo My comments
A-1   BEGINNING Full, sparkly synth
A-2   SOFT ORCH 2 Awesome programming!  A medieval-sounding orchestra
A-3   ICE HORNS Analog pad
A-4   RICH ORCHEST More orchestral pads.
A-5   PASTORALE gentle, muted pad.
A-6   VOCAL BELLS Very interesting sound: vox mixed with bells.
A-7   SABBATICAL Spiky synth
A-8   TWINKY Awesome pad!
B-1   POWER SPLIT Two distorted guitars.
B-2   MAX.S LAIR '70s, progressive-style synth.
B-3   FUNKATTACK Synth bass + solosynth.
B-5   PLUCKAHORNS Muted brass
B-6   GHOSTLYVOICE Great patch with an eerie sound.
B-7   CHAMBERGROUP Sweet pad.
B-8   DIGIVOICES 2 Ghostly like.
C-1   ACOUSTAR Cross between acoustic guitar and sitar?
C-2   12 STRING 2 variation
C-3   12 STRING 3 another variation
C-4   DYN VZ PIANO Excellent, expressive electric piano.
C-5   AMBIENT EP 3 glassy
C-6   TOY PIANO Excellent emulation, like hitting on glass bells.
C-7   DELAY VIBES Atmosphere vibes.
D-2   STR QUARTET Solid and warm string quartet.
D-3   SWIRLING STR Beautiful moving pad.
D-4   HORN/STRNGS2 more of the same
D-5   MASSIVE ORCH Nice and full
D-6   BIG STRINGS similar to the above.
D-7   STEREO BRASS chorused.
D-8   JAZZ BRASS full and brassy.
E-1   PEACEFUL another e. piano
E-2   GEN PURPOSE yawn...
E-3   ORIENTAL some ethnic instruments.
E-5   OVERSEAS pad
E-6   RECORDERS Nice, with echo
E-7   PIPEONMONDAY "All-out" church organ.
E-8   STEREO PIPE Another cool organ sound.
F-1   SAXY LEAD Awesome for fusion!
F-2   RING FLUTE it's actually an e.piano!
F-3   LIVE LEAD Could it also be "Frog Voice" ;-)
F-4   FATTY ANALOG Awesome and brassy!
F-7   VANUGENT 5TH 5th synth.
F-8   OH NO Fuzzy synth
G-1   BASS/SYNTH Fantastic sound, very '80s!
G-2   BASS/CLAVI yep
G-3   SUNDAY NOON another organ + vox
G-4   NICE SPLIT pad + e. piano
G-5   TXTURL SPL textural split
G-6   TXTURL SPL 2 no.2
G-7   RADIOCITYMAX brassy synth
G-8   EASTERN SPLT sitar + plucked sound
H-4   PASTOR/CLAVI again
H-5   XFADE GTR/BS cross-faded guitar and bass
H-6   ETHNIC XF cross fade with different percussive sounds on L and sitar on R
H-8   EFFECTS Racing cars and an obnoxious angry driver.



Preset name with audio demo My comments
A-1   FESTIVAL Happy synthesizer/organ + bells = typical in the '80s
A-2   MELLIFLUENCE Awesome, WARM pad.
A-3   BELL-STRINGS Phased strings.
A-4   BRASS-STRMIX strings + bells.
A-5   EMERALD BLUE Highly hypnotic, and BEAUTIFUL sound!
A-6   XMAS PIANO Jingly.
A-7   DIGITAL ORCH Majestic.
A-8   MALTED MILK Percussive synth.
B-1   BRASS EP yep
B-2   STRINGS EP yes
B-3   VOICE EP nice EP with a choir
B-4   CLAVI-BRASS interesting mix.
B-6   EXTENSION Awesome vector-like pad.
B-7   MORNING hollow pipe + synth
B-8   CRYSTAL yep
C-1   BRIGHT EP yes
C-2   WARM EP again
C-3   MELLOW EP one more
C-4   DREAMY EP ep
C-5   DIGIPIANO and another one!
C-6   CHORUS PIANO + chorus
C-7   HONKY TONK Super-detuned piano
C-8   WILD CLAVI Excellent Clavinet emulation.
D-1   HIGH STRINGS Very nice string emulation.
D-2   STRINGS L-R stereo
D-3   STRINGS MIX again
D-4   ORCHESTRA nice orchestra
D-6   BRASSMIX yep
D-7   BRASSMIX 2 yep
D-8   OVER BRASS X with x-fade.
E-1   HARD ORGAN Great distorted Hammond sound, similar to Deep Purple's.
E-2   BRIDAL ORGAN Happy electric organ sound, good for a variety of styles.
E-3   ORGAN Cool Hammond sound, with percussion.
E-4   MAZE "Fluffy" pad.
E-5   SYNTH BASS Powerful!  Deep, rubbery and analog-sounding synth bass.
E-6   TOY BASS Thinner version of above.
E-7   FLANGE BASS Just what it says.
E-8   BASS MIX More Bass.
F-1   WOODEN SEQNC nice bell sound.
F-2   FUNK CLAVI Spot on.
F-3   BACKINGGR-BR more brass.
F-4   ETHNIC HARP gentle harp.
F-5   THE NEWS bells
F-6   BELLS more bells
F-7   VOICE ENS vox pad
F-8   FEMALE VOICE typical synth-vox
G-1   LEAD DELAYLR Expertly programmed to simulate delay with the envelopes.
G-2   LEAD UNI/5TH The modulation wheel switches between unison and 5ths.  Great.
G-3   LEAD UNISON Great solo synth.
G-4   BASS/BRASS Exactly.
G-5   BASS/EP 2 Yep
G-7   ORGAN MIX/SP oh yes
G-8   CLAVRINGS VS The Velocity Switch brings in a string pad
H-1   VELO PIANO yep
H-2   ST-EP VELSP strike hard and get the brassy pad too.
H-3   STARDUST VS Very interesting combo sound
H-4   ORIENT VS Japanese instruments.
H-5   PAVEMENT VS synth
H-6   MAKE MAJOR Awesome, analog pad
H-7   FEINT OF HIT Orchestra hit
H-8   SE 4 SPLIT Arcade game fx


Casio VZ-10M Features

Bottom line:  Great for soundtracks, ambient, electronica.


Casio VZ-10 M Main Features (from the Operation Manual)

1    Amazing Synthesis Versatility Thanks to Casio's All-new iPD Sound Source
Casio's all-new "Interactive Phase Distortion" (iPD) sound source system actually consists of 8 independent "modules" (M1 to M8).  Each of these modules contains a DCO and a DCA, and is capable of generating independent waveforms.  In the iPD system, the wave generated by any module can be used in either of two ways; to produce audible sounds or to modify waves generated by other modules.
The 8 iPD sound source modules work in associated pairs that are called "Internal Lines,", or simply "lines".  There are 4 internal lines - A, B, C and D
The waveforms generated by both modules in any line can be used together in three different ways.  They can be mixed, or one of the waveforms can be used to modulate the other for RING modulation or as the PHASE of a succeeding line.

2    Instant Recall of up to 256 Sounds and 256 Operation Memories
64 presets give you a wide range of vocal versatility.  And with the use of a standard ROM card, the VZ-10M gives you incredible tonal expansion potential - up to 128 patches and 128 keyboard setups are literally at your fingertips.  What's more, you can store up to 64 sounds and 64 operation memories on an optional RAM card, for even greater freedom of timbral expression.

3    "Player-friendly" Menus and Functions
Virtually all of the VZ-10M's editing and programming operations are organized into three basic sub-modes - Menu 1, Menu 2 and Menu 3 that feature a variety of "functions."  Each of these functions is further broken down into "parameters," which are constants that have changeable values or settings.  To alter VZ-10M sounds or programming, you simply alter the value of these parameters using a value slider or value keys.

4    Wide Backlit LCD Graphic Display
The VZ-10M's wide graphic LCD features a hierarchical, "player friendly" menu structure, which allows speedy and accurate operations.  Sound source configuration, patch editing, multi-patch setup creation, output channel and MIDI specifications - in fact, virtually all VZ-10M operations are controlled by interacting with various functions that are found in the three VZ-10M menus.  And a number of VZ-10M functions feature "graphic editing" capabilities.

5    Combination Mode Provides Layered and Split Voicing
The VZ-10M's "Combination" mode lets you mix together up to 4 different patches in any of 8 different patch mix or patch split configurations.  You can set effect and amp levels independently for each patch, and output them together through the MIX OUT channel.  Or output the 4 patches through the VZ-10M's L/R LINE OUT channels.

6    Multi-Channel MIDI Performance
The VZ-10M features Casio's exclusive multi-channel mode which can accept up to 8 timbres from separate MIDI sound sources.  These can then be divided into constituent polyphonics and ensembled in any format you desire.  Multi-timbral MIDI expansion, monophonic MIDI performance, or total 16-note MIDI polyphony can be selected.

7    Velocity Split & Positional Cross Fade
The VZ-10M puts powerful multi-voice performance in your hands, with advanced features such as velocity split and positional cross fade.  Set up multi-layered voices with up to 3 split points, and "fade" the voices into one another so there's no audible "split point" with the cross fade function, or control multiple voices through keyboard velocity using velocity split.

8    Optional RAM Card (RA-500)
Choose an optional RA-500 RAM card for expanded sound storage and recall capabilities.  Each RAM card holds up to 64 VZ-10M patches and 64 VZ-10M operation memories.

Initializing the Casio VZ-10M (excerpt from the Operation Manual)

To initialize all VZ-10M internal operation memory, voice and effect data to factory preset values, hold down the WRITE key and turn VZ-10M power ON.  Respond to the YES? prompt by pressing the YES key.  All internal data is reset to its original state as listed on page 99.

Features at a glance
Year of release: 198_
Polyphony: 16-note
Sound generation method: Interactive Phase Distortion (i P.D.)
Preset memories 64 internal; 128 RAM card
MIDI: in, out, thru
Sound expansion capabilities: card (RC-100)
Sequencer no
Arpeggiator no
Effects no
Touch sensitivity yes
Multitimbrality yes
Sound Layering yes - 8 independent modules (oscillators with DCO and DCA)
Keyboard Split yes
Number of Oscillators 8
Portamento yes
Miscellaneous weight 5.6kg (12.4lbs)


Casio VZ-10M pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)

Casio VZ-10M manual




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