Casio RZ1

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CASIO RZ1

This is an excellent PCM drum machine and commands high prices on Ebay,probably due to the sampling facility.

Patterns/songs
The patterns and songs are edited via a matrix of switches and can be input and edited in both real and step time.Each drum can be accented and muted and the patterns stored in one of 99 locations.Songs and patterns have independent memory and this sometimes does not seem ample enough,depending on how many beats are assigned.
Patterns can be quantised using the numbered keypad buttons which double up for this function,as well as being used to select pattern numbers etc.

Recording mode and memory remaining can be shown on the LCD backlit (you've got a good one if the backlight is working!) display by pressing the Song or pattern buttons and editing the song or pattern is done with the row of switches in the matrix. Patterns and conjoined into Songs,and songs can be chained. Data can be copied and deleted.

Sampler
Pressing the SAMPLE button in combination with any or all of the Drum Sample buttons allows short or long sampling of drums.Mine currently has Roland D5 drums in the samples and sounds great.
The samples are under control of two of the 10 sliders and also have a pair of tone controls to get rid of any residual hiss that may have crept into your samples.
The sample input has a level control and peak indicator and can be switched to either LINE or MIC input.

MIDI
The CHANNEL button enables the channel which the RZ transmits note numbers on,thus creating a rudimentary sequencer. The note numbers cannot be changed as they can on a Yamaha RX,but it does mean there is compatibility with channel 10 and channel 16 drums.
The CLOCK button allows selection of External or Internal clock pulse facilitating synchrony to an external device such as an SZ1 via the MIDI in,out and thru.

MT
The magnetic tape storage system is used here as on many retro devices instead of the more recent SYSx backup on more modern machines. The menu system allows either the patterns/songs or the samples to be stored and even verified to check that your data saved correctly.It maybe anachronistic but it works and works well.

Good Points: The sampling facility allows use of drums from the present era,and it is excellent to be able to back these up.10 sliders and 10 outputs is excellent. The whole thing is quite easy to use with the possible limitation of the matrix method of the switches. I almost managed to use all of it without access to the manual [which is now at templarseries.atspace.com/rz.html]. The whole thing is built like a tank and is probably why they are still working to this day.A lovely piece of retro to add to any CZ (or other) synth.
Apparently, these left the factory with patterns pre-made and there is a tape that can load them - but so far I have only seen this in the manual.

Niggles: My only niggle is that they cost so much even after all this time....and maybe the propensity of the backlight to fail.

Expect to pay: Over £80 - the sampler makes these command high prices,I was lucky to get mine for £50 with a couple of fixable dents in the case.

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