Really like the tunes and the site, Henry’s Mix brings back some young memories, mind you most of it is a haze, good times
I hope life is treating you well.
My name is Ciarán Fitzgerald. I did a sound engineering course with you in Midleton a few years back and I’m ready to implement what I learned with renewed vigour !
I’m setting up a new home studio and I was hoping that you might have time to share some knowledge with me regarding Mics.
Until now, finances have forced me to persevere with a zoom MRS-8 stand-alone recording unit which gave me some reasonable results over the years with borrowed mics !! I’ve bought a focusrite saphire pro 14 firewire interface and a AKG C2000B Small/medium diaphragm condenser. I find the mic preamps in the interface good and quiet and the latency is negligible .
The mic performs really well on my Cajon and Djembes, and sounds nice on acoustic guitar and female vocals. However, I find it lacking when placed in front of male singers. I am saving for a new (to me) LDC and am looking at offerings from AT and Rode amongst others. I am particularly interested in the NT2A as the additional polar patterns would be nice to have, especially the omni for field recording of pub sessions. I have about € 200 to spend at a push. The T.bone mics seem to represent good value but that may be a false economy !!
I really appreciated your taking the time to read this Email,
Good to hear from you- how are things? For vocals your AKG is not a bad mic. For €200 it’s hard to better it. Maybe send me some example vocal recordings? There may be an issue with room acoustics or mic positioning.
Apart from that I am not a fan of the Rode mics, particularly for vocals. They have a built in treble boost that I find unpleasant on voices. An Audio Technica AT2035 or AT2050 is a nicer sounding mic to my ears. But it’s quite subjective, and as I said at your budget the differences between mics are minuscule. However the AT is more neutral sounding, can be warm but can also be metallic. Depends on the singer!
For recording in pubs, I would not recommend an omni. A stereo mic, or a matched pair of cardioids in XY would be a lot better. You’d get better separation between ambience and music sources, and stereo is always nice!
All the best,
Anyone have the Inside CZ SoundDiver adaptation?
Can’t find it in my backups 🙁
I’m hunting high and low for a copy of this article…
Unexplored resources of the Casio CZ-101
Los Angeles: Keyboard Magazine, April 1986
Do you by chance have a lead on where to find a copy other than buying a used copy of the entire magazine? Hard to believe the text of it isn’t available online anywhere but as yet, I can’t find it.
Hi Jonathan, I dug out the article, here is the original text file I had. Enjoy 🙂
Keyboard April 1986
“unexplored resources of the Casio cz-101.” by Bob Moog
This is my first KEYBOARD column in which I discuss a specific piece
of equipment. I’ve avoided doing this sort of thing in the past
because I didn’t want to be accused of p ›laying favourites. Recently,
however, a number of innovative instruments offering unexplored
musical resources have come on the market. I’ve decided to discuss
one of these from time to time, to show ways of using it that will be
of interest to those of you who are adventurous and experimentally
inclined. If you’re interested in a particular piece of equipment or
a particular application. please drop a line to me in care of
KEYBOARD magazine and let me know what your interest is.
On the other hand, if you’re a more casual user of electronic music
equipment, you shouldn’t think of my devoting a column or two to a
particular instrument as an endorsement or recommendation of that
instrument. Many devices are interesting not because they have unique
capabilities, but because their features are similar to and stimulate
new perspectives regarding other, more widely known, instruments.
Casio’s CZ series synthesizers are digital instruments with strong
ties to the ‚ traditions of analog synthesis. Despite their
acknowledged shortcomings, analog synthesizers have given us a new
class of sounds and have provided ways of thinking about how to build
sounds from their component parts. I would like to talk about the CZ
instruments as sonic building blocks whose control parameters are not
that far, at least in spirit, from the venerable analog axes of
[ed.note: For specifics on programming the CZ, see KEYBOARD Mar. “86]
Analog vs. Digital.
A typical analog sound chain or voice consists of one or more
oscillators that produces waveforms, one or more filters that cut
down some frequencies and emphasize others, and a amplifier that
shapes the overall loudness. Generally all of these components, or
modules, are affected by control signals that produces modulations
and envelopes and which determine how the total sound evolves from
the time it starts until the time it is over. The oscillator control
signal determines how th €e pitch varies, the filter control signal
determines hoe the brightness or quality varies, and the amplifier
control signal determines how the overall loudness varies. All three
properties -pitch, quality, and loudness- are clearly audible
properties of any musical sound. Musicians have little trouble
hearing a synthesized timbre in terms of the exact contours of the
related control signals.
Digital technology gives us the ability to generate very complex
waveforms, and to create equally complex changes in the waveforms’
shapes and amplitudes. In the process, however, we tend to lose the
ability to change, quickly and easily, a sound’s basic properties in
order to get exactly the timbre we need. Any sound-producing
algorithm that reduces the shaping of a tone to just a few global
sound parameters has the potential to combine the accuracy of digital
with analog’s ease of control. The algorithm employed by the CZ
instruments fills this bill.
The CZ Algorit ﬁhm.
The complete CZ sound chain contains two identical branches. Each
branch is presented in three sections:
An oscillator whose frequency can be shaped continuously, a
continuously variable wave-shaper, and a amplifier with continuously
variable gain. Musically speaking, one gets virtually the same sort
of control from these sections that one gets from an analog
Each section has its own eight-segment envelope generator. Each
segment of each envelope can be as short as one millisecond or as
long as a minute, and the level in any segment can be either rising
or falling within a given range. An eight-segment envelope enables
musicians to generate such sonic variations as ‘burbles’ ( rapid,
horn-like variations ), subtle pitch glides, and echo-like repeats.
These effects go beyond the capabilities of the three-segment (
attack-decay-release ) envelopes that analog synths normally offer.
The heart of the CZ sound-shaping algorithm is its wav Êeform control.
You are given a choice of eight distinctly different, harmonically
rich waveforms: sawtooth, square, a very narrow pulse, a broader
rectangular wave, a ‘split’ sine wave, and three ringing waveforms of
the type that resonant filters produce.
You may choose any of these, or a linked combination of any two, as
the waveform that the waveshaper produces when it is “wide open”.
When it is “closed” the waveshaper always produces a sine-like wave
with very little harmonic content, no matter what frequency is called
for. As the value of the waveshaper envelope rises, the waveform goes
smoothly and naturally from the sine-like wave to the full-brightness
waveform that you select.
For waveforms with broad spectra, such as the sawtooth or square, the
sound is very close to that of an analog lowpass filter. For
waveforms with narrow spectra, like the ringing waveforms, the
frequency of the ring increases as the waveshaper opens, as you would
expect from a resonant È or bandpass filter. Technically, the CZ chips
are doing some pretty fancy time-domain processing. As far our ears
concerned, however, there is a lot of action in the frequency domain,
and it sounds like a close cousin to an analog filter.
Thus, there are only four parameters determining the sound quality of
one branch’s output: the selected waveform, and the values of the
three envelopes. Of course, each of the envelopes can be complex if
you so choose. What makes the algorithm so easy to work with is that
you can readily hear the effects of changing the waveform or the
envelopes. Moreover, none of the parameters interact. If you change
the pitch envelope, the waveform and amplitude envelopes remain the
same. The same is true when you change waveform or amplitude
envelopes as well.
The total CZ sound chain consists of two
oscillator/waveshaper/amplifier branches. The branches are controlled
by the same keyboard and vibrato signals, but otherwise they are
independent. ÍThe two branches may be set to have nearly the same
sonic properties for a doubled, chorus sound. Or one branch may be
set up to make a short attack for a longer tone which is produced by
the other branch. Or the branches may both produce short intricate
sounds which, when added together, form a percussive effect. The
combined output may be either one of the branches by itself, one
branch mixed with a detuned replica of itself, or both branches, one
of which may be detuned in 1.7 cent ( 1/60 semitone ) increments. A
ring modulator / noise modulator is also provided at the output.
Thus, the basic CZ voice is a two-oscillator, six-envelope sound.
Four basic voices may be played at one time in the CZ-101 and 1000,
as may eight voices that use only one oscillator. You can also layer
two different voices ( that’s four oscillators and 12 envelopes ) for
fat solo sounds.
Modular Complexity Through MIDI.
The CZ instruments offer a midi mono mode, which means that using an
appr Ìopriate external controller each voice can be played with a
different preset tone. If you want to construct a really fat solo
voice, for example, you can have your controller simultaneously send
out the same note-on information, but different tone preset commands,
or notes of four different tone colors can be pre-programmed in an
intricate sequence for a rhythmic or textural effect. The CZ
instruments recognize MIDI commands to change tone presets,
pitch-bend, and portamento time, and to turn vibrato and portamento
on and off, so these controls can be employed while the instrument is
under MIDI control.
Bob Moog designed and built the first commercially successful
I wanted to do a measurement of the phase distortion function that gives the double sine wave oscillator on the CZ. Would it be possible for you record a wave file of this waveform for me around 441Hz?
Hi Joe, I don’t currently own a CZ synth. The CZ-101 is the least expensive of the range, you could purchase one and measure that. What are you measuring it for? From what you’re saying, it sounds like you’d need more than a recording, you’d need to have the synth itself so you could adjust the parameters to your requirements.