Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer in Japan

Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer

Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer

Today I was out and about and I went into a used goods shop called “Santa” in Nagano-city, Japan. I was surprised to see that there was a big store wide sale and that they were possibly going out of business soon. Now I almost “never” find anything in this store other than overpriced junk but occasionally I find some computer floppy disks or some interesting toys for the kids. They sometimes have old music gear but it’s always the kind of stuff nobody wants or just musical toys. Well, today it was a different matter because sitting in the shop was a Casio CZ-5000 that looked to be in excellent condition. The price on it was $25 which made me scratch my head for a minute and wonder why. I then realized that I didn’t know much of anything about the Casio CZ-5000 and that I better run home and do some checking.

Later I discovered it was potentially a nice 80′s oriented synth that I could have some fun with. What I was also excited about was that on Yahoo Auction Japan, the Casio CZ-5000 was selling between $350 to $450. I thought Wow! I could at least buy it and sell it later to maybe make some extra cash. I raced back to the used shop and brought it up to the counter. The gentleman immediately told me it didn’t work. I said ok that’s fine but can I at least plug it in and check the power? He said sure and knowing this shop might not have headphones I brought my own which he was surprised to see.

The Casio CZ-5000 powered up nicely. Indeed the synth didn’t seem to want to make any sound. I then figured out how to access and change the patches. Now I got sound coming through my headphones and it sounded pretty decent. Like with previous synths I’ve purchased at used shops in Japan, the sales staff usually don’t know anything about these keyboards. In addition, when a Casio CZ-5000 is mixed in among other Casio kids keyboards they start thinking all Casios are the same. I don’t know why the clerk said the keyboard was broken, because it sounded great to me.

Finally the sales clerk let me have it for $10 perhaps feeling sorry I don’t know. Even though there was a big sale going on, I guess he just wanted to get rid of it. For whatever reason I was more than happy to take it off his hands. As I drove home I realized that I didn’t really have a chance to check if everything indeed worked. I started to worry a bit, but then realized that this was only 10 bucks.

Later in the evening I powered the Casio CZ-5000 up again and had a ton of fun jamming on it for about two hours. The Casio CZ-5000 is a really fun synth to play around with. I found that the sequencer worked great. In fact all of the buttons, volume, chorus, etc. worked as they should. I ran the CZ-5000 through the Korg A1 effects processor I recently picked up and boy did it come to life. I noticed that bumping up the on board chorus while adding some portamento made the sounds much more analog sounding. I particularly liked the vibrato effect as well. I then did some basic tweaking of the presets and even created a few new sounds. They saved nicely into the internal memory.

All in all, the Casio CZ-5000 plays beautifully and it’s just in fantastic condition. It should fit in nicely with my current 80′s synth setup and I’m looking forward to seeing what else it can do.

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24 thoughts on “Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer in Japan

  1. I just spent the day tracking down some hard to find literature. I managed to find and download the following which all have been very helpful in learning how to use and program the Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer.

    1. The Easy CZ Book
    2. Casio CZ Series – Sound Synthesis Handbook
    3. Casio CZ-5000 Owners Manual
    4. Casio CZ-5000 Service Manual
    5. Casio CZ Guidebook for Midi and Sysex
    6. CZ-5000 Summary – The Quick Approach to Sound Synthesis
    7. An Insider’s Guide to Casio CZ Synthesizers

    I have also found a great workflow for transferring patches to and from the Casio CZ-5000. I found that Emagic Sound Diver running on Win98 was the best solution for me. The reason is that Sound Diver can load up just about any CZ patch such as CZ-1, CZ-1000, CZ-3000, etc. I can then copy and paste the patches into a Casio CZ-5000 library. In addition, I can easily transfer 32 patches in bulk to and from the Casio CZ-5000.

    Furthermore the editing capabilities are quite easy to work with when using Sound Diver thus far, but I haven’t done much of that yet. I’m still compiling and converting all of the Casio CZ sounds I find to CZ-5000 Sound Diver Libraries. I have quite a few and they’re getting all nice and organized now.

    Combing through all of the patches on the internet, I can say they really open some new doors to possibilities with the Casio CZ-5000. There are some really great sounds and if you combine them with some decent effects, they are all very useable and definitely get the creative juices flowing.

    Insiders Guide to Casio CZ Synthesizers

  2. I noticed that when writing patches to the internal user memory of the Casio CZ-5000 that they would not stay in memory when powering off the synthesizer. I later realized that I need to replace the three AA batteries in the compartment under the synth. Inside I found three casio batteries that looked to have never been changed. Now when I power on and off the CZ-5000, all of my user memory patches are still intact. This makes me wonder if the internal battery is ok or not but since I can retain the user memory with AA batteries that should suffice for now.

    I also noticed you can get a Ram Cartridge for the Casio CZ-5000 called the RA-3 which I have pictured below. This gives you an extra set of A,B,C, and D banks for saving patches.

    Casio RA-3 Ram Cartridge for Casio CZ-5000 Synth

  3. Today I just bought the Casio CZ Series Starter Kit off Ebay for the Casio CZ-5000. Although I found quite a bit of stuff off the web, it seemed rather difficult compared to other synths I’ve researched. So I opted for this handy CZ kit that was well worth the money. Great stuff.

    All Casio CZ Series Operation Manuals (CZ-1, CZ-101, CZ-1000, CZ-3000, CZ-5000, CZ-230S) PDF
    Casio Sound Synthesis Handbook – 30 pages PDF
    Over 2500 CZ Patches in Sysex Format – on CD-ROM
    Over 500 Original CZ Patches with descriptive lists of all patches – on CD-ROM
    Over 60 CZ & Sysex Utilities for Windows, Mac, Atari, Amiga & Linux – on CD-ROM
    CZ Series Hints, Tips & Tactics Handbook© PDF
    CZ General Info including diagrams, plans, modifications, DIY articles, etc.
    CZ Series Patch Creator Form© PDF
    CZ Series Patch Locator Form© PDF
    CZ MIDI Implementation Charts

    Casio CZ-5000 Starter Kit

  4. Wow! I have to say that the Casio CZ-5000 is one super fun synthesizer. If correct, the Yamaha DX7mkI was introduced in 1983 which was when I bought mine. The Casio CZ-5000 fell out of the sky in 1984-85. I was just entering High School when I had the Yamaha DX7 and I can tell you I would have LOVED to have had the Casio CZ-5000 instead back then for a number of reasons.

    First, the sound is very similar. I know perhaps the Yamaha DX-7 is better but if I teleported myself back to 1984, I don’t think I would have cared. It was the functionality that I craved and this Casio CZ-5000 has some nice bells and whistles.

    Second, the sequencer, mixed and split modes, plus the ease of programming would have been really fun. Just this evening, I put together with ease, a simple synthpop drum track and a bassline track using the CZ-5000 sequencer. I could even loop the 8 bars using the manual step bar repeat buttons. In no time I had an early “Depeche Mode” groove going on that was really fun to play. While the drum and bass track was playing I could quickly flip through various sounds and play different patch melodies on top of the groove. All live!

    The Casio CZ-5000 sequencer is very easy to use! Many people say it’s difficult but I think I know why. Back when I was a young kid with little money, sequencers were not to be found. So first I must say just having a sequencer to begin with is fantastic. Second, to be able to really use the sequencer effectively on the CZ-5000 (in my opinion), you need to program it in manual step mode and KNOW YOUR NOTES! with theory.

    In step mode timing issues are solved and you can loop the track more effectively. Again, you also need to understand your NOTES! What is a quarter note and how many can I get into a measure. Plus where can I put my notes and what values should they be to create effective arpeggio or bass tracks. All of this is easy if you know your music theory and can type sequencer tracks which I feel many people cannot do effectively.

    In my head I can pretty much sort out the notes and where I need to place them to get some easy synthpop grooves going. Anything more complex and you might want to write it out in your favorite DAW so that you can later visually copy to the sequencer. For synthpop and catchy grooves the Casio CZ-5000 is perfect.

    The Sequencer on the Casio CZ-5000 will keep the data in internal memory when powering off so you won’t lose the sequence. The bad thing is that you can only hold one sequence at a time. If you want more than one then you need to save the sequence to tape. I’m not sure if I can transfer it to the computer yet or not.

    The thing to remember though is that if you have excellent manual step sequencer skills, you can program a drum and bass track on the Casio CZ-5000 sequencer in literally seconds. With taking your time it might take a good 5 minutes which is very short during jam or practice sessions with others.

    In today’s world the Casio CZ-5000 sequencer serves as an excellent scratch pad for your creative song ideas. It works really well for that.

    The Casio CZ-5000 was born in 1984 or 1985, so you can’t expect much from the sequencer. However, you can expect some decent synthpop or electro music and for me that’s just pure joy! Have fun!

  5. I thought I should make a quick observation on background noise with the Casio CZ-5000. I also get the exact same amount of noise from my Yamaha DX7 MKI. It could just be the sign of the 80′s since both synths were released a year or maybe two apart. I noticed that if you use a Boss NS-2 noise suppressor for example it will zap the background hiss pretty well. I am aware there are trimmers in the Casio CZ-5000 that can be adjusted to reduce noise even further but I haven’t had the time or the energy to do that yet.

    For now I’m happy with using a noise suppressor. It works for me. The chorus effect can also add some slight background noise to the Casio CZ-5000 sound as well. It’s likely the nature of older synths. I know when I was a kid with my first DX-7 purchased new, it had the same background noise through the outputs so to my ears it’s all the same noise. Just my 2 cents here. :)

  6. Today I successfully was able to transfer my patches and sequencer data via sysex commands to and from my Casio CZ-5000 with a computer. It’s actually quite easy once you get the hang of it.

    First people might ask why do this. Well, I think the Casio CZ-5000 is pretty fun to program both patches and sequencer with. The problem is that once you have your song completed it becomes difficult to back it up or save it somewhere for future use or playback. I found that sysex would work well for this and indeed it does.

    To do my sysex transfers I use a program called Bome SendSX v1.30. Perhaps other programs will work but since Bome works, that is all I need.

    I then connect MIDI IN/OUT cables from the computer to the Casio CZ-5000. I start up Bome SendSX and set the appropriate Midi IN/Out drivers. From there to get patches I enter the following in the Midi Out Window:

    F04400007010207031F7

    The 701020 is the most important part of the sysex string.

    70 = Communication Midi Channel 1
    10 = Get Patch Command
    20 = Get the Internal Memory A1 patch.
    ( Other numbers correspond to other patches in the CZ-5000 ).

    Thus the A Bank would have the following values:
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 20 – INTERNAL A1
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 21 – INTERNAL A2
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 22 – INTERNAL A3
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 23 – INTERNAL A4
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 24 – INTERNAL A5
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 25 – INTERNAL A6
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 26 – INTERNAL A7
    F0 44 00 00 70 10 27 – INTERNAL A8

    To send the patch back to the CZ-5000 you need to modify the string a bit so it looks like the following:

    F0440000702020(Enter Patch Data Here)F7

    The important values here are:
    70 = Communication Midi Channel 1
    20 = Send Patch Data Command
    20 = Internal Memory Location of A1
    (Enter Patch Data Here) = You then need to enter the Patch Data you received from the get sysex string when you first requested the patch.

    Send that to the Casio CZ-5000 and you will see that the patch is placed into the Internal Memory location you chose. You can of course choose any memory location when sending patches back to the Casio CZ-5000.

    Also note that you can list Patch Requests to effectively get the entire bank instead of one by one. EX: Getting Bank Internal A1-A5 patches.

    F04400007010207031F7
    F04400007010217031F7
    F04400007010227031F7
    F04400007010237031F7
    F04400007010247031F7

    You can also do the same when sending patches to the Casio CZ-5000.

    F0440000702020(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702021(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702022(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702023(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702024(Enter Patch Data Here)F7

    With regards to the Casio CZ-5000 Sequencer. Use the following Sysex string to request the data.

    F044000070146170317031703170317031703170317031703170317031703170317031F7

    You will notice blocks of “7031″. I wrote it 14 times in this string and you may need to add more for very large or long sequenced songs. The output in Bome SendSX will indicate if the song received is either complete or incomplete. If incomplete, just request again with more “7031″ blocks.

    Now to send the Sequencer data back to the Casio CZ-5000 you must do the following:

    F0440000702461(Enter Sequencer Data Here)F7

    Finally you can combine the Sysex string for the patches and the sequencer to effectively get and “all in one” file. This was my ultimate goal so that I could save a sequenced song along with the patches used for future use. All I have to do is send one sysex file to the Casio CZ-5000 and the patches along with the sequenced song will be completely restored.

    To do that you would send a file with the following using Bome SendSX:

    F0440000702020(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702021(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702022(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702023(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F0440000702024(Enter Patch Data Here)F7
    F044000070146170317031703170317031703170317031703170317031703170317031F7

    This is assuming that Internal Memory Locations A1-A5 contain the 5 patches used in the sequence. The last string is the actual Sequencer data. Together this represents all the data needed for my song.

    Now I can save sequenced songs along with the corresponding patch data. The only bit of work is that you have to build your sysex strings using the data you received from the initial sysex “get” command. You can just send back what you received initially. I just cut and past the data into the strings I mentioned above and it all works fast enough.

    Of course an alternative way to save Sequencer data is to record using an external sequencer or DAW.

    If anyone has questions, please let me know anytime.

    Jim

  7. Man you’re lucky!! buying a Cz 5000 for 10 dollars, that only happens in dreams…!! I have a Cz 1000 and i love it, but i’d like to know more about it, so Is there any chance that you might share some of those PDF or Sysex files you got? Thanks.

  8. I finally got around to replacing the Casio CZ-5000 relay from Omron. The old relay was giving me output distortion and static which would cause the CZ-5000 to take about an hour to start up. Eventually it would click into shape and work but ultimately I got tired of the initial noise. Living here in Japan, I was able to acquire a couple of replacement relays that were actually identical in pin size and spacing. I desoldered the old relay which had a plastic see through case and soldered in the new one. The desoldering process was actually quite simple which surprised me a bit. The Casio CZ-5000 now works as good as new. Hurray!

    Here are some before and after photos of the Casio CZ-5000 relay. The old relay has a plastic see through top while the new one is all black.

    Casio CZ-5000 Relay replacement

    Casio CZ-5000 relay replacement

    Casio CZ-5000 old relay

  9. I also own a CZ5000…but my problem are the sequencer part. After many years of “clicking them” they kind of jumps a head..or don’t do anything at all. Kind a frustrating when you’re almost finished a song..and realize that you have to do it all over again. So i was looking for at way..o tip on how to replace/resolder..or any solution to the sequencer button section. Otherwise i love this thingy..it also was my very first synth..back in teh mid eighties. Since then i’ve had about four of them….all with the same issues with the click/step buttons. Kind regards:

    Björn Nilsson…..Sweden

  10. Hi Jim, glad to see you are still loving your CZ and old studio synths (keep coming across your name when searching for Casio kit!! I’ve loads of classic 80′s Casio synths and modules…..), Was interested in the issue you had with Omron Relay with your 5K (I used to own a 5K which did exactly the same and I worked out it was the Relay which I cleaned up!). I now have a couple of CZ-1′s and these are a bit ‘noisy’ too so wondered if they have the same Relay issue.
    More importantly, if you can advise, they both are … well… ‘quiet’ when turned up full volume – any ideas? I’ve read several other CZ-1 owners had suffered the same and wondered if it were an easy fix, or more involved?? thanks for your time and in advance for your reply, Richard (Oxon. UK)

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks very much for the comment and blog visit. I wish I could be concrete about an answer with your CZ-1 noise issue. I can say with the CZ-5000, replacing the relay absolutely fixed and cleaned up everything!! It’s now very quiet and remarkably stable. It almost seems like everything was going through that relay or was at least related to it. As I mentioned I pretty much replaced it with an exact duplicate relay from Omron but a newer model if correct. The serial number is different but I was assured it would work and it does. Omron Japan even sent me a nice catalog with all the other relay options as well. Great company!! At the moment I don’t have a CZ-1, but boy I’d sure love to find one and it’s on my list of synths to get if I ever find it. Last week I found a Roland Juno-60 which I never expected. You probably know much more, but I’ve heard the CZ-1 is not that far different than the CZ-1 so perhaps a new relay could help. I recently also fixed my Roland S-50 relay which had similar noise issues. I noticed that it continued to give slight noise variations even after cleaning the original relay, but it allowed me to play the S-50 without any major issue. When I finally decided to replace the S-50 relay, I found I could really push the Roland S-50 full throttle and not a single noise problem would occur. Thus I think that cleaning the relays does work fine, but it doesn’t quite kill all the cobwebs. Lately if I can find a suitable new relay, I tend to stock up on a couple and replace the originals. With my keyboards, ( Roland D-50 is another one that I replaced ), changing the relay altogether does sound and work better. Thanks again Richard and I hope this helps. Best regards, Jim Atwood

  11. Hi Jim, nice to hear from you and do appreciate a quick reply. Ok I’ll have to check out my CZ-1′s to see if they are build in the same way with a Relay protection – I suspect that it is. Woudl you by chance still have a ref. part no,/s from Omron for the newer Relays that are retrofit?? I maybe able to buy via say RS Components or similar large distributor….. or let me know your contacts!! (please).
    I find the CZ-1′s to be very ‘analogue’sounding when programmed right, despite being of course digital and maybe thought of as ‘clean, bell-like’ in characteristic – I have not found this, My VZ-10m on the other hand is very ‘crystalline’ and serves me another avenue in sound creation, when I have time to programme it!! (pure synth of course = patience!).
    Interesting you mention D-50 as I have D-50 + 550 module which are slightly noisy (thought nature of synth) but seems I could replace Relays on those, right?
    If I ever wish to part with one of my collector conditon CZ-1′s I’ll give you first dibs as its still probably the best synth they made IMHO.
    Cheers again Jim – enjoy your sushi…. :) Best regards & thanks for your comments, Richard

  12. your blog rocks! i just got my CZ5000 yesterday and spent 5 hours in front of it.. the sound is warm and sits nicely in the mix… need to find out how to program it in depth, but the resources you provided here are awesome. thanks!!

  13. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your blog post on the CZ-5000. Mine was exhibiting the same problem that yours had. It would sound a bit distorted (at least intermittently) until it had been on for an hour or so, after which it would work fine. So I got the service info, hunted down the relay, and replaced it tonight. Now it works great as soon as you switch it on! And you’re right, the installation of the part was really pretty easy.

    Thanks again,

    Aaron

    • Great news Aaron! I’m glad you were able to find and order the part. Those relays are not easy to find with some of these old synths so I was pleasantly surprised with mine to find a replacement. I bought a couple of relays, but hopefully I won’t need the second one anytime soon. Enjoy! – Jim

  14. Just picked up a CZ3000 in mint condition, with original manuals & box for UK £50. Bargain!

    Mine has the relatively common problem of AA batteries leaking in the compartment underneath. Still need to clean and test this. Looking for an RA-3 cartridge as well, hard to find though.

    Awful presets (weren’t they all in the 80′s) but fairly intuitive to program. There are some amazing demo’s of the CZ’s on youtube. I’m looking for a patch library, not having much luck but I suppose I should program my own heh.

    Great blog, could come in handy if I have any issues, hoping to hand this synth to my daughter in a few years as the ‘home’ keyboards just don’t cut it against a real synth.

    Keep up the great blog!

    • Hey, does anybody have experience with the ram cards in a 5000? I just got one that says it has 64 voices, has a button to switch through I’m guessing 4 banks with red lights? It’s sort of frustrating because I tried to save my ab and cd banks to it and when I tried to load them seems my a,b comes back but not my c,d. So gone…for some reason my c,d bank came back as my a,b. or something. Ugh. It’s also odd because I can switch through 3 16 voice a,b banks (previous owner left two banks on it) but there are 2 c,d banks (same as my a,b but with one voice changed for experiment sake). It’s confusing the shit out of me. Can anyone lend any wisdom with these type of ram cards? Thanks. I also thought this thread is awesome, my 5000 had the same exact relay problem…

    • love the comments and had no ideal there was still a supply for the relay ,, my fz10 and cz1 share same relay …did this cut down and eliminate the dreaded hussssssss static from the headphone jack ..all cz’s are know for strong clean output s but while using the headphone jack some noise is audable….????

      thanks
      charlie gfa midi asm

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