circuit bent Casio CZ-101 an inside look

WARNING: You break it... it isn't my fault! Your mileage may vary. Don't try this unless you're sure you know what you're doing! You're messing with electricity and it can be dangerous! If you have no idea what circuitbending is, then DON'T TRY THIS! You could possibly blow up your synth - so try at your own risk!

The Casio CZ-101 has become my favorite noisemaker to circuitbend and here's why: it's more stable than most other bendable instruments; if it crashes or hangs, a quick cycle of the power button takes care of it; there's a reasonable amount of room within the keyboard case for additional components and wire; it runs on batteries (or AC), and finally, it's a very playable instrument even when circuit bent. I've done entire sets without a crash or hiccup (pictures of my show at the Masquerade Tampa in October 2005 here).

So far, I've bent 2 CZ-101's and would love to get my hands on a few more. The Casio CZ-101 is kind of a collector's item and prices can run about $150 - $200 for an unbent one in good, working shape. On it's own the CZ-101 is a great synth if you're looking for that "80s digital" sound. There are others in the CZ series including the 1000, 3000, and 5000.

Inside the CZ-101: Most of the bends were on the chips near the pitch wheel. All of the red wires go to my bends so you can easily see where I found the best stuff. My second synth features different bend combinations from points in the same general area as the first synth.

recording music, sound effects, broadcast, CDs.

Michael Oster
F7 Sound and Vision's Michael Oster has recorded music, thunderstorms, F-18s, wild animals, kitchen utensils, celebrities, strange insects... He also makes the coffee and takes out the trash. more

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MP3 audio demo of sound effects.
Casio CZ-101 v2- bent
(recorded live and without effects)

MP3 audio demo of sound effects.
Casio CZ-101 - bent

(recorded without effects)

CZ-101 closeup

Below: A more detailed shot. You'll be able to find out where you are by using the "pitch wheel" as a guide. Plus, Casio was kind enough in their design to leave plenty of useable room for us circuitbenders (unlike in the SK-1). Thank you Casio!

CZ-101 wide shot