Digital done differently. Modeling done flawlessly.

Casio’s phase distortion synthesis was a relative of FM but simpler to use, achieving patches that sounded both ‘digital’ and ‘analog’ with equal ease.

It became a sonic staple for artists including Eurythmics, Salt-N-Pepa, and Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yaz, Erasure), who famously stacked up eight CZ-101 synths and a sequencer. CZ V gives you more of what the CZ was loved for in every way – and more.

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More than just a phase

The CZ-101 defined a whole new way of creating the sounds keyboardists and producers wanted. This put Casio® on the map as a maker of serious professional synthesizers. CZ V puts phase distortion back on the map with the ultimate version of this groundbreaking synthesis technology.

In the early ’80s, Casio wasn’t about to sit still while the DX7 took over the world. Fortunately, they had a platform to build on — a high-end synth workstation called Cosmo. It’s the direct ancestor of the CZ-101, whose mini keys and $499 price tag put real synthesis in the hands of a new generation of musicians.

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A different kind of distortion

Phase distortion, like FM, involves one oscillator modulating another.

Phase distortion's uniqueness comes into play by altering the time domain of the carrier wave, yielding a different oscillator wave shape entirely. By changing the linearity of how a simple waveform plays, like speeding up the start of the cycle, it’s no longer a simple waveform. That’s the concept at the heart of phase distortion synthesis and CZ V’s sound.


Each DCO in CZ V lets you select from the 8 original waveforms or draw your own. Some serial combinations of two different waveforms are provided for, resulting in many more possibilities. Each DCO is followed by a corresponding digitally controlled waveshaper (DCW) section, including key follow and an 8-stage envelope generator. This animates the amount of waveshaping from the modulator over time. There’s also an eight-stage envelope for DCO frequency, allowing for pitch-change effects far beyond vibrato, trills and lasers. A digitally controlled amplifier (DCA) with its own eight-stage envelope rounds out a DCO>DCW>DCA signal chain roughly equivalent to that of analog VCO>VCF>VCA.

Between the lines

Like the original, the CZ V has two complete DCO>DCW>DCA signal lines that you can use individually or in parallel. Duplicate settings in each line allows for a fatter sound given the ability to transpose and/or detune them, while separate settings provide for much more complex timbres. You might, for example, shape a hyper-percussive sound in one line and craft a pad in the other to combine into a compound timbre. Other goodies faithful to the original include a dedicated vibrato section, polyphonic portamento, ring modulation and noise modulation.

Simple Synthesis

Ultimately, the beauty of PD compared to the better-known FM is that there are only four primary things that really control the timbre of each CZ line: the DCO’s modulating waveform and the three envelopes. Both PD and FM have made significant and instantly recognizable contributions to music, but the simpler concept of PD can ironically get a lot closer to analog bass, brass, strings and more with a lot less fiddling.

Our DSP team reverse-engineered the code inside the CZ-series and even modeled the DAC outputs, delivering the perfect combination of authentic PD behavior and that crunchy, almost-lo-fi sound of the ‘80s, right in your DAW.

A CZ for Today

The CZ-101 had an instant and intuitive interface, especially for an early digital synth - yet CZ V is quicker and more performance-oriented in every way.

Everything you need for breathtaking tracks and gig-ready sounds is arranged for maximum connection between thoughts, hands, and music.

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A CZ for Tomorrow

Massive synthesis power lurks just beneath the surface in CZ V’s Advanced Panel. We’ve made all of it fun and easy to use.

If this much capability had been packed into hardware, phase distortion might have become the dominant synthesis method in music. Our Advanced interface makes it more intuitive than ever to see just how far PD can go.

Hear it in action

Could someone do an entire album using just CZ V sounds?

Listen to these audio demos from prominent artists and sound designers and judge for yourself. (Hint: We think so!)


CZ V is surprising because it can sound like an analog synth.

It can sound like a DX. It can sound like a PPG Wave. It can generate evocative pads and choirs. And much more. Check out some select highlights from its built-in library of 500+ presets.

Artists corner

Included in
V collection

Legendary Keyboards Reinvented

This instrument is also part of the V Collection -your complete dream line-up of the legendary synths, organs, pianos and more that made keyboard history. They’re modeled with the most advanced technologies for authentic realism, and enhanced with new creative options. Whether you use it as DAW plugins in the studio or standalone at gigs, V Collection puts the greatest keys of all time at your fingertips for instant inspiration.

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All manufacturer and product names mentioned on this page are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Arturia. The trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose features and sound were studied during the development. All names of equipment, inventors, and manufacturers have been included for illustrative and educational purposes only, and do not suggest any affiliation or endorsement by any equipment inventor or manufacturer.