Phase distortion shapeshifter.

The art
of sound design

The original CZ had such a broad user base and was used in such wide range of genres that we didn’t want to give our reborn version a single “style”.

To make the most of this amazing instrument, we sought the sonic expertise of some of the world’s top sound designers, each one giving it their own unique flavor.

Pad Atmosweep

( Tomás Mulcahy)

I worked on this sound for a long time to get the release and atmosphere, but it originated from a set of patches that were accidentally randomised when my CZ RAM cartridge ended up in the washing machine! Amazingly it still worked! The resulting patches used the resonant waves in ways I hadn’t thought of so it was fun to explore this happy accident. With CZ-V my archive of patches since 1990 has really come back to life. I can finally put the samples away and use the sounds in a much more organic way with the Macros.

Tomás Mulcahy - on CZ V

About Tomás ↓

I was pleasantly surprised that the real character of the hardware is right there in CZ V! And I think there are four main strengths, in order of importance: The percentage level control on each envelope really opens up the possibilities in a very big way, allowing the CZ V to respond to the player in a much more organic way from modulation. It also makes it much easier to have bright or dark within the patch. Now it’s so easy to tweak the patch so that it sits right in your track. I love it!

I love the chorus. With one voice it is very much like the hardware CZ, and with two or three voices, it is pretty much the perfect chorus for a synth! When I got the initial specs, it was the looping envelopes that most excited me. I would have killed for this feature on the hardware, back in the day. It took me a while to figure them out, but I did, with relative ease, and they are hugely useful.

I have been using a CZ since 1992, starting with the CZ-5000 and ending up eventually with the CZ-1. Back then it was my only polysynth. With the sequencer it was like an affordable workstation, so I wanted it to make every sound possible. With CZ V it is more of an adventure. This is because it is exactly the same as the old hardware and at the same time is a very up to date synth with all the features we take for granted in software today. So the method was simply to explore and have fun. Several times I started from an initial patch and just explored the new possibilities, especially with the extra Mod Envelopes, the more detailed velocity modulation and the Custom Waveform.

Vector One

( Don Solaris)

Metallic Spheres

Galactic Disk

These presets show what the power of phase distortion synthesis and the combination of CZ V modulation matrix and its effects can do.

Don Solaris - on CZ V

About Don Solaris ↓

The main strength of CZ V in my opinion is definitely the user interface. It is heads and shoulders above other competitive products, making sound design and programming seem like child's play. I have built most of the patches so fast that programming was no longer an issue. In fact the only issue was inspiration - I was able to make sounds almost faster than I could imagine them.

When building this soundset I had two goals. First was to try to emulate some of my existing sounds from my beloved CZ-1 (which in the meantime I sold, since CZ V covers it 99%). The second goal was to try and push the software to the limit and see what will come back - whether it will break or continue to impress. Most of the time it was the later, especially when trying the things the CZ-1 never had. The only time i would briefly hang from a cliff was when stacking too many voices in unison which my Mac Mini (late 2012) was no longer able to push. But other than that, I was super happy to participate in this project!


( Paul Schilling)

The updated effects for this V-Collection release, such as the Reverb and Phaser, have become so good that I made them a featured part of many of my CZ V's presets. This sound, in its dry form, is already very full and alive, with fast subtle vibrato and slow LFO sweeping of phase distortion. But adding Arturia's updated high-quality effects (Delay, Chorus, Phaser, Reverb) I think takes it over the top.

Paul Schilling - on CZ V

About Paul ↓

My approach is to treat the whole thing as an instrument - including the FX, routings, and all the other well-considered additions.First thoroughly understand the core synthesis engine and then expand outward to fully grok the whole thing. Be the synth. From that place I take sometimes an improvisational approach, sometimes a vector "must get a certain sound" approach. Either way, almost always something interesting happens, and such was the case with CZ V.

Hackers Glockenspiel

( Thomas Koot)

I like to push this digital feel to its limits, as with the ‘Hackers Glockenspiel’ preset. It might not be a pleasing sound, but I really like the intensity.

Thomas Koot - on CZ V

About Thomas ↓

Just as with analog synths, the rawness and imperfections of early digital synthesizers give them an unmistakable character. Like the original CZ series, the CZ-V provides sounds with real character, it has a vintage feel, but in a completely different way than an analog synthesizer.

Maxime Dangles - on CZ V

About Maxime ↓

I really loved working on the CZ V, to be honest I never had to work with a phase distortion synthesizer. I would do it more often in the future, it's very powerful, especially with the ability to create its own waveform.

I never had a CZ synth before so I really discovered it through the process of sound design, thanks to the modulation matrix and additional LFOs, it’s a very powerful way to create sounds. I was really helped by the Arturia added functions that let me go further and faster in the sound exploration. I was not looking for a specific type of sounds, just wiggling knobs until it sounds great.


For the preset Morning_Circles, I used a looped envelope in MIDI sync to modulate the phase. With effects, it creates a beautiful pad.


( Lily Jordy)

I’m crazy about the deep pads sounds in the CZ! One of my favorites is the Altair preset: it really pushes the blend of deep and ethereal to another level.

Lily Jordy - on CZ V

About Lily ↓

Programming the macro controls was my favorite aspect of sound sculpting on the CZ V. Having two distinct oscillator lines lets you get creative with the interplay between DCW and amplitude envelopes, generating awesome textures.

Final Boss

( Simon Gallifet)

I made this preset for Arturia’s CZ V promo video. Part of the drive was meant to show that CZ V has the potential to create more modern sounds, so I created this drum'n'bass sound by trying not to fall into the cliché of the ternary wobble.

Simon Gallifet - on CZ V

About Simon ↓

Our brain is accustomed to hearing the imperfection and irregularity that it takes pleasure to correct. The original CZ synthesizer is typically the kind of digital synthesizer that sounds too smooth for me. Fortunately, Arturia developers have extended the functionality of the CZ synth by adding additional modulations such as "Sample and hold" LFOs, MIDI synced and Looped envelopes as well as a wide spectrum of audio effect. All these features allow me to take advantage of phase distortion synthesis with the possibility of giving it more warm and lively features.

Sunglasses Sunset Keys

( Maxime Audfrey)

This is The sound of the late 80's, where the instrument and the technology behind it was brand new. It evoke a kind of nostalgia for a time I've never known, a feeling of warmth and peace. It feels like an old summer TV shows recorded on a cassette tape was played. Add reverb and chorus and you can really feel you were there.

Maxime Audfrey - on CZ V

About Maxime ↓

The thing that really defines CZ V for me is its sound. It sounds like a mix between a classic analog synth and a FM synth. It's quite unique! The fact that there is no filter forces us to use new ways to shape the sound, pushing the boundaries of creativity.

The thing that really defines CZ V for me is its sound. It sounds like a mix between a classic analog synth and a FM synth. It's quite unique! The fact that there is no filter forces us to use new ways to shape the sound, pushing the boundaries of creativity.


( New Loops)

Airy plucky keys using the lfo to modulate pan giving a big wide sound. Great for trance melodies. Mod wheel controls lowpass filter. Use macro 2 for vibrato. Use macro 3 for a more plucky sound.


For it's aggressive tone and modulations possibilities.Aggressive wobble bass. Play low on the keyboard and use the mod wheel and after touch to control speed. Can also be used as a hard lead. Macro 1 changes timbre. Macro 2 changes speed. Add more reverb with FX macro.


For the way one part is a deep pad, the other, an approach to timbre evolving.Pitched sequence with deep rising backing pad using multiple looped envelopes. Use the macros to change the different modulation speeds. Macro 2 speed rate. Mod wheel controls highpass filter. Use after touch to create a washed out effect.

New Loops - on CZ V

About New Loops ↓

One of the features in the CZ V that I found really useful was being able to loop the envelopes. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for rhythmic and sequenced sounds. The ring modulation is good fun too and is great for making harmonically rich sounds for example, bells and buzzy leads. For sound design, I usually start with my own initial preset that has the synth set up how I want. This is often different for each synth but with common settings like pitch wheel amounts set to 12 semitones, the mod wheel and after touch set up as modulation sources, and volumes at unity. I find this approach gives me consistency across all my presets.

I don't tend to start with a sound in mind when making a preset. I like to start with my blank patch and get multiple oscillators working together. Then I will look at the features in the synth and start adding modulation. The key is to experiment with all the different features as these can vary quite a lot between synths and this is where you start to get unique sounds.

If I had to pick 3 of my favourite presets from CZ V they would be these: they show a wide range of possibilities for this synth.

Clement Bastiat - on CZ V

About Clément ↓

The way CZ V handles phase modulation is interesting. It has lots of envelopes so the sounds are alive. It seems simple and efficient at first, but with some clever phase modulation curves, you can really make it sound like an FM synth.

I sometimes let myself flow while discovering features and let myself be surprised, which usually get me to some exciting sounds I was not expecting. Other times, I have specific sounds in mind and just do what needs to be done


I like this preset because it reminds me of playing Wipeout 2 back in teh day, with those resonant futuristic sounds, hence the name. In that preset, it's the reso3 waveform been played with a loopable MSEG. There is also a loopable MSEG which controls chorus feedback, both line DCW and the dry/wet of the overdrive. All of that gives a quite groovy and futuristic sequence.