Cool little synths that run on batteries

This great article by Madtheory will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the Casio CZ range of synths, from their origins in a $30,000 computer system called COSMO to the ultimately doomed VZ range, featuring "interactive phase distortion". We had a CZ-101 in my school band, and it's part of the small but wonderful pantheon of 'cool battery-powered synths with mini keys' alonside the Yamaha CS-01, Korg MicroKorg and Yamaha DX100 (Can anyone suggest others?). More CZ-101 memories here at Retro Thing. (Thanks Tyler)


Comments:
Yamaha CBX-K1XG runs on battery too. It's a tiny master keyboard with 16 part XG synth, audio input, 2 speakers, 1 assignable wheel, comprehensive midi implementation, sustain input etc...
Quite cool actually.
 
Korg Poly 800
 
Korg Poly-800!
Roland SH-101!
 
And microKorg can be strapped on too!
http://picasaweb.google.com/pozdno/MicroKORGStrapped
 
Just about every casio ever made, SK series, MT series, etc. is battery powered.
 
Soundlab Minisynth
 
Well now, I'm sorry. Poly 800 & SH-101 have full sized keys.
Soundlab Minisynth doesn't (in most cases) have keys at all.
Most Casios don't (to me) really count as synths because you can't program the sounds yourself.
The rules are:
Real Synth
Mini Keys
Battery Power
Must be cute, in some way...
 
However, the Yamaha CBX-K1XG definitely fits the criteria. Although it's possibly not a very tweakable synth, it wins bonus points for being rather expensive ($399) while looking like a casio keyboard from a supermarket.
 
The Yamaha PSS-470 has 5 sliders for great sounds!

The Yamaha SHS-10 is selling WAY more than it should be on eBay. I think it has MIDI though....
 
gameboyzz
 
Yeah, the SHS-10 is a slick little MIDI controller. I was thinking of picking one up a while ago, but dang, they're super expensive!

I totally wanted one when they were in stores. But I had a CZ-101, so I was all set.
 
I remember being in a People's Drugstore in Virginia when I was about 8 years old. The SHS-10 was maybe $40. I asked to get it for Christmas, but I actually got a Casio SK-1 instead. I still have it!
The SHS-10 sounds like crap, but I guess the MIDI is worth it to some.

Plus, you'll look like a bad-ass on stage!
 
Novation X-Station 25
- okay, it has grownup sized keys but it looks cute and running it into a laptop onstage using the USB cable is kind of geek cool.
 
EDP Wasp?? Does that count as mini keys? Does that count as keys? Paia Oz?
 
the dx100 was battery powered? i used to have one, but i dont remember it being hable to be battery powered. it had strap buttons tough.
 
What about the new Novation XioSynth? Nearly all of the power of the X-Station (8 voice subtractive poly-synth), but smaller footprint, plus Trance-Gater sequencer, with patches by Roots Manuva!

-jasontrauer
 
Ok, so it has to be programmable, the Casio MT-series fits this, and my MT-11 is one of the cutest, cheesiest, battery-powered mini-keyed synths ever.

And of course, the Casio HT-700, which is just about as analog as the Poly-800, but has mini-keys and is battery powered. I'm about to sell one on e-bay (have two)... it's rare, under-rated, and best of all you can program your own cheese-ass presets! Also, I think that its drums are straight from the legendary RZ-1.

-gerald
 
I think the Casio VL-Tone takes the prize for being the coolest battery powered synth with mini-keys :P
 
Casio CZ was amazing because it was almost as powerful as Yamaha FM (not quite there, but almost), while at the same time being VERY easy to program.

I just don't know why synth makers are so unambitious these days. All the synths coming out nowadays are either huge workstations, or strictly analog or virtual analog subtractive synths.

A company should be able to make a CZ or DX style synth nowadays for dirt cheap. They could probably build one for about the same as a cheap midi controller, as most microcontrollers in midi controllers nowadays could handle the rather simple math needed for a CZ style synth. Why is everyone playing it safe with YET MORE virtual analog synths, or midi workstations?
 
uh, bassstation
mine ONLY runs on batteries
 
I've sold three SHS-10s on eBay for pretty sick money, considering I bought them all at thrift stores. *ducks*
 
"I've sold three SHS-10s on eBay for pretty sick money, considering I bought them all at thrift stores. *ducks*"

So YOU'RE the one! hahahahahahaha

I guess people are really desperate to get on stage and ROCK OUT. YES!!!
 
the CZ's kicks the DX's in the ars. if not for the silly decision not to have velocity sensitivity the CZs would have ruled the proffesional market place, IMHO. the CZ1 did have velocity sensitivity but arrived too late on the market.

(why are there STILL no good VSTi's of CZs? oh why?)

and my first kbd was that pss470 mentuned earlier in the thread. sniff, sniff.
 
The closest VSTi of the Casio CZ series I've seen (in terms of programming, at least) is Cosmo 201. It would be PREFECT if the VSTi could import SysEx patches, though.

At least I own a CZ-1000 :)
 
All of the enormous MT range of 80s Casiotone keyboards - a particular mention goes to the Casiotone MT-40 Rock preset, which is the "Sleng Teng" dancehall rhythm. I also have an MT-100 which has an analogue graphic equaliser - how cool is that? And cheap as chips on ebay, except that you're not allowed to sell chips there.
 
Although tecnically the MT-40 isn't a synth, since you can't actually alter the sounds, ahem... well, the drums are analogue.
 
>>>>>>>>I just don't know why synth makers are so unambitious these days. All the synths coming out nowadays are either huge workstations, or strictly analog or virtual analog subtractive synths.>>>>>>

ummmm... elektron! First sidstation, then monomachine. super machines.

Anyway, I'm taking things off topic now. apologies.
 
Casio PT-1 is a preset job, but it's neat...

Casio SK-1 is absolutely amazing, especially when you make non-factory modifications...
 
casio VL tone series were programmable, didn't have full size keys.... they had mini buttons!!!!!YES!!!!even a sequencer and to top it all off; they've been used by the cars , white town, n a host of others in actual HITS!!! i got a couple. whats strange is that although they are programmable you have to GUESS when you're doing the programming....check out the hollow sun article:


http://www.hollowsun.com/vintage/casio_vl1/


i have no doubt raymond scott probly had something he hid from the world. speaking of dr. Scott, Tom, couldja please write up an 'MT heroes' article on him???? otherwise i'll be sad ;)
 
the $20K plus booklah music weasel, synthi E and the synthi aks, not sure if the above are battery powered....definately the sk1 which has env mod options (although they're preset... umm maybe the buchla 112 ? anyone know if any of the more esoteric synths here are battery op? meow!
 
NO ONE SAID TB303 YET...WHAT THE HELL!
 
Did anyone mention the Korg 707? Battery power and can be strapped on.
Cheap but nice FM synthesis..
 
Does the underrated and slightly obscure Yamaha QR-10 (not the QY-10, mind) count? You can sample w/ that bad boy, AND it most definitely has "mini-keys."

BTW, anyone paying those recent, inflated SHS-10 eBay prices is a friggin' fool - ironic keytar laughs be damned.
 
about the cosmo201 I have this to say:

a cz emulator with a ADSR instead of an 8 stage envelope is like having a moog emulation withought the filter.

and no ring modulation between the two oscilators?

this does not sould promissing to me.
 
i played a gig last saturday with just a dx100 (and 2 mmt8's) which was great fun
but i didnt strap it on or use batteries or play the mini keys
maybe next time
 
Never heard about the mentioned Casio SK-210. I think their first keyboard was the 101.

Here is a nice demo of the bigger 202:
http://www.keyboardmuseum.com/soundsheet/casio202demo.html

And if you are interested in a cool Casio SK-1 demo, please have a look here:

http://www.archive.org/details/casiopaia
 
can I say something? Siel DK70 - small, fully programmable, totally programmagle, totally old - totally cool!
 
electro harmonix micro synth

allthough any old keyboard is cool compared to what we have now.
 
novation bass station
 
so... what about the Casio MT-400V, HT-3000 & 6000? Also don't forget the battery powered ruski synths out there. And.. Yamaha QY 70/100? You can tweak the preset sounds on them (filter, envelopes...). Does anyone know what that toy type thing I saw once at a goodwill? It had kind of a 1 octave keyboard on it, kind of looked like a guitar and had a knob for "wha-wha"??
 
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