I think I was 17 when I finally saved up the £300 I needed to buy my first synthesizer. I opted for the Casio VZ-1 – not a particularly powerful synth, but at the time it was a very good controller keyboard.
Casio where well known for “novelty” keyboards, and so the VZ-1 was quite a departure for them. Tagged as “Professional” it was much more rugged (and sleek black) than their other products. (MT-65 I’m looking at you).
It’d been up on the shelf collecting dust for the last few years, so it was time to let it go. I thought I’d have a look under the hood before consigning it the scrap-heap.
It used a very similar synthesis technique to the (then) ubiquitous Yamaha DX-7 but added a ring modulator function to the operator set (something that the DX-7 may not have had – not sure about that). This meant that it was very good at bell like sounds, but not much else – no big sweeping resonant filters here.
I think I used the #26 bass, and the “Crystal Pad” more than anything else – but most of the time it was just controlling the D-110 or U-220 rack mount modules.
It was pretty well-built – the front panel was one large piece of cast aluminium – and it had 3 control wheels, 2 foot VR controllers and was velocity and aftertouch sensitive. “No user serviceable parts inside” states the label – that probably depends on the user
I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of it completely – although I did substantially reduce its on-shelf footprint. (I would be the guy in the sci-fi movies that downloads the consciousness of all the robots before they got blown up.)