Audio Plugin Deals launched an 81% OFF deal on the CZ-Alpha ($11 sale price) Native Instruments Kontakt library by Xtant Audio.
CZ-Alpha is a library of 100 patches that were created on an original 1980s Casio CZ-101 synth.
The library is available for just $11 until June 16th (usually $56.70). As with most Kontakt libraries, the full version of Kontakt 4.2 or higher is required (no free Kontakt).
The Casio CZ-101 is both a classic and a hidden gem, depending on how you look at it. It’s got some classic retro sounds, some sounds that are so bad it’s good, and it’s also unassuming enough that it could be mistaken for little more than a kids keyboard at a passing glance.
Out of interest, I had a quick look to see how many hardware units are floating around the internet for sale, and it seems a few hundred Pounds/Euros would buy one.
The GUI has a retro look with a copy of the CZ-101 LCD screen front and center for patch selection. You can select patches via the drop-down menu or use MIDI keys to move back/forward through the patches one at a time.
There are four sections of the interface; Effects, Filters, Envelope, and Arpeggiator. The Effects section is relatively simple, starting with Portamento controls and an Octave Doubler. Beyond those, you have LFO Depth, Rate, and Fade. Rounding up the effects are Reverb and Chorus.
The Filter section has two filters, a high pass and a low pass, each with frequency and resonance controls. Going to the right side of the GUI, the Envelope section features a basic ADSR configuration, but the Arpeggiator is a little more interesting.
The Arpeggiator section has a handy little sixteen-step display where you can draw in the active steps and velocities. It comes with around sixteen playback styles, including As Played, Move Out, and Random.
When you move through the patches, each patch reverts to its default settings. However, if you want to maintain filter settings or an arpeggiator pattern as you browse sounds, you can hit the Global button; very useful.
As far as the sound quality, it’s been a long time since I heard a Casio CZ (any model). But, the CZ-Alpha library quickly takes me back. In terms of sounding like it’s supposed to, it does, indeed.
Does that mean every sound is fantastic? No, it’s not. But, that’s not a negative; that’s the appeal of synths like the CZ-101.
More info: CZ-Alpha (80% OFF @ Audio Plugin Deals)