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Casio Cosmo Synth System designed for Tomita
Old 31st December 2013
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Casio Cosmo Synth System designed for Tomita

from wiki:

"Casio's Phase-Distortion synthesis technique was championed by Casio engineer Mark Fukuda and evolved from the Cosmo Synth System that was custom-developed for legendary synthesist-composer Isao Tomita."

does anyone know more about this Cosmo synth system? are there any photos of this thing?

thanks
mini
Old 31st December 2013
  #2
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🎧 5 years
All the Casio CZ series essentially 'Cosmo synths'.
Old 31st December 2013
  #3
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robot gigante's Avatar
 
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From what I understand it was first used on the Dawn Chorus album and onwards.

(excerpt from isaotomita.net)

"For the sound sources used in orchestrating this record, Mr. Tomita has converted the wave forms of electromagnetic emanations from various stars and constellations into equivalent audio waves. These were then used as indicated below to form the various sounds of the sections in his orchestra. These celestial waveforms were entered into the memory of his computer by which they were manipulated in pitch and intensity and were combined to form the various sonic textures found on this recording."

So it apparently had sampling capabilities.

From same site:



Tomita in 1992, with the Casio Cosmo numeric keyboard on his lap,
a Fairlight CMI series 1 screen to the right, and a rare Korg MS-50 on top of a Synclavier II screen behind him.
Old 31st December 2013 | Show parent
  #4
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acreil's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante ➑️
The thing is, this looks a great deal like the Casio FP6000 computer. Maybe the FP6000 was used as a host computer, and the Cosmo Synthesizer is either a card set for it or contained elsewhere.
Old 31st December 2013
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robot gigante's Avatar
 
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I really don't know, but I am interested about it as well!

He talks a little about it here:



Old 3rd January 2014
  #6
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thanks for the article post - gotta track down my hard copy of keyboard from aug 85 so i can read it without straining.
thanks again
mini
Old 11th January 2014
  #7
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🎧 10 years
My understanding is Casio had a corporate goal of expanding into the pro music market. It seems to me their goal was to build a sampler to compete with the likes of Fairlight at a much lower cost. Tomita is often consulting for Japanese manufacturers and worked with their prototype. This relationship seemed tighter though seeing that Casio eventually sponsored his large scale Sound Cloud concerts like the one in NYC '86 and he endorsed their gear in ads. Tomita had a Fairlight, Synclavier and Emulator so he definitely had expertise and resources. When Casio synths came out their first CZ series were DX7 competitors, not samplers and Casio referred to the whole line as "Cosmo Synthesizers", a term which definitely showed up on the international manual's cover but I sort of recall not being used much or at all on American ads. Haven't really researched it but "Cosmo Synthesizer" seems to have gotten much more use in Japan. Casio of course eventually came out with their FZ samplers which were a good value but times were much more competitive.

As for Tomita using it, most mention is made of "Dawn Chorus" (1984, which got a USA RCA LP release with out of sequence tracks as "Canon of the Three Stars"). The album says the Tomita "converted the wave forms of electromagnetic emanations from various stars into equivalent audio waves". The Japanese linear notes and articles from the time detail the process in more detail. This sounds perhaps like he was inspired by the Fairlight light pen and used outer space wave data as single cycle waves which he had AD converted and used as oscillators in the synthesis chain. I've heard Tomita had to keep a tight deadline and the exploration does not seem as deep as it could have been. He did not create any more studio classical albums for a decade though RCA/BMG did release his first two sound cloud concerts containing new and previous material. These were sponsored by Casio and he surely involved his Cosmo Synth gear. Perhaps a bit deceptive in advertising is that by the time he did NYC, the Casio gear in it's retail form was out and promoted with the show without actually claiming you were going to hear it. Maybe one did? There were new tracks, but by and large the pieces were his Moog and Mellotron sound.

Footnote. In later years Tomita seems to have concentrated on his Synclavier II. His 1996 album "Bach Fantasy" was able to include virtual analog synths as well as sampling his Moog for less time consuming polyphony. Talking with him in 1999 he expressed that he has realized that the Moog really does have the best synthesizer sound and seems to be reworking and augmenting his classical cover recordings in recent years.

Anyone identify the aluminum 3U thing under his MS-50 in the keyboard photo?
Old 19th July 2017
  #8
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rtype909's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A video of the Cosmo Synthesizer - sampler??

'For a limited time from December 7 to December 26 ,2015, Many Casio electronic musical instruments were exhibited in particular in Seijo, setagaya-ku, Tokyo at "Toshio Kashio Memorial Museum of Invention".

Then became the CZ series of origin "Cosmo synthesizer" has been exhibited in it.
I was able to photograph it with the cooperation of the "Toshio Kashio Memorial Museum of Invention".

Although it had been exhibited was only the main unit, it can connect to keyboard unit, a digitizer and a 16bit computer.
And sound source of any waveform that was sampled, can be processed.'


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_I9wH9NFSk
Old 3rd August 2017
  #9
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keyz2401's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Pic of the full Cosmo system:


Rack:



I may have more....I'll check.
Old 3rd August 2017 | Show parent
  #10
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genetic92's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by keyz2401 ➑️
Pic of the full Cosmo system:


Rack:



I may have more....I'll check.
That looks interesting. Are these these the predecessors of the Casio CZ Phase Distortion line of synthesizers? Or something different entirely?
Old 3rd August 2017
  #11
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Holy heck
Old 3rd August 2017 | Show parent
  #12
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acreil's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by genetic92 ➑️
That looks interesting. Are these these the predecessors of the Casio CZ Phase Distortion line of synthesizers? Or something different entirely?
I found patents and other literature describing the whole system. The controller is a Casiotone 6000 keyboard, the host computer is the FP-6000S with software for sequencing and sound/sample editing, and there's also a MIDI interface box.

The sampler modules, called SPU, seem to be 4 note polyphonic samplers with 128k x 12 bit memory. They connect directly to the computer for sample editing, so you can draw waveforms with a graphics tablet, etc. The design is unusual in that the sample playback hardware is also used for recording samples. So it can use one of the voices for sampling while another voice plays it back for monitoring.

Development continued until 1986 with musicians Yukihiro Takahashi and Hajime Tachibana serving as consultants (I think Takahashi also recorded the drum sounds for the RZ-1 and Tachibana, who is also a graphic designer, designed the cases for at least some of the CZ models). It was supposed to be commercialized as the ZZ-1. The ZZ-1 added VCFs and the ability to use the simultaneous sample recording/playback capability as a multitap delay-based effect processor with a variety of delay and chorus effects (I think this would have been roughly similar to what the Korg SDD-3300 offers). But development took too long, better samplers were coming out and the Japanese Yen was crashing. In 1986 the ZZ-1 would have cost about $6400, compared to $2995 for the base model Emax. And it was still 4 note polyphonic with 128k memory. It seemed to get an unenthusiastic reception from prospective distributors, so it was cancelled and the FZ-1 was developed.

The other rack units were called PDU, apparently these are basically identical to the CZ-101. I don't know the specifics but I strongly suspect they use the same Β΅PD933 IC.

The original system as pictured uses 6x PDU and 2x SPU.

Last edited by acreil; 3rd August 2017 at 07:53 PM..
Old 3rd August 2017
  #13
Deleted d6ffc70
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My Casio CZ-230s a home keyboard preset version of the CZ101 with built in mono speaker has the Cosmo Synth branding on it as well
Old 9th December 2018
  #14
Old 12th May 2020 | Show parent
  #15
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touched's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Great writeup.

I have deep spiritual yearning for this vanished dream synth, like Pete Townshend looking for the "lost chord" during the Lifehouse era. If this were finally produced according to the original plans, as much as possible, plus extra capabilities if they didn't compromise the integrity, I would pre-order immediately.
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