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  • Vintage Casio DZ 1 drum trigger module Manual

    Posted by Peter Day on January 28, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Hi everybody! I recently bought a Casio DZ1 drum translator module (’86 era)

    Its a basic analogue to midi box that I intend to plug some acoustic drum triggers into.

    I am looking for an owners manual for this unit in English.

    Online manual sellers only seem to stock a Dutch/French/Spanish version of it.

    Any ideas are appreciated!


    Ty Ford replied 2 years, 7 months ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Ty Ford

    January 29, 2021 at 1:23 am

    Hello Peter and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.
    After searching, I see your difficulty. Maybe you’re left with buying a used one providing it comes with a manual in english.

    I did see this:

    The Casio DZ1 (£199) is another such example. On first encounter, a “pro” sees things to gripe about – the rather nice metallic grey and aquamarine case is not rack-mountable, but is about the size of a hard cover book and about the weight of a football (not very confidence-inspiring). It comes with no power supply, but six AA batteries are included, and the manual also gives instructions on how to run the unit with a car battery. As a matter of fact, a lot of Casio equipment is battery-powered, which brings us Californians to wonder when their battery-powered amplifier/speaker is coming out, so that we can actually take these things to the beach.

    OK, let’s remind ourselves of the price, and keep going. The back panel is generous, with room for eight trigger ins, four preset selector footswitches, and a hi-hat switch (all ¼”). Two wired-together MIDI Outs are provided (that’s one less MIDI Thru box to purchase), along with a nine-volt power input, power switch, and overall sensitivity control.

    The top panel includes eight sensitivity sliders, a selector button per “translator” (Casioan for “trigger input”), four preset selectors, four mode selectors, a three-digit LED display, and a pair of scroll keys (used for parameter editing only – thankfully, they are not needed to access parameters, as they are on so many synthesisers today). Each trigger input and edit mode switch has an associated LED, telling the user precisely what’s going on – a basic human need overlooked on other, more expensive devices.

    The front panel is virtually the manual – there are four presets, and each “translator” may have a MIDI channel, note number, and program change number selected for each one. When a new preset is selected, the program changes are sent, and various modulations are zeroed and the pitch wheel re-centred.

    But reading the inoffensive manual reveals a couple of other thoughtful features. The first is that hi-hat switch. While the foot-switch is left alone, one translator’s note number is sent per thonk at input 8. While the foot-switch is held down, a different note is sent. At the time it is actually depressed, it also sends a note, at a selectable velocity. In other words, it can work just like a hi-hat (or at least as close as any drum machine has got so far). Just line up one note number with a closed and another with an open hi-hat sample. Of course, other samples (slap bass, for example) may be selected just as easily – or this switch could be used to extend your kit out to nine sounds (the foot-switch can be programmed to be silent when struck).

    Another thoughtful feature is a mode in which the velocity of a selected translator is displayed when struck, including an overload indicator, which is nice for the initial setup of a trigger-to-MIDI interface (and for when you’re unsure as to just which velocity range should be producing which results).

    Finally, while you’re editing a particular trigger’s parameters, all others are blocked from being transmitted. This is a quick and easy way to figure out which pad is which, even though it would have been nicer if the trigger number followed the last pad hit instead. Sigh. Almost nobody does this.

    Disadvantages? Not many. The biggest is being restricted to only four patches. Once you start using any of these interfaces beyond the drum machine or drum kit level, it quickly becomes clear that four presets are not enough. And the DZ1 is the only converter not protected by a metal case. Don’t Casio realize that drummers are… are… animals? (Of course, more sedate keyboardists would be safer owners.) And coming with batteries instead of a proper power supply borders on the insane.

    But just remember: this is the second cheapest device of its kind, competent, and by far the easiest to use.


    Ty Ford

    Cow Audio Forum Leader

  • Peter Day

    February 7, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks for you input, Ty. I actually did see that message, along with some regarding the Casio.

    Tried buying the manual online from two different suppliers, one of which stated all their products were in English, the other stated Dutch (albeit that fact was in small print)

    Turns out both were in Dutch, and Spanish, and French – all combined into one .PDF

    I am just going to have to play with this thing I think.


  • Ty Ford

    February 8, 2021 at 3:47 am

    Sure. I saw the same documents as you. Did you try the casio web site?


    Ty Ford

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