The 2nd half of title for this could be:
"And why I refused to buy any Casio electronic product after the 1980s until 2016"
Before I reminiscing about the first sampling keyboard I ever bought ( the FZ-1, and subsequent 10m & 20m rack modules) , I'd like to ask those who ever owned any of the FZ series a few questions:
Is there anyway to convert FZ samples and mapping data to transfer to contemporary devices. especially the Roland Fantom XR ? (the last gear I bought over ten years ago)
Despite the advances in technology since the first generation of MIDI, do you still use any of these for recording, or composition with MIDI sequencing software or devices, or any purpose other than museum exhibits, door stops, or huuuuge paperweights?
If so, do you know any willing and capable repair technicians, ones won't run away screaming or burst out laughing or barf after you tell them the first five syllables "CA SI O F Z"
(I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking, "Why the heck would you want to fix THAT")
I used mine at first for midi composition, and made a few original samples, tweaked Casio's stock samples as well as from non-Casio sample developers. I also used the rack models for performance, and was actually schlepping these heavy ancient 2 gig floppy disk loaded beasts in an even heavier rack of modules for gigs up until 2009. I might've been crazy but hey, they were paid for!
So thinking back to the good, bad, and ugly:
The Good -
I bought the FZ-1 at a time when the first generation of sampler keyboards (like Ensoniq, Emu and others) were only good for low bit resolution-low KHz sounds. You know, Strings were Ok, brass was terrible, etc. Then the FZ offered 16 bits at an acceptable 36 KHz at a price that you didn't have to be born into wealth or a rock star to afford. I got a lot accomplished with it & the subsequent rack versions. My friend and I created a violin patch that no one else provided at that time, WITHOUT vibrato until you modulated it by the wheel, pressure and aftertouch. Vibrato from the start was useless to me. It was great for classical music and basic country western, cajun and SLOW bluegrass fiddling only (and if any keyboardist then or now can pull off Orange Blossom Special on any fiddle patch and sound convincing, tell me)
A couple other highlights of my time with the FZ series:
Using only one rack model with 2 megabytes of classical instrument samples, I composed and recorded two modern symphonic works, and
I created a the best banjo patch that still sounds better than any stock banjo patch in any device, probably due to my unique mapping formula no one else has. People including professional musicians who hear it the first time will walk into the studio or look onstage wondering where the banjo player is hiding. Other FZ patches were excellent by themselves or layered with other synths for many kinds of music the world over. I don't know if the Casio Music Forum would accept submissions or links to the compositions featuring the FZs, or would they? Because of the next item below maybe?
The bad and the ugly were evident way too soon: Casio quickly stop supporting FZs and abandoned them like a parent who puts a baby on someone else's doorstep or in a trash bin. Were they were ashamed or regretted ever making them? I don't know, but that made me decide never to buy another Casio product again, until last year. Although I retired from music full time, I'll still accept huge sums or donate my skills for a good cause. To make it easier on myself, I picked up the WK-7600 for its portability and decent enough sounds, although I wish the church, chapel and cathedral organ sounds were better. If anyone can suggest a way to tweak them, let me know.
Thanks in advance for your responses and suggestions.