Plugin Boutique VirtualCZ emulates classic '80s Casio synths

If you were making electronic back in the '80s, you may recall Casio's CZ range of digital synths, which used phase distortion synthesis to create their sounds. Now Plugin Boutique is seeking to introduce these sounds to a new generation of producers with the VirtualCZ software synth.

Designed for producing pad, lead, bass, percussion and rave organ sounds, VirtualCZ models the original synth engine (it can actually load and transmit CZ SysEx patches) while also offering simpler editing controls, switchable envelope generators and Unison modes.

A feature list is below, and we're told that VirtualCZ will be shipping in mid September at an introductory price of £59.95. It'll be available via the Plugin Boutique website.

VirtualCZ features

  • Recreates the unique synthesis engine of the CZ synths (it models the flagship CZ-1 but does all the other ones too!)
  • Works as a SYSEX editor/librarian for all CZ hardware as well as an emulation
  • 2 CZ Phase Distortion oscillators per voice (each has 8 wave shapes, which can be different for alternate cycles)
  • 6 loop-able envelope generators per voice (switchable between easy-to-use ADSR and powerful CZ-style 8-Stage MSEG modes)
  • Tempo sync-able LFO for vibrato, with 7 shapes
  • Ring Modulation and Noise Modulation
  • 32 voice polyphonic/mono/legato modes
  • Unison and detuning effects
  • Stereo panning effects
  • Microtonal tuning support
  • Vintage stereo chorus/ensemble effect
  • Randomization of parameters
  • Easy to use interface (all key synthesis functions accessible on the front panel)
  • Includes over 200 high quality presets plus ability to load thousands of CZ patches online
  • Presets come in multiple formats: fxp/aupreset/vstpreset/tfx
  • Import/export presets for all plugin formats
  • Optional cross-format preset browser
  • Available for Mac and PC in VST2, VST3, AU and AAX plug-in formats plus standalone app
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.