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Casio VL-Tone

The VL-1 was the first instrument of Casio's VL-Tone product line, and is sometimes referred to as the VL-Tone. It combined a calculator, synthesizer, and sequencer. Released in 1980 and selling for around $150, the VL-1 is notable for its kitsch value among electronic musicians, due to its cheap construction and its unrealistic, uniquely low-fidelity sounds. In particular it's unique rhythm sounds are featured in tracks by several popular artists.

Its sounds were mostly composed of filtered squarewaves with varied pulse-widths. Its piano, violin, flute and guitar timbres were nearly unrecognizable abstractions of real instruments. It also featured a "fantasy" voice, and a programmable synthesizer which provided for choice of both oscillator waveform and ADSR envelope. The synthesizer was programmed by entering a number into the calculator section's memory, then switching back to keyboard mode. It had a range of two and a half octaves.

The VL-1 featured a small LCD display capable of displaying 8 characters. This was primarily used for the calculator function, but also displayed notes played. As well as this, the VL-1 also had changeable tone and balance, basic tempo settings and a real-time monophonic music sequencer, which could play back up to 99 notes. There were also 10 pre-loaded rhythms which utilized just three basic drum sounds.

Date : 1980

Manufacturer : Casio

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH35150. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
 

Scan of Document: Casio VL-Tone

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