Swedish House Mafia – Casio Tone VL-5 vs. Teenage Engineering OP-1

July 18, 2011 · Posted in Uncategorized 


Casio tone vl-5 (1982) vs. Teenage Engineering op-1 (2010)

Featured hardware:

This quite rare keyboard was the polyphonic successor of the famous Casio VL-Tone 1. Unfortunately it is missing the great built-in synthesizer, the octave switch and even the natural violin sound of the VL-1. Instead it has only 10 simple preset sounds. The rhythms are more complex but awkward to select. By an optical barcode reader pen (Casio MS-1) songs can be scanned from special barcode song books into the internal sequencer memory. The sequencer is only monophonic, but at least you can manually play to it.

The hardware of this thing contains a lot of hand- rewired complex component mess that looks rather like a prototype. It also has odd sequencer bugs those are mentioned in the manual.

main features:

  • 37 button keys
  • built-in small speaker (thin sounding, mounted in a resonance pot)
  • polyphony 4 notes (2 notes during sequencer playback)
  • 10 preset sounds {flute, bagpipe, clarinet, violin, trumpet, pipe organ, harpsichord, piano, pretty, funny}
  • “tone memory” 4 step switch to assign 4 of the preset sounds for quick access
  • 8 preset rhythms {waltz, march, rock, swing, samba, rhumba, slow rock, metronome}
  • sustain button
  • volume and “rhythm/ melody balance” sliders
  • tempo slider
  • LCD (displays numbers of preset sound & rhythm and sequencer note numbers)
  • semi- analogue sound generator. The digital envelopes (with audible zipper noise) are linear and thus sounds unrealistic because they fade silent too soon.
  • percussion consist of shift register noise for snare/ hihat and for the drums squarewave blips those have 3 pitches and 2 lengths. One sound is a long blip layered with noise. All percussion employ digital decay envelopes with much zipper noise.
  • complex multi- chip hardware:
    • CPU1= “NEC D910G 011, K2106K” (80 pin SMD)
    • CPU2= “HD43191A07, 2A 25” (80 pin SMD)
    • SRAM?= “NEC A19046-140, D444C, Japan” (20 pin DIL)
    • 2x IC “LB1100, 1M3” (20 pin DIL)
    • IC “LB1100, 1M4” (20 pin DIL)
  • simple monophonic sequencer (240 notes, editor (insert & delete, rhythm start point), “one key play” to change note duration)
  • optional barcode reader pen to load songs from special song books into the sequencer
  • tuning trimmer at case bottom
  • jacks for AC- adapter, headphone, line out & barcode pen


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