Music: VL-Tronic by In the Shiny Box

I can’t really help myself from posting an EP that contains a VL-1, especially as I made the VL-Tonifier bot. But this is a really nice set of tracks.


14 mobile hardware devices that I love: 14 – The humble VL-1

Well here we are at the end of our 14 devices, and I could only think of one device to end on, and that would be the classic VL-1. Which is, in many ways, where my mobile music journey would start, not that I knew that back then of course. I’m not sure whether Casio meant to make such an iconic device or not, but it is a part of our history now.

There was even a recreation of it on the iOS app store for a while. It is sadly long gone now.

But this is a good place to end I think, and to see just how many similarities there are between the VL-1 and the OP-1. Technology doesn’t change too much does it.

Casio VL Tone with Roland Tape Delay, EMX1, EPS 16+, Microbrute (video)

Video description:

“I found my VL Tone VL-1 yesterday. It might sound cheesy through that little speaker, but plug it in to some FX and it may raise your eyebrow. Also, you can program a sequence of up to 100 notes. That’s what I did here. Then you hit the “One Note Play” buttons and it will play back your sequence one note at a time. The fun of this is that you can control the timing of each note. Vary it up, put in a sequence of whatever length you want, and it gets really cool.”

Published by Earmonkey Music.

Kraftwerk special edition Casio VL-80

Thanks to Oscar for this link to a great page on the Kraftwerk VL-80. I had no idea that such a thing even existed. However, by far the most outstanding find on this page is the Kraftwerk song sheet with all the numbers to programme into your VL-80. Fantastic.

No I bet that these are really rare. I’d be impressed to see one of these come up on eBay.

Circuit bent Casio VL-1

I know I have been on about this for a while now, but I found some shots of a circuit bent VL-1, and I thought I’d share them. I think it is pretty cool.

I found one!

Ok, it is only a simple change, but a start.

Modifying a Casio VL-1 or VL-10?

I know I’ve posted a few times about Casio VL-tones, and this is yet another. I will try to stop going on about this soon I promise. It is just that I have this thought in my head which says that wouldn’t it be great if you could modify a VL-Tone to be a MIDI controller for PDA?

It can and has been done in bigger devices such as the Casio SK-1 by Highly Liquid and does it look cool or what!

Now I realise that the first barrier to overcome is the small nature of the VL-1 and the fact that it is after all a glorified calculator, and that even if you could do that you’d then need to be able to get a serial connection into a palm device, which is not easy on many of the OS5 models, but if you could it would look amazing I bet!

My ideal would be to have one the size of the VL-10 below as these are only about 8″ long, but maybe that is just too much to ask for?

If Casio made a VL-1 now, what would it look like?

I think it would be brilliant if someone like Casio made another unit like the VL-1. Except I think today it would be a really ground breaking device. I would have the same sort of form as the old VL series, but it would also have a USB MIDI in/out, an audio line in/out and a mic in too.

The basis of the unit would be a keyboard similar to the VL-1

But it would be more like the size of the VL-10 below. Instead of a speaker on the front there would be two discreet speakers, one at each end, and the screen would be much bigger, colour and touch enabled like a PDA screen.

On board would be a sequencer and sampler and some basic synth functionality, but the device would be able to connect to a laptop of desktop to transfer files and export. It would have a slot for an SD card and sport wireless collaboration using bluetooth, but it would only work with other devices using the same standard.

But most important of all, it would have a CALCULATOR! built in.

Retro: Casio VL-10

A Casio VL-10 on eBay, and at the time of writing, going for over £20. The VL-10 was smaller than the original VL-1, being only 8″ long. Ok, it only had 3 voices, and a 100 note sequencer, but for 80’s that wasn’t too bad.

Imagine what you could get packed into a box that size now! If someone was to design and manufacture something like this now I bet it would be awesome!

VL-Tone: Retro or Cutting Edge?

Another post from CDM that I spotted. I had a VL-Tone when they came out, in fact I think I had two at one point and would sequence them both together. I thought that they were brilliant, and if you think about it they were in effect the precursor to handheld music.

I think it would be brilliant if someone was to develop a new style VL-Tone, with audio and all sorts of bells and whistles. I’d probably buy one. In fact, I’ve just been considering getting an old style VL!