The VSTi Emulation We've All Been Waiting For!

The VSTi Emulation We’ve All Been Waiting For!

The Casio Tone VL-1 Emulator is a Free PC VSTi that accurately recreates the sound, feeling, and most importantly the cheese of the venerable Casio VL-1. You remember that Volkswagen commercial with that “da da da” song? Have you ever heard someone sing a cheesy ballad at an open mic with something that resembles a keyboard calculator? If so, you’re already familiar with the VL-1 sound. Digital, harsh, synthetic, but with lots of character.

Casio Tone VL-1 Emulator [Windows VST]

The VST version is scarily good. It doesn’t just playback the VL-1 sounds, it emulates the entire device to the point where it captures all of the original’s hidden features. Remember the old calculator and ADSR sound trick? Do you still have those 8 digit VL-1 presets you wrote on the back of your calculus notebook in highschool? Dig those out man, because the VL-1 is back, and this time you can save more than a single custom preset.

The only thing you can’t do is play like an uncoordinated idiot on a tiny ass plastic keyboard.
(At least in the ironic hipster sense.)

For those wanting to know more about the VL-1, and the magical sounds that can be made with it, check out the Maximum Cheesecore site, and the text version of the VL-1 manual.

  • Nasir

    Rock! This was my first keyboard (calculator?) as a kid. Almost bought one off of eBay just for the demo song! Still might get it– the VST sounds more "digital" than I remember– but maybe I'm remembering 80s synth tech through 2006 ears…

    – Nasir

  • Jon

    I got to get some Windows action on my intel mac. All these free awesome plug-ins are such a tease!

    But alas. Windows, as well as plug-ins is something my starving college ass can't afford.

    One day.

  • Jon, why not get an OEM disc for Windows from or another such vendor? Also, check the academic pricing on Windows — much lower.

    Would be great if we had more of these plug-ins on Mac, indeed. I'll have a free Mac plug list up soon; just been a bit busy! (No VL-1, though — for that I'll run Windows!)

  • octatone

    lazy ass devolopers. but it's freeware, so maybe it's excusable. but then again, if it's freeware the source should be outed for us hackers to rewrite it for other platforms.


  • first good reason to boot camp windows

  • JB

    Hey Octatone,

    don't you think its a bit unfair to call the developers lazy, they're doing it for free after all!

  • all time favorite beats my nord mod g.2 and my friend's voyager….my wife got me one for xmas one year…IT WAS STILL IN THE ORIGINAL BOX! NEVER OPENED!!!!

    if you don't know the glory of the "Fantasy" preset, you haven't lived.

    to be honest, i wouldn't want a vsti of this…it's so much fun to perform…who wants midi when you've got sweet little chiclet buttons?

  • richardl

    I bought one of these in 1980 or so. I've still got it.

    They got the calculator right, and it does play the Casio work song. But I can't get the rhythm or the ASDR function to work.

    The Human League plays the Casiotone:

  • DAVE

    I've got a real one. so nerr.

  • It's a very good emulation. I do wish the tempo could be host-synced, and that there was some way to emulate modulating the speaker with your hand harmonica-style like on the real thing 🙂

  • Adrian Anders

    It's strange foosnark… at some level we all want it to be painfully accurate for the quirk. But on the other hand we want it to be modern so that it improves upon the original design.

    What I think is the best idea is to throw the VL-1 VSTi into something like highlife, multi-sample the sounds, and put the bank into a sampler like Kontakt or Dimension. That way you can do modern stuff like tempo sync, filtering, layering, etc.

    Who wouldn't want a unison VL-1 Fantasy? Or a legato VL-1 bass?

    My advice is to try taking the VL-1 sound, and do something that couldn't be done with the original.

  • anders has a good idea with this…

    anyone else find the vst horribly buggy?

    after a few notes audio is stopped completely yet everything looks operational

    often stuck notes as well.

    but cheers for the highlife idea

  • Tricil, which host are you using? It seems to work quite nicely in Ableton Live 6.0.1 (which I've found is fairly good at getting misbehaving plugs to … behave themselves … on both Mac and Windows.) Parameters all map perfectly, too (and then ADSR works.)

    I can't get rhythm mode to work, either, but I only played with it for a few minutes. Fun emulation … I'm sure I'll abuse it somewhere! Thanks, Adrian!

    CDM makes no guarantee on free plugs we recommend. Your mileage may vary. Not responsible for spontaneously combusting hosts or bodily injury. 😉

  • Zuofu

    Hah, I thought it was a Yamaha VL-1 VST. Got excited there for a moment.

  • Adrian Anders

    Everything is working right on my end. BTW, the drum sound are played on MIDI channel two, on C3, D3, and E3. Remember a VL-1 only has three drum sounds.

  • Back in the day when I didn't have a (capable) computer, one of these little Casio's used to be my band when recording some guitar. I'd run it through various Boss pedals to get cool sounds.

    Can't remember what it was exactly, kinda looked like a PT-1 but it I'm sure wasn't white.

  • Mark Whitby

    I read this in my feed reader whilst on the train this morning and had to download it as soon as I got to work! I too had one of these as a teenager – it was just so much fun to play with.

    I loaded it up into Live 5 and couldn't get rhythm working either. Then, I noticed on the developers web site that the rhythm is on channel 2. Selecting the source channel in Live didn't seem to fix it, but then I redirected the output to an audio strip and those glorious "drums" appeared!

  • bliss

    Is it possible that someone could port this to the Mac? There's more than a few around who could do it. Anybody up to it? 🙂

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Yes, You Can Build a Performance Around an Old Casio Keyboard()

  • Dear younger self:

    All the "cheap" and "substandard" electronic things that you're embarrassed to own right now because you wish you had the cool expensive stuff?


    Because even once you get the cool expensive stuff, you will wish you hadn't thrown those things away or destroyed them.

  • phlavor

    Oh Samba, how I've missed you.

  • i'm using live 5.2.2

    i can't upgrade my live because of 2 reasons

    1. it's an NFR and that would be illegal

    2. i'm running windows media center =(

    to my knowledge live 6 is incompatible with that

  • archetype303

    tricil, I use Live 6, and I have an HP running XP Pro and Media Center 2005, and I have no problems with that setup.