Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

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Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby Mattew96 » Mon May 12, 2014 4:37 pm

I am finding it difficult to hear good demos or reviews of these. They confuse me. I know the mechanics and etc about how they work and a little bit about the varients' upgrades, like eq and midi, but I can't figure out if the plunky bass I do hear on most videos is due to old hammers and strings, or if they're always like that. Their price range also bothers me. I see a CP 80 for sale with pedal at $800 now, but weeks ago there were two 80s and a 70 up for over $1500 each, one of them almost double that. I also see a 60M at $900, I have no clue if that's even competitive, I rarely see them.
While concentrating on finding stuff out about those, I also want to point out that the analog CP 20,25,30,35 seem to have virtually no information out in the world, and they seem rather interesting. People list them between $50 to $200, and I'm wondering if they are at all similar to RMI keys or something. From what I've heard of them I'm hesitant to commit, but just kind of curious about their potential.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby Z » Mon May 12, 2014 5:11 pm

CP-70 & 80 are electric grand pianos with actual strings and hammers, but have electric pick ups to amplify the sound through a stage sound system or run direct into recording mixer. The piano still produces fair sound unamplified. My 7 year-old son uses my unamplified CP-70B for his home piano practice.

I used to own a CP-80 and now own a CP-70B. The CP-80 is 88 keys with both balanced XLR jacks and unbalanced 1/4" jacks. The CP-70 only has 73 keys and 1/4" unbalanced jacks. The CP-70B adds balanced XLR jacks.

Both CP-70 & 80 have Hi/Mid/Low EQ knobs, stereo tremolo with rate and depth and a monaural IN/OUT insert for adding a phaser or other effect. The CP-80 adds a H/M/L Brilliance selector.

Prices, they're all over the place. I bought my CP-80 back in '08 for $400 with a Crate bass amp that I sold for $100. I sold my CP-80 to a studio here in Dallas for $2k in 2012 and bought my CP-70B a week later for $500 on CraigsList. The CP-70 is not in as good of shape as the CP-80 I once had, but it plays OK. Some of the low strings are out of tune. I also miss being able to place a 5 octave synth atop the CP-80 and still have room for a pair of speakers. I've got a 3 octave Roland Gaia sitting atop my CP-70 now. Actually, the Gaia is not there right now - I've got the CP-70 running through my Strymon Mobius then into my Boss RE-20 Space Echo. Fun times...


The other CP pianos are electronic pianos, popular with 70s rock and roll bands like The Cars and Hall & Oates.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby meatballfulton » Mon May 12, 2014 5:54 pm

The main appeal of the CP2x/3x was they were lighter in weight than a Rhodes or a Wurlitzer and didn't require the same level of maintenance. Of course, they have their own unique sound.

I used to play with a guy who had a CP30, as I recall the sound decayed (unlike an RMI) and was velocity sensitive but that was a long time ago so don't quote me ;)
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby stillearning » Mon May 12, 2014 5:56 pm

I gigged for years with a CP30, I remember it being velocity sensitive.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby Mattew96 » Tue May 13, 2014 1:20 am

Hm, cool stuff. Is the kind of deadened and almost honky tonk sound I hear on the electroacoustics just because they're older instruments in need of tuning and service? Or is that the nature of leather hammers and one-two strings per note?
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby Z » Tue May 13, 2014 1:41 am

Not sure I understand what you are describing. An unamplified CP-70/80 sounds like a muffled traditional piano. Amplified sound depends on how it's EQ'd and what effects its running through. Tony Banks used the CP-70 extensively and it mostly sounds like a traditional grand piano. Peter Gabriel was a big fan of running his CP through a chorus. I used to run my CP-80 through a Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus amp.

I just looked at my CP-70, the bass notes all have a single string up to the second F#. After that, all notes have 2 strings.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby madtheory » Tue May 13, 2014 12:54 pm

The clunky bass is characteristic of upright and baby grand pianos in general. The bass strings are not long enough for good tone, so they make them thicker. Whatever way Yamaha do it gives that characteristic sound. Try a bunch of old British uprights and you'll hear the same kind of problem, but with different tone to the Yamahas.

Didn't know the CPs had only two strings for the upper notes. Such a great sound :)
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby V301H » Tue May 13, 2014 6:33 pm

The CP-25/35 are actually digital FM instruments with analog filtering and chorus. The sound comes much closer to a Rhodes than the CP-20/30 but only has 16-voice polyphony. The CP-35 can interface with the CS-70M analog Synth allowing you to play the Synth from a weighted keyboard and layer it with the CP-35 sound.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby ppg_wavecomputer » Wed May 14, 2014 12:38 pm

V301H wrote:The CP-25/35 are actually digital FM instruments with analog filtering and chorus. [...]


Are you sure they are actually FM? Of course, the CP-35 looks like a deadringer for a GS-2, but I can´t imagine Yamaha would have offered the same technology for half the price. The 25/35 seems to be more based on the CS-20/40/70 in terms of sound generation and filtering.

To my (limited) knowledge, Yamaha´s first FM-based instruments, other than the extremely expensive GS-1/GS-2, were the highly unpopular CE-20 and CE-25 Combo Ensembles -- which were soon to be superceded by the DX-7.

The Yamaha electronic pianos (CP30 etc.) sound quite different from the RMI Electra Piano or Rocksichord. The RMIs tend to sound a bit thinner and spikier whereas the Yamaha can sound thin, but also very chunky, depending on how you set it up. The Yamahas also have a better action (the CP-30 feels a lot like the CS-80), the RMIs do have a wooden key base but the keys are not weighted and the action is a lot shorter.

I´d love to have the space for a CP-70. My Prophet 5 would look great on it.

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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby Mattew96 » Wed May 14, 2014 3:50 pm

Wow, a lot of great stuff here, thanks everyone :D
I am almost positive that Yamaha's first range of FM instruments was the pf 10/20 and 70/80. I don't know which came first, but I have had the chance to play a pf 10. My old highschool has one sitting unnoticed in a dusty nook. It's two operator FM with rudimentary, and sometimes pretty damn cool sounds that sit fairly well in a mix. And it has a beautiful rich stereo chorus, and surprisingly good built in speakers (though that's rather superfluous). It has organ action which is weighted and definitely feels better than, say, my D-5. I might even prefer it to the weighted QS 8 keyboard. The pf 10 is pre midi, but the 80 is a rudimentary midi controller as well, intended for modules like the FB01 according to the manual. Tons of space on top of these things and they tend to go cheap, although the pf 10 is pretty much just 12 presets and you only modify whether you use the chorus or not. If a CP 25/35 is a more professional version of that, I think that's pretty damn respectable. I'm wondering if the 20/30 is more akin to something like an adjustable Roland EP-10. Yeeck.
I'm getting frustrated now because that CP 80 keeps getting its price dropped and it's now down to $700 but I really shouldn't spend the money, nor do I have the space. I have a wonderful Kawai grand but it just isn't the same. And it's far enough away that if I go check it out I have to use that time efficiently and decisively as to whether I'll blow the cash. Oh, woe is me. Maybe I'll just leave it disassembled somewhere for a little while...
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby ppg_wavecomputer » Wed May 14, 2014 4:24 pm

Mattew96 wrote:Wow, a lot of great stuff here, thanks everyone :D
I am almost positive that Yamaha's first range of FM instruments was the pf 10/20 and 70/80. [...]


You certainly meant PF-15. The CP-70 and 80 are electric grand pianos, semi-acoustic, with soundboard and pick-ups. Not quite up to Bösendorfer standards but... ;) I´ve just had a look at Colbeck´s book, he points out that the CP-25/35 are based on pulsewave oscillators whereas the PF-15 is actually an FM piano.

It takes at least four people to shift a CP-70/80, and when flightcased, they can weigh up to 200 kg -- which makes the CS80 look a bit pathetic.

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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby Z » Wed May 14, 2014 7:03 pm

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:It takes at least four people to shift a CP-70/80, and when flightcased, they can weigh up to 200 kg -- which makes the CS80 look a bit pathetic.

Stephen


I moved and set up both my CP-80, and later CP-70, by myself. I move furniture all the time and know how to properly lift heavy things. I would still recommend having someone assist, though.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby V301H » Wed May 14, 2014 8:01 pm

Yamaha was very vague and secretive about their early FM instruments. In the GS manual there is only a single very brief mention of FM. The CP-25/35 has a mysterious YM722 Wave generator IC. Each of these IC's produces 8-voices. From what I've been able to determine from the service manual the CP-25 has two of these chips which allows a maximum of 16-voice polyphony and 8-voices when layered. The CP-35 has four YM722 chips and is always capable of 16-voices. Nowhere in the manual is there a description of how the Waves are generated. It is not likely Top-Octave-Division as each chip would generate 12 tones followed by Dividers and it would have full Polyphony. So it appears the 16 Tones are being assigned across the keyboard by a multiplexing system as found in Analog PolySynths and Yamaha's early FM instruments. The manual describes in some detail the Filters and Effects being comprised of discrete components which leads me to believe they were being tight-lipped about FM at the time. The CP-25/35 was introduced in 1981, the same year as the GS-1/2 FM keyboards. Yamaha had used a limited amount of simple FM technology for certain voicings in some of their organs and smaller keyboards before 1981. Judging by the sound of the CP-25/35 I would find it hard to believe it was generated by Analog Oscillators.
Last edited by V301H on Thu May 15, 2014 2:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby adamstan » Wed May 14, 2014 8:31 pm

I've looked thru service manual for CP25. It seems to me, that YM722 IC is based around dividers, because it apparently outputs different combinations of pulse/square waves (output waveforms for different settings are shown on page 11 of service manual). In the early 80's there were other chips that were working this way - another example would be TMS3631 8-channel programmable divider used as DCO in SIEL Opera 6/DK600. Yamaha IC is more advanced, as it also contains envelopes. But it certainly isn't FM.
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Re: Yamaha CP-60/70/80 series (and a bit more)

Postby tim gueguen » Wed May 14, 2014 10:50 pm

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:
Mattew96 wrote:Wow, a lot of great stuff here, thanks everyone :D
I am almost positive that Yamaha's first range of FM instruments was the pf 10/20 and 70/80. [...]


You certainly meant PF-15. The CP-70 and 80 are electric grand pianos, semi-acoustic, with soundboard and pick-ups. Not quite up to Bösendorfer standards but... ;)


Yamaha seemed to like recycling numbers for certain types of instruments, and their positions in an instrument line. The PF70 and PF80 electronic pianos were their top of the line digital pianos circa 1985, just as the CP70 and CP80 were the top of their "compact piano," or whatever CP actually meant, line when they were introduced. It's funny that for the original FM synths they went in the opposite direction, with the smaller the number indicating the better the instrument was supposed to be.
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