Yamaha CS01

Yamaha CS01 Image

The CS01 is a very old but classic analog monosynth from Yamaha. Although originally designed for use by novice musicians or first time synth-buyers, the CS01 has been recognized by today's electronic musicians as one fat little bass machine with simple controls. In a nutshell, the CS01 is simple to use and edit but still has some great features for any situation. It's tiny and portable, it has baby-sized keys and it can run on batteries, and there is a built-in amplifier and speaker which is quite fun.

As for sounds and synthesizing, the CS01 is the perfect monosynth for bubbly and growling bass! It features a very nice 12dB resonant voltage-controlled filter. In addition to the oscillators' sine and square type waveforms there is PWM and noise. There are also LFO controls, glissando (like portamento), a typical ADSR envelope generator, pitch & mod wheels and even a breath controller input. A CS01 mkII (pictured below) was later released by Yamaha soon after the original. It featured an improved 24dB resonant VCF (filter) with adjustable slider control over resonance instead of switchable on/off resonance as found on the original. The CS01 mkII is also identifiable by its black case with green letters.

Yamaha CS01 II Image

Yamaha CS01 II

The CS01 may look simple or toy-like but it is still able to create cool little analog bass blips, bass lines and bass bubbles that are just perfect for today's electronic musicians. It has been used by the Dust Brothers, Underworld, OMD, Richard Barbieri and Chick Corea.

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48 Visitor comments
Paul FitzZaland
January 6, 2013 @ 1:40 am
My 'new' CS01 just arrived and it's already become one of my favourite synths. I bought it because its small and I've been looking for something to carry around with me but as soon as I plugged it in a realized what a useful tool it is. The sound is anything but toy-like, its huge and the controls are so simple and clean and immediately playable.

I have a Highly Liquid midi kit which I'm going to install this week. I can't wait. I think the CS01 is definitely going to see a lot of use.

By the way, I'm now on the hunt for a Yamaha CS01 bag or case.

green cats, babies!
January 2, 2013 @ 2:20 pm
I saw the great French duo Zombie Zombie using it onstage, and it seems they use it a lot on their records, specially on 'Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free', a kind of John Carpenterish prog which is worth the listening. a great piece of art.
Tubbs McTaggart
September 7, 2012 @ 9:40 pm
Yes, Dovinia is correct. It actually has a digital oscillator (not a DCO - they are analog oscillators) that Yamaha call a DTG (Digital Tone Generator). Still a cool synth & does have a real analogue filter.
shawn b
July 17, 2012 @ 5:58 pm
Also played by Mitchell Forman in the 1984 lineup of John McLaughlin's band. (Mahavishnu Orchestra). He could really wail on the thing!
June 29, 2012 @ 1:06 am
4x the cs 01 action!

VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.72 (459 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO - triangle / saw / square / pulse / PWM
  • LFO - Sine waveform
  • Filter - 12dB Cutoff / Hi or Lo resonance with ADSR (24dB on mkII)
  • VCA - 1 ADSR envelope gen
  • Keyboard - 32 mini keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - Breath Controller; CV/Gate via kit from Kenton
  • Date Produced - 1982, (1984 mkII)
  • Resources & Credits
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