Yamaha CS-15

Yamaha CS-15 Image

This synth really has its own sound. The CS-15's got style. Built like a tank with a lot of nice knobs and best of all, not one but two of those funny sounding multimode filters. It's actually a duophonic / bitimbral synth but you have to connect it to CV (Hz/V like Korg not V/Oct) to get the extra voice. Each of the two VCOs has its own CV/Gate control.

Yamaha CS-15 Image

The best things about it are the flexibility of the VCFs and the routings to the filters and envelopes. You can rout VCO 1 to both VCFs and the VCFs to any of the envelopes positive or negative voltage. The VCFs are 12 dB/Oct and are switchable between low, band or high-pass. They are the key to the nice sound of the Yamaha CS family. Other nice features are noise, external-in for processing other sounds, LFO with Sample & Hold for those bubbling sounds and an individual auto-bend for the VCOs.

Yamaha CS-15 Image

The CS-15 is great for strange blips, bass and tiny highpass sounds. The ADSRs aren't as fast as the CS-10 but they are ok. A nice feature is the 'brilliance' slider that can control either or both VCFs. At their extremely low prices, the CS-15 is an analog that's definitely worth checking out for yourself. It has been used by Astral Projection, Somatic Responses, Moog Cookbook, The Human League, and Vince Clarke.

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40 Visitor comments
May 2, 2009 @ 2:10 am
This was my first synth. I bought it back in 82 (and I still have it, my precious). Although it's not a milestone among synths, you can do alot with it. and it is very temreature stable, something that cannot be said about many BIG synths out there (Jupiter 8, any moog, Prophet,..).
I doens't have a really fat sound and the filters are only 12dB/Oct and aren't capable of oscillating,but still I think it is a good workhourse synth that earns your respect. I will never get rid of mine!
James Murphy
April 29, 2009 @ 6:39 pm
I've owned a CS-15 for about a year now, and it has treated me very well. It's surprisingly diverse in terms of sounds; makes super-fat baselines, bizarre and quirky fx, wonderful digital beeps and best of all sounds quite different to the other major synths of the period. Has some nice features on it and very easy to get your head around the controls. It's got major attitude and has a priceless character to the sound.
April 2, 2009 @ 4:16 am
I try the CS15 with friends composers in french :" Taper 1 boeufs." 1980/83...
Very interesting analogic synthetiser Very simple to use.
Good sound for bass & solo.
I like first faders design.( like Roland juno 106 after ) ...
Good synthetiser for NOVICE...
Sorry for my bad english! Bye!...
March 15, 2009 @ 1:40 pm
CS is back at my home. Some years before I had a CS-10, but I had to sell it some years later. All the time I missed the sound, now I got a CS-15! And it's great! I love the clean sound - to my ears. OK you cant compare it to the Minimoog or the Korg MS-20 - but who will sound like all the rest? Yes, I have a Waldorf Pulse and a Novation BassStation (Keys). But the CS is happy knobbing. No menues you have to step through to get a good sound! For me the CS is one of the best Synths! I will never sell it!
March 14, 2009 @ 11:26 am
I've been feverishly playing a CS-15 for two years now. It's a sharp sounding, thick and bubbly box of awesome. The best part is probably the flexibility of the ADSR envelope, but they told you all about that above. But just for the sake of curious newbies (as I was when i happened upon mine) I played this thing for a good year (with no manual) before I even figured out how to use the ADSR envelope, and I had a blast. This machine isn't the warmest or fattest sounding 80s synth you can find, but it's as versatile as they come, and just plain fun!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.99 (593 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 / Duophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCOs
  • LFO - One with triangle, saw and S&H waveforms
  • Filter - Two multimode (LP/BP/HP). Controlled by either or both ADSRs.
  • Effects - None
  • Keyboard - 37 keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - Dual CV/Gate
  • Date Produced - 1978 - early '80s
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Thanks to Magnus Gladen for providing the review.

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