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
April 5, 2010 @ 7:39 pm
Note that this synth has a fixed amount of keyboard tracking on the VCFs.. you can't turn it on or off, it's always on. In addition, the LFO has a sine wave, not a triangle wave. Despite the lack of a switch for tracking, I picked one up and am really impressed with the sound and flexibility for the price!
February 19, 2010 @ 9:40 pm
also used by Die Krupps on their first album, if anyone cares...
September 20, 2009 @ 10:11 pm
Another amazing mono synth from yamaha cs range. not as cool or ballsy sounding as the cs 10 for some reason? but has more available features such as an extra oscillator.i had a go of a moog little phatty lately and was fairly disappointed at the sound from it. compared to the yamaha cs the moog sounded slightly hifi and very clean for being analogue. the cs sonically blew the phatty out of the scene. i would really recommend the cs if your looking into buying a synth.instead of the cs15 try a cs 10 with an extra oscillator plugged in, wow!!!.
September 1, 2009 @ 1:52 am
Just bought a week ago, really pleased! Crazy affordable and unique sounding mono synth with 2 tunable and very stable oscillators. LFO goes well into the audio range offering access to unusual timbres (ring modulator-type effect) as a result. Will never part with this instrument.
June 6, 2009 @ 9:53 am
We have a CS-15, an MS-20, both still quite functional, and distinctly different in sound. (We also have a MonoPoly, which unfortunately has a sick keyboard.) To me, the character of the CS-15 can be summed up as "sweet". I've used it for some really nice treble lead sounds, with a combination of a positive envelope on one VCF, and a negative envelope on the other. It makes for an interesting sound which changes and develops.
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Rated 3.99 (589 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 Perfect Circuit Audio.

    Thanks to Magnus Gladen for providing the review.

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