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.

Lookup Yamaha CS-15 Prices

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40 Visitor comments
September 26, 2012 @ 5:06 am
@"still baffled as to how someone just could just give this away"

lucky you - and good you enjoy it.

it sure is a good way to learn about analogue synths since despite its compact size, it is a very complete synth, limited polyphony aside. plus it won't bore you to death once you mastered the basics because, as some of the other guys wrote already, it is actually very complex at second glance.

chose your 2nd synth wisely, cause this one is a hard act to follow :)
September 14, 2012 @ 3:18 pm
GREAT SYNTH! My very first analog synth, have had it for almost a week now. my city had "free giveaway weekend", last week. (neighbour two doors down had it sitting on his curb, with a sign saying "free, it works" ) could not believe it! Naturally scooped it up as soon as I saw it. One mans trash is another mans treasure, I guess. Simply amazing though, Lots of fun. Love the possibilities, great sounding. Very simple to use- Love the filters. The audio-input is a great feature, the oscillators sound really nice and fat. - still baffled as to how someone just could just give this away
September 7, 2012 @ 6:35 pm
Great synth! Does anyone know if it can work safely off N American 110v power as opposed to its 100v power?
p laskey
September 4, 2012 @ 2:05 pm
I'm not sure about "extremely low prices" - someone with a strange sense of humour was listing one on ebay until a few days ago (now sep. 4) for £100,000... no bids obviously.
August 2, 2012 @ 2:09 pm
omfg! a great-sounding, inspiring box of delights and surprises. just when i thought i knew her -- BAM!! -- i added a kenton CV-to-MIDI box, which can turn the cs-15 into TWO monosynths. i play one of them normally and the other via midi keyboard or sequencer. too much fun.

it'll get even better when i mod it, installing jacks to control the filters via midi and putting the filters in series for a fat 24dB filter or two 12dB filters for HPF > LPF ms20 craziness.

you don't need the mods or CV box, but they'll make this great synth superb. can't recommend it more highly. i'm in love.
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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