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
July 23, 2013 @ 3:21 pm
Great little mono-synth, what I learned analog synthesis on,. bought it in Ottawa in the late 90s no manual,. think I payed nearly $300. I unfortunately sold it a couple years back (2011) when I was in dire need of cash, but I got almost $700 for it! :) (a techno guy in Toronto got it.) Anyway, I will get any of the CS line when I am able, as I really enjoyed the real-time / no memory fun, and it has a vast range of sound capabilities. (there is a mod to put the filters on series too) Looking for a CS-30 to replace it actually, the added sequencer would roc that thing!
May 7, 2013 @ 9:07 am
bought this as I have been missing a flexible mono since I made the mistake to sell my korg MS20 for stupidly little money some years back. the CS15 cost me about what I got for the MS20 in the late 90s.

is it a worthy successor? absolutely. granted, you don't have the exciting patchbay, but the CS15 sounds more mature, bigger and for me turns out to be the more useable machine.
April 8, 2013 @ 9:08 pm
Someone i know found it, he called & asked me if i was keen to spend $200 on CS15 he just found. I was like more than keen & willing to reward him twice the price but unfortunately i kept that idea in silence, Lol. Features are great, multi mode filters are impressive..
I had CS5 (traded to MS20) and still having 30l. Never been disappointed by the good old CS lines.
January 25, 2013 @ 4:22 am
I don't know if this is normal or if I just have really bad luck with old yamah synths - I got one from Ebay (CS5) and it arrived with the ground prong missing from the plug. This week I purchased one locally (CS15) and there also was the ground prong missing from the power plug. Is this normal or does the ground prong actually break off that easy? Or were they manufactured like that in the first place? It just seems very careless to me to not mention that in these ads. A missing ground can cause 60hz hum and pose an electrical shock hazard should something go wrong in the synth. Seriously..
October 3, 2012 @ 3:08 pm
I found one of these at guitar center for $500, it has definitely seen better days, but I quite like the machine. Very feature rich with seemingly endless possibilities for patches. I've programmed sounds on it that I thought I would only find on a digital synth. My only gripe with it is that the oscillators sound a bit nasally to me, but that's a small price to pay for such a fantastic machine.
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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

    Thanks to Magnus Gladen for providing the review.

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