Yamaha CS-80

Yamaha CS-80 Image

A very old and very huge (over 200 lbs.) classic synthesizer. Considered Japans first great synthesizer. It had some pretty amazing features for its time such as eight voice polyphony, patch memory storage and polyphonic aftertouch. It can generate great analog strings, brass, drones and pads with that instantly recognizable classic polysynth sound. No synth sounds greater. Some examples of its extremely fat sound can be heard in "Blade Runner" and "Mutiny on the Bounty" by Vangelis as well as "Dune" by Toto. The thing that really made this synth sound so powerful was its "natural" detuning....thus its brass and string sounds were unparalleled not only for authenticity, but for pure width! Unfortunately for the CS-80, it was released the same year as the more programmable and cheaper Prophet 5.

With two analog oscillators per voice, the CS-80 has the potential for some really thick sounds! A great VCF (filter) with independent hi pass and low pass resonant filters, a powerful ring modulator and plenty of modulation controls further enhance the CS-80's sonic potential. There are 22 preset sounds (6 user) selected from bright and ugly colored buttons above the keyboard. The keyboard is weighted and has a full 61 keys with performance controllers for vibrato, pitch, brightness and volume. Surprisingly there's also a long ribbon controller for the pitch-bending, located above the keyboard. There is no MIDI or cv/gate control. The only way to MIDI it is via a rather complex retrofit receive-only kit from Kenton.

Yamaha CS-80 Image

It has been used by Vangelis, Chicago, Jethro Tull, Kraftwerk, Ultravox, Bon Jovi, Simple Minds, Paul McCartney, Michael McDonald, Brian Eno, Toto, Eddie Jobson, Doug Johnson (Loverboy), The Crystal Method, Jean Michel Jarre, Geoffrey Downes (Yes, Asia), Rick Wakeman, Stevie Wonder, Phish, Daft Punk, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Tony Banks of Genesis.

Check out Arturia's CS-80V - an amazing, totally authentic and realistic software synth plug-in modeled after the CS-80, with major enhancements including stereo voices, non-drifting oscillators, advanced modulation abilities, MIDI/Tempo sync, patch memory, total recall, controller automation, and much more - all for less than $250!

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50 Visitor comments
DuaLeaD
February 7, 2011 @ 4:10 am
Electric Light Orchestra used the legendary Yamaha CS-80 on their classic 1981 concept album "Time". Listen to "Another Heart Breaks", absolutely stunning work!!
FlametopFred
January 20, 2011 @ 12:16 pm
I was lucky enough to own two of these (bought cheap when everyone sold analogue gear to buy DX-7's and Emulators). One for right hand, one for left hand. Not only is the sonic engine unique, but the control surface and velocity/aftertouch keyboard is a pretty important part of the "sound and feel" of the CS-80.

In more recent years I have found the Electone E-70 and E-75 to be very good "siblings" of the CS-80 and retain many of the same sounds - - with the added bonus of dual sound banks, keyboard coupling, separate CS-80 bass synth, drum machine and arpeggiator.
mike
December 15, 2010 @ 9:54 pm
I dunno if this is correct but in my Coldplay X&Y inlay there's a (maybe) picture of a CS-80 did they use the synth?
weekapaugrooven
July 28, 2010 @ 3:33 pm
This IS the greatest synthesizer ever made. Period. Long live the remaining CS-80's that are in existance today. If you own one, consider yourself lucky to have the fattest syntheszier ever created.

And just a quick note - Page McConnell from Phish does not use the CS-80, he uses the CS-60.
Mike
July 13, 2010 @ 12:04 pm
Lol i think this synth was used in the Theme for Scarface
 
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  • 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 - 8 times two patches
  • Oscillators - saw, square, sine wave, noise, PW and PWM, LFO
  • LFO - 5 waveform function LFO can modulate either or all of VCO, VCF and VCA
  • Filter - HP, res, LP, res, filter ADR envelope
  • VCA - mix in for the VCF out and the sine, ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 weighted keys w/ velocity and polyphonic aftertouch
  • Memory - 4 Patches
  • Control - external modulation input
  • Date Produced - 1977-79
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Perfect Circuit Audio.

    Additional information provided by DAC Crowell and Tony Orant.

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