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!

Lookup Yamaha CS-80 Prices

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50 Visitor comments
N.Todd
June 30, 2012 @ 6:22 pm
You can see Steve Porcaro from Toto playing one of these in the "Rosanna" video, as well as some of their earlier live sets.
Synth Freak
June 14, 2012 @ 3:35 pm
"Arturia's CS-80V - an amazing, totally authentic and realistic software synth plug-in modeled after the CS-80"

Haha. Very funny.

Arturia's plugins (ALL of them) are highly overrated. As rado said, lots of cheaper VST, even the free ones, sounds far closer to the real thing than do Arturia's plugins.
Modeled after, probably. But sonically far inferior.
Kevin
June 9, 2012 @ 10:00 am
Uh, have you ever heard of Keith Emerson? One of earliest adopters and most famous users of the CS-80? Just wondering, since you're the only commentator on this synthesizer who has never mentioned him in a discussion of it..
RAdo
June 1, 2012 @ 9:01 am
Just compare preset buttons on real thing and arturia (witout effects on) and you will clearly see what's arturia so convincingly replicating. It is not the CS80 i am affraid. Even cheap ME80 VST sounds closer to real yamaha than Arturia.
vay
December 5, 2011 @ 5:07 pm
U.K. has also used it. Listen to Nevermore. Great CS-80 playing from 3:20 onwards.
And yeah, it's a great piece of electronics ... well, mostly cables. I've played it and carried it :) Never owned one though. There are some unique features I've never seen later, at least to with that astonishing dynamics.
Cheers!
 
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Rated 4.58 (1365 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 - 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
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    Additional information provided by DAC Crowell and Tony Orant.

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