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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The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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50 Visitor comments
christian
June 13, 2013 @ 10:22 am
Hi. I am looking to buy a Yamaha CS-80. I'm in Denmark, Europe. If you have one for sale please e-mail me: cybercardinal@hotmail.com
shaggles
March 1, 2013 @ 11:53 am
Kate Bush played a CS80 on Never Forever before she became obsessed with the Fairlight. She said the CS80 was the first synth she felt she could express herself on (or something like that) because of the touch sensitivity.
Volker
January 2, 2013 @ 12:52 pm
Most time the CS80 is played soft and slowly. Hear is a video, where it has been played hard and fast - but still a typical CS80:
http://www.tastronauten.de/yamaha-cs-80.html
vver
October 6, 2012 @ 12:40 pm
check out this video of the most iconic sounds of CS-80

i wonder does anyone know the patch parameter settings for these Vangelis trademark patches ? are they factory patches ? the video uploader is not twidlling many knobs...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv4EADAHwOA&NR
brian
July 6, 2012 @ 12:58 am
Keith Emerson did not play a CS-80. He had its predecessor, the GX-1, which was essentially the prototype to the CS series. The GX-1 had 3 manuals, two of which were polyphonic, the third was slightly smaller and monophonic. The synth architecture was similar-sounding.
 
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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
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    Additional information provided by DAC Crowell and Tony Orant.

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