Yamaha CS-15

Yamaha CS-15 Image
VSE Rating
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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.

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.

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 Prices for CS-15

Demos & Media

Yamaha CS-15 Synthesizer Demo
Yamaha CS-15 Video Demo Part 1
ManualDownload the original owner's manual from SoundProgramming.net.


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


Images from Perfect Circuit Audio.

Thanks to Magnus Gladen for providing the review.