Yamaha CS-80

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Yamaha CS-80
Manufactured byYamaha
Dates1977 - 1980
Technical specifications
Polyphony8 voices
Oscillator2 per voice
LFO1 multi-waveform
Synthesis typeAnalog Subtractive
Filter1 high-pass
1 low-pass
AftertouchYes, polyphonic
Velocity sensitiveYes
Memory22 preset
6 user
Keyboard61-note with velocity
and aftertouch sensitivity
(on a per note rather than
per patch basis)
Left-hand controlribbon controller
External controlnone

The Yamaha CS-80 was a polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1977. It sported true 8-voice polyphony (with two independent synthesizer layers per voice) as well as a primitive (sound) settings memory based on a bank of micropotentiometers (rather than the digital programmable presets the Prophet-5 would sport soon after), and exceptionally complete performer expression features, such as a splittable keyboard that was both velocity-sensitive (like a piano's) and pressure-sensitive ("after-touch") but unlike most modern keyboards the aftertouch could be applied to individual voices rather than in common, and a ribbon controller allowing for polyphonic pitch-bends and glissandos. This can be heard on the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, in which virtually all the sounds are created from the CS-80.

The CS-80 is known as being one of the heaviest self-contained analog synthesizers, weighing over 200 lb (91 kg). This vast instrument is notoriously tricky to service, as there are fewer and fewer engineers capable of CS-80 upkeep. One of the most notable issues is the tuning, if moved with anything but care the keyboard will detune. For this reason they should be serviced at their usual location or at a reputable shop. These days the CS-80 is mostly owned by studios and collectors who wish to preserve this unique machine. The current price on the market for a mint Yamaha CS-80 is around 4,000 to 15000GBP (with MIDI versions costing even more).

The CS-80 was discontinued in 1980.

Notable users

  Dave Greenslade. The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony.
  • Peter Howell, in creating the 1980s version (used until 1986) of the Doctor Who theme tune.
  • Vangelis
  • Stevie Wonder
  • David Bowie
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Eddie Jobson
  • Gary Numan on Telekon album only
  • Tommy Mars (in Frank Zappa's band)
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • Paul McCartney
  • 10cc
  • Kate Bush
  • John Foxx on The Garden
  • Tori Amos on her 2007 album American Doll Posse.
  • Coldplay (on X & Y).
  • Saga (band)
  • Toto_(band) Toto IV Africa, Rosanna
  • Camel (band)
  • Eddie Rayner of Split Enz

French company Arturia created a software emulation of this synthesizer in 2003 called "CS-80 V".

External links