16 thoughts on “Vangelis Uses Presets, Or The Sounds Of The Yamaha CS-80

  1. Was this bloke cleaning his living room, then thought, “I must sit down and play my CS80 I just bought off eBay for a mere £20k” and then in his excitement, forgot to turn off his vacuum cleaner???

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    • Could be fans. I’ve heard that people sometimes modded the CS 80 with cooling fans in an attempt to stabilize the air circulation and hence the tuning.

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  2. I know Vangelis is great and all, but that is all I hear about when reading on forums and watching synth demos!!!!!!! There is more to the synthesizer universe than Vangelis. Sorry. Just my thoughts.

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  3. Vangelis was one of those who got there first, when the CS-80 was a multi-thousand-dollar instrument few could access, so he got to define part of its perceived character. These days, there are fewer such landmarks because software has democratized electronic music so much. You don’t get the same mystery of a synth when its downloadable, compared to fondling an Oberheim 4-Voice in a music store for the first time.

    Even the Beatles used presets, as in the Mellotron loop of “Bungalow Bill,” so its not a fake-out to use a good preset if you apply it with character. Even Vangelis was collaborating with the designers and sound programmers in a sense, so don’t dismiss the merits. However, here’s a tip on originality: don’t use any presets with Vangelis in the name. Its like hearing a muzak version of “Purple Haze” in an elevator.

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    • Great point saying “software has democratized electronic music” today everyone and anyone can do it no magic or technique required..
      I prefer spending the $$ on the real thing because most but not all softsynths sound to “in the box” to me.

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      • It depends on the synth though. If you’re using emulations of older gear then of course you’ll hear a difference…sometimes, but software lets you do things that you can’t easily achieve with hardware. Want 128 voice polyphony on a subtractive synth? Try doing that with analogue gear. The heat generated from the oscillators would probably melt the case! Then there’s the synths that use entirely new concepts, like Tone2 RayBlaster or the Malstrom synth in Reason. Not all softsynths are created equal, but just because a synth is software doesn’t automatically make it “worse” than hardware. I wouldn’t trade my softsynths for anything.

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  4. Vangelis not only was the first person to get the CS80 which was shipped via train through Russia. But he he made it his own. He bought several units and as evident on the video, those presets were manipulated and weren’t played as they are. Vangelis never likes to discuss how he makes his sounds or what he uses. I think that should be honored because it’s like giving away secrets of movie fx. I am myself influenced by Vangelis and own many synthesizers and as much as I love his music I rather not know.

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  5. I think you’re missing one small piece of the puzzle. “How” he gets his sounds is all but irrelevant. I could pretty much build any of his classics within a few minutes. Detuning sawtooth waves and adding some LFO wobble is part of Synth 101. The CS-80s design & ribbon make some great things possible, but its his ideas that breathe life into them. There’s no secret to it, except parsing the balance between knowing the gear technically and giving it a worthy voice. Besides, Vangelis is uniquely gifted and highly experienced. The only thing any of us should “worry” about emulating is his sense of romance. The synth world could use a little more of that in the mix.

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    • Well said!
      The instruments simply serve the musical ideas which are born in the composer’s mind/heart.

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  6. Vangelis was there ahead of other people with the Emulator samples, as well. There is a loop playing in the Bladerunner bar scene that we wondered about when we first heard it – ‘where the hell would you use that?’. Vangelis knew where.

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  7. the key of cs80 is the wreaking chorus mixed with white noise …
    add some poor chorus/flange/phaser and white noise generator in chained gate to your favorite synth ,
    Et Voilà ! music àlaVangelis !

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  8. It’s true that Vangelis may be the most known user maybe for the popularity he got, even more in the eighties with Chariots of fire or Blade Runner among the most famous. The CS 80 seems to be in fact more heard in his previous albums like “Spiral” and “China”, and also “Odes”, “See you later”, “Apocalypse des animaux” and then “Antarctica” or “Soil festivities” very heavily.
    Interesting is maybe to take an ear to other artists who uses on their music around 1980, like the early Toto albums until IV (maybe Brass sounds), Barclay James Harvest “Eyes of the Universe”, “Turn of the Tide”, Tony Banks probably on his solo album “A curious feeling” and maybe on Genesis album “Duke”, also albums of Electric Light Orchestra like “Discovery” and “Time” and also the works with Eddie Jobson with UK, on Jethro Tull’s “A” and his solo works. Great stuff also with Klaus Schulze from 1980 on his Live album. There was also a swiss prog group who used it a lot called “Flame Dream”, probably more that I missed, but a lot of people couldn’t afford it because of it’s high price then – everywere the sound is very carateristic and impressive.

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