Can Any Synth Made In The Last 30 Years Beat The Sound Of The Yamaha CS-80?

Gavin Curtis is in the middle of a Yamaha CS-80 synth restoration project and took time out to record this demo of the monster synth:

My CS-80 restoration project about 1/3 completed and the instrument’s health bar is finally in the green. Most of the systems are working. Enough to present to you what a properly functioning CS-80 should sound like.

Definitely resides in the category “most complex production electronic musical instrument”. Over 200 lbs of printed circuit board and wiring. Less than 800 CS-80s were made due to high cost and complexity. Serial numbers started at 1000 and ended before 1800. My CS-80 is serial number 1306, the 306th unit off the assembly line.

Signal path is the CS-80 —- Lexicon 224XL digital reverberator —- direct line audio feed into Sony HDR-XR520V HD camera.

Sounds huge, doesn’t it?

What do you think? Can any synth made in the last 30 years beat the sound of the Yamaha CS 80?

via gavincurtis

16 thoughts on “Can Any Synth Made In The Last 30 Years Beat The Sound Of The Yamaha CS-80?

  1. Great Caesar’s Ghost!!! Sounds really cool! Can imagine the high degree of poindextering that goes into restoring a behemoth such as that.

    That last section which reveals the compartment of a 1000 sliders, terrifyingly cool.

    Good work, man!

    1. the mini-sliders are models of the larger ones on the right – there are no patches on this machine so that compartment is there for the user to ‘remember’ where all the main sliders positions should be. A small help in taming the beast!

    1. Absolutely amazing. This is definitely the 2nd greatest analog polysynth ever. I still have to give the top prize to the MemoryMoog for sheer face melting POWER. I own one…but now I know what my next Vintage Purchase should be!

    1. Don’t you wonder what it would cost in this day and age to build something equivalent to the Yamaha CS-80?

      The electronics probably could be made drastically cheaper and more reliable, but the controls and the heavy duty build would make it a 10K keyboard.

      Anybody got a knowledgeable guess on what it would cost to build a modern CS-80?

  2. Can a synth built in the past 30 years sound better than the CS-80? Even if it looks like black licorice bridge mix?.

    Grandma had very expensive home organs during my childhood and they were much fun. But nothing was ever as emotional or expressive as this gorgeous instrument (CS-80). Each key is a literal living input. If you have never played a keyboard with a true polyphonic initial AND post polyphonic after-touch expression system…. regardless if it has all the bells, bling, whistles, color displays and star trek back-lit panels; it’s a friendly companion sitting in awe next to the monolithic CS-80.

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