The Yamaha CS80 Synthesizer’s Famous Presets

This video, via BuggySawtooth, takes a look at the famous presets of the Yamaha CS-80, one of the most expressive synths ever created.

Those familiar with the work of Vangelis should recognize these sounds, which are all presets of the Yamaha CS80.

Do you think it’s time for Yamaha to revisit this synth classic?

17 thoughts on “The Yamaha CS80 Synthesizer’s Famous Presets

  1. The problem with “revisiting” a synth from more than three decades ago is what does one mean by that term?

    There would probably be a small coterie of enthusiasts who’d want it made exactly the same as the first time, down to the last resistor.

    Then there’d be a contingent who’d want to preserve the sonic guts but improve the patch storage facilities and take advantage of SMD in places to trim the roughly 220 lbs of weight. Maybe make tuning a bit easier too, if that’s not too much trouble?

    Following them would be a market segment who’d like to see MIDI, a breath controller input, the ability to transfer their DX7 patches to it, want it to act as their PDA, be able to play “Angry Birds” on it, and do a credible emulation of the D-50 “Digital Native Dance” patch. Oh, and they’d want to pay no more than $500, have it be portable under one’s arm and let them sound like Skrillex.

    1. “Following them would be a market segment who’d like to see MIDI, a breath controller input, the ability to transfer their DX7 patches to it, want it to act as their PDA, be able to play “Angry Birds” on it, and do a credible emulation of the D-50 “Digital Native Dance” patch. Oh, and they’d want to pay no more than $500, have it be portable under one’s arm and let them sound like Skrillex.”

      Definitely. It’s got to have that ‘wub wub wub’, run on an iPad and be authentic!

  2. Ahh! The cs-80!!!! this synth changed my life. I loved the cs-80 before i even knew what it was ( bladerunner in a drive in in tucson az.1980’s). If god had a voice it would sound like a cs-80!!! Thank you !!!

  3. i’d appreciate a proper recording via the unit’s line output, so one can begin to appreciate the sonic beauty everybody talks about. with all the background noise from the cam mic, i cannot be bothered watching

    1. I never understood how the phrase “there’s a recession going on” has any particular relevance to product development. It’s precisely during times of recession that R&D should be taking place because input costs are often lower than during economic boom times. The DX7 was developed during the ’80-’82 recession and that was the best selling synthesizer of all time up until the release of the M1.

  4. I strongly suspect that a revisit would be upsetting to the hardcore fan base in much the same way as the Jupiter 80 is. Not that its a bad synth, just nothing to do with the Jupiter 8. I am EXTREMELY willing to be proven wrong. If they did a VA unit with all the switches and knobs I’d consider it. If they did a synth on a chip analog with all the switches and knobs I’d definitely dive in. If they did an authentic discrete component replica then I don’t even have enough organs to sell to afford one but I’d still try.

  5. Heh, this again. Have you not seen the inside of a CS80? Its a mad tangle of spaghetti and a tech’s nightmare to maintain. I’ve played one and yes, its a real dreamboat to experience, but the bloom would come off that rose the first time you saw the bill for a pro tuning. I have yet to play a keyboard aside from the Prophet T8 that FELT as good mechanically, but everything else, incl. a pitch ribbon, can be had in more stable forms now. The CS80 samples you can find and the Arturia CS80v really do get you 90% of the way there. I’ve played and even owned a few great vintage synths and oddballs like the wheezing old Mellotron. Believe me, we are far better off with modern surrogates.

  6. Take the original CS80 analog circuitry, put it in neat integrated circuits, put them all on a single (large?) placketboard, even adding digital reverb or step-sequencing and control it digitally through a front panel full of knobs similar to the original.
    What’s wrong with this scenario?
    Why don’t they do it today?
    Wouldn’t it be cheaper, lighter, more stable and at least 90% same-sounding?
    The important thing is for the keys to have the right response/weight, the aftertouch to have the correct “scaling” and the pitch ribbon the right feel.
    Persuade me that this cannot be produced at a 3000 euros price point (or less).

  7. They’d ruin it. They’d make it digital, put it in a smaller case and do away with all the coloured buttons and switches. And they’d call it the CS-800. Hopeless.

  8. There’s nothing wrong in calling it cs-800, because it would not be a cs-80!
    The problem is:
    why dont they have the balls to do it?

    1-It would be cheaper than the cs-80 for sure.
    2-It would be lighter for sure.
    3-They could make with the same looks if they wanted. keys, colours,size etc
    4-Midi? Saving patches. Why not? What’s wrong?
    5-Haven’t they learned something in this last 35 years to make better, more stable and with the same sound quality?
    6-Let’s be real, even a cs-80 has flaws!Why not improve it, has long as the sound/looks/feel would be almost the same, like minimoog voyager( even less changes).
    7-Yamaha has the bad examples of Roland to learn ( Juno D hi hi hi ,Juno Stage :), Jupiter80:) ), so “the only way is up”.
    8-This is the best time, since the 80’s to launch analog gear.
    9-In these modern times it’s possible to make it upgradable, we could buy it with four voices and then upgrade the synth to 6, 8, 10 or 12 voices, depending on the needs and financial possibilities. David Smith did it with the Evolver, Waldorf wanted to do with the Stromberg! It could be a way to lower the price and justify the investment. If the dont sell it would be a flop, even if it sounded amazing.

    10-Last but not least:It’s important to Yamaha to know that there are a lot of people wanting the cs-80 again! So…do something! Contact Yamaha.

    ps-I have a cp80 and i would love to have a cs80 and i said it countless times to a yamaha representative here in my country. I know he told the japs.Do the same! I bet that 20 years ago there were many people thinking that Moog was over and now they are more alive than ever!
    Let’s do the same to Alesis to bring back the Andromeda.

  9. Hmm, I’ve never played a CS-80, but the Synclavier had the same poly aftertouch keyboard as the Prophet T8, as well as a ribbon controller, and it was lovely.

    Actually, forget Yamaha – I want Roland to bring back the A50 and A80!

    Anyone have any good suggestions for a nice keyboard controller with poly aftertouch and perhaps a ribbon controller?

  10. dreaming here to play my soundtracks with a real cs80,of course
    a lighter one,yep this synth is definetely unique,in other words i try out
    arturia version of yamaha cs80 vst plugin,but theres no improvisation,is
    pretty cold.analogs synths wanted to you to make them cook,in other words
    is like being a chef in the kitchen,being a painter with new color palette,
    create,develop,and of course interact with music in realtime.
    on the other hand ill agree with some of the above lines comments,now a days
    there is midi,and much more with digital interface,why not yamaha try
    to make some kind of popular cs80,in the 21 century is a original sound
    that no synth made nowadays can reproduce with same warm,wise hot and cold
    sound at the same time,i think there is no a proper word to describe such a
    very unique and special sound,just keeping dreaming here.

  11. The Arturia CS-80V is pretty crappy sounding, even with version 2.3. I’ve tried to like it but it never sounds good once you turn off the effects and listen to the actual output by itself. However, the MemoryMoon ME80 VST is much better sounding and can be had for $40. There’s a demo on the MemoryMoon site so you can check it for yourself. It’s not a perfect emulation (the envelope times don’t equate perfectly to the CS80, for instance) but the raw sounds are so much better and you can play very expressively with even channel aftertouch as you can set the aftertouch to the last note played.

    I used the YouTube ‘famous presets’ video (camera audio and all) as a model for my “I Hear You Now” patch on the ME80. As in buggysawtooth’s video, start with the ‘EP’ and ‘Bass1’ presets and start tweaking and you’ll get there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *