4 thoughts on “The Yamaha CS-50 Presets

  1. Marc says to always program your own sounds and to never use presets. Hey, we only have an average 70-year lifespan! I understand what he means; I started with “just” a MiniMoog and always had to fly by stick. Once I landed a Prophet-600, memory banks became king and not because I was lazy, quite the opposite. I was ecstatic to hear numerous things I liked that were close to what was in my head. It meant I could leap ahead and focus more on the NOTES again, instead of reinventing the wheel every time. He’s right up to a point, because its easy to get lazy in the midst of such abundance. However, most of us will “always need” pianos, strings and percussion. That leaves the more deeply creative, purely-synth patches, which you SHOULD build at least half the time and tweak into shape-for-use the other half. I use presets, some unaltered. So what? Context defines an enormous amount of what you hear. Its not illegitimate to apply the collaboration represented by using a patch from a great programmer whom you paid for their work. If you can make a good musical statement of it, the rest is secondary. After all, its called synthesis. If you’re not using numerous techniques and resources the same way you’d shuffle a deck of cards, you aren’t doing it right! 😛

    This is a good video series. It shows you not only how great classic synths were, but how great they WEREN’T in some areas. It also demonstrates how the merest tweaks can change the game notably, which is your very best “secret weapon”. Nice work, Marc.

    1. And don’t forget a live situation. When you want to play a number of songs you will thank the engineers for including presets/patch memory in your machines. Or think of (church) organ players: What they do is basically the creative use of presets by engaging different registers on their instrument.

  2. Proof that Marc Doty can make even presets sound good. I love how Marc has such a passion for synths and teaching about synths. Plus it helps that he happens to be good at them, and has such a great voice for what he has to say.

  3. You guys are so nice! Thank you very much.

    Yes, I do have an anti-preset cant. But it’s mostly for encouragement in regard to synthesis, you know! It makes me sad that so much went into creating a device which allows you to sculpt sound, and so many people let others do the sculpting for them! I just want to encourage people to dive into synthesis and learn how to get what they want!

    I once owned two of these CS-50s. I had the one, and then I realized how desperately I wanted to perform live with the thing… it is REALLY ideal for live performance (in every way… except weight!). In live performance, I DID rely on the presets… but only in instances where the switch between sounds happened in such a way that I simply couldn’t figure out a way to patch quickly enough on the fly. Of course, that wasn’t the norm… but it happened!

    I also, occasionally, use presets… just never with analog synths!

    But anyway, thanks again, guys… I really appreciate what you have to say!

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