Behringer Announces Plan To Clone Yamaha CS-80

Behringer today announced that it’s cloning the Yamaha CS-80.

In a message on Facebook, they announced that they’re moving forward with a design prototype:

Around a month ago we acquired an original and long extinct Yamaha CS80 and ever since we’ve been working on coming up with our own DS80 version.

Please bear in mind that this will be a design study only and we love to get your feedback before we decide how to move forward. We will be sharing our design in the next few days.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Behringer head Uli Behringer last week shared several teaser images of a vintage Yamaha CS-80, without discussing their intentions.

Now the company says that it will, at the very least, be cloning the classic polysynth as a Behringer DS-80 design study.

Update: The company has now shared its initial drafts fro the DS-80 synthesizer:

Company head Uli Behringer says:

Here is our DS-80 design draft;

Multi-Timbral 8-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer with Dual Channels per Voice, Polyphonic Aftertouch,Ribbon Controller and Patch Memory

We want to be absolutely clear that this a very complex synthesizer project and it is at a very early stage. It will take us a long time to complete, however we are committed to deliver.

Why are we showing you this project at such an early stage? We believe that including you in the design process from the very beginning while help us and the synthesizer community to create a better product – and that’s all that matters to us.

Thank you for your participation and now let us hear your feedback… Uli

72 thoughts on “Behringer Announces Plan To Clone Yamaha CS-80

  1. I used to diss Berhinger, then I bought the DM12 desktop, it has become one of my fav synths. Affordable, rack mountable, powerful and well made. Will definitely check out any of their actually available to purchase stuff with an open mind, but this seems pretty far off at this point.

    1. Except they’ve shipped a budget poly, a $300 Minimoog synth module, an original synth module design, their VP330 clone and their SH101 clone – already more than anybody else has done in the same time.

      If they had not shipped all of these synths, people wouldn’t be so anxious for them to ship more.

    2. Right? The UB-Xa and Jupiter clones? Keep announcing clones of legends, and releasing desktop modules and mono synths. I’ll believe it when I can play it.

  2. “Announces Plan To Clone ” welll the list is long…how about making “finished”, instead of dreaming?

    1. Sure the UB-xa has taken quite some time. But that was a side project. The risk is that this will be sort of that as well.

      On the other hand, if Roland and Yamaha had told us about their plans on an early design stage, some of their releases would have been vastly different upon release, or perhaps canceled because of the feedback they would have gotten on forums.

      1. So the CS-80 and Jupiter 8 are “side projects” as well?

        It seems that Behringer’s release announcements are getting more fantastic as time goes on. They say “We finally got our hands on a Synclavier. We’re looking into making our own version” and the web goes nuts with congratulations and praise for “saving” us from all of the other evil companies.

        It’s bizarre.

        1. I have apparently missed the announcement of the Jupiter 8 clone. I just saw the Christmas gift Jupiter 8 post, and then loads of speculations. I never saw any announcement for the Jupiter 8 clone, or as in this case design study.

  3. Fantastic news. Well done Behringer.
    The school day’s dreams of owning the mega synths of the day is finally coming true.
    With this, the OBX-a and maybe a prophet 5 on the cards, just do a Memorymoog and I can die happy.

    Who cares if it takes a couple of years to appear? I’m pleased there’s a company out there giving the people what they want to play.

  4. GoGoGo!

    Deckard’s Dream didn’t fully cover it as a clone, so there is hope again now. Will they beat Yamaha to thenpunch, who were also ‘considering’, just recently? Did they get the rumours about Behringer’s plans already.
    Exciting!

    1. Perhaps they were in a bidding war over the CS-80 that Behringer got, and understood that Behringer may have intentions to do something with it.

      On the upside, now Yamaha can focus on making the “new CS-80” something else than just a CS-80 with surface mounted components, as Behringer will be able to make the same product but cheaper.

        1. Behringer better than Yamaha? Are you serious? Although I’m Roland fan, I can tell you for sure, 100% sure that Yamaha’s designs are always the best, ALWAYS. I disassembled and repaired by my hands about 100 digital and analogue synths from 70s to 2000s, so I can compare. There are no other manufacturer in the world that can compete Yamaha if we count all parameters – design, sound, quality, price, warranty etc.

          P.S. Telling that Behringer is better than Yamaha is the same thing that to pretend that Daewoo is better than Lexus.

  5. If it was anyone else I would dismiss it, but I am sat here playing with my Behringer Model D which is an almost perfect clone of a Moog Model D and I paid just under £250 for it. Fo the first time it is possible that we could have the actual CS-80 sound for a cost most people will be able to afford (and with SMT, a smaller, lighter package with USB etc). What not to like, fingers crossed. But while we wait…I have money ready for the Odyssey – where is it!!!

  6. Main thing of the CS80 is the user interface together with the touch strip and poly aftertouch.
    Just putting the sound engine into a tiny enclosure will not give one much more options than a Deepmind or a CS80 plugin.

  7. I’ve zero physical experience with a CS80, but what I know from years of GAS is “it’s a players instrument”, which I think means that 50% the magic is in the physical interface, and the fingers. All those elements such as the hefty keys with that long key throw, the specific aftertouch implementation, the large controls, all that stuff. I don’t think a standard Behringer keybed is going to give that necessary feel or response.
    I’m 80% sure Behringer can make an SMD “tribute” which produces very similar tones, I’m not so convinced they can make the playing interface right, I’m not at all convinced that the mass of potential customers themselves have what it takes to play a CS80!
    By that I mean: I play piano like a dog so how would I manage to play a CS80 like Vangelis?

    1. Well I don’t know what happened to Wax midi, they had a solution for polyphonic aftertouch and velocity, that from my understandings could be possible to combine with real wooden piano keys (or plastic ones for that matter)

      Behringer could have a chance to get serious about midi-keys, by getting that patent.
      Though I think I would rather like to see it in the hands of Kawai or perhaps Yamaha, both of which have some really nice hybrid pianos with soundboard speakers (making the soundboard vibrate)… Kawai also has great action on their controllers, digital pianos and stage pianos, I’m not as impressed with yamaha in that regard.

      I would rather like to see the CS-80 type action in a separate controller, perhaps with a ribbon controller. And the synth built in to a module, perhaps with a ribbon controller. That way people could chose the action they want.

      1. The VAXMIDI was plagued with manufacturing problems, and after many attempts to correct issues and multiple attempts at producing parts within spec, they were unable to bring it home.The company put in a very sincere effort (I’m convinced of this), but they just had a lot of bad luck. I was out about $500, which was disappointing.

        Their technology involved an IR or light sensor, and the key motion would break the stream to generate velocity, then provide some post-attack aftertouch sensing via a slit that would allow more or less light through based on pressure. It was a clever idea, but it didn’t work in practice. It COULD work, but would require more R & D.

        I like your idea of Behringer (or preferably, some other major manufacturer) buying that design from Infinite Response, and making a great MIDI controller sans synth. If it borrowed from CS-80 and VAX MIDI, but also worked really well, that would be a great option. Then release the CS-80 as a desktop.

        1. I don’t remember the system relying on light, I thought it measured electrical resistance or something like that, can’t remember, so you might be right.

          I’m sure if someone put a bit of R&D in to it, they would be able to solve it… Guess Yamaha or Fatar, would probably be better candidates than Kawai, as Kawai don’t do synths och synth controllers…
          I’m sure it would also be possible to integrate capacitive sensors in to a top layer of keys and still have a piano key feel, to enable up and down slide and side to side action.

  8. obviously, playability of sounds will be essential for true CS80 sound. but as long as there will be proper MIDI and MPE implementation, with so many modern controller options around (unlike tghe late 70s!!!), where is the problem?

  9. I’m waiting for: Sequential Pro one, Oberheim OBXA, Arp Odyssey, Arp 2600, Arp Solina, Prophet V, Farfisa Compact duo, Vox Continental. I think, with these clones, i can also die happy. The Model D is really very convincing…

  10. the right term is “vaporware”
    hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed

    1. You have misunderstood that term, it is only applicable to products that will never come to life.
      I do think that Behringer will do the Design-Study (DS for short) -80. But the expected production price, will be a key factor on whether they make a version to be sold to the public. Behringer has made a lot of Design Studies, that they then have promised to release, many of which are yet to reach the market, and could end up as vaporware, if they never are released. I really can’t see why you would doubt that Behringer will make a Design Study of the CS-80.

      1. Thats right…I mean korg announced a new volca, yet here we are discussing a CS80 clone…the volca has a tube in it too!!!

      2. Right, because they’re stealing the thunder from all of the other people making CS-80 clones.

        ¯\_(?)_/¯

        1. The aforementioned thunder-stealing refers to Yamaha’s testing the waters about their exploration of a CS-80 re-issue.

  11. Keep the poly aftertouch. Replace the presets with a modern digital patch storage system, WITH THE ORIGINAL TABS AS THE FIRST BANK THAT CAN”T BE ERASED! Keep all of the appearance, user interace, ribbon etc. And PLEASE reduce the weight!

    1. Oh yes, a few more requests. It there is room, pitch and mod wheels. And digital effects like reverb and chorus, in addition to the original analog effects.

  12. Nice, will be very interested on how they make this 220 pound unreliable behemoth into a modern usable synth.

    1. clearly north of 1000 euros/dollars, how far up it goes is the question Behringer will be trying to answer, that is the reason they are building a design study, so they can model a potential production line for doing the same product with mass production. If they can do it for less than 2000, I think they will consider releasing it. Above that, I’m not sure, perhaps under some (new) premium brand in the Musictribe family.

      1. For less than 2000 euros/dollars I like to subscribe for a Behringer ds-80…
        But Yamaha is also thinking about a CS-80 remake… What to do now?
        I’ll wait for the best remake, considering also the price, of course…
        Maybe Yamaha will remake it only for the “happy few” of rich people…
        so my choice will rapidely be made… Come on Behringer!
        Or when Yamaha focus on a new market of a lot of new owners for a reasonable price : come on Yamaha!
        Come on, both of you!!! Make us a new cs-80 synthesizer.
        Let Reborn The Emperor of Synthesizers!

  13. I still think they should do a mono version, dual layer of it first, with some patch-points on it.
    They could probably have such a product in shows in less than a year, perhaps even on the market in that time.
    That would also allow them to do some tweaks to the voice, perhaps mainly the filters or added OSC per layer, but still allowing the original sounds when the new reach or options in the sections aren’t used and see if people would prefer that version over the one trues to the original. The sounds could be demoed polyphonically by poly chaining or splitting and channel cycling (would allow for poly aftertouch from compatible playing surface).

  14. First difficulty is to find a keyboard with good polyphonic after-touch.
    I have an old VFX but the keyboard is a bit hard to use with AT.

    1. Agreed. There are examples from the past, but for some reasons (cost, demand, I imagine) they have not made their way into recent & present designs. Could be done.

      I am a HUGE fan of polyphonic aftertouch, and actually would love to see a new keyboard that exploits the new MIDI 2.0 spec with multiple per-note control streams including pressure and other dimensions of control. However, I’ve gotten the impression that I am in a slim minority. And that most people don’t care about it.

      I guess the question is whether that minority is still a significant group, and whether they’d show up for some high-quality expressive controller if one was produced.

  15. Stupid in so many ways! Why doesn’t Uli command his forces to produce NEW amazing synthesizers instead of just shameless ripping off old amazing synthesizers?

    1. Because people have been asking the original manufacturers for reissues of these synths for decades and other than Korg’s incredibly limited MS-20/MS-20M runs none of them have even pretended to listen to the demand. There are plenty of other companies putting out interesting/new synths, I don’t see the problem with Behringer filling the demand for vintage stuff.

    2. Why do pharmaceutical companies make generic versions of drugs when the patent expires? Because the drugs obviously are important in some way and those companies want to make them available to people who need them at a lower cost. If you needed some medication would YOU only get the original from the manufacturer or would you be happy to get a generic drug at a lower cost? Do YOU complain about pharmaceutical companies who make generic drugs because they don’t come up with something new and original?

  16. Yamaha lost their chance, had over 45 years to do this clone. Deckard’s Dream is amazing but I’m more excited to see what Uli does with it. Should be closer to the original.

    Never thought I would end up with a studio of all Behringer products.

  17. yawn… even all those native speakers among the readers don’t seem to understand the meaning of “this will be a design study only”…

    “Deckard’s Dream is amazing […]” — no, it is not.

  18. CW : “it is a way for Behringer to constantly stay in the news and steal other manufacturer’s thunder.”

    Pretty convinced it’s exactly that. He announced the Odyssey just after Korg announced theirs, the D just after MOOG announced theirs, now the BS-80 just after YAMAHA said they were thinking of doing it…

    Unless it’s a secret code to tell us it’s the 80th BS ? 😉

    Hostile behaviour…

  19. I’m somewhat amazed that everybody seems to accept as a fact that the CS80 can only come to life in the hands of a real player. So you need all the extra controls and the chops. Sure, Vangelis did something unique with the CS80, but does that cover all it can do? I mean, I’m no player, but I can coax the most glorious pads out of Arturia’s CS80 software (if that is anything to go by) Sounds like nothing else.

    So if Behringer decides to just do the synth engine, I think it would still be very unique synth. Maybe do a desktop version, but make it ready for all the extra controls, so those who want that, can get it from an advanced external keyboard.

  20. Well, of all the offerings they’ve proposed, this one is by far the most ambitious. I also agree with the characterization of the CS80 as a “players instrument”, with the noted importance of poly-AF, and to some extent the touch strip for expression. I have the Arturia softsynth I enjoy playing from time to time. Not a big softsynth fan, but this is the closest I could get to a CS80. You still get a distinctly CS80 flavor even without the high-end tactiles.

    Interestingly, there hasn’t been as much emphasis on the rocker switches, paddle switches, and long throw slider aspects of CS80 playability. Those sliders and those big fondlable rocker and paddle switches add much to the expense, as would a poly-AF keybed. They could seriously reduce cost this by going an inexpensive path with these components.

    A Deckard’s Dream, while not a CS80 is of the similar caliber, is $3,749.0 with cost reductions to 3 cm sliders – which while accurate enough for sound design, is less likely to be a satisfying throw for playability.

  21. .. it has to be full scale and the control/interface has to be similar to the original hardware. The CS80 is not about the tone as much as other vintage synths such as the OB-X, P5 or Memorymoog. It’s all in the inteface and expressive features.

  22. I owned the original and I got to say it was so
    dynamic and powerful. It shook the room
    at every gig we played. We had a 4 piece UK/
    Tull cover band. The CS80 and C3 Hammond,
    2 122 Leslie’s. It was heavy in weight and sound and so worth it.

  23. I would really like to see the purists complain, when Behringer will hit the market with a 1000$ CS-80 clone.

  24. For complete authenticity, it should also drift by a major third if the ambient temperature rises by 2 degrees and anyone sneezes within 15 feet of it.

  25. I really hope this happens.

    What we do need if this happens is a superb polyphonic aftertouch keyboard and the level of control a CS80 offers.

    I would also like to see a monophonic CS50/60/80 voice module, a smaller CS50 style keyboard and the big CS80. Add the normal modern embellishments such as din and usb midi, etc

    I’ve had to hold off buying any of the Behringer synths for now purely down to too many other financial commitments. Most of them so far are on my want list including the Model D, DM12, VC340 and MS101.

    As much as there has been a lot of negativity towards Behringer, they are to be commended for offering what many of us have been asking for for years (decades even in my case!!). The fact that they can make them affordable for most is even better.

  26. Go Behringer! What next – a Synthex? Synthi 100? Just kidding, but surely a Prophet 5 at some point please.

  27. Uli,
    Could you build it with the actual lid over the preset section on the left side? It would be so classy 🙂

  28. Be good to lose the manual presets and replace with digital storage. Also a pitch bend and assignable mod wheel would be handy. Does it need to look like a CS80 to be a CS80?

  29. It would be great to know how work is progressing. Really very much hoping that this project hasn’t been dropped?

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