Yamaha CS-60 Hands-On Demo

This video is an audio demo of a classic Yamaha CS-60 polyphonic analog synthesizer.

The CS-60 was introduced in 1977, priced at US $3999, or about $16,000 in today’s dollars.  It offers 8-voice polyphony, great analog sound and immense hands-on control, but not the additional layers/oscillators and performance capabilities (polyphonic aftertouch) of the CS-80.

The Yamaha CS-60’s synthesis architecture is simple, but very well thought-out, allowing for a tremendous amount of performance expression and immediacy.

Video Notes:

00:00 Slow and deep detune
01:49 That’s more like it
05:15 Squarelling
07:36 Did you saw that? (terrible pun i know)
09:08 Rectangles with Sinusitis
10:21 Doctor Sine to save the day
11:30 noise-R-us
13:52 Don’t ignore me
15:01 Good job, you turned off all oscillators mate
15:17 Square waves in curved oceans
16:28 Under the hood (showing off the voice LED mod, thanks to Golt)
17:05 Tinsel fantasy
18:52 Sawlo
20:36 Silo – with slight oxidation
21:34 Sawdust with square hinges in a bed of sins
22:48 Opening that filter
23:27 Get ready for take off
24:44 Across the horizon
25:54 Pulse 1 (fiery chariots)
27:46 Filter ride
28:46 Put a ring on it
29:06 Pulse 2 (deep)
29:56 R U sure?
31:06 Dusk – Chapel – Dawn
33:47 A square beginning
36:53 Still not done
39:05 Final s(tr)aw, then we’re square

via Metralon

8 thoughts on “Yamaha CS-60 Hands-On Demo

  1. Except showing the specific features and sound of the CS60, one thing that this video makes clear is that there must be a law against the release of any synth without extensive aftertouch features. Aftertouch brings a synth to life, it makes it a playable musical instrument.

      1. What can you do with monophonic aftertouch that you can’t do better with a pedal?

        Also, if you want a MODX with aftertouch, you can get the Montage, which is the same synth on steroids.

        1. Except that the Montage costs a lot more. To answer your question, you can do one thing with aftertouch and a different with a pedal. Not so on the MODX.

  2. What really amazes me about the Yamaha CS synthesizers is how simple their synthesis engine is, yet how amazingly expressive they always sound.

  3. I can easily love this thing, having had time with it and a CS-80. Many synths have great voices, but these two have a feel that invites you to dig in. If you’ve ever played a CS-80, you know what the standard is about when people speak of polyphonic aftertouch. It was pianistic, yet when I went for the poly AT, I could hear each finger. That mechanism doesn’t come cheap or often. Maybe someone will eventually design a broader keyboard AT controller as a more traditional alternative to tools like the Linnstrument. Its a weird and very subjective line to walk. There are ‘normal’ keyboard skills and then there’s being more of an oscillator head. I keep holding on to the hope that someone will suddenly release the ROLI Seaboard version of “The Dark Side of the Moon” and it’ll WORK!

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