Deckard’s Dream MK2 In-Depth Review

In the latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz takes an in-depth look at the Deckard’s Dream mkII, an analog synth inspired by the design of the CS-80 and its use in the original Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis.

The Black Corporation Deckard’s Dream is an 8-note polyphonic analog synthesizer, where each note is made up of two independent voices. The synthesizer differs in several ways from the architecture of the original Yamaha CS-80, for example, leaving out the original’s iconic ring modulator. It also builds on the CS-80, though, adding things like patch memory, some new expressive options and support for MPE.

In the video, Eliraz demos the Deckard’s Dream with the CXM 1978, a reverb pedal inspired by the classic Lexicon 224 reverb, which Vangelis used on the Blade Runner soundtrack.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:30 Some sounds
4:00 vs CS-80
4:55 Poly aftertouch
8:00 MPE
9:55 Ring mod
10:40 Presets
11:35 vs DDRM MK1
12:35 Dual layers
14:20 Connectivity
14:40 Slider colors
15:50 Oscillators
17:30 Filters
20:10 Envelopes
22:40 Sub osc / LFO
25:25 Port/gliss
25:50 Sustain I/II
27:00 Unison
29:05 JF Sebastian
31:05 Pros, cons
35:35 Outro 1
37:40 Outro 2

Other gear in the video:

  • CXM 1978 by Chase Bliss and Meris
  • XKey Air 37 and WIDI Jack from CME
  • LinnStrument 128 from Roger Linn
  • Midihub from
  • MIDI cables from designacable
  • Stand from Cremacaffe

Pricing and Availability

The Deckard’s Dream MK2 is available to pre-order for $3749, with shipping expected in March 2021.

21 thoughts on “Deckard’s Dream MK2 In-Depth Review

    1. Behringer already announced plans to do a CS-80 knockoff a couple of years ago:

      It copies the CS-80 look, but is a sort of squirrelly compromise, because it keeps the stupid ‘Funky 1’ organ button presets, but doesn’t let you save patches.

      It looks like they are doing what they’ve done with most of their synths, and not updating designs to be programmable, which means that patch memory and cc control is impossible.

      The Behringer plans also show a tiny pitch bend strip, which will make playing accurately kind of iffy.

      The Deckard’s Dream isn’t trying to be a CS-80 knockoff, but a new synth based on the CS-80 voice. So it can do things like have presets for classic Vangelis patches, save your patches and support CC control.

      So the Deckard’s Dream is really designed more for people that want a modern, pro-level synth with the CS-80 sound. The Behringer looks like it will probably be good enough for people that want to ‘scratch that itch’ without committing to pro gear prices.

  1. Its a superior accomplishment as an instrument, but I’d sure miss the keys as a huge part of playing one. At that price, you have to be pretty deeply committed, as you also have to match it with a controller or three that meet its abilities.

    Its easy to be a fan of the legendary synths, but the more I’m drawn to the giant pads in particular, the more I look at the software CS-80 surrogates. Slap a Valhalla reverb on it and you’re mostly there. Large added props for the JF Sebastian, too.

    1. Dave – you may want to check out the HydraSynth or the Osmose.

      2/3rds of what people think of as the ‘CS-80 sound’ is really the fact that it has great poly aftertouch. No modern gear really tries to duplicate the CS-80’s combination of piano style action with aftertouch.

      I’ve played both the HydraSynth and the Osmose, and both immediately put a stupid grin on my face. Both have really nice poly aftertouch implementations, at a time when you can’t buy a synth keyboard with good channel aftertouch.

      An Hydrasynth and a Arturia CS-80 would get you the sound and control, pretty affordably too. A combo like that would have the CS-80 sound with all the modern bells and whistles, just not as a hardware solution.

      I’ve got an Osmose on order and am really interested to see how that works with by Prologue. Unfortunately, the Prologue only maps poly aftertouch to one parameter, so it’s not as flexible as something like the CS-80 or the Deckard’s Dream. So I’ll be interested to see how expressive it sounds and whether it’s enough to get me close enough to what I’m looking for.

      1. I have to agree with the above statement. I have a Hydrasynth as well and can confirm that in addition to being an incredibly good digital synthesizer, it is an expressive controller. It can also transmit pitch, gate, clock and two mod sources over CV to control your analog Eurorack gear if you like. The ribbon and poly AT are magical. The latest OS update gives more refined control of velocity over midi.

        Behringer Intros $699 ARP 2600 ‘Blue Marvin’ & ‘Gray Meanie’ Knockoffs

        Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie are out of production longer than I exist




    1. Unfortunately Synthtopia seems to have wedded itself to the unnecessary and disparaging “knockoff” terminology. “Clone” seems accurate enough without the negative connotations.

  2. I’m waiting for Uli to offer a KineticSound Prism, featuring bubble memory. It was the Solaris of its day, aside from being $45k in 1980 dollars and with only two ever having been built. How about doing the Con Brio? Only two of those were built, either. A mere $30k per unit. The field is wide open.

  3. Of course you need a poly aftertouch keyboard like the CME Xkey used in the video. Has anyone tried using an ASM Hydrasynth to control the mkII?

  4. Why do they always say that the CS80 was used by vangelis on blade runner? We know that now. Are there not any other notable users of that synth? It’s like it’s the main selling point of this synth. «Oh Vangelis used it, I must have it». Am I the only one here finding Vangelis boring?

    1. They can assume that anyone wanting to spend $4,000 to get the CS-80 sound has an idea of what it sounds like and who used it.

      The reason that Vangelis is so associated with the CS-80 is that he not only used the synth prominently for many years, but that he also used many of the synth’s unique features, like its ribbon and ring modulator.

      Other famous users played it more like a traditional keyboard.

Leave a Reply

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