Secrets Of The Yamaha CS-80 Synthesizer

In this video, Bell Tone Synth Works founder Alison Stout takes an in-depth look at the technology behind the preset, memory, and panel sound selection works in legendary Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer.

Bell Tone Synth Works (BTSW) is n electronic musical instrument repair workshop in Philadelphia, PA, specializing in restoration and repair of vintage synthesizers and organs.

You can find the diagrams and schematics discussed in the video at the BTSW site.

8 thoughts on “Secrets Of The Yamaha CS-80 Synthesizer

  1. Great presentation, Alison! Its fascinating, but a CS-80 or Mellotron with the lid up is also a horrifying tangle. No wonder CS-80 repair once put so many techs’ kids through college! I’ve had a chance to demo the real things briefly. They definitely have a unique magic, but as a mere mortal, I’m much happier to have them as software. It doesn’t weigh 200 pounds, either.

  2. Unfortunately software emulation alone doesn’t do it. The real beauty of the CS80 was the polyphonic aftertouch. Sadly, it’s all but non-existent. Yes, we have MPE but it’s relegated to crappy 49 synth action keyboards. Only the Osmose look to come close to real control.

    Using: RD-2000, Logic Pro X, Omnisphere, Keyscape, Komplete 12, CFX Lite, Arturia V, Pigments, ME80, VPS Avenger, u-he Diva, Hive2, Roland Cloud, OB-E, OP-X, 27” Retina iMac

    Sold: Korg: Kronos 88, T3, MS20, Yamaha: Motif XS8, Motif ES8, Motif 8, KX88, TX802, Oberheim: Modular 8 Voice, OBXa, OB8, Prophet 5, Roland D50, Dyno-My-Rhodes, Crumar T2

    1. Software emulation “does it” for all but those with the most discriminating ears, which leaves out 99.99% of music listeners.

      1. I think he’s talking more about the playing experience, as opposed to sonic comparison. Software can get pretty damn close to the sound in a lot of cases, but the playing experience isn’t the same at all.

  3. motif88 is right about the Osmose. Playing a real CS-80 was a uniquely creamy experience. An Osmose and a Deckard’s Dream module would come the closest in modern terms, giving you everything but the pitch strip and the 200-pound megasynth aroma.

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