Inside The Yamaha CS-80 Synthesizer

In his latest video, composer and synthesist Anthony Marinelli talks with synth tech Rob Rosen about the classic Yamaha CS-80 synthesizer.

The video features features a demo of the CS-80 and its unique sound, along with a look inside the synth, revealing why it’s a monster to maintain.

Video Summary:

“In this video, we learn about the grandaddy of them all, the CS-80! It’s an amazing design inside and out. It functions entirely in the analog realm without any software intervention.

I’ll demonstrate the Yamaha CS-80 panel features and then Rob’s exclusive intimate and detailed tour inside the instruments begins. He starts by going inside the CS-80, “Under the Hood”, to explore miles of wiring, the rack of cards, master boards, below the keyboard, velocity, aftertouch, DAC, key code assigner, TSB boards, TKC boards, KAS boards, dedicated effects boar, output board and ring modulator.

Rob teaches us how the unique oscillator boards function, including how they regulate pitch and change waveforms, We’ll also deep dive into the sensors on each key that allow for polyphonic aftertouch. We’ll see the VCF’s and VCA’s and learn about the importance of regulating temperature to keep everything stable. Rob shows us how he matches the uniquely different voices in the CS-80 to make the instrument perform more consistently. We’ll learn why these instruments cost so much to build from scratch and what it takes to keep them thriving today.”

Topics covered:

:00 Intro
1:05 Anthony Plays he CS-80
8:01 A Trip Inside the CS-80
10:09 Under the Keyboad
18:49 Rob removes the boards
29:02 Preset Boards
29:29 Deckard’s Dream Revealed
32:05 Rebuilding a CS-80 from Scratch
35:55 Sliders and Knobs Boards
37:17 How Rob Learned to be a Technician

6 thoughts on “Inside The Yamaha CS-80 Synthesizer

  1. I love the sound and have two software versions, but the first time I saw a picture of it under repair, I cringed. People who want it re-released, look at that bird’s nest of tangles and tell me you’d pay immense 2023 dollars for a faithul reproduction. I’m amazed that a few brave pros toured with it. Its like a Mellotron, trouble waiting to happen.

    An accurate digital re-do seems doubtful. I’ve played the original and its a breathtaking beauty, but you shouldn’t pine away for it. Pair a software version with a good controller and enjoy.

    1. kids stuff, no more impressive than a 1960’s TV chassis. you want impressive look at images of an IBM 30390 TCM some time.

  2. the full video from a few days ago is also great content for the info and atmosphere. watched the full ~2hrs and enjoyed every moment. the moog-vs-arp comparison at the end was great.

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