Yamaha CS-80

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Yamaha CS-80
Yamaha CS-80 (1977) 8-voices dual-layered analog polyphonic synthesizer, with 22 preset sounds & 6 user patches - VINTAGE SYNTH @ YAMAHA BOOTH - 2015 NAMM Show.jpg
Manufacturer Yamaha
Dates 1976 - 1980
Price US$6900
Technical specifications
Polyphony 8 voices, dual layers
Timbrality Multitimbral
Oscillator 2 per voice
LFO 1 multi-waveform
Synthesis type Analog Subtractive
Filter 2 High-pass
2 Low-pass
Attenuator ADSR
Aftertouch Yes, polyphonic
Velocity sensitive Yes
Memory 22 preset
6 user
Effects chorus, tremolo
Keyboard 61-note with velocity
and polyphonic aftertouch
(on a per note rather than
per patch basis)
Left-hand control Ribbon Controller
External control audio input as LFO modulator

The Yamaha CS-80 is a polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1976. It supports true 8-voice polyphony (with two independent synthesizer layers per voice) as well as a primitive (sound) settings memory based on a bank of micropotentiometers (rather than the digital programmable presets the Prophet-5 would sport soon after), and exceptionally complete performer expression features, such as a layered keyboard that was both velocity-sensitive (like a piano's) and pressure-sensitive ("after-touch") but unlike most modern keyboards the aftertouch could be applied to individual voices rather than in common, and a ribbon controller allowing for polyphonic pitch-bends and glissandos. This can be heard on the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, in which almost all the sounds were created from the CS-80, as well as the composer's soundtrack for the film Chariots of Fire.

Production of the instrument ceased in 1980. Vying with the Prophet 5, Jupiter 8 and OB-X polysynths, the CS-80 is regularly described as the pre-eminent polyphonic analog synthesizer manufactured,[1][2] and commands amongst the highest prices of any polyphonic synthesizer so far made.[3]

Software emulations and hardware clones

There are currently two plug-in instrument software emulations of the CS-80 in existence for usage in digital audio workstation, music sequencer, and other software which supports the plug-in formats that these instruments were implemented and released in: the "CS-80 V" from Arturia which was released in 2003, and the "ME80" from memorymoon which was released in 2009.

There are no known hardware clones of the entire CS-80. At the 2014 NAMM Show, Studio Electronics premiered their new Boomstar SE80 synthesizer which includes a cloned filter section of the CS-80.

Notable users


  1. "The World's most desirable and valuable synthesizers and drum machines". attack magazine. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  2. "The Schmidt synth and the CS80". synthtopia. 2011-04-07. 
  3. "The World's most desirable and valuable synthesizers and drum machines". attack magazine. Retrieved 2014-11-12. 
  4. Reid, Gordon. "Ken Freeman & The Birth Of String Synthesis". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
notable users
  1. Robyn Flans. "Classic Tracks: Toto's "Africa"". MIX (Aug 1, 2005). Paich recorded the opening sound on a Yamaha CS80, ... There was a Yamaha instrument called a GS1, a prototype for the DX7, which at that time was the new little digital synthesizer, so the kalimba sound you hear is that. And we used a CS80, which is very unique. 

External links