Synth Site: Yamaha: CS-80: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Rich a hobbyist user writes:
The Yamaha CS-80 is quite possibly the best analog synthesizer ever created. The sound quality is fabulous. It has this sawtooth wave that sounds so totally bizarre-- It's hard to explain. The tuning is not a problem. I read an article that suggested dropping fingernail polish in the trimmers to hold their positions...total hogwash.

If you leave it in one place, you might need to tune it once every six months or so and it's not that hard to do.

The keyboard itself feels great. The CS-80 just begs to be played. I also think the chorus circuit adds quite a bit to the character. Once again, it's not nearly as noisy as what you might read. Mixed into a track, the noise vanishes.

The bottom line is, the CS-80 has such a unique sound it's worth buying despite its weight and supposed reliability problems. They're hard to come by, as I bought mine from a guy who really didn't know what he had.

Features wise, sure I wish it had another LFO or a digital preset storage (instead of all-sliders under a trap door). But hey, the Yamaha CS-80's sound is freakishly oraganic, monsterous, fluid, and totally rich in harmonics.

If sound is what counts, it's #1 in my book.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-21-2000 at 21:29
Miraz a professional user from Hollywood, USA writes:
Well Im crazy! Got one Finally after so many years after listining to the Toto (first 3) Tomita and Vangelis (harmonicas, Brass and furious Pitch bends) albums. ITS here and BIG. Takes up most of my studio. Had to move things around. But its sound is bigger than my studio. Lovely, just lovely. after I played with it as a whole I will give it a serious review. EXAMPLE: today I made a DARK version of the Fairlght breathy sample. Im not kidding! and the external INPUT. WO! Got mine CHEAP. God bless you man.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-14-2000 at 01:36
Piotr Zurawski a hobbyist user from POLAND writes:
I've just got a CS-80 a week ago and I'm so charmed and surpriced by it's quality. The feeling of play with the velecity and aftertuch weighted keyboard is excelent! It's realy very cleverly designed, whose control sliders above the keyboard makes miracles with preset sounds. In my opinion the best synth ever, but with it's weight and stability problems you have to realy love it :-)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Dec-03-2000 at 15:07
Massimo Cerri from Italy writes:
Hi, the best ever polyphonic synth made in the world, very rare machine and lots of problems ... This machine is like and old rolls royce..nice to see and hear sometimes...but use less and less transport can be better for long life of the machine.. I can say "i'm very lucky for have one",but also i can say "it's a nightmare for repair and solve problems...".

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-19-2000 at 01:14
Calle Hultén a part-time user from Stockholm , Sweden writes:
What can I say about this? If I had to choose only one synth , the CS80 would be it without a doubt. If you like to actually *play* a synth and communicate with it , the CS won´t let you down with it´s polyphonic aftertouch and touch sensitive weighted keys. The fact that it actually consists of two separate synths banged into one big tank explains at least part of the massive sound it emits. I should point out that the CS80 can also sound thin and bland if not used properly. I know some guys that´ve tried them out and couldn´t figure out how it could sound so good on records (Vangelis...). The thing is that you should take your time and learn how to play it really well to get the most out of it. Make great use of all its expressive facilities and you will get a sound so organic that it leaves acoustic instruments green with envy. It does sound great from first touch but it´s not quite the instant gratification you might get from say , a Prophet-5 or simpler synths like Roland Junos. The sound is shimmering , ranging from bright synthetic to more natural sounds. It´s great for plucked strings if that´s your thing , using the ribbon controller to bend the notes makes it very authentic. Those haunting sawwaves are utterly unique, can´t explain it but put through those double resonant filters , both highpass and lowpass , something happens that makes the birds sing louder and people fall in love with each other...:-)

Well , all this is of course too good to be true , cause the CS80 has its known problems of unstable components. You are a very brave man if you decide it would be in order to drag one out on your world tour. Don´t. It weighs about as much as two of your uncles put together (110kilos)and sometimes it´s enough to look at it in a bad way and it goes bam out of tune. These things are better left in one spot in your studio. Tune it and the never ever move it again , I´m not kidding. Mine has been remarkably stable (for a CS80) but if you´re not into lifting the hood of your synth and screwing around with pots , you should probably avoid the CS. It needs service every now and then and most techs hangs up on you if you would be so bold to ask them to have a look at it. "CS80?...(sneer)...oh yeah, well we don´t service them...g´day(click)" Tuning it alone is a matter of 16 oscillators with five pots each = 80 of them , and you can pretty much only do one oscillator at a time and then close the lid and let the temperature go back to normal in the synth , then open the lid and go for the next oscillator etc... This is due to the extremely heat sensitive components , meaning that sometimes it´s enough to open a window in your studio to make the CS80 drift. Tuning it doesn´t get easier when you don´t have a clue which one of the oscillators that are triggered when you strike a key. There are no indicating leds to give you a hint and no logic to the order , except the eighth (rightmost) in each bank which only triggers when you actually press eight keys at once.

Well , despite all its problems it´s worth it for me because this is not just any synthesizer. It is a living , vibrating instrument that will reward you if you treat it well. It´s certainly not for everyone , I consider it a small miracle that it was ever marketed at all from the beginning , and I don´t think it ever was a financially successful project for Yamaha , correct me if I´m wrong...it´s too beatiful for this grey world of ours. And too big , too bulky and expensive , leaving a very small group of potential buyers. One of the cons are also its discrete components , meaning that parts will be scarce at some point in the future. Not yet , but who knows when...?

Well , bottom line: I will probably buy another one some day when I have the luck of stumbling over one , to always be sure of having one functional at least. That is how much the CS80 means to me. BTW , if you live in Sweden and are having problems with tuning it I can give you some hints. And if you´re in Stockholm I could probably do it for you if you wish...well not for free ;-)

CS80 ,I´d marry it if I could. God knows it has enough mood swings to replace any human being...

CalleHultén

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Apr-30-2000 at 22:06
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