|Dates||1976 - 1980|
|Polyphony||8 voices, dual layers|
|Oscillator||2 per voice|
|Synthesis type||Analog Subtractive|
|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 CS-80 is featured prominently; the 1980 theme tune to BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who; 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, and OB-X polysynths, the CS-80 is regularly described as the pre-eminent polyphonic analog synthesizer manufactured, and commands amongst the highest prices of any polyphonic synthesizer so far made.
Software and hardware emulations
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.
The Greek electronic composer Vangelis used the Yamaha CS-80 extensively. He often praised the instrument for its capabilites, saying to be "the most important synthesizer in my career — and for me the best analogue synthesizer design there has ever been. It was a brilliant instrument, though unfortunately not a very successful one. It needs a lot of practice if you want to be able to play it properly, but that’s because it’s the only synthesizer I could describe as being a real instrument, mainly because of the keyboard — the way it’s built and what you can do with it".
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- "The Schmidt synth and the CS80". synthtopia. 2011-04-07.
- Magnus, Nick; Reid, Gordon. "Arturia CS80V - Software Synth (Mac/PC)". Reviews : Software: ALL. Sound On Sound. No. April 2005.
- Dan Goldstein (November 1984), "Soil Festivities Vangelis Speaks", Electronics & Music Maker, retrieved August 22, 2016
- Jenkins, Mark (2009). Analog Synthesizers: Understanding, Performing, Buying. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-136-12277-4.
- "Yamaha CS80 - Polysynth (Retro)". Reviews : Keyboard. Sound On Sound. No. July 1995.
- Reid, Gordon (18 May 2013). "The Yamha CS80". Gordon Reid's Vintage Synthesis (gordonreid.co.uk).