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Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:09 am

:bouncy: It's a mind set thing...

I think the real point behind it is that on the Yamaha CS you can set the filter cut-off frequency to create your desired sustained sound completely independently of the envelope variations, and thus quickly get the 'body sound' right for when you're playing/holding a note. And once that's done you can focus on how the filter frequency should vary to change the sound through the attack, decay and release phases -- without cocking up the sustained sound.

In contrast, the way a conventional ADSR system works, the filter cut-off frequency and envelope sustain level are directly inter-linked, so you need constantly to juggle the two controls to find the (sustained) sound you want within the dynamic filter envelope.

So, in a normal ADSR system if you decide you want a brighter initial attack, you have to lower the sustain to give more attack range (and/or adjust the mod-depth control, too), and then raise the filter cut-off again to restore the wanted sustained sound...

Not so on the CS... you just push the AL control higher! :-) Quicker, easier, and more logical, captain...

Another way of thinking about it is that with a conventional ADSR controlling the filter, the 'reference level' or 'starting point' is the filter's 'closed' cut-off freq setting -- which is inhrently NOT the sustained sound you want the synth to make when you're playing/holding a note.

So the filter starts at its closed setting, then opens during the attack phase, drops to a 'sustain' level through the decay period, and then releases back to closed, with the overall filter sweep range (from closed to open) being controlled by a separate mod-depth control.

In the Yamaha arrangement, the 'reference level' is the filter's existing cut-off freq setting -- the sound you want for the sustained note. Which makes it quicker and easier to find the core sound you're after...

If you want the sound to start darker, you adjust the IL control which sets the initial filter-closed level. How much darker depends on how far you push the slider.

And if you want the sound to have a brighter part in the opening transient you set that with the Al control, so the filter continues to opens beyond the sustained cut-off frequency level during the initial attack. More AL control means a brighter attack.

The time taken to sweep from the minimum closed position (set with IL) to the maximum open position (set with AL) is controlled with the Attack control -- just as normal.

And the values of IL and AL taken together determine the overall filter frequency sweep range, making it unnecessary to have a separate mod-depth control.

The Decay control sets how long the filter takes to move back from the highest cut-off frequency level set by AL, back to the filter's resting (sustaining) position as set with the filter cut-off control... as normal.

And the Release control sets the time it takes the filter to close further, back to the lowest cut-off frequency set by the IL control after a key is released... again, as normal.

Personally, I think the CS arrangement makes a lot of sense in the context of a filter-shaping envelope, simply because the reference position really is the 'sustain' level -- the sound being made when you're holding a key, and you want the filter to move below and above that point during the initial transient and afterwards.

For a VCA envelope the reference level is silence (fully closed), so the more familiar ADSR envelope format makes more sense in that context.

H
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:02 pm

Yep, I think I get it. That's only taken 40 years. :headbang: :lol:

I've never met a CS80 owner who could convincingly tell me what those controls did either. Intuitive it ain't!

Note how Dave hurriedly slips past those controls in his description too... ;)
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:12 pm

Fascinating read Hugh, thanks for that. I'd rather like to try that out; it sounds rather good for players of the instrument. Also, weighted keyboard... :thumbup:

I'm very interested to see what Behringer does with it, though I'd rather have a nice synth action than a cheap-feeling weighted.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:09 pm

Knocked up a quick diagram to help explain...

The Red controls adjust time durations, and the purple ones the filter frequency.

Yamaha CS80 filter envelopes.png
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Wonks » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:33 pm

"Why don't you just make 10 louder and let 10 be the top number and make that a little louder?"

"...These go to 11."
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:37 pm

Wonks wrote:"Why don't you just make 10 louder and let 10 be the top number and make that a little louder?"

"...These go to 11."

Well, they do!

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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby MOF » Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:11 pm

I am a sci-fi fan in general, and appreciate Bladerunner for many things, as a film it's always left me cold, and I kind of feel like I'm a bad sci-fi fan for not liking it.
It is meant to be a dystopian view of a potential future earth so ‘enjoy’ is probable the wrong expectation.
Vangelis’ soundtrack really does make this film though.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:33 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Knocked up a quick diagram to help explain...
:clap: :clap: :clap: :thumbup:
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:02 pm

The Elf wrote:Note how Dave hurriedly slips past those controls in his description too... ;)

Yes... amazing how so few apparently understand such a simple -- if unusual -- concept!

But if you read my description and then listen to what actually happens as he moves the IL and AL controls in the video (link from the right section below) while ignoring what he says, it might make even more sense!

He raises the Attack Level control first and you can hear the filter open from its static starting position and return to it again quite clearly...

...and then when he raises the Initial Level control as well you can hear that the filter starts sweeping from a much lower frequency, so you get a far more pronounced 'whoop'...

https://youtu.be/sV3qDUTVsNo?t=664
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:23 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:... the filter envelope's attack, decay, and release controls all work exactly as normal. However, instead of a single control to set the sustain level, the sustain level is effectively fixed, at whatever filter cutoff level you set.

The IL control then determines the starting (closed) point of the filter below that (fixed) sustain level, while the AL control sets its maximum (opening) point above the sustain level. So the two IL/AL controls act together to effectively determine the overall envelope mod depth. If you set both controls to zero the filter effectively sits at the sustain level throughout the ADR envelope sequence, and there is no mod depth.

Sounds similar to the Korg MS20 – when it comes to filter modulation, the sustain level is effectively your zero modulation point. Attack starts below it and builds to above it, but wherever you set Sustain, that's your baseline filter cutoff and modulation is bipolar.

I remember this on the Yamaha CS-10 as well, and didn't get it. Then I built my own and it still only makes sense half the time :D
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:32 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Sounds similar to the Korg MS20 – when it comes to filter modulation, the sustain level is effectively your zero modulation point. Attack starts below it and builds to above it, but wherever you set Sustain, that's your baseline filter cutoff and modulation is bipolar.

Yes, similar idea again, but less explit perhaps, and done for the same reasons.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:41 pm

Wonder why you don't see it on new synths? It's an interesting and very sensible approach, really.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby baward » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:59 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Sounds similar to the Korg MS20 – when it comes to filter modulation, the sustain level is effectively your zero modulation point.

I agree, I was going to say that the slight difficulty-of-understanding-it reminds me of the slight kookiness of the MS-20 in that respect.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:29 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:But if you read my description and then listen to what actually happens as he moves the IL and AL controls in the video (link from the right section below) while ignoring what he says, it might make even more sense!
I have the ME80 plug-in, from a project we did last year. I can fiddle around with that to try it out. For anyone genuinely interested I can say that this plug-in actually quite good.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:41 pm

The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:But if you read my description and then listen to what actually happens as he moves the IL and AL controls in the video (link from the right section below) while ignoring what he says, it might make even more sense!
I have the ME80 plug-in, from a project we did last year. I can fiddle around with that to try it out. For anyone genuinely interested I can say that this plug-in actually quite good.

Interesting - and reasonably priced too. For some reason I seem to recall you're not a massive Arturia fan, but if I'm wrong and/or you have it, any thoughts on how it compares to the CS80-V?

Talking of which, I'll certainly be trying some things out on the latter in light of Hugh's revelations, and having just realised it also responds to poly aftertouch I'm looking forward to some fun experimentation later this week when the Hydra arrives!
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