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Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby desmond » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:39 am

I think Arpangel needs it to look authentic to the original, weight and all, otherwise it just won't feel right.

It's not about the sound, it's about the whole experience for him, from what I gather, and in this case, only an original will do... but you will have to pay mightily for it.. :headbang: :tongue:

I don't think the CS sound is worth it, personally* - we'll have to wait and see what the playing experience is like. It certainly isn't going to have those long-throw weighted keys though...

*I don't like *any* of the CS synths much, with the possible exception of the CS01, as that's just nostalgia - and is a bit easier to obtain..!
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Arpangel » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:06 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:The CS80 is definitely on my bucket list, but I’m way too scared to go there, you have to expect repair bills, and they aren’t going to be cheap, and as much as I’d like to believe that I would spend a lot of time playing it, it would also, in reality, probably spend more time in the workshop.

In fact, a well maintained CS80 is a remarkably reliable thing, despite its age. Preventative maintenance, like replacing the electrolytic caps before they cause trouble, and swapping out the old CMOS chips before they give up is all it really needs most of the time.

The only real problem is with the custom Yamaha oscillator, filter and envelope ICs which do occasionally -- but pretty infrequently -- decide to croak for no obvious reason, and finding replacements is now getting seriously difficult and expensive.

I’m wondering if, and how much it would take financially to make a convincing reissue?

Well, there's Dekkards dream for around $4k already:
Image
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/black-corporation-deckards-dream

And Behringer's DS80 is supposed to be launched sometime this year:

Image

Price as yet unknown, but it's obviously going to be nothing like the £25k a good CS80 will currently set you back!

As to how good and accurate (both in sound and playing experience) it might be, time will tell... I'm hopeful though...

The Behringer version I’ll definitely check out, but Deckards Dream is a bit pointless for me personally, as it has to have a similar interface to the original, as it’s playability was it’s forte. If Behringer have got that right it might be worth having.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:18 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:As to how good and accurate (both in sound and playing experience) it might be, time will tell... I'm hopeful though...
Behringer were bragging about having developed their own poly AT keyboard, so they are on the right track, if that's anything to go by.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Arpangel » Mon Apr 06, 2020 1:05 pm

The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:As to how good and accurate (both in sound and playing experience) it might be, time will tell... I'm hopeful though...
Behringer were bragging about having developed their own poly AT keyboard, so they are on the right track, if that's anything to go by.

It’s got to be worth checking out.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:06 pm

The original CS80 had a spectacularly good properly weighted keyboard, which undoubtedly helped it's impressive playability. The control surface was also huge, allowing very well-spaced controls, and most of the 'performance controls' were Yamaha's distinctive pivoted-lever type, rather than sliders, which also made them easier to use in a performance, somewhow.

The Behringer model appears to lack the pivoted controls, and the synth panel controls look a little more cramped. The keyboard will also have a lighter and shorter action. So some compromises will be involved... but that's inevitable, really. They've retained the three-octave ribbon, though and, as the Elf says, they claim to have built their own poly-AT keybed, so I reckon it's going to be as good as it's realistically possible to get....

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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby desmond » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:49 pm

I wonder though if a lot of synth nerds in the running to "get their own CS80" are going to be disappointed with it, the second they grab the filter controls and find it's rather weedy sounding.

Sure, the people who can use the playability and control of it will probably love it, but how many synth nerds can play anything these days? Quite a lot of synth nerds are futzing around with modulars and actually playing notes on a keyboard with musical intent is an anathema to them.

The CS80 experience was always playability over the raw sound, and for those than can, a decent, affordable poly-aftertouch keyboard will be glorious. But I can see a lot of GS "meh!" and "sounds nothing like a real CS80" type comments coming, too...
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:25 pm

desmond wrote:I wonder though if a lot of synth nerds in the running to "get their own CS80" are going to be disappointed with it, the second they grab the filter controls and find it's rather weedy sounding.

I don't know where you get this 'weedy sounding' thing from. The CS80 I owned could sound awesomely huge and amazing! Several of the stock presets were a bit naff, I grant you, but it was the work of moments onthe panels to create huge sounds.

I can see a lot of GS "meh!" and "sounds nothing like a real CS80" type comments coming, too...

They'd come -- many in capital letters -- regardless of what it actually sounded like anyway. :lolno:
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby desmond » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:50 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I don't know where you get this 'weedy sounding' thing from. The CS80 I owned could sound awesomely huge and amazing!

Well, let's see... I'm not saying it sounds bad, it has it's own character, all of the CS series do (it varies between families, but there are some overall similarities too). The Yamaha analogs of this time didn't have the thick, fat, ballsy character of Moogs, Oberheims and Sequentials, they have a thinner character (I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just different), and as even Dave says in the video, the stock filters in the voice section sound pretty weak (the global filter in the performance section though is better in this regard).

If you take away the performance stuff that the CS80 is so good at, the synth section on it's own isn't that special (and that seems to be a common opinion from owners). It's really the way you can make it come alive with the expressive controls, that it then tends to become more interesting, and that's a major strength (and the bit I'm most interested in.)

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Several of the stock presets were a bit naff, I grant you, but it was the work of moments on the panels to create huge sounds

I hold that *any* synth can create useful music sounds, but certain instruments do have a character, and that shapes the sounds it makes. But I'm more a fan of the expressive possibilities than the overall sound of the CS80.

Disclaimer: I've never sat down and personally played with one, so my opinions are based only on what I hear and see, rather than direct experience - I'm open to having my mind changed* should that ever happen. I *have* had quality time with many Yamaha CS's though, and I've consistently not really liked them or "connected" with them (though the '80 is by far the best of the lot) and that, probably more than anything, shapes my overall opinions of the CS's in general.

Maybe the BS80 will be a huge hit and everybody will love them. I'm just curious to see what happens...

* Strong opinions, lightly held
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:55 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The original CS80 had a spectacularly good properly weighted keyboard...
I truly hope the re-make doesn't!
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:30 pm

I understand where you're coming from with the CS family sound, Desmond. I was never impressed with them either. And it's true that if you play a single note through a single panel on the CS80 it's pretty underwhelming too.

But the magic probably comes playing big chords with (up to) 16 oscillators and filters running, all being just slightly different to each other.

It's more than the sum of its parts, and I've certainly had some of the most impressive low-end power coming out of a CS80 that I've ever heard, Oberheims and Prophets included.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:49 pm

The first monosynth I could afford was a Yamaha CS5. It remains the weediest, most uninspiring synth I ever owned, though I have to give it credit for getting me on the path. I could hear the CS5 in every CS synth I used.

Of course, nowadays it's old, so kids think it's cool - facepalm...
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby desmond » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:15 pm

The Elf wrote:The first monosynth I could afford was a Yamaha CS5. It remains the weediest, most uninspiring synth I ever owned

I had a friend as a kid who would always follow me into things, and have to try and one-up me. In my local (guitar-based) music shop, they had two s/h synths for sale. One was a Moog Prodigy, and the other one was a Yamaha CS20m - larger, more features, a bit more expensive etc.

Anyway, I asked for the Prodigy for my birthday, and of course, my mate then immediately got the CS20m. I thought the CS20m was an incredibly bland, uninspiring thing. I liked the s+h sound on it, the Prodigy was a bit too simples for much modulation, but other than than, basses were weak, leads were boring, there was no power, it sounded lifeless and dull in the main. I borrowed it for a while, and for sure the Prodigy was *much* the better instrument, despite being more limited.

The CS40 is supposed to be a bit better (more oscillators to try and make up some power I guess), but the 20/40/70 I've never heard much I like from, the CS60 suffers from "DX9 syndrome" (ie, it's just a cut-down CS80 with a lot of the good things removed - and the CS50 even more so).

Which just leaves the other lower end CS's, the 5, 15, 30L etc. I played with the CS30L a while back, and while it has a really interesting architecture and some nice features, again, I just didn't really connect to the sound.

I do like the CS01. Not because it sounds good, but because it was probably the first actual real synth I ever got to use, at school, and so taught me about envelopes, filters, glissando, oscillator shapes etc. It was certainly way cooler than the Casio's you'd be getting at Argos at the time, for sure! :tongue:

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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby Arpangel » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:54 am

You want weedy? Listen to a Prophet 5, ugh.
I had a Pro 5 and it was great, but I wouldn't call it "fat" in any way whatsoever, I got it for the modulation section, which is superb.
The CS80 is unique, it can sound massive, but also, it has this very organic acoustic quality to it, owing to the interface, that’s what makes it special, and the sounds can sometimes be indefinable, and very mysterious.
There’s a misconception concerning a lot of "classic" synths, a lot of people expect them all to sound big and "phat" and not all of them do, just because they are analogue doesn’t mean anything.
Moog define big and fat, if that’s what you want it’s got to be a Moog.
Roland no, look at the Jupiter 8, but that’s not it’s forte.
Every synth has its own unique sound, but this expectation of big and fat all the time is a big mistake.
I also hope that Behringer adhere to the original in respect of the interface, and weighted keyboard, if they don’t, it’ll be a big disappointment for me.
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby desmond » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:20 am

Arpangel wrote:You want weedy? Listen to a Prophet 5, ugh.
I had a Pro 5 and it was great, but I wouldn't call it "fat" in any way whatsoever, I got it for the modulation section, which is superb.

I'm not a huge fan of the P5. I wouldn't call it weedy, it's a "thicker" sound than the Yamaha's, but I also find it quite "cold" sounding. But here we are, dancing about architecture, so... :headbang:

Arpangel wrote:The CS80 is unique, it can sound massive, but also, it has this very organic acoustic quality to it, owing to the interface, that’s what makes it special, and the sounds can sometimes be indefinable, and very mysterious.

Agreed.

Arpangel wrote:There’s a misconception concerning a lot of "classic" synths, a lot of people expect them all to sound big and "phat" and not all of them do, just because they are analogue doesn’t mean anything. Moog define big and fat, if that’s what you want it’s got to be a Moog.

Indeed. And for a long time, a lot of people compared synths with the Moog as a baseline. Plenty of synths back in the day suffered because of this, and a lot of people are rediscovering old "lesser" synths mostly because everything analog is cool again. There are certainly many instruments BITD that generally weren't very well regarded at the time which are now coveted.

Arpangel wrote:Roland no, look at the Jupiter 8, but that’s not it’s forte.

One of the things I love about the JP8 is that it can do light, delicate and sensitive, as well as chunky and big sounding, without ever get to that big overblown chunky fatness of the American synths.

Arpangel wrote:Every synth has its own unique sound, but this expectation of big and fat all the time is a big mistake.

Indeed - I hope you weren't taking my comments above thinking I'm one of those people. I actually don't like the superfat thing that much. Like I say, JP8 is my all-time favourite classic analog polysynth, and I much prefer it to P5's, OB's, Memorymoogs and synths of similar "size"...
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Re: Yamaha CS80 - Dave Spiers' love letter

Postby The Elf » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:31 am

Arpangel wrote:You want weedy? Listen to a Prophet 5, ugh.
I thought I was a lone voice in disliking the P5! The P5 never did it for me. It's not how 'fat', or not, it sounds, but it is a stark-sounding, uncompromising synth that does not gel in a mix IMHO. In contrast the single voice Pro-One is a fabulous lead and bass synth, probably for the same reason. TBH the Roland Super Jupiter is a very similar machine - I use mine far less that I thought I would.

Arpangel wrote:I also hope that Behringer adhere to the original in respect of the interface, and weighted keyboard, if they don’t, it’ll be a big disappointment for me.
I'm afraid you're likely to be disappointed, then. The Poly AT keyboard Behringer were showing off did not look like a weighted model. For me that's the best news about it!
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