Year of manufacture1977
Production period4(1977 – 80)
Waveforms3+2(Saw, Sine, Variable Pulse + PWM + Noise)
Filters4(2 Low- & 2 High-pass -12dB/octave)
Features9(Ribbon Controller, Ringmodulation, Portamento, Glissando, Velocity, Tremolo, Chorus, Aftertouch, Sustain)
Sound-Memory26(22 Preset + 4 User)
The Blade Runner Synth
Toto’s “Africa”, Vangelis’ soundtracks for “Blade Runner” or “Chariots of Fire” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” all have one thing in common – the mighty Yamaha CS-80. This absolute powerhouse of a synth comes with true 8-voice polyphony and 2 independent synth layers per voice each, both with their own respective set of controls on the front panel. This, not only super expensive, beast of a synth weighs around 100 kilograms and always had its issues with voices detuning due to temperature changes, which all made it a studio- rather than a touring-instrument.
When the CS-80 was released in 1977, its performance & expression features were exceptional: the layered keyboard had both velocity sensitivity and aftertouch, which could be applied to individual voices! The ribbon controller, sitting right above the keyboard, allowed for glissandi and polyphonic pitch-bends. Only around 800 units were ever produced, with its production ceased in 1980, making the Yamaha CS-80 one of the most valuable Synthesizers to date.