Yamaha CS-80: MusicRadar retro hands-on

 Joe Rossitter and Simon Arblaster go back to a time before MIDI and control voltages to have a little tinkle with one of the most revered and recognisable synthesizers of all time, the grand old CS-80.

The CS-80 landed in the late 70s with 8-voice polyphony, aftertouch, a ribbon controller, 22 presets and six users presets. Was the world ready for such a beast? Well no, as it set you back a, rather prohibitive, price of £4950 and weighed over 200 lbs. 

Fast forward 40 years and not much has changed. It still weighs a ton, the second hand price for one can be in excess of £15k and unless you got a Kenton MIDI conversion retro-fitted, you’re still going to be putting your fingers to work on those velocity-sensitive keys.

Although we’d never be able to afford one, let alone have the room in our home studios for one, we couldn’t help fall in love with the tolex-wrapped hunk of temperamental gorgeousness.

MORE INFO: Blast from the past: Yamaha CS-80

If you want to check out more videos from our hands-on series, then head on over to the hub page, featuring all the tech and guitar-based gear. 

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.