Thursday 2012.11.08

Synthspiration - Yamaha CS-15


Another Synthspiration post this week (looks like the other one disappeared somehow) looking at a synth I’ve had for a long time. I’ve had plenty of modest gear come and go, but my Yamaha CS-15 has been with me for roughly a decade. It’s a really cool and kind of quirky synth that has helped me better understand subtractive synthesis but still has a enough interesting features to surprise me again and again.


Being monophonic and with only two oscillators it might seem pretty limiting, but the groovy Yamaha engineers that designed this thing in 70’s included a lot of really interesting routing options for a standalone synth. Coupled with a pair of pretty unique sounding multimode filters and two very flexible ADSR envelopes, this little synth can churn out some fun sounds.


Not only has this synth been a major source of inspiration (for narrative, UI and sound design) but it also makes quite a few cameos in FRACT OSC as well:

The Yamaha CS series synths have been used by a lot of well known Electronic musicians from Vangelis (the epic CS-80) to Aphex Twin (the ‘baby’ CS-5). In fact, it was Aphex Twin’s CS-5 that after being sold at a Vemia auction was borrowed by Solvent, an awesome Canadian electronic musician and true synth nut. He even produced an entire EP with that very Yamaha CS-5 (the little brother to my CS-15). Check it out, it’s amazing: