DS-80

A full sample pack of every preset sound and basic synth waveforms from my Yamaha CS-80.

The story

First a massive THANK YOU to Tobias for building (coding, GUI) this sample instrument in Decent Sampler. Please check out his profile!

https://www.pianobook.co.uk/profile/tobiasjames

Also a huge shout out to Owen (Obolig) for helping to build the first prototype this instrument!

https://www.pianobook.co.uk/profile/obolig/

I found this synth and rescued it from being used as a “for parts” keyboard. After an incredibly long 11 hour road trip to just north of NYC, I was now the proud owner of a VERY broken CS-80. The exterior was slightly rusted from many years of being stored outside in what must of been a very humid storage shed. The only glimmer of hope was that it still powered on and it did produce a very unpleasant sound on (most) of the keys.

So long story short, all of the 70’s logic ICs, and electrolytic capacitors were replaced with modern equivalents. All of the random missing opamps, oscillator chips, filter chips, VCA chips were installed with original spare parts. The broken key and broken ribbon controller also replaced with original spare parts.

All of this work took 2 different techs over 5 years total to complete.

So when I finally got the call that it was ready I couldn’t wait to bring it home. One of the first things I did was sample it, as a snapshot of this amazing journey of such a renown synthesizer. It was a huge gamble and it ended up paying off big time. So now I’m extremely happy and grateful to have this opportunity to share these sounds with the world.

-Alex (Mogi Grumbles)

Interface

Reviews for DS-80

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Hello again, my old friend...

    I was raised on the CS-80, playing them, tuning them, and lugging them up stairs to no-one's studio... I also know how to break them! At a time when synthesisers were rare and expensive, a shop in the backstreets of a rainy Manchester selling them was unusual, to say the least, and if you wanted variety, then the other shop (small, bijou, full!) was on the wrong side of King's Cross railway station in London, rather too close to a massage parlour. You had to be keen and rich in those days, long before GAS had become a recognised affliction. Acquiring Gear had yet to become a Syndrome, and I was paid to demonstrate synthesisers so that people would want them. Maybe 'want' is too weak a word...

    So, this takes me back. To a black vinyl-covered, very heavy world with a chrome stand that no-one ever mentions, and a noisy chorus, oh and no MIDI! Then there's the poly after-touch, which confused people who had only just got used to channel after-touch (or maybe even velocity)!

    But enough positioning. What does this sample pack sound like? Well, my acid test is the Funky 3 and 4 presets, because you just don't get presets like these on synths nowadays (except for homages, and the CS-80's dynamic HPF and LPF combination is still unusual and unfamiliar to many programmers... Just adding a fixed HPF is a poor substitute...) So, was I transported back more than 40 years? I have to admit that I was - it passes my 'Funky' test.

    Tip number 1: add some chorus (you will definitely not miss the added noise from a real CS-80)

    Tip number 2: the 'Detune' control is your friend (it detunes the two layers relative to each other) - there's a lot of very good reasons why the Detune and Ring Modulator are on the front left of the top panel, because they are the keys to making a CS-80 really shine in performance.

    (There are quite a few Ring Modulator pedals intended for use with guitars (although these days that often means keyboards as well), and so you might like to try the combination. The 'you don't see controls like these any more' rotary sliders (I can't think of a better way of describing them) did require a careful touch to get the best out of their restricted range. I do wonder if more modern 'wheels' would have been a better option, but then they have a lot of momentum, so the light rotary sliders win for fast changes. Which is a round-about way of saying that you might need to do quite a bit of auditioning of Ring Modulator pedals before you get one that suits you. But then you get access to a whole world of interesting sounds... And now back to the main programme...)

    You may also be intrigued that the 'Brass' presets aren't the sounds that you may be familiar with. Back in the late 70s, there were CS-80 players who specialised in Brass sounds (Matchstick Men...), and they didn't use the presets - they had the panels taped or glued. I'm not sure that you will find a Blade Runner preset either. But what you will find are the raw materials for making some very analogue, very bass-heavy, very fluidly live user detuning-control, very unusually filtered sounds.

    What you won't get in any software capture of a CS-80 are the heat, the smoke (Oops!), the weight, that keyboard, the ribbon controller (Coolissimo!) the tuning over time, and the sheer presence. Actually, I'm wrong, I got quite a bit of presence from the DS-80, and it is a very welcome addition to my other CS-80s!

    Overall then. A gorgeous addition to Pianobook.co.uk! An amazing project. A snapshot attempting the near-impossible, and providing some of the magic of a very very nice instrument. Warning - after playing with this you will want MORE!

    synthesizerwriter01 July 2022
  • Simply Amazing in my book

    I guess I'll finally leave a review for this amazing sampled instrument. :)

    . I have no idea how much work was put into this, but it's stellar in my humble opinion. I love these quirky, analog instruments made for Decent Sampler that so many is sharing.

    I really didn't know what to make of the DS-80 once I downloaded it and played around with it for a bit, but the review above by Synthesizerwriter lays the path on beginning to understand what this instrument can do. Thank you.

    This is quickly becoming one of my most favorite Decent Sampler instruments ever.

    MuzackX02 July 2022
  • A fine and very useable synth

    Everything about this is quality - the clean sound, the friendly UI, the responsiveness and flexibility.
    I have not found any rough edges to any of the patches but it is a sophisticated instrument and there is a lot to explore. Is it designed to rival Behringer's hardware recreation of the DC80? They should be worried, I think!

    martiman04 July 2022