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Behringer DS-80 3rd design

Behringer DS-80 3rd design  ·  Source: Behringer

Uli Behringer has been working on a tribute/clone/reimaging of the classic Yamaha CS-80 polyphonic synthesizer. The first design kept the bank of preset sliders and had a very small ribbon, the second design sorted out the patch system and ribbon but put the performance controls out of reach. Uli is hoping third time’s the charm.

DS-80 round 3

Yes, this is looking pretty good. The ribbon has been resized to sensible dimensions and over to the left where it’s most likely to be used. The performance controls like Touch Response, Keyboard Controls and Brilliance are back within an easy reach just above the keyboard. He’s added pitch and mod wheels that people keep asking for even though they were not on the original. And the top left section now has a sequencer, arpeggiator and some Tremolo and Chorus effects that were to the left of the keyboard.

All-in-all it looks pretty good to me. The design is sticking with sliders rather than the original paddles for the performance controls. The comments on Facebook are overwhelmingly positive so far although I’m sure there’s still plenty of room for criticism if you try hard enough.

Behringer DS-80 3rd design

Behringer DS-80 3rd design

I think it’s amazing that Uli Behringer had an urge to build a CS-80, probably in response to Yamaha absentmindedly broadcasting that they were thinking about, and has thrown together a couple of designs, submitted them to the community and changed and adapted to the comments and suggestions. In the space of a couple of weeks he’s got a design that seems to be pleasing people and is likely to be very well received if it ever makes it to hardware. You’ve got to hand it to the man really I guess.

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  • Latest Behringer Facebook post.

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DestinkeysMike Metlay Recent comment authors
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Glad to see a return to sanity with the strip! Something not alluded to yet (and which obviously doesn’t have from panel controls for) is the unstable nature of the oscillator cards. The old CS-80 and CS-60 were temperamental beasts, highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations and handling. They had individual cards for each voice, with trim pots for tuning and scale on every one, and constantly needed adjusting. The end result of this was that it is rare to hear one on recordings where the tuning for each note (and the scale) was 100% perfect. The ability to micro tune… Read more »

Mike Metlay

Well! This is a huge improvement over the first two. The one thing that’s still missing are the paddles. This is nontrivial in both directions: it’s not trivial to omit them, because the arc throw and smooth travel, VERY different than a slider, is critical to smooth sound modification as one plays, but it’s not trivial to include them either, as the paddle is actually a very complex mechanical and electrical design, one of the most expensive components to repair or replace when servicing a real CS-80. If Uli wants to go no-holds-barred for this design, he really should think… Read more »


To a fair degree, the CS-80 wasn’t from the era where the arpeggiator or sequencer played the notes and you spent the majority of your time jacking around with the controls. Part of it’s dominance at the time was that it was polyphonic in a world of monophonic and paraphonic synths. It was expected for you to play full chords, two handed stuff, actually PLAY, not the more contemporary style of having something else play while you manipulate the controls. As such, the difference between paddles and the infinitely more affordable sliders isn’t quite as big as you would think.… Read more »