Back in March, we caught wind of Roman Filippov’s (Sputnik Modular) development of a synthesizer inspired by Vangelis, Philip K Dick and the Yamaha CS-80. Deckard’s Dream promised to be the CS-80 that Yamaha seemed inexplicably reticent to reinvent or reissue. The website is up, the details are confirmed and they will now take your surprisingly reasonable investment*.
The promotional video (below) gives me shivers in exactly the right way. It’s pitched perfectly to hit all the warmth we have for the soundscapes of Vangelis’ score for Bladerunner. Here, take my money.
Deckard’s Dream is an 8 voice polysynth with 2 VCO’s per voice. Waveshapers are used to help reproduce the instability of the original waveforms and a good slice of autotune keeps it all together – unless you don’t want it to. The polyphonic aftertouch of the CS-80 is present and so is MPE which was only under consideration as a feature a couple of months ago. This gives it a weighty five dimensions of per-note polyphonic performance. There’s MIDI implemented throughout and a software VST/AU editor provided by Spektro Audio.
It’s available fully built or as a daunting DIY kit, although they do say with the detailed manual and through-hole components it’s suitable for beginners.
Coming later is a 1U rackmount expander featuring a bunch of analogue effects, sustain controls and 16 assignable CV inputs. The expander can be used standalone and could make for a useful effects and CV-to-MIDI box.
Would it pass as a CS-80? It’s not meant to.
It looks flippin’ excellent – exactly as you imagine it would. I have no idea where I would put it, but I’d happily build something just to fit it in. That little screen is adorable. It’s such an exciting box. They stress it’s not a clone of the CS-80 as the original was built with custom and exclusive chips. But they have paid attention to the synth architecture, the waveshapes and filter topology so that the experience of playing Deckard’s Dream offers the same feel as the original. They’ve also gone much further, with the MPE, MIDI and CV control and modulation possibilities. So it’s named perfectly, and just as Deckard dreams of a future with a replicant who he knows is not quite human, so then this is not a clone, but a physical instrument in its own right. Serious, shut up and take my money!
Deckard’s Dream is available for preorder for $1199 fully built. *Unfortunately I thought this was the asking price, but sadly no it’s just a deposit. The full amount will be $3749 which is much more like you’d expect for such an awesomely boutique product. It’s also available as a kit for $999 with a $349 deposit. Preorders are being taken up until June 1st and they are expecting a 2-3 month build time. More information on the website.