With Yamaha CS-80 Alternatives, we’re exploring some different ways to approach recreating this iconic synth in plug-in, keyboard, and desktop module format.
The fabled sound of the CS-80 makes it easily one of the most desired synths of all time, and through users like Stevie Wonder, Vangelis, and Toto it’s become immortalized in the annuals of recorded music.
Yamaha CS-80 Alternatives
Although it’s reached beyond legendary status, the CS-80 was introduced in 1977 and was only produced for 3 years – which is one of the many reasons they fetch such a high price on the collector’s market.
At the time, this polyphonic analogue monster struggled as synths like the Prophet 5 and OB-X entered the industry to rapturous applause. Nevertheless, the CS-80 still offered many unique features apart from its sound, with a dual-layer architecture and ribbon control.
Cherry Audio GX-80
The Cherry Audio GX-80 is their flagship synth plug-in, bringing features from the Star Trek-esque GX-1 into the CS-80 workflow. This promises to be “more than a replicant” as the manufacturer suggests and brings you the coveted sound at a more than reasonable price.
All the GX-1 and CS-80 parameters are at your fingertips, but even if it wasn’t a meticulously vintage-modelled plug-in it’s still a great-sounding softsynth with plenty of creative sonic potential.
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Arturia CS-80 V4
Arturia has an excellent reputation for recreating classic synths and studio gear, so you can imagine that they put plenty of time and effort into their software version of the famous CS-80.
There’s certainly nothing antiquated about the CS-80 V though, from MPE support to its advanced modulation section and extensive onboard effects, it’s a plug-in that goes far beyond the scope of creating vintage synth sounds.
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Yamaha Reface CS
Yamaha’s Reface series brings the classics back in a compact and relatively affordable 37-key format and the Reface CS uses the AN sound engine for modeling the sound of the classic CS series synthesizers.
Besides 8-voice polyphony and 5 oscillator types, the Reface CS has a phrase looper and a range of effects including distortion, VCM chorus/flanger, VCM phaser, and delay.
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The Polybrute is the flagship Arturia polyphonic hardware synth, with a design that draws inspiration from the CS-80. With 3-axis morphing and an impressive mod matrix, the Polybrute is certainly a modern analogue synth.
You have different ways to approach sound creation with a 61-key keybed with aftertouch and a 64-step pattern sequencer. What’s more, there’s a digital effects section with reverb, chorus, and delay.
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Black Corporation Deckard’s Dream
If you want a top-quality vintage analogue CS-80 replica, you’ll certainly pay dearly for it. However, the Black Corporation Deckard’s Dream brings the classic into the modern era in a far more practical desktop format.
The sound bank is rather limited for a synth in this price range, so if you’re only planning to use it for a few vintage pad sounds maybe this isn’t for you. The idea is to encourage creative sound design and in this area, it certainly excels.
- More from Black Corporation
Like the idea of pitch glides and ribbon control? Check out the Continuum Controllers from Haken Audio
More about Yamaha CS-80 Alternatives:
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- Cherry Audio GX-80: Cherry Audio
- Arturia CS-80 V4: Arturia
- Yamaha Reface series: Yamaha
- Arturia PolyBrute Noir Edition: Arturia
- Black Corporation Deckard's Dream Mk2: Black Corporation
- gx-80-ui-01-pluginboutique: Plugin Boutique
- pb: Plugin Boutique
- cs-80_v_main_plugin_boutique: Plugin Boutique