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Studio Supervisor Alex Mraz talks you through the wonders of the iconic Yamaha CS-80.

How could I not shine the Synth Spotlight on the iconic Yamaha CS-80?
This is one of the more popular synths booked at MESS, and for a good reason.

I find it to be so lush-sounding, expressive, and generally epic. It was famously used by the Greek composer Vangelis in his soundtracks for films such as Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire.

One of the earliest poly synths released on the market, it’s a very heavy machine, and definitely geared towards performance. The CS-80 has a suite of cool features like a ribbon controller (inconspicuous but so much fun!) and a wonderful ‘touch response’ feature with parameters that the user can control through keyboard technique (for example, after initially touching the keys down, by pressing harder you could introduce tremolo, filter cutoff modulation, pitch bend, or all of the above).

There are 22 presets and 4 user-programmable memory slots, in addition to the two main (and completely independent) voice panels, which you can blend with a continuous mix control for even more tonal possibility. There are two filters on each panel layer, so we’re able to utilise high pass, low pass, and bandpass modes.

The CS-80 is the one instrument at MESS that I sit down at, and start playing, and all of a sudden two hours have passed without me even noticing. I would highly recommend experiencing this time warp effect for yourself.

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