Monday, September 17, 2007

Yamaha CS50

images via this auction.

"From 1975, it's the little brother of the Yamaha CS80 (the famous "Blade Runner" Synth). This board was amazingly ahead of it's time in it's polyphonic implementation. If you recall, the majority of the big names at that time were strictly monophonic. This guy came out and featured 4 key polyphony and an early form of aftertouch that can affect the filter, VCO or LFO. There is also a auxillary input to run sounds through the side panel which I have used on a couple of tracks. Small or not, this still weighs close to 100 lbs and is the size of a small organ. There is a really great sounding ring modulator for crazy sci fi sound, 13 presets and a full synthesizer section including both HP and LP resonant filters. BTW: Check out the last pic of Herbie Hancock from the "Sunlight" album. You'll see a CS50 behind him, over his right shoulder!"


  1. Does anyone know what the synth is on the far right of Herbie? It has red gaffa tape on it. I have this album and inside it has a diagram of the keyboards. it says its a sequential circuits prophet synth. I have never seen a prophet systh like this.

  2. That's an EML Synkey.

    Re the CS-50; afaik it wasn't officially released in Europe until the summer/fall of 1977. In the US I think they had to wait for it until early '78 or so.

    The same goes for the CS-60 and CS-80 although I know that Yamaha had prototypes out by the fall of 1976.

    Garth Hudson of The Band was probably the first musician to record with a CS-80 at the end of 1976/beginning of '77.




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