MATRIXSYNTH: Yamaha's Coolest Monosynth

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Yamaha's Coolest Monosynth

Alex Ball

"A look at Yamaha's CS-30 monophonic synthesizer from 1977. This was the closest Yamaha got to a modular synth before their attention moved wholesale into FM synthesis. Yamaha released their first analogue synth (the SY-1) in 1974 and their last (the CS-01 II) in 1983. They've never made an analogue synthesizer since, although they have made analogue modelling synths.

0:00 Intro Track
0:50 The Yamaha CS-30
2:18 Feature Song
3:49 Summary
4:50 Full Musical Demo

Nerdy Details:

Yamaha CS-30 (1977)

Voltage Controlled Oscillators: x2
Waves: Sawtooth, Variable Pulse, Noise, Sinewave Sub Oscillator (found in VCA 1)

VCO Modulation: VCO 2 to VCO 1 xmod, pulse width modulation, pitch modulation from the envelopes, pitch modulation from the LFO, pitch modulation from an external signal.

Tuning: Master tune and VCO 1 detune.

Voltage Controlled Filters: x2
Type: 2-pole with resonance (they don't self oscillate)

Modes: LP / BP / HP per filter. VCF 1 HP can also run through VCF in series.

VCF Modulation: Keyboard CV, envelopes, LFO, external.

Voltage Controlled Amplfiers: x2

VCF 1 and 2 can run into VCA 1 and VCF 2 is normalled to VCA 2.

VCA Modulation: Envelopes A, C, E (the positive outcomes), LFO, external, VCO 1 can modulate VCA 2, ring modulator in VCA 2.

Both VCAs can be held open.

There is a "balance" slider to the right of the instrument that works in either mono or stereo.

Envelope Generators: x3

EG1 is bi-polar with initial level, attack level, attack time, decay time and release time. Its normal output is called "A" and its inverse "B".

EG2 is unipolar with normal ADSR.
Its normal output is called "C" and its inverse "D".

EG1 is unipolar with normal ADSR.
Its output is called "E".

Speed: Normal or x5

EG Triggers: Keyboard, sequencer or external.
Keyboard Triggers: LFO, keyboard, single and multi.

LFO: x1
Waves: Sine, Saw, Inverse Saw, Square, S&H.

LFO Modulation: Envelope modulation of LFO frequency.

External Signal: x1

External signal in with trigger extraction, signal level and trigger level.

Sequencer: x1
1 - 8 steps (the earliest models only have 6 or 8 steps - thanks Matthew Shaw)

Continous CV per step and transposition of sequences from the keyboard. Internal clock with speed, manual stepping via the start/stop button. Hold.

Performance: Portamento with amount amount and pitch bend with continuous limiter.

Outputs / Inputs: External signal in, CV and trigger in/out, sequencer CV and trigger out (but no sequencer trigger input), footswitch in, VCA 1 out, VCA 2 out, VCA 1+2 out, headphone out."

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