Yamaha CS-30

Yamaha CS-30 is a huge analog monophonic synthesizer. I believe it’s one of the most advanced hard-wired vintage monophonic synthesizers. It’s definitely not a beginners synthesizer. It has a dual synth architecture with two VCO’s, VCF’s and VCA’s. It also has three envelopes, a Ring Modulation and an 8-step sequencer.

You can have pulse width and PMW (pulsewidth modulation) simultaneously, and both oscillators have their own PMW. Oscillator two can modulate oscillator one.

The dual filters both offer Low Pass filter, High Pass filter and Band Pass filter. The resonance doesn’t self-oscillate. The filters can run parallel or serial. Unfortunately serial mode only offers filter one’s high pass filter through filter two. I would have liked to have the option of the other filter modes aswell. The filter(s) isn’t as warm as the Moog or old Roland filters, but certainly has character.

The amplifier section also offers a Ring Modulation. Interestingly VCA1 offers another oscillator with a Sine wave. It’s labeled VCO1 but actually offers a third oscillator, although it’s slave to VCO1’s pitch and modulation settings. There is a stereo output, which allows for seperate output for VCA1 and VCA2, which is great for making stereo effects. There is a balance slider to control the balance of the volume from the two VCA’s. There is also a mono output which combines both VCA’s into one channel.

The CS-30 also has a buildt in 8-step sequencer. It’s possible to assign either one or both of the VCO’s to the sequencer. Having just one VCO assigned to the sequencer is useful for live performance, as it leaves the second VCO free to play along the sequenced part.

Just about everything can be modulated by external audio signal. This means that you can modulate VCO’s, VCF’s and VCA’s by another synthesizer, a guitar or by your own voice via a microphone. Modulations routings include Sine, Triangle, Saw and Pulse waves, plus Sample and Hold and external signal.

The three envelopes can be assigned to keyboard, sequencer or external signal. The oscillators and filters has no less than six envelope options, as you can assign them to each of the envelopes or the reversed polarities of the envelopes. Second and third enveloope generates the traditional ADSR. It doesn’t have the fastest envelopes, but you can choose to have the speed at normal or ‘Time x5’.

The design of the signal flow is very unconventional and very strange.

Audio demo samples:

LFO sweep LFO sweep, with seperate settings and stereo output for VCF1 and VCF2.

Shifts in timbres

Formant Parallell filters can make vocal-like sounds.

Attempt at bass

Blank patch sheet