Yamaha CS-10 Analogue Monosynth

Yamaha CS-10Yamaha CS-10

I got this synth in 1986, when I was 16, for 30 from an advert in a local paper in Essex (UK) - no internet and eBay in those days - you had to do a lot of local paper classifieds searching. It needed a new key as one was broken and wasn't in the greatest condition. All I did was put (black - to be controversial!) insulation tape over the hole in the key and cleaned all the dust inside and remade all the connections. In chatting to the guy, I realised that not only had I seen this synth before but I had played it!

My elder brother used to be in a Prog Rock band called K-Mosaic - vaguley popular in their native town of Southend-On-Sea. I had seen them rehearse and once got to play with some nice synths when they weren't looking - Mellotron, white face Oddysey, ARP Prog DGX and this Yamaha! This monosynth even got used in a limited production release of a song on 7" vinyl single - woo hoo.

As you can see, I've modified it with an extra black box on the side with some more knobs. This is an extra oscillator to beef up the rather thin sound. The extra VCO is based on an ICL8038 waveform generator chip. The outputs used are Sine and Square with the square going into a counter to give me three sub-octaves of square wave all mixable. There are knobs for Range in feet and the essential tune knob. I haven't labelled any of the knobs to be so punk!

The filter on this thing, although not Moog powerful being 12dB/oct, can be switch from Low Pass, to Band Pass and to High Pass for more unusual thinner sounds that can sit better in a mix than just Low Pass all the way. High Pass filter is very under-rated and should be evident on more synths. External audio can also be routed and mixed with the VCOs and through the filter in lieu of Noise.

Audio demos

So here's a song made using just a Yamaha CS-10 analogue monosynth for all drums, pads (multi-tracked monolines!), arps and lead sounds and a bit of vocoder from Native Instruments Vokator

You can sing along if you wish:

Hey you Skylab!

Up there in space

Looking at me

What can you see?

This track was inspired by Kraftwerk's Man Machine album (notably Space Lab) and is a song about the Skylab space station.

Here's a version of the song with a different bassline as the previous 8th note pulsing bassline was not to everyone's taste!

Here's a further track featuring just the CS-10 driven by a Roland EF-303 groove box sequencer using a Kenton Pro Solo MIDI to CV converter. Effects are added and drums are courtesy of my Linn 9000.

Video example

Here's a short clip of me putting it through its paces - it'll help if you pretend for now that your name is Mike - OK?

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