Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:50 pm

knolan wrote: That's because the programmers Arturia used know, or seem to know, very little about the CS80. of those features, and its as clear as the day is long that those programmers did not know the original. [...]
Are you for real?

How pathetic is *that*? I mean, this is like virgins talking about sex...

This is not exactly going to make me take Arturia seriously.

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:21 pm

StepLogik wrote:I think the more accurate statement would be, "The sound of a synth comes from its sound generating components and circuit design." A HUGE portion of the CS-80's circuitry is dedicated to mundane functions like key scanning and preset switching. Such features could be relegated to a microprocessor with no discernible effect.
I'm not sure that that is a more accurate statement. Very few of those components don't affect the sound-generating aspect. What notes going where has an affect on how the synthesizer sounds. Preset switching is nothing but hard-wired connections between functions, and really has little to do with circuitry. Even so, though... the way that those presets sound depends on how those connections are made. Perhaps not in gigantically overt ways... but the benefit of analog synthesizers has rarely been an overt sound.
StepLogik wrote: Yes, it is an inherently good sounding instrument as well, but that isn't solely due to discreet circuitry and that particular design approach does not guarantee good sound. The CS-80 sounds good because it was a very well-designed instrument from a sonic standpoint regardless of circuit topology.
:::squints::::
How could a synthesizer sound good if it wasn't a well-designed synthesizer from a sonic standpoint? Are there any examples of really poorly-designed synthesizers with terrible circuit topology that are overall great-sounding synthesizers? What on Earth are you talking about?
The CS-50 sounds good because of good circuit design... and there are no two ways around that. Of course, a synthesizer can be non-linear and non-discrete and still sound great... but there is no way that circuit design isn't the major factor in how great a synth sounds. Linear/discrete circuits are largely believed to add a desirable quality to the sound of synthesizers, on top of that. To disagree with either point is baffling to me.
StepLogik wrote:Certainly if you miniaturize the analog components to SMT, use a tiny switching power supply, use a plastic keybed with velocity and aftertouch sensors, and let the CPU generate envelopes and LFO's then you would subtly alter the sonic character of the synth, but not such that anyone would really notice or make a fuss over it. The more noticeable effect would be the change in the feel of actually playing the instrument but since so very few have had the privilege I don't see that as a factor either.
So, you're saying that because the average person hasn't played one and doesn't know what aspects of sound distinguish it, you can make a whole bunch of cost-related changes and it won't matter? If that doesn't matter, making the synth doesn't matter. You don't recreate a synthesizer inaccurately simply to use the name because the average person can't tell... that is the stupidest idea in the world. All it takes is one person who DOES know to say "that doesn't sound or feel like the original" and your marketing is worthless... making your device worthless.
It VERY MUCH matters if the envelopes and LFOs are voltage because voltage sounds different than digitally generated. And if you ARE a person who has played a lot of these devices, you WOULD be able to tell... because specific designs create specific sounds, responses, interactions, and results... and the people who come to love the synths come to love them FOR THOSE REASONS. Would the average player notice? Who GIVES a s**t? The average person isn't going to be able to afford this thing. You NEED the most experienced CS-80 player in the world to say "yep, this thing is just like the original" for it to be worth making at all. And those changes, however subtle you'd like to portray them, are going to be obvious to, say, Kent Spong.
StepLogik wrote:The original CS-80 was obsolete when it was released and to release an exact replica now would be silly and a colossal blunder from business standpoint (I doubt you could even find a factory willing to tool up to even build it).
I'm only going to guess that you're invoking obsolescence because of the Prophet 5. And, within the context of that time, I can see why you'd say that. But that was then... things are VERY VERY different now. The Prophet 5 is actually far more obsolete than the CS-80 because of the proprietary parts. The CS series was so titanically over-designed that many of them (including the one that I own) are still going strong without service at all.
That being said, I generally agree with you. There's no way you could get a return on that investment because of its design.
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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by StepLogik » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:20 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote: I'm not sure that that is a more accurate statement. Very few of those components don't affect the sound-generating aspect. What notes going where has an affect on how the synthesizer sounds. Preset switching is nothing but hard-wired connections between functions, and really has little to do with circuitry. Even so, though... the way that those presets sound depends on how those connections are made. Perhaps not in gigantically overt ways... but the benefit of analog synthesizers has rarely been an overt sound.
Not sure I agree with you there. I could use a DLA and model with 100% accuracy, to the point that no existing device could possibly measure or distinguish the difference between the original CS-80 digital logic and that which I implemented in software. But that is just the purely digital side, see additional comments below with regards to interaction with the analog components.
Automatic Gainsay wrote: What on Earth are you talking about?
Hey I reserve the right to be inarticulate when arguing on the Internet :D I was trying to say that the subjective quality of whether or not a synth sounds "good" is not exclusively a function of its circuit topology. Good sounding synths come in the form of digital VA's, hybrids, discreet design, and those chock full proprietary IC's and components. Likewise, there are plenty of shitty sounding synths that also use the same topology, be it digital, discreet analog, or whatever.
Automatic Gainsay wrote:
You don't recreate a synthesizer inaccurately simply to use the name because the average person can't tell... that is the stupidest idea in the world.
Tell that to Dave Smith, Moog, Korg and Roland ;)
Automatic Gainsay wrote:
All it takes is one person who DOES know to say "that doesn't sound or feel like the original" and your marketing is worthless... making your device worthless.
I just don't think this is completely true in terms "worth" being defined as product sales. PLENTY of people have said similar things about the MS-20 re-issue or the TB-3 but that hasn't seemed to impact sales. "Worth" in terms of authenticity to synth nerds like us, then yeah, you are spot on.
Automatic Gainsay wrote:
You NEED the most experienced CS-80 player in the world to say "yep, this thing is just like the original" for it to be worth making at all. And those changes, however subtle you'd like to portray them, are going to be obvious to, say, Kent Spong.
Nobody is trying to sell a synth to Kent Spong. I understand exactly what you are saying and I actually agree with you for the most part. Modern "recreations" are, at the end of the day, a sham. But a genuine, authentic vintage CS-80 reissue would not be a popular instrument. Price aside, just the feature set alone would not appeal to the vast majority ("Why can't I hook this up to Ableton?"). It's only synth nerds like us that actually care about these subtleties and we are a very, very small market segment.

My theoretical "modernized" CS-80 (which, technically, isn't a CS-80 so we'd need to call it a CS-80 Mk II or CS-8000 or something) would probably offend most of us, and Kent Spong, but if it had 80% of the CS-80 charm in a modern package the appeal would be quite broad imo. s**t, are we just debating semantics? If I just call it a different name is this whole discussion moot? :lol:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:
It VERY MUCH matters if the envelopes and LFOs are voltage because voltage sounds different than digitally generated.
This treads dangerously close to the "$1000 HDMI cable" snake oil territory. If you have a sufficiently high-res D/A converter this argument starts to get pretty weak (from my perspective which is probably more engineer and less musician). However, capturing the exact curve (under all possible states) of the LFO/Envs from the original CS-80 design is probably no easy feat, especially if you account for the extremely subtle distortions caused by other circuitry in the machine indirectly affecting the LFOs/Envs. That said, I don't want to discount it. Anyone who has ever played a real TR-909 versus samples of a TR-909 knows that the subtle interactions between the digital and analogue components of that machine are crucial to its "magic".

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by knolan » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:27 am

I think Automatic Gainsay you are being too cautious and precious about the original. It's basic sonic character is quite OK - but noting special - and I've heard quite influential CS80 owners and players even say "underwhelming"!.

As indicated in a post further up, it's the particular design, layout and functionality of the performance features of the instrument that make it special. Get that largely right, and you'll have a h**l of an instrument.

As just one example, in the post above I was specific and careful in highlighting the 20 dedicated performance 'levers' - as distinct from 'faders'. Even that's important. Their feel, and inertial, allows for better performance and realtime sound manipulation. As important a difference as that between faders and knobs. (and 20 performance levers give you extraordinary sonic scope)

So if the internals of the sound engine are about OK - but the mechanical chasis is designed well - and with the same functionality, you'll have an exquisite and unique performance capability. Even the Schmidt does not accommodate such capability.

Believe it or not - the JD800 does. It's not a million miles from the CS80 in concept - because it's LFO and Aftertouch features are plainly laid out on the control surface - meaning - you adjust them for performance (or - can adjust them for performance - in real-time - should you choose to use the JD800 in that way (I do). It's by no means a CS80 - but it, with the CS80, uniquely offers its extensive aftertouch features up font and bare on the control surface - meaning you reach for them , and use them).

It's all about performance (and realtime performance control) !!

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by pflosi » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:44 am

knolan wrote:It's all about performance!!


:mrgreen:

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by calaverasgrande » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:16 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote: Are there any examples of really poorly-designed synthesizers with terrible circuit topology that are overall great-sounding synthesizers? What on Earth are you talking about?
Have you ever tried to repair a vintage Moog?
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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:58 pm

calaverasgrande wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote: Are there any examples of really poorly-designed synthesizers with terrible circuit topology that are overall great-sounding synthesizers? What on Earth are you talking about?
Have you ever tried to repair a vintage Moog?
That's a good point but, I think, AG was thinking of flawed designs rather than hideous build quality. If the latter would count, we could also toss ARP into the fray.
knolan wrote: [...] It's basic sonic character is quite OK - but noting special - and I've heard quite influential CS80 owners and players even say "underwhelming"!. [...]
Of course, you need to find the instrument´s sweet spot (if you miss it, the CS80 can actually sound a bit daft) and adjust it to your needs, but I think those players you quoted might just have missed the point of what the instrument was all about -- or perhaps they were confronted with a not very stable model -- or confronted with one five minutes before the show -- or perhaps both.

"The CS80 can produce some sounds other synthesisers still are incapable of." (Peter-John Vettese, ca. 1991)

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by shaft9000 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:07 pm

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:
knolan wrote: That's because the programmers Arturia used know, or seem to know, very little about the CS80. of those features, and its as clear as the day is long that those programmers did not know the original. [...]
Are you for real?

How pathetic is *that*? I mean, this is like virgins talking about sex...

This is not exactly going to make me take Arturia seriously.

Stephen

by programmers i believe he is referring to the designers of the presets,
not the instrument itself. absurd as it may seem, it makes business sense for atruria to load it up with cheesy dance presets, because
1) that's an easy way to sell to at least half of your potential market right there, and
2) no-one has offered a VST controller that even remotely emulates the UI of the CS polys.

To the 2nd point, it is rather surprising that nobody has yet to release a lever-laden controller with a ribbon all across the front(where it needs to be, duh. not a gum-stick above the modwheel etc), dedicated HPF&LPF layout, a similar pressure routing layout etc. It is even scarier to imagine (or encouraging?) that may really be all it needs to be to get there, along with some refining DSP....but i digress.

I agree that some elements of "the CS sound" are quite mundane - the VCO's PWM section notwithstanding, it's the ringmod and filter arrangement that contribute to most of it's 'sound circuit' distinction. The EGs are nothing remarkable, 'exotic' or no. VCA is mostly transparent, although bass response requires some taming.
It's all about that bottom row of levers+L/H control pad, the keyboard response itself - along with those filters, ringmod&PWM. Therefore, some bulk and heft is required. But another 200 lb behemoth just won't fly. Even if it was built perfectly exactly and authentically for (oh, say some magic number price-point) like $3k, i still wouldn't want any synth/instrument that goddamned big.
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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by knolan » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:59 pm

Oh yes - thanks shaft9000 for picking up on that and clarifying it - genuinely appreciated. I was ambiguous. Arturia software engineers (software programmers did a stunning job !!). It's the preset designers / programmers I was suggesting might not have been CS80 users - virtually none of the preset programs (of the hundreds available) avail of any realtime control (even though Arturia keyboard controllers do a good job in mapping control surface features to physical controllers) strongly suggesting that they were not familiar with the real thing (and Arturia missed a major trick IMO in not realising this ad finding someone to do an astounding bank that would show off this instruments unique features and realtime control capabilities).

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:21 pm

I say a modernized CS-80 would be good, if you want the original behemoth then buy the behemoth. I suppose it'd be more or less an Andromeda without the bugs and outsourced labour. :P Studio Electronics has the Omega 8 which is fully discreet for some $5,000. Of course a large company like Yamaha could bring production costs down, but you're adding a keyboard, casing, etc... So still probably at least $5,000 for a fully discreet unit. Perhaps with using IC's and maybe even software here and there you could drop it into the $2,000-3000 mark or less just depending. DSI has the Prophet 8 at $2K and the Prophet 12 at $3K and all things considered they're a small company, so I have no doubt if Yamaha(or KORG or Roland[HA HA]) were to make an analogue poly they could make it competitive with what's out there now price wise if they don't go with an 100% recreation.

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by calaverasgrande » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:48 pm

I really think that the weight would simply not be an issue.
Tech has progressed quite a lot since the CS80 was contemporary. There is no reason to use a big heavy power supply, or a steel and wood case when stronger lighter and more durable construction methods would do a better job, cheaper.
SMT and yes op amps could eliminate a lot of the other weight. IT may not seem like much, but with poly on the scale of the CS80 teh number of resistors, capacitors and transistors has to be in the thousands. Switching from full size discrete components to SMT would move the weight of those components form kilkograms to grams.

But then there is a problem with that that which I kind of spaced on.
I am not imtimately familiar with the CS80 circuits, but I am with other Yamaha musical instrument circuits. The prevailing design philosophy at Yammie back then seems to have been all about using big power supplies and higher than normal voltage rails. Their PM series mixers were often 24 or even 44 volts when most other mixers were 12 or 18.
Maybe somebody can hip us to the situation with the CS80 power supply rails, but if it is a high voltage (for audio) design that kind of narrows your options for SMT opamps. Since the goal for the last few decades has been reducing power supply voltages for less heat and power consumption.
I'm sure someone can blow me out of the water on this. I'm no EE, just a bender and hacker that has modded a few old mixers.

PS it's kind of funny that I come off championing SMT here. I revile that design approach when it comes to recording gear or bass and guitar amps! But hey, if it can put some re-issued synths within reach and make them more stable, more power to em.
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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:29 pm

This is all purely hypothetical anyhow, as if Yamaha is going to make anything large scale analogue when they have yet to make something small. What we can put hope into is perhaps KORG making a Poly-12, or what have you, since they've been doing so well with the smaller and now bigger analogue gear. At this point in time it really wouldn't surprise me if KORG were to announce a full scale analogue poly soon. Then again with KORG remaking the Odyssey, maybe they'll remake the CS-80 and Jupiter 8 while they're at it. :P

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by knolan » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:45 pm

hmmm - but - who, ten years ago, would have imagines: dozens of modular synth companies, prophet12, family of moog mono synths, arturia mini brute, korg analogue range, ..... - there's something new and exciting happening that looks like all types of synths finding their place and market - so why not dream, muse, ponder, (prod!)... I feel that forums like this have helped manufacturers gauge the potential markets and perhaps even affect decision making !!!

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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by calaverasgrande » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:03 am

knolan wrote:hmmm - but - who, ten years ago, would have imagines: dozens of modular synth companies, prophet12, family of moog mono synths, arturia mini brute, korg analogue range, ..... - there's something new and exciting happening that looks like all types of synths finding their place and market - so why not dream, muse, ponder, (prod!)... I feel that forums like this have helped manufacturers gauge the potential markets and perhaps even affect decision making !!!
Yeah the analog renaissance is pretty much out of left field.
I got back into analog synths because it seemed like everyone was jumping on the VA bandwagon. I had good luck snagging some drum machines and such for a little while, then that ebay price tsunami swept in a few years ago and it seems like the price of everything doubled. Which makes all the new gear releases all the better.
I love seeing new manufacturers come out with new stuff all the time. Often at better prices and with cooler featrues than the similar vintage gear.
Especially the bit about Arturia who are more well known for softsynths, making really interesting new analog synths! They are the last company I'd expect in that product segment.
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Re: Would you buy a CS80 if re-released?

Post by yorgatron » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:23 am

would I buy a CS-80 if it were re-released?

no.

don't think I could afford it.

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