Arturia – Overview
Here the instrument is running as a plug-in under Sonar on the review PC. Yamaha’s CS80 was one of the finest analogue polysynths of all time. How close have Arturia come to modelling its classic sound in software?
Welcome to DJ & Studio
Here the instrument is running as a plug-in under Sonar on the review PC. Yamaha’s CS80 was one of the finest analogue polysynths of all time. How close have Arturia come to modelling its classic sound in software? We put the software up against the hardware to find out In almost every way, the CS80 was a seminal synthesizer, marking the moment at which polyphonic synthesis matured from unreliable and hit-or-miss such as the Oberheim Four-Voice or huge and unaffordable such as the Yamaha GX1 to moderately affordable, moderately transportable, and moderately reliable.
What’s more, the CS80 was an instrument in ways that no previous synthesizer could claim to be. It particular, it sported a beautiful, wooden, velocity-sensitive keyboard that offered polyphonic aftertouch and had the feel of a quality piano. And, in an era when most polyphonic synths were just hyperactive string machines, each of the eight notes generated by the CS80 was formed from two complete synth voices, each boasting a dedicated oscillator, dual filters and dual contour generators.
What’s more surprising is that the CS80 is still revered amongst keyboard players more than 25 years later. To understand this, you have to realise that the CS80 sounded, and still sounds, wonderful. It has a timbre that is quite different from the rash of polysynths that followed, and no Prophet, Oberheim, Jupiter or Memorymoog was ever able to recreate its distinctive character. Until the arrival of Arturia’s software emulation, CS80V, that is The version used for the final draft of this review was v1.
As ever, the more RAM you have and the faster your computer, the better. Although the main screen of CS80V see above superficially resembles the top panel of a real CS80, closer scrutiny reveals that Arturia have made many changes to the CS80 panel layout.
Some of these additional features may be accessed by ‘flipping up’ the virtual panel on the left the one marked with a signal-flow diagram in the ‘closed’ view , and the back of the virtual panel also ‘opens’ to reveal the modulation matrix, of which more later in this review.
Just as with Minimoog V review, it seems sensible to compare the various parts of CS80V ‘s signal path with the real thing in this case, a mint, tuned and stable CS80 , and assess how close an emulation it is, before considering it as a software instrument in its own right. Let’s start, as in most SOS synth reviews, with The Oscillators In traditional dual-oscillator synthesizers, it’s usual to find that the outputs from both oscillators pass through a common set of filters and contour generators.
A Mix fader to the right of the Preset selectors balances the relative volume of the voices, much as the traditional mixer would balance the contributions from the oscillators, while another further to the left allows you to detune Voice II with respect to Voice I. Unlike the original CS80 which offers just sawtooth, pulse and noise waveforms , each oscillator on CS80V offers four basic waveforms — triangle, sawtooth, pulse and noise.
As on the original synth, there are six ‘footage’ options provided for each voice, available on two sliders found below the oscillator sections. The pulse widths of the square and triangle waves are variable, and applying PWM pulse-width modulation to the pulse wave has the expected effect, while PWM of the triangle shifts its rather strange ‘shark’s-tooth’ wave from a quasi-ramp ie.
Oh yes, and while we mention it, just as on Minimoog V, the sawtooth wave, which should offer the usual falling profile, is actually a ramp ie. The waveform is modulated by a dedicated LFO with a choice of sine, sawtooth, ramp, square, noise and random waveforms, the speed of which ranges from 0.
The original CS80 has no such waveform selector — it offers just sine-wave modulation. Mono, which applies the PWM at the same phase to all notes played; Trig, which resets the PWM phase for each new note played; and Free, which allows the PWM modulators to run freely for each note played, without any phase reset.
Of these, the least interesting option is the one available on the original CS On this, there is just one waveform LFO per eight-voice section so, if you apply PWM, all the pulse waves in the section sweep in synchronisation. CS80V also has oscillator sync, which the CS80 did not, but true to the original CS80 there is no ‘fine-tune’ control for VCO1, so this only works as anticipated if you modulate the pitch of VCO1 using the modulation matrix more on this later.
On the Mac version, a fault sometimes caused the sync’ed sound to disappear and be replaced by a dull click. But when carefully set up, the sync is suitably ‘tearing’, and produces an aggressive range of sounds that were unobtainable on the original synth. There is also a new button labelled ‘Link’. At first sight this appears to re-route VCO2 through the same filters and contour generators as VCO1, mimicking the more common dual-oscillator architecture.
However, closer inspection shows that it applies the filter and envelope settings of Voice I to the filters and envelopes of Voice II, still allowing you to adjust other parameters such as waveforms and pitches independently.
This might seem strange, but it’s ideal for when you’re programming sounds in which you want to use the two sections as partials within a composite. That’s the specification. How about the sound? To be honest, the raw timbres of CS80V ‘s oscillators are not quite authentic when compared to those of the test CS To make this comparison, we set the cutoff of the low-pass filter at its highest setting on the original CS, set the cutoff of the high-pass at its lowest setting, and turned the resonance to zero, thus minimising the effect of the filters.
With the filters in CS80V switched off altogether, we could directly compare the oscillators. Of course CS80V ‘s triangle wave has no equivalent on the CS80, but the sawtooth waves sounded similar when playing single notes.
However, the same cannot be said for the pulse waves. These sounded similar at high frequencies when set to produce square waves, but CS80V sounds far squarer and more hollow as you play down the keyboard. By the time you reach the bottom notes, the two sound quite dissimilar possibly because the square waveforms on the real CS80 aren’t particularly square! Narrower pulses fare no differently, and the differences continue to surface when you apply modulation to the pulse width.
All these tests were made by playing single notes, and the differences between the instruments become more obvious when you play chords, because CS80’s tuning is less perfect than CS80V ‘s. Consequently, CS80V sounds a little thinner and less ‘organic’ than the original, although this is something that can be overcome by using CS80V’s multi-mode section, of which more later. The oscillators in versions 1.
However, strange residual sounds still appear when you switch the oscillator waveforms on and off. Plenty has been made of this on CS80V ‘s user forum, and even though we are now on the third major revision of CS80V and the noises are quieter than before, the problem persists. The last thing to check was the noise generator. In versions 1. In version 1. It’s very simple, very quick, and very effective.
Controlled by five sliders, this emulates the conventional ADSR plus its associated ‘Amount’ control, and generates an equivalent four-stage contour. As you can see, the Sustain Level control of the standard ADSR is missing so, instead of adding the ADSR contour to the cutoff frequency defined elsewhere, Yamaha defined the sustain level to be the cutoff frequency, subtracting a voltage down to an Initial Level, and adding one for the Attack Level.
The diagram above should make this clearer. Clicking on the name below the HPF high-pass filter or LPF low-pass filter sliders activates or deactivates that element of the filter. If both are off, the sound passes straight through the filter section to be shaped by the appropriate amplifier.
If both filters are on, they combine to produce a band-pass filter, assuming of course that the HPF slider is positioned below the LPF — otherwise all the frequencies are attenuated and you’ll hear not a sausage.
The filters are further controlled by two tabs found in the main section of the panel. Labelled ‘Brill’ and ‘Reso’, these are global offsets for the filters’ cutoff frequencies and resonances, and they apply to all four filters equally and simultaneously. You can make significant changes to a sound using these alone, but they are not part of the ‘patch’ as such, and on the original synth, their settings could not be saved.
Fortunately, CS80V allows you to save every setting, so it’s no longer necessary to mark the controls with chinagraph to reproduce sounds correctly! Comparing the filter response to the original, we found that the maximum amount of frequency sweep on CS80V is much greater than on the original synth. This is good, because you can always get close to the CS80’s response by tempering the contours appropriately.
Likewise, at 20 seconds, the longest Attack and Decay times are much longer on the software synth, as is the maximum Release of 30 seconds. The most complex ‘view’ of CS80V, with the virtual top panel open to reveal the software’s modulation matrix, keyboard-zoning and voice-assignment controls. The filters sound quite similar in 12dB-per-octave mode, although they’re not indistinguishable. CS80V ‘s filters are more resonant than the originals, and the former ring if you sweep them quickly.
You can also hear a slight bumpiness to CS80V ‘s filter responses when you sweep the controls quickly. Finally, the Release on either voice pops when its Release Time is set to zero, and you have to increase it a little for the sound to be useable. This was not the case on the CS80 itself, and the clicks are not being generated by super-fast envelopes, but strange artefacts that shouldn’t be there.
Of course, these can be eliminated by increasing the Attack and Release settings by a fraction, but that’s not the point. After the filter section, the signal in each voice passes to its amplifier section — exactly how much is determined by the VCF Level fader.
You can use the two of these to adjust the relative levels of the two voices, but the CS80 and, therefore, CS80V offers another little trick: When active, it reinserts the fundamental frequency of the voice, adding ‘oomph’ to bass patches and high-pass filtered sounds. Unfortunately, on CS80V, there’s a bug here; if you switch on the sine wave in Voice II, everything else in that voice disappears. Finally, another Level slider determines the output level. Alongside the amplifiers lie the Touch Response sections.
These govern how the filter cutoff frequencies and amplifier gain of each voice react to Initial touch velocity and Aftertouch key pressure. Unlike most synths, in which the velocity and aftertouch work subtractively — ie.
If you raise the Initial Level slider to introduce some gain controlled by velocity or aftertouch or both , the unaffected VCA level is the quietest you’ll get when playing softly. Playing harder can add massive amounts of gain to the signal, so you have to exercise a lot of caution using these controls: If you don’t, and you use any degree of touch sensitivity, you’ll find that it’s far too easy to create harsh, aggressive digital distortion in the signal path.
You need to reduce the amp levels considerably to eliminate this, and it can take just a single note played harder than you anticipated to reintroduce the distortion. Likewise, the Brilliance filter response operates additively, although this lacks the dangers of the amplifier gain response. To be fair to Arturia, the original CS80 works in the same way, but the maximum amount of additional gain is much less than applied within CS80V. It’s worth noting here that while the touch-response faders add positive ‘voltages’ to the filter cutoff frequency and final output gain, it’s possible to set up a negative response using the modulation matrix.
Given the vintage of the original synth, it’s not surprising that there was only one modulator and one envelope for the whole instrument, and to Arturia’s credit, they have left this unaltered.
In contrast, the maximum modulation depth, envelope depth and modulation speed are all greater than on the CS80, so you can go far beyond what was previously possible if you wish. Unfortunately, there were bugs in the ring modulator, and at times it failed to work at all on the Mac version of CS80V. But when it did, it was good, and with care, it could be set up to sound similar to the original. The Sub-oscillator is a single dedicated LFO that can be applied to the overall patch, and can affect the VCOs’ pitch, the filters’ cutoffs and the amplifiers’ gains.
Its controls should be used in conjunction with the Touch Response levers that allow you to control the Sub-Oscillator’s speed, pitch modulation depth and filter modulation depth, all with independent amounts as desired if you want to imitate Vangelis, this is the place to do it. You’ll find these levers next to the Initial Pitch Bend control, which adds a quick, velocity-sensitive, upward pitch swoop to the start of each note.
CS80V ‘s arpeggiator is basic by modern standards, but nevertheless welcome. This can be sync’ed to a host sequencer’s tempo or left to run freely, and can be latched ‘on’ using the Hold button.
Only at Sweetwater! ✅ 0% Financing for your Arturia CS V2!. The CSV is the reproduction of the legendary Yamaha® CS, which was considered by many as the “ultimate polyphonic synthesizer”, back in the late. V2 A/B comparisons with CS Hardware? Why are they . thorau wrote: I was surprised to see Arturia released CS V2. They went to.
It’s unique dual voice layout allowed for rich and full sounds that have not been matched to this day. Hit song after hit song has turned this synthesizer into a true legend. More than three decades after its release, the time has come to rediscover a sound that has contributed extensively to the history of music.
It is typical to search for an intuitive, imaginative and responsive CAD device nowadays. The SketchUp application satisfies its clients in such manner as it accompanies the most stunning arrangement of cutting-edge features. The toolbar on the fundamental screen is adaptable and the interface of the instrument is intelligent to the level you donвt expect.
VIDEO REVIEW: Arturia CS V2 Reviews & Prices | Equipboard®
The CSV is the reproduction of the legendary Yamaha CS, which was considered by many as the “ultimate polyphonic synthesizer”, back. Win 7+ (64bit) PC: 4 GB RAM; GHz CPU. Works in Standalone, VST , VST 3, AAX, Audio Unit, NKS (bit DAWs only). All the original parameters of the Yamaha CS See who uses Arturia CS V2, including Tycho, Dave Clarke and others. Arturia CS V2 reviews & prices.