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CS-80 alternatives under 2500USD? (2011) Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 1st September 2011
  #1
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CS-80 alternatives under 2500USD? (2011)

LOVE the CS-80 pads and strings, theyre huge with a little reverb and dont sound flimsy like digital synth strings.

Got a Moog Little Phatty for bass and leads, need something juicy for the middle - im a huge fan of 80s/90s sound with modern touches (think Empire of the Sun).

With a $500-$2500 budget new or used, what hardware should I grab? Im listening to the Roland JP-8000 demos and loving this cheap machines sound. Not sure if Juno-60 will be "better" for pads/strings. And Virus, well Ive yet to hear any good pads for it online.



I want everything here, but a cheaper version lol.
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

The alesis andromeda is an option, although different from the cs-80

Another option would be a MKS-80 for that 80's sound... you can also check out the davesmith synths.. It's possible to link e.g. 2 4 voice synths so they work as 1 8 voice.. or 2 8 voice so they work as 1 16 voice

Another option that I've never heard, but could at least be interesting to check, is the Arturia Origin..
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
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Yoozer's Avatar
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...lter-demo.html

Though for 2 voices you might just hit the 2500, let alone 8.
Old 1st September 2011
  #4
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how about the Arturtia CS-80V soft synth? That would be the closest thing, and in your price range, you can dedicate a small computer to it... a laptop or maybe a mac mini
Old 1st September 2011
  #5
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IMHO if we are extending the discussion to soft synths there are quite a few that would be better options than the Arturia ones.

For example, Dave Spiers from GForce did a VERY good job replicating the Bladerunner intro with their new Imposcar 2. He did so in the Sonic State Podcast a few months back, but I have been unable to find an online link to just that clip. Google "Sonic State Bladerunner test" for the podcast episode. The key thing mentioned was that the Imp2 can quite easily replicate the filter on the CS80 (it has a filter separation control) and the chorus is very good.

Anyway, if you're on a mac, download the demo and have a go.
Old 1st September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCTION View Post
And Virus, well Ive yet to hear any good pads for it online.
Regarding the virus, have you seen this:

Quite impressive in my humble opinion, even though it does retain some digital character - but maybe that's Youtube doing its thing with the sound...
Old 1st September 2011
  #7
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A Virus to do CS80? Sorry, let the Virus do the Virus thing...

Anything with an analog filter will probably do better CS80 impressions, as the 200-dollar ESQ-1 proves in this video... no it's not even close to a CS80 but it certainly is better than the Virus at that...

Old 1st September 2011
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristianRock View Post
A Virus to do CS80? Sorry, let the Virus do the Virus thing...
I definitely agree. I posted it only because the OP mentioned the virus. I think the result in the video is MUCH better than I expected, but it's no CS80.
Old 1st September 2011
  #9
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For around 3k you should be able to find a CS60.
Old 1st September 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxis View Post
IMHO if we are extending the discussion to soft synths
Please no, I'm not a fan of soft synths, CS-80 is as analog hardware as you can get, no soft synth will touch it.

@jdieks - An Andromeda A6 under $2500? I don't think so, and it's too rare anyway. Also, it's too advanced for me.
Old 1st September 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCTION View Post
Please no, I'm not a fan of soft synths, CS-80 is as analog hardware as you can get, no soft synth will touch it.

@jdieks - An Andromeda A6 under $2500? I don't think so, and it's too rare anyway. Also, it's too advanced for me.
I wouldnt call the a6 rare... But i would call it difficult.
mks 80
mks 70
Jp6
Oberheim ob 8
oberheim xpander
The junos are great. The 60 and 6 have the same filters as the jp8 if I remember correctly.
cs 60
Every now and then I hear about cs 80s going insanely cheap. Saw one sold about 2 mo. ago for like 1800. Wish i would have seen it.
Old 1st September 2011
  #12
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I got a factory patch on XV5080 called "Greek Power"
Old 2nd September 2011
  #13
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As a long time owner of a CS80 i think the closest ive heard is indeed surprisingly from the esq1.. it doesnt quite have the richness of the real thing, but it sounds pretty close from the demos ive heard certainly for the brass, for the pads and strings id recommend the Juno 60.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #14
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobJB06 View Post
As a long time owner of a CS80 i think the closest ive heard is indeed surprisingly from the esq1.. it doesnt quite have the richness of the real thing, but it sounds pretty close from the demos ive heard certainly for the brass, for the pads and strings id recommend the Juno 60.
I dunno, when I bought an SQ80, I entered the patch data from the Youtube video of the ESQ1 doing a CS80 impersonation, where the guy had his patch settings on display, and I didn't think it sounded much like one. Sounded too thin to be a CS80
Old 2nd September 2011
  #15
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Here's the Andromeda and the Prophet08 doing some CS-80 ish sounds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZE5tH2NVv4
Old 2nd September 2011
  #16
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Perhaps im asking the wrong question.

Im actually more interested in knowing why the CS-80's sound in that video in the first post sounds so humongous and wide, and it puts images in my head of huge landscapes?

As opposed to say, a Juno-60, which doesnt?

The youtube video says:

Signal flow is: CS80--SRE-555 Tape Echo--Siemens 245b EQ -- Eventide 2016 Reverb-- Prism Orpheus AD/DA

Left Channel is SRE-555 Output A, Right channel is SRE-555 Output B. Chorus is output from A+B. Spring Reverb is output from B. Tape Delay is Output B. Direct Signal is output A.

Would the post processing devices make any synth sound so big?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #17
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Yoozer's Avatar
It helps if you start with a big synth.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCTION View Post
Please no, I'm not a fan of soft synths, CS-80 is as analog hardware as you can get, no soft synth will touch it.

@jdieks - An Andromeda A6 under $2500? I don't think so, and it's too rare anyway. Also, it's too advanced for me.
In Europe it's not unusual to see them for around 1700 which is around 2400 US..
Old 2nd September 2011
  #19
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Sure the processing helps a lot.. it can make or break a sound. It also helps that the CS80 has 8 voices, each consisting of 2 independent synth lines (so each has it's own osc, VCF, VCA, envelopes, etc) of discrete analog circuitry. This means that all these elements kindof fluctuate dependent on temperature, humidity, position of the moon and the current price of Guinness in Creek upon Tyne. In other words: it's a lively, full sound.

Now combiune this with all the processing, and there you have your sound. The CS80 is legendary in that respect, and that's why everyone wants one.
Old 2nd September 2011
  #20
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

SRE-555 = audio magic

Look at what it does to the humble TG77 FM brass sound...
Especially when you do it like I did, and in that video above where you split the spring reverb, and tape echo to either side with analog chorus in the middle



Anyone after big dreamy and cosy sounds needs some analog tape delay box
(or a good emulation I suppose)
Old 2nd September 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolColJ View Post
SRE-555 = audio magic

Look at what it does to the humble TG77 FM brass sound...
Especially when you do it like I did, and in that video above where you split the spring reverb, and tape echo to either side with analog chorus in the middle
Man that thing costs $800, but boy does that brass sound mellow and beautiful. But I badly want a big sound, if hardware is the only way to pull it off im willing to pay the extra cash.

SRE-555, any alternatives to that? lol, I hate not knowing what things to get after a synth to process it to greatness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolColJ View Post
Anyone after big dreamy and cosy sounds needs some analog tape delay box
Okay while I have your attention can you please tell me what else I should get in a small list? Besides a decent synth and a Roland analog tape delay box? I want big dreamy strings, pads and instruments. If I had to get one or two or three great sounding hardware pieces for reverb, chorus and delays, what do I get? Or will a SRE-555 do it all?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #22
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

And here is the SRE-555 working on a Arturia JP8V2 PWM going into a REZ 30 (rebadged MaM RS3 Korg PS3100 triple resonator clone)




Emulations can work, UAD make a nice RE-201 and Dimension D plugin
But I've never played with one in person, I was that close to picking up a UAD 2 quad with the above plugs and a whole bunch of otehrs for $1200AUD on Ebay, but decided to let it go.

Quote:
Melodic Arp pattern and chord shapes. Created with a custom Ableton Arpeggiator Device preset, UAD Roland RE-201 Space Echo & SDD-320 Dimension D.


Problem is UAD isn't really good for low latency real time playing. But delays, spring reverb and chorus isn't such a big deal with latency

Before I sold my SRE-555, I tried to see if i could emulate the feel of it as used above, in my DAW
And I got a decent impression of it

Real SRE-555, my emulation of it attached below. I used 2 Soundtoys Echoboy, Softube spring reverb vst, compressed the effects bus output with Fairchild 670 emulation plugin, along with Virsyn Vtape on the master bus




You could also try the RE20 emulation pedal from Boss
Quite cheap second hand.
Attached Files

CCJ_TapeDelayEmulation.mp3 (920.5 KB, 1543 views)

Old 2nd September 2011
  #23
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

Here is my Reaper project that I used to try emulate the SRE-555

Old 2nd September 2011
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Thank you for the help, I pretty much need something like an SRE-555, I just hope it's not too hard to use being tape and all? Never used anything tape based.

Also, would getting something cheaper like a Lexicon MX200 instead of a SRE-555 for my effects be horrible?

Finding the right synth isnt a problem, ive been doing tons of research and oddly the cheaper/easier ones (Junos/JPs) make my ears feel better. Perhaps a used Virus Desktop version can work if I find some demos proving it can do warm fuzzy analog pads/strings and sound great.

I think my issue is getting processing hardware, and knowing whats available that sounds good at a decent price. Should I start a different thread?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #25
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UCTION View Post
Thank you for the help, I pretty much need something like an SRE-555, I just hope it's not too hard to use being tape and all? Never used anything tape based.

Also, would getting something cheaper like a Lexicon MX200 instead of a SRE-555 for my effects be horrible?

Finding the right synth isnt a problem, ive been doing tons of research and oddly the cheaper/easier ones (Junos/JPs) make my ears feel better. Perhaps a used Virus Desktop version can work if I find some demos proving it can do warm fuzzy analog pads/strings and sound great.

I think my issue is getting processing hardware, and knowing whats available that sounds good at a decent price. Should I start a different thread?

Try the Boss RE20
Then a Roland or Boss analog chorus unit. There are quite a few, which I can't name off hand - Dimension D, etc



Analog tape style delay and spring reverb has a different effect from digital effects boxes. I think the $200-300 Boss re20 is worth a look

SRE-555 needs head maintenace, mainly cleaning them. And replacing the tapes after a while, if you want a cleaner sound
It also makes an annoying whirring motor sound

Edit - Also the RE-501 is the non rack version, usually cheaper


it's worth spending extra to get a refurbished unit if you decide on this route
Old 2nd September 2011
  #26
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I sold my mint RE-20 a half year ago - regret it
Old 2nd September 2011
  #27
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RE-201 tape echo and spring reverb impulses anyone?

~ DUBBHISM ~: RE-201 Roland Space Echo impulse responses 25-200 BPM

That's what I should have done before I sold my SRE-555, record some spring reverb impulses and chorus captures for Nebula!
Old 2nd September 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristianRock View Post
A Virus to do CS80? Sorry, let the Virus do the Virus thing...

Anything with an analog filter will probably do better CS80 impressions, as the 200-dollar ESQ-1 proves in this video... no it's not even close to a CS80 but it certainly is better than the Virus at that...


This guy's insane...dang....
Old 2nd September 2011
  #29
Jet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCTION View Post
I pretty much need something like an SRE-555

decent price
You could check out the Strymon El Capistan.
Old 3rd September 2011
  #30
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

Try the freeware Echomania plugin - it rocks for noodling!

THE INTERRUPTOR: VST devices download page
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