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Retro midi machine! - Printable Version

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RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-21-2019

The CS1x has mixed reviews to say the least -- some saying it's crap and they got rid of it after a few months, and others gushing over it and using it to this day -- but when I spotted it on FB Marketplace and started researching it, what won me over was this video:





I can only speak for myself, but I think that sounds gorgeous. Those capabilites on top of a fully featured XG tone generator and a decent midi controller to boot, that looks like a very good ~$110 deal to me. I mean sure, it's an early VA type of synth and it doesn't have that "true analog" mojo of more modern offerings, but honestly? I don't mind. I love digital synths, and most of the time the "true analog" sound I hear people going on about sounds like distorted wet farts to me anyway Smile


RE: Retro midi machine! - Paul Battersby - 08-22-2019

That Cs1x has some nice sounds. The sounds remind me of some of the custom DX7II patches I have. Maybe not a co-incidence since they're both from Yamaha. Lately I've been sampling some of the custom sounds and making sfz instruments for the day when my DX7II finally dies and the sounds would otherwise be lost to me forever. Some of my sounds seem to need velocity layers, some don't even respond to key velocity at all (easy to sample those), some need careful looping and a few need chromatic sampling, but it's still far easier than dealing with orchestral instruments!


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-22-2019

(08-22-2019, 12:14 AM)Paul Battersby Wrote: The sounds remind me of some of the custom DX7II patches I have. Maybe not a co-incidence since they're both from Yamaha.

Yup, Yamaha stuff usually has a distinctive character even between synths as different as the DX7 and the CS1x. It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is though.

(08-22-2019, 12:14 AM)Paul Battersby Wrote: Lately I've been sampling some of the custom sounds and making sfz instruments for the day when my DX7II finally dies and the sounds would otherwise be lost to me forever. Some of my sounds seem to need velocity layers, some don't even respond to key velocity at all (easy to sample those), some need careful looping and a few need chromatic sampling, but it's still far easier than dealing with orchestral instruments!

That's a good precaution, but I think you'd stand a pretty good chance of getting it repaired if worst comes to worst. DX7's exist in abundance and remain popular to this day, so finding parts for one shouldn't be impossible.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Samulis - 08-22-2019

Maybe it's the FM synthesis technique? Not sure if they're still using FM on this unit, but Yamaha did seem to be doing a lot of hybrid stuff in the 90's.

Either way, sounds freakin' fantastic! Can't wait to hear it in tracks. Smile


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-22-2019

(08-22-2019, 01:41 PM)Samulis Wrote: Maybe it's the FM synthesis technique? Not sure if they're still using FM on this unit, but Yamaha did seem to be doing a lot of hybrid stuff in the 90's.

No FM in the CS1x, it's a virtual analog with sampled oscillator waveforms (plus an XG rompler).

(08-22-2019, 01:41 PM)Samulis Wrote: Either way, sounds freakin' fantastic! Can't wait to hear it in tracks. Smile

It does sound surprisingly versatile for something aimed at nineties dance music. Then again, any synthesizer with enough programmability can of course be made to work in any genre.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-25-2019

It has arrived.

[Image: IMG_20190825_174234437.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20190825_174253204.jpg]

A surprisingly modern-looking thing for being 23 years old. And it sounds much nicer than expected from the negative online comments. Sure, many factory presets are garbage, but some are quite impressive. This looks to be a quite capable pad synth, which suits me just fine.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Nayrb - 08-25-2019

(08-25-2019, 03:57 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: It has arrived.

Looks and sounds awesome! totally digging it. I really enjoy all the "new retro" synthwave stuff that's coming out these days, a lot of which is sort of "dance-y," so I have no qualms with such presets. They sound sweet to me.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-25-2019

(08-25-2019, 04:55 PM)Nayrb Wrote: Looks and sounds awesome! totally digging it. I really enjoy all the "new retro" synthwave stuff that's coming out these days, a lot of which is sort of "dance-y," so I have no qualms with such presets. They sound sweet to me.

Yeah, same here. I believe dance/techno music has played a big part in making analog synths popular again, which is a good thing no matter how I feel about the genre as a whole.

Also, I learned that one of my favorite David Bowie albums -- Earthling -- uses the CS1x all over the place, which is pretty cool. I need to listen to it and see if I can spot any presets. Then again, Bowie being Bowie, they probably made all sounds from scratch.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-25-2019

First order of business however is replacing those tall and flimsy-feeling factory knobs with something a bit more sturdy. These off-white ones will have to do for now, I only need to figure out where the rest of them are, I had a whole bunch not too long ago...

[Image: IMG_20190825_213427025.jpg]


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 08-26-2019

Speaking of synthwave and the resurgence of analog synths: my daughter is a HUGE fan of Stranger Things. She basically wants to be Eleven. She walked in on me yesterday while I was checking this thing out, browsing through the presets, meaning to ask me this or that. She shot the synth a jaded glance and said, "so that's a new thing you got, huh?"

"Yeah," I said, and started playing the ST main theme. And I kid you not, IT BLEW HER MIND. She was not expecting it and her jaw dropped, and moments later she was begging me to teach her how to play it.

Sometimes all you need is the right angle to spark an interest in something.