Yamaha CS-1X




The features of this dandy blue little lightweight definitely outweigh the sound quality. These later Yamaha boards all have a kind of cookie-cutter quality to them...they lack "oomph." Anyone familiar with analog boards can tell you that digital boards will never compete in terms of raw balls, and this 1996 beginner's synth is definitely no exception.

All the same, this keyboard has a ton to offer, and with suitable tweaking can beef up any studio. There's some ho-hum pianos and organs in there which sound unexpectedly great in the mix, and the stings and filter sweeps are excellent. There's also a very versatile onboard arpeggiator, 32-note polyphony, and tons of preset homages to vintage synths. It's among the cheapest ways to goof around with an Arp 2600 yet. :o)

My friend Chris is looking to start a modest studio and learn the basics of keyboarding and electronic music in general, and to him and anyone else in his position I can't think of a better board than a CS-1X to start out with, since they offer so much for so little money. In a recent email conversation with ex-Moog Cookbook genius Brain Kehew, he mentioned this board and the Mellotron (!!) as his two favorite keyboards right now. Coming from a guy who's owned everything under the sun, it was an endoresement I couldn't ignore! Check out the sound sample and see what you think...got a few arpeggiations in there and soapy string bath follows it up.

CLICK HERE for a bigger pic of my studio!

Copyright 2005 David C. Lovelace