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Yamaha CS20M Synthesizer


The CS-20M is another of Yamaha's classic CS-series analog synthesizers of the '70's and '80's. It is a monophonic analog synthesizer with dual-VCOs that use subtractive synthesis to create superb bass, synth, lead, bubbly-squirty and percussive sounds. It has all the essential components of a classic synth: There is a resonant filter with switchable high, band or low pass filtering with its own ADSR envelope controls. There is an ADSR VCA envelope generator which contains a third oscillator which generates a sine wave to modulate and enhance your sounds. And there is an LFO which can modulate the PWM sweep. Fortunately, the CS-20m features 8 memory locations for patch storage of your favorite or most used sounds.

Full Description



  • Synth/ keyboard/
Synthesis Type:
  • Analog subtractive
  • 1
Multi-timbral (number of parts):
  • 1
Oscillators per Voice:
  • Max : 3
  • 2 wheels 2 pedals and plenty of knobs
  • 0
  • Number of Keys : 3 octaves
Memory Patches:
  • 8
Number of Audio Outs:
  • 4
Number of Audio Ins:
  • 0
Number of MIDI Outs:
  • 0
Number of MIDI Ins:
  • 0


This a great retro sounding mono synth with a very different approach to programming sounds. It takes a while to figure out what works and when given that patches 1-8 have limited tweakability once they are programmed. I had mine modified with one additional LFO that I can use for pitch modulation independent of the other LFO. I also have two additional oscillators added one for osc1 and osc2 that can I can slightly detune for a really thick sound. I run mine through a Alesis Quadraverb and it really sounds nice.

Don Smith

I would put my CS20M up against any mono synth. It is an incredible machine. The filters could be more aggressive but they actually sound very nice and smooth. I love the sound of moog filters and Arp filters, but I can't decide if I actually like them better. The sound of Yamaha filters are totally unique. This synth can sound wicked fat and it is very versatile. There are two fully controllable VCOs and a third VCO that sends a straight sub oscillator sine wave. The LFO is crazy fast and the tuning is stable (on mine anyway). It is pretty huge, which makes gigging a bit of a chore, but it is worth it. You should see the eyes light up in an audience when people hear the first sounds from it. I am in love with my CS20M! Anyone who knows anything about analog synthesis should be able to appreciate the Yamaha CS series. They are incredible synthesizers. If you find one, buy it.

Reed Sutter

Reviews from Sonic State


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