Below are Yamaha CS-60 synths that are either on the market or have sold. My purpose with this post is to follow the market and keep a registry of sorts. I’ll try and keep this post up to date as CS-60s are listed and then sell. Good to keep track of the value of your stuff.
Update July 21, 2021: appears 1827 has sold! Was a good deal and I will probably eventually regret not buying it and selling mine.
July 20, 2021 CS-60 1827 This one is fitted with a Kenton Midi kit and is listed on Reverb out of Tuscon Arizona for $9000. It would make a lot of sense for me to buy this and sell my CS-60 after, but I am probably not up to all the money-moving and travel that would require. It does have some rare accessories, and with pick up available in Santa Barbara really wouldn’t be too bad.
CS-60 in near mint condition, fully restored by Nick Montoya of Moog music with Kenton midi kit installed. Comes with rare vinyl case for the legs, music stand and foot pedal. Makes for a nice collectable and is computer studio ready. Custom wood stand and upper shelf are available as well (sold separately) Available for pickup in Tucson, AZ or Santa Barbara, CA.
It’s easy to get carried away collecting, repairing, tuning, organizing and generally hobbying on your vintage musical equipment. You can lose sight of what it’s all about: making music. With this sort of mindset I sat down at the CS-60 on Sunday and played it for about 2 hours. Stuff is currently a bit out of tune now that a lot of the capacitors are back to full participation, but it sounded good anyway. Someday I’ll figure out how to put together a youtube video with good sound, lighting and all that, but for now you can enjoy someone else’s playing and explanations of how it all works.
I received a big box of capacitors from Mouser and quickly set to work finishing up the power supply and PRA boards. Of course I failed to take any pictures of the finished power supply board before I reassembled the power supply, but you have seen new capacitors before. I had one trace get damaged in the rebuild so I bent the lead I would normally cut off over and soldered it to another solder pad/connection on the same trace.
I realized in all my work I have not discussed safety at all. Safety for myself and safety for the custom ICs in this synth.
Protect yourself: You need to protect yourself from chemicals and shocks. To protect yourself from chemicals you want to solder with a fan blowing across your work and ideally out an open window. I’ve never seen a breakdown of the contents of solder smoke, but it can’t be good, even if it is just run of the mill smoke. Other chemical exposures come with cleaning fluids, fader lubes, adhesives and any other stuff you end up bringing to bear on your project. Read the warnings and follow the recommendations. You only get one set of lungs / liver etc. Protecting from shocks is as simple as making sure your synth is unplugged before you do any work.
Protect your synth: The Yamaha CS lines are in a class of their own with respect to hard to get ICs. There are no spares other than the very odd examples what show up on eBay or Reverb. A machine has to die for more to be sourced. I would be willing to bet CS-50 and CS-60 survivorship will turn out to be fairly low due to their being broken for parts. So how do you protect your precious ICs? Wear an antistatic wrist strap and connect properly to ground so you don’t zap your CS-60 when you touch it. This is especially important because a CS-60 has a wood chassis and the only dissipation path for static is into the circuit boards via the wiring.
The power supply only has 9 capacitors. They are big for the most part and their replacement should have been easy. It was not. The capacitors are folded inside the power supply, so it has to come apart. Once I got it apart I found that four of the caps (2x 100uf & 2x 3300uf) are glued to the board. On top of this the power supply is heavy and awkward to move around while doing the work. I could have desoldered the 25 or so wires, but that didn’t seem like much fun. Anyway, this is how it went.
After coming up with yesterdays capacitor list I went through my stash of capacitors and found about 40% of the ones I needed. Even better, I have all the caps I need to do the Sample and Hold, Key Assigner, T61 and Sub boards. It sounds aggressive – but if I can do these boards and start the power supply board it should kick start my effort and keep me busy until my order from Mouser shows up on Wednesday or Thursday.
I upped the voltage a little bit on most of the caps and for the two 3300uf 35v ripple filter caps I am using some 4700uf 50v caps I bought for a Soundcraft CPS150 power supply that ended up not needing them.
Replacing capacitors in an old piece of electronics has become a somewhat frequent endeavor in my world. I am woefully behind on recapping all the stuff I have that should have it done for reliability and worry free service, so I do it as needed rather than because I want to. The CS-60 could probably soldier on for years with its old capacitors, but I would feel a lot better about using it regularly if I knew it was less likely to experience a failure, and there is always a chance that a failure would result in damage to nearly impossible to find ICs. You could say it is cheap but time consuming insurance to replace the caps.
Introduction: The end of my CS-50 story in December of 2013 became the beginning of my CS-60 story in April of 2015.
I’d like to say I saw the hockey stick coming for Yamaha CS-50/60/80 values, but that is not how my brain works. I simply resolved to sell the CS-50 to have funds ready for the purchase of a CS-60 or CS-80 because I wanted more voices and more controls. I put the CS-50 on Craigslist and accepted $1200 I think it was? It was in basically functioning condition but with some minor caveats most people could live with, and it looked great. With cash under mattress I started my search.
I had the money to pay full price for a CS-80 at this time, but that is also not how my brain works (unfortunately) so I started my search for a deal. It took 18 months for a deal to show up: a fully functional, complete, all original CS-60 that I could buy for $2800 delivered. Research at the time said this was a $4000-5000 synth, so I figured I couldn’t get hurt financially, and I was stoked at the idea of finally getting to play the bigger brother of the CS-50. Deal was struck, and around April 2015 the CS-60 entered my life. This synth was everything I wanted and more.