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.
Calibrating and tuning a CS-50 (and I assume the other nearest siblings) is an iterative process. There are pitfalls at every step, and when you finally reach the end you get a nice easter egg -a tuned 4 (or more) voice synth! In the last post I quickly diagnosed why my CS-50 didn’t make a sound -having the TU (tuning) voltage jumped to ground. This post is about other problems. The CS-50 circuitry has a lot of functions that are distributed among a couple of boards, so you may find you have a tuning problem originating in your SUB board, or a portamento problem originating from your PRA board. Well, I had a TU problem coming from my SUB board – no matter what I tried, I got 6.5 volts at the TU terminal -trim pots had no effect… this terminal is supposed to be 4.000 volts. Lots of head scratching and component replacement later I decided to just order a CS-50 SUB board from synthparts.com -a handy side effect of CS-50 voice boards being worth $400 – $500 each, making the CS-50 worth about 2x it’s ‘complete working’ value in parts is that CS-50 specific parts are CHEAP. I got a complete front panel and lower chassis in like new condition for $150 while I was at it. Too much money probably, but not bad really if you just want to fix your cheaply obtained synth that just happens to be worth more as parts.
Part way through a power supply recap. I am told the small value green caps don’t really tend to fail, and to leave them alone. After the recap it’s a good idea to look at the rail voltages again just in case. Continue reading →
I decided to be ‘one of those guys’ and placed an ad on Craigslist looking for an ARP Odyssey (really want one!!), anyway -responses were thin and expensive except for a ‘broken Yamaha CS-50’. I went for a look and hey-ho next thing I knew I had a $600 CS-50 in the back of my car. Considering perfect ones sell for $1200 – $2000, the price was probably high for how little worked on it, but I decided to take a chance since I like a challenge. It came with a lid and legs.
A good looking specimen. All slider caps are present. The keyboard is in great shape. Not too many scratches. Even came with the legs. The LFO control board has a bunch of paint loss in the lower left corner -like the PO played with a metal band watch on.