Cherry Audio GX-80, a hybrid CS-80/GX-1 Synthesizer plugin

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Cherry Audio has merged emulations of the legendary Yamaha CS-80 and GX-1 synthesizers into an huge hybrid virtual instrument plugin. 

We all love vinage synthesizers, effects, etc. However, the limited budget is often the problem of young music producers. Many vintage devices are today traded for absurd prices. In order to cheaply get into the vibe and sound of such devices, you either need a cheaper clone or a digital emulation. For the latter there is a huge offer.

Cherry Audio from the USA has come to the fore here in recent years with its large number of high-quality emulations. With the GX-80, they have now ventured into what is probably the most epic Synthesizer, the Yamaha CS-80. And they didn’t stop at simple emulation.

Cherry Audio GX-80

Cherry Audio GX-80

GX-80 is a new Synthesizer plugin that is based on two legendary analog synths, the Yamaha GX-1 and CS-80. It’s a fusion of the most famous characteristics and features of the synthesizers in one new plugin. Mark Barton was again responsible for the circuit-modeled DSP engines. According to the devs, they have replicated every subtlety of the classics to create the most authentic emulation of its kind.

The core consists of a dual-layer voicing architecture with 16 polyphonic voices per layer. So you can play simultaneously two different CS-80 style sounds, in either a keyboard split or stacked layer mode. The developers have reproduced all GX-1 and CS-80 voicing parameters for this new virtual instrument.

Besides the classic CS-80 parameters, you can also find the GX-1’s unique oscillator-level filtered waveforms, octave-up triangle wave, and inverted filter envelope control. This includes a precise recreation of both GS-80 and GX-1 filters.

Cherry Audio GX-80

VCO & Modulation

Like in the original, the voices are organized in polyphonic ranks. Each consists of a VCO, resonant highpass and lowpass filters, a noise generator, sine wave, dual envelope generators, and a velocity-sensitive VCA.

The VCO has the classic coarse pitch ranges but also those which are exclusive to the GX-1 (3 1/5 and 2 2/7′). It also includes an emulation of the iconic CS ring modulator that modulates the summed output of each pair of ranks. One of the most important sound functions of the CS-80. Without it, the CS-80 doesn’t sound like a CS-80.

Of course, you get independent rank panning for making super wide stereo sounds. Each layer also hosts a sub-oscillator LFO with sine, sawtooth, ramp, square, sample and hold, and noise intended for modulation, with tempo sync. Plus, you get envelopes per voice for the filter and amp.

To finalize your sounds, it comes with high-quality effects, including chorus, otary, flanger, phaser, digital tape delay with sync, and reverb. The developers also added the Galactic reverb algorithm with global or dual-layer modes.

Further, you can find a virtual pitch ribbon controller that is precisely modeled on the actual behavior of the original. There are also the tone selectors from the hardware units that include the original CS-80 factory presets.

The GX-80 ships with over 1000 newly created presets from professional sound designers. This gives you a great overview of the sounds that are possible with the GX-80. They cover fat iconic CS-80 but also more unknown GX-1 sounds.

A big highlight compared to the original units is the ability to use expressive controllers with it. It is velocity sensitive and support both polyphonic and monophonic aftertouch. Plus a unique “last-note priority” mode for simulated polyphonic aftertouch response. Polyphonic aftertouch in combination with a CS-80-style engine is a dream for ambient and cinematic musicians.

And if you’re afraid that all the fun will eat up CPU performance. Don’t worry, according to Cherry Audio, the engine is highly optimized for optimal performance with ultra-low CPU load

First Impression

A few weeks ago, Cherry Audio gave me the opportunity to test the GX-80 more closely. At first I thought: oh another more of the same CS-80 emulation. However, merging with the ideas of the GX-1, the plugin is much more than just an emulation. In terms of sound, the plugin is on a very high level, the presets are a lot of fun and the CPU load, as promised, is pretty low. Nice job

Cherry Audio GX-80 is available now for an introductory price of 59€. It’s also part of the new Synth Stack 3 bundle for 329€. It runs as a VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin on macOS (Intel + native Apple Silicon) and Windows.

More information here: Cherry Audio

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  1. Always sympathized with Cherry audio. But with the release of PECS Full Bucket music, all other new simulations of anything faded. PECS is the best synthesizer of 2022. 🙂

  2. I am wondering if there is an actual difference in modelling filters, oscillators and envelopes between cherry audio synths.

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