Yamaha CP series

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The Yamaha CP series includes various electromechanical and electronic keyboard instruments from the Japanese company Yamaha . A distinction can be made between three series:

  • Analog electronic sound generation (CP-20, CP-30, CP-25, CP-35)
  • Mechanical, semi-acoustic sound generation (CP-60, CP-70, CP-80)
  • Digital electronic sound generation (CP-33, CP-300, CP1, CP5, CP50, CP73 and CP88)

Analog electronic sound generation

CP-30 opened
CP-30 ready to play

The models CP-20, CP-30, CP-25, CP-35 are electronic pianos with a mechanical and weighted keyboard and electronic sound generation. In contrast to the models CP-60, CP-70 and CP-80, these instruments have no strings and do not have to be tuned. The tones are digitally generated, that is, the frequencies of the tones by means of counter - ICs formed; the resulting square waves are then converted into analog signals by discrete components , the sound of which resembles a piano.

CP-20 : 61 keys, simple electronic sound generation, four tone colors. The keyboard consists of metal keys on which "normal" keys made of Plexiglas are placed on the front. This corresponds to the function of a real piano, since the keys have a balance point, but there are no other mechanics in the instrument. This design achieves the same playing weight as a piano. The sound is produced by hitting a contact located above the rear end of the key. The piano is velocity sensitive, ie the tone and volume can be influenced by the touch.

CP-30 : 76 keys, otherwise like CP-20, but with double tone generation. This allows two timbres to be mixed and detuned from one another using a pitch control, which "broadens" the sound, makes it more natural or creates tonal effects.

CP-25 , CP-35 : The CP-20/30 successor models CP-25 (61 keys) and CP-35 (73 keys) have, in addition to the preset piano sounds (presets), the option of using filters, Modify envelopes and effects. This enables both percussive and area sounds. In this respect, they are more like synthesizers with keyboards that are sensitive to touch. The model CP-35 contains an electronic interface (pre- MIDI era!) With which a YAMAHA CS-70 synthesizer can be controlled.

Mechanical, semi-acoustic sound generation

Yamaha CP-70M set up ready to play
Yamaha CP-70M with opened cover

The models CP-60, CP-70 and CP-80 are transportable, semi-acoustic pianos or grand pianos with real mechanics and strings.

CP-60 : 76 keys, piano shape

CP-70 : 73 keys, wing shape

CP-80 : 88 keys, wing shape

In 1978, Yamaha was granted the patent applied for in 1976 for the technology used in the USA , in which the structure of the pianos is described in detail. In Germany, the patent was applied for in 1977 and granted in 1982.

These models were built in the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s and were very successful during this time, despite the extremely high purchase price of approx. 15,000 DM (1978), because they used conventional wing technology with electrical amplification, relatively low weight (approx. 130 kg) and combined good transport properties. They were specially developed for rock and pop music, as acoustic pianos can only be integrated into electrical stage equipment with great effort. The CP-70/80 models, which are based on a grand piano, consist of two parts, each with an additional lid that is already packaged for transport (hence the surface made of black synthetic leather): the string frame with all the electronics and the mechanics with the keyboard.

The instruments have a characteristic, sometimes slightly out of tune sound. The causes include:

  • Two strings are struck in the middle and upper areas of the keyboard and one string in the bass. On a normal piano, the low bass has one, the upper bass two and all other keys have three strings.
  • While the hammer heads in a normal piano are covered with felt, the CP-60/70/80 models have hammer heads with a plastic core that is covered with a leather strip. This makes the instruments sound hard and rich in overtones .
  • In addition, the string length ( scale length ) is very short compared to normal pianos, which results in a high degree of inharmonicity (= strong partial detuning).
  • The sounds amplified by the piezoelectric pickups can be further changed with the built-in equalizer or tremolo .

The instruments have to be tuned like normal pianos. The mechanics must also be maintained, ie readjusted.

The semi-acoustic models were eventually displaced by the advent of digital pianos and samplers, which could now also produce "real" piano timbres and required less transport and maintenance.

Other models

The starting models are the CP-70B and CP-80 , both with balanced and unbalanced stereo outputs, a three-channel tone control , built-in tremolo effect and an insertable effects loop.

The successor models CP-70D and CP-80D have a graphic 7-band equalizer and two effects paths . All controls are designed as modern-looking sliders.

The last edition is called CP-70M or CP-80M . The models have a second power supply unit to supply power to the MIDI electronics located under the keyboard . There are also two buttons to activate the MIDI function and set the split point; the latter offers the option of only sending MIDI signals from part of the keyboard (“split”). The signals are only sent on MIDI channel 1. There is only one MIDI OUT function.

There were similarly structured models from Kawai : EP-608 (piano) and EP-308 (grand piano).

Audio samples

Many musicians used the CP-70 and CP-80 in the late 1970s and 1980s .

Well-known pieces of music with Yamaha CP-70 or CP-80:

Digital electronic sound generation

After many years of hiatus, so-called stage pianos have again been offered by Yamaha under the series name CP since 2006 . In contrast to master keyboards and synthesizers , digital pianos emphasize piano sounds and a weighted keyboard in order to give the player a feel that is as piano-like as possible; it can be used as a MIDI master. The sound itself is generated purely digitally, usually on the basis of previously recorded and suitably processed samples - built-in loudspeakers are mostly missing.

Resumption of the series

In contrast to most other digital pianos, the CP models have, among other things, special sounds ( mono piano ) that are based on the sound of the CP-70/80 models.

CP-33 : 88 graduated weighted keys, 14 sounds, weight: 18 kg

CP-300 : 88 graduated weighted keys, 50 sounds, built-in speakers 2 × 30 W, sequencer, weight: 32.5 kg

Variation of classic sounds through partial sound synthesis

At the beginning of 2010, another model group followed in the CP series: With the CP-1 , CP-5 and CP-50 , three new stage pianos came onto the market that can reproduce piano and ePiano sounds with the help of sound synthesis. The CP-1 is the flagship and, in addition to high-quality workmanship, also comes with the SCM (Spectral Component Modeling) sound generation system specially developed for this series. Similar to Roland's V-Piano , sampling and modeling technologies are combined to allow more influence on the sound generation in studio and live operation. For example, parameters such as hardness and stop position of the hammers can be adjusted. With the new technology, an almost perfect emulation of the Yamaha CP-80 could be offered for the first time. The CP-5 does not support all the functions of the SCM sound generation of the CP-1 , but offers additional sounds based on the AWM2 sample technology (Advanced Wave Memory). Both stage pianos have a new NW-Stage wooden keyboard with a synthetic ivory cover and a vibration-minimizing mechanism. The CP-50 , on the other hand, still has the standard GH keyboard and has been reduced to include additional SCM and AWM2 sounds.

CP1 : 88 graduated weighted keys (NW-STAGE), 17 sounds (SCM), weight: 27.2 kg

CP5 : 88 graduated weighted keys (NW-STAGE), 17 sounds (SCM) + 305 (AWM2), weight: 25.2 kg

CP50 : 88 graduated weighted keys (GH), 12 sounds (SCM) + 215 (AWM2), weight: 20.9 kg

The CP40 Stage and the CP4 Stage followed in 2013/14 with a sound generation similar to that of the previous models, but with a significantly lower weight and a simplified operating concept.

CP4 : 88 graduated weighted keys (NW-STAGE), 433 sounds (SCM + AWM2), weight: 17.5 kg

CP40 : 88 graduated weighted keys (GH), 297 sounds (SCM + AWM2), weight: 16.3 kg

Direct sound control in live operation

The two models CP73 and CP88 followed in 2019, their sound generation was reduced to AWM2 and only differed in the keyboard: 73 lightweight keys corresponding to an electric piano and 88 weighted wooden keys corresponding to a grand piano mechanism. The concept is geared towards good, variable live operability and offers a limited number of piano, e-piano and other sounds, each with its own effects section. Their operation is very similar to the stage pianos from Nord, including the promise of sound enhancements. Personal settings of the numerous controllers can be exchanged via an online portal.

CP88 : 88 graduated weighted keys (NW-GH), 57 sounds (10 × "Piano", 14 × "E-Piano", 33 × "Sub" - each AWM2), weight: 18.6 kg

CP73 : 73 lightly weighted keys (BHS), 57 sounds (10 × "Piano", 14 × "E-Piano", 33 × "Sub" - each AWM2), weight: 13.1 kg

A device of its own is the Reface CP from 2015, which is marketed as a reissue of "classic" sounds in mobile format as part of the wider Reface series (synthesizer, organ, electric piano) and, in addition to the sound of the Yamaha CP80, four such classic models from other manufacturers as well as a toy sound. On the one hand, 37 smaller buttons and battery operation as well as the weight of almost 2 kg speak for a toy, but sound module and connections speak for the possibility of limited professional use.

Forerunner models

A P-250 model was produced as early as 2002 , which is outwardly and technically similar to the CP-300 model , as can be found in the operating instructions for the P-250 in the Yamaha archive.

Individual evidence

  1. Patent for Yamaha technology in the United States of America: Patent 4130044
  2. German patent for Yamaha technology: Patent 2707979
  3. [1] Information about SCM and the CP1, CP5 and CP50.
  4. [2] Information about AWD technology

Web links