I bought a synthesizer (Yamaha CS1x) back in 1997. Recently I've been developing games for Android and iPhone and need a sound effects source. The CS1x might be useful. Is it legal for me to sample sounds from my synthesizer to use in my games for commercial release, or do i need a license?

I ask because the sounds presumably belong to Yamaha.

Then again i can't imagine professional musicians pay license fees to the synth manufacturers to use the synth sounds in their music, do they...

  • 1
    The CS1x is a sample-based synth, so the output is based on samples of sound, some of which were presumably shipped with the device and are therefore owned by Yamaha. Is this what you are concerned about? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample-based_synthesis Jan 9, 2019 at 14:31
  • @PaulJohnson Yes i am concerned about that. As an analogy, I'm guessing commercial musicians who also use Yamaha don't have to pay Yamaha a "use of synth sounds" license fee, do they?
    – user23666
    Jan 9, 2019 at 15:25
  • 1
    A musician would be playing the synthesizer and using the normally produced sound. You're talking about using the sounds in other ways. If there is an explicit license, it might allow the first and forbid the second. If not, there's still reasons why the first might be OK and the second not. The uses aren't equivalent. Jan 9, 2019 at 19:15
  • 2
    This seems to answer my question: kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=323476&start=30
    – user23666
    Jan 9, 2019 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


From what I've discovered, you can sample a synthesizer's sounds if the synthesizer produces the sound electronically, e.g. using base waves such as sine waves, triangle waves, noise, etc. An old example of this is the classic Moog synthesizer. Just like I can record my own samples from nature (e.g. water droplets) and maintain copyright over that recording.

However, if the synthesizer generates its sound by playing internally stored samples, then I can not simply sample these "as is" to be used in isolation.

However, arranging the sounds into a composition of my own, so as not to use the sounds in isolation, seems perfectly fine.

So in conclusion, I should not sample sounds directly from my Yamaha CS1x to use in my commercial game release.


  1. I can record my own naturally or electronically created sounds.
  2. I have found a web site which does permit use of their samples as is. However, you still cannot use the sounds in "isolation". They must be "synchronized" with other media, e.g. as part of my game, or similar for other productions. They give a good FAQ including a definition of what "synchronized" means. However, you have to pay a one off license fee to use the sounds.

Good to know !


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