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Yamaha DX7

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:15 am
by basssdude34
What would a DX7 add to a keyboard rig that is unique? What can this do that others cant (mainly a Roland SH-201).

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:48 am
by Stab Frenzy
FM synthesis.

It sounds completely different to the SH-201, have a listen to some demos. It's also a total pain to program your own sounds on, but there are heaps of patches that can be downloaded around the place.

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:47 am
by D-Collector
Tubular Bells.

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:12 pm
by gcoudert
FM synthesis can produce that 'metallic' sound that no analogues can achieve convincingly. This is why its electric pianos (tines), bells and harsh Synclavier-type lead sounds were so popular. It can do excellent wood-against-wood or metal-against-metal percussion. Its Rhodes and Wurlitzer are great. It can produce great Hammond sounds - up to 6 drawbars) using Algorithm 32, which consists of 6 sine waves in parallel.

FM synthesis can also produce excellent bass sounds, both electric bass and synth bass. Listen to a-Ha's "Take on me" for example.

In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of the DX series is the way the timbre changes when you change the output level of modulators. The higher the output, the harsher the sound. The lower the output, the softer the sound. I know what you're thinking: that's what the filter does in any analogue or digital synth. No. It sounds VERY different, which is why you can't sample a DX sound that has any controller assigned to modulator output. Only a DX can imitate a DX.

OK, it is monotimbral an monaural and has no FX so by today's standards, it can sound a little plain, but when you add FX, it really comes to life. The display is not backlit but a 3rd-party upgrade is available on Ebay.

One of the limitations of the DX7 mark 1 is that its keyboard won't output velocities above 118. So if you're controlling it from another keyboard, your sound may be different in the higher velocity settings if velocity is assigned to modulator output.

The DX7 Mark 1's MIDI implementation is somewhat limited: it can receive MIDI data on any of 16 channels but will only output MIDI data on Channel 1. Unless you have one of the hardware upgrades installed. Mine has the Sycologic V2, which gives it 4 banks of 32 sounds instead of 1, 16 MIDI channels (out) but still no Local On/Off.

It is interesting to note that the time-based envelope settings are back to front. 99 is a fast attack/release, whilst 0 is slow.

The most popular algorithms, 5 and 6 consist of 3 parallel 'stacks' (one modulator and one carrier) so you effectively have a three oscillator synth at your disposal, each oscillator having the ability to produce thousands of different waveforms.

I love that synth. Got a TX7 too!


Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:17 pm
by Synthaholic
The DX7 mkI is a classic, built like a tank, and nothing else sounds like it. Though I've never played one, I hear its keybed has a wonderful feel to it too.

If some of the mkI's limitations get to you, you could get a DX7mkII which adds stereo outputs, backlit LCD, duotimberal capability, cleaner sound (though not the same as the classic gritty mkI sound), and a better MIDI implementation.

I have a TX802, which is the rackmount DX7II variant. It is also multitimberal.

The first thing you'll notice, when you play one of these FM synths, is how expressive they can be. Playing at different velocities, for example, changes the timbre in ways that a sample-based instrument can't touch.

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:25 pm
by Summa
Don't forget the famous LatelyBass since it's not restricted to the 4OP Synths like TX81z or FB01, the DX7 can do it too even so it's not a part of the factory presets...

Re: Yamaha DX7

Posted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:51 am
by crystalmsc
basssdude34 wrote:What would a DX7 add to a keyboard rig that is unique?
listen to this PLG-150DX demos.

Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:06 am
by basssdude34
alright thanks for the me alot to think about

Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:55 am
by Taxidermy
You know, after owning one, the programming isn't nearly as difficult as I was expecting. Having become used to the TX81Z interface, this one is relatively easy.

That said, if you are used to an SH201, your learning curve is going to be relatively steep. Not that you aren't going to be used to some menu diving.

Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:09 pm
by Summa
I wouldn't want to programm a TX81z directly at the synth anymore, I did that when I got the Synth 1987. Menue hopping is rather cumbersome and I simply got better results using editor software...
Programming a DX7 is more comfortable, still fighting with the menues and with the FM might be pretty frustrating...

Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:46 pm
by basssdude34
I listened to the demo and some of the heavy metallic sounds were pretty cool...but would you say no other synth can recreate that? Im looking for harsher gritty sounds so would the DX7 be able to make some heavy sounds?

Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:51 pm
by gcoudert
basssdude34 wrote:I listened to the demo and some of the heavy metallic sounds were pretty cool...but would you say no other synth can recreate that? Im looking for harsher gritty sounds so would the DX7 be able to make some heavy sounds?
Yes, it can sound big, especially if you detune the carriers, increase the feedback and add external FX.

No other synth apart from other FM synths or a Synclavier can get near that gritty metallic sound. It's the shame the DX7 is weakish in other departments, such as strings and pads, although I got a decent "In the air tonight" pad out of mine. Brass sounds are laughable but who uses them anyway?


Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:03 pm
by basssdude34
well the Alesis Fusion has FM synthesis doesnt it?

Posted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:04 am
by Summa
Well, what I heard of the Fusion FM so far sounded rather thin and not as agressive as the DX7 can be. Still, Fusion is a nice beginners synth, covers all your basic needs, but imho soundwise it's not exactly top notch but (at least over here) extremely affordable...

Posted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:21 am
by basssdude34
Well the DX7 isnt really to high on my priorities list....i just wanted to see if it was worth a look...