Yamaha DX5

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
Post Reply
DX7Alex
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:41 pm
Real name: Alex
Gear: Yamaha DX7iiFD
Ensoniq ASR-X
Hammond M-162 chop
Korg Monotron
Korg 01/W FD
Novation Xiosynth 49
Yamaha SY-77
Yamaha P-90
Location: Baltimore, MD

Yamaha DX5

Post by DX7Alex » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:13 pm

I have recently fallen in love with the DX5. The huge case, the "Yamaha DX5" logo on the back, and most importantly, the sounds. I would go out and buy one right now, but I have two questions. I have a DX7iiFD, which is dual timbral. The DX5 seems to also be, but uses two tone generators to accomplish this. So, would I gain anything from buying the DX5, other than more polyphony? Also, what would be a reasonable price for a fully working one? Condition doesn't bother me.

Thanks,
Alex
"We beat this thing, we kicked it down, on the ground." Stevie Wonder on ARP 2600 repair techniques.

User avatar
Big Gnome
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:14 am
Gear: E-mu Proteus 2500
Ensoniq ESQ-1
Ensoniq VFX
SCI Prelude
Waldorf Blofeld
Band: The Nondescript
Location: Oakland, CA
Contact:

Re: Yamaha DX5

Post by Big Gnome » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:21 pm

Apart from the DX5, I've only used the DX7 mk. I, so forgive me if any of what I mention is redundant to the mk. II. The '5 has a bigger keyboard (six octaves plus change), a better programming interface and display, twice the polyphony and patch memory, two card slots instead of one, 64 performance memories which recall patches, keyboard mode, and function settings; in addition to the volume and data entry sliders, it also has dedicated sliders for portamento and for crossfading between the A and B patches (which has a center detent). Sound-wise, the '5 has significantly better converters which are quieter and experience less aliasing (although I know some prefer the mk. I's converter's nastiness); the A and B patches each have their own individual outputs as well as the main out for both, and all three outputs have 1/4" and XLR jacks. One minor complaint I have is whereas in play mode on the DX7, each of the membrane buttons directly corresponded to a patch, the DX5 divides its patches into 2x4 banks of 8, and changing banks will automatically recall the corresponding patch in that bank; performance memories can be useful in that respect, but it seems a bit wasteful to me. Furthermore, the keyboard can be split or layered, but you can only choose one patch from internal memory OR cartridge A AND internal memory OR cartridge B; you couldn't, for example, layer a patch from internal memory A and cartridge A, or two patches from cartridge B.

I'm not sure what a fair price would be. I got mine about three years ago for ~$400 + shipping, but it was really beat to h**l and required a lot of maintenance on my part (and aftertouch still doesn't work, to my lasting annoyance).

Happy hunting.
"Sure that's fine in practice, but what about in theory?"
Some of my c**p

DX7Alex
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:41 pm
Real name: Alex
Gear: Yamaha DX7iiFD
Ensoniq ASR-X
Hammond M-162 chop
Korg Monotron
Korg 01/W FD
Novation Xiosynth 49
Yamaha SY-77
Yamaha P-90
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Yamaha DX5

Post by DX7Alex » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:21 am

Thanks ALOT for the in-depth response. Only a DX5 owner could help that much! It seems that a DX5 would be a good next synth for me. I like what I hear about the interface. The TX816 seems to "cryptic" for me. I've found a DX5 around 140 miles from me. The guy wants $500 for it, but the top key sticks, and the synth has stickers all over it, so I'll try to talk him down.

Thanks again,
Alex
"We beat this thing, we kicked it down, on the ground." Stevie Wonder on ARP 2600 repair techniques.

User avatar
Big Gnome
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:14 am
Gear: E-mu Proteus 2500
Ensoniq ESQ-1
Ensoniq VFX
SCI Prelude
Waldorf Blofeld
Band: The Nondescript
Location: Oakland, CA
Contact:

Re: Yamaha DX5

Post by Big Gnome » Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:01 am

The interface isn't so very different from the '7, as the control surfaces of both address essentially the same functionality, but it's laid out a bit more logically, and while the '5 isn't button-per-function, it does provide a lot more on the surface (I know the mk. II and I think DX7S revamped the mk. I's interface as well, but I'm not sure how similar they are to the DX5). I'll explain briefly. There are two rows of six cream colored buttons on the left side of the board that only deal with operators--the top row selects which one to edit, the bottom row toggles each operator on or off. To the right of that are eight blue buttons that affect timbre--the patch's algorithm, the operator's tuning, level, and so on--which double as bank selectors. To the right of those, there are sixteen more blue buttons which in play mode are the patch selectors; in edit mode they control the operator's amplitude--the top row controls envelope rates and levels (a bigass step up from having to cycle through each stage on the DX7--in my opinion, the most hideous thing about it), and the bottom row controls the breakpoint and amplitude curves, envelope rate scaling and amplitude modulation miscellany. There are sixteen more green buttons to the right of those which correspond to LFO functions, patch naming, transposition, and oscillator key sync, which, if memory serves, was so arcane it wasn't labeled on the DX7 mk. I or mentioned in the manual; in play mode, they are your 8x8 performance memories, and all your function mode...uh, functions. There are tons of functions on the DX5, grouped into menus of related operations between one and three pages deep, which, honestly, is pretty cumbersome, but there is a helpful list silkscreened onto the chassis by the diagrams of the algorithms, envelopes, etc. The screen generally displays all the data of whatever major section of a patch you're editing (e.g., all of the selected operator's envelope rates and levels), which is another major improvement over the DX7, once you've come to grips with the tortured abbreviations the '5 uses to label information onscreen.
By the way, I never minded the membrane on the DX7 a bit, but the '5's push buttons are nice and have a good feel to them, even on my beaten up one.

If the one you're looking at is in otherwise good condition, I'd say go for it (although, talk the guy down as far as he'll go, of course ;) ) I wouldn't know about the stickers, but I'd venture a guess that the sticky key is an easy mechanical fix. The keys' spring mechanism is just a flexible metal tongue that kind of wedges into place on the keyboard assembly, and if those get unseated it can cause keys to stick or otherwise respond poorly. A few words of caution if you're planning to fix it yourself--there is another little flexible metal tongue beneath each key that registers velocity and note on/off messages; they're kind of flimsy for the sake of sensitivity, so make sure they don't get bent (if so, they're easy to bend back into shape), otherwise the key's velocity will go screwy or it won't register it's been pressed or released (when I disassembled and cleaned mine it took me a couple of hours to get it back together and every key responding properly in terms of feel and function); secondly, the DX5 is extremely well built--which is a good thing, obviously--and it takes some time and effort to crack it open and completely remove the keyboard assembly, so take your time, and if you need to, take plenty of photographs of where everything goes.
"Sure that's fine in practice, but what about in theory?"
Some of my c**p

User avatar
V301H
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 749
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:58 am
Gear: Fender The Strat, Stratocaster, Jazz Bass Rickenbacker 360-12, 320 Messenger(Mark Farner)
Band: The Characters
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Yamaha DX5

Post by V301H » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:26 pm

Coincidentally, there is a DX5 for sale in northern New Jersey not far from me and probably about 200 miles from you. Not in the best condition. Also has sticking keys. Apparently a common problem with these.

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/msg/1858614394.html
Prophet 5 rev.2, Pro-One, Juno 60, Jupiter 6, Matrix 12, OB8, MS20, Poly 800, CS70M, DX-7, CP35, Casio PX-5S, Hammond C3/M102, Vox Continental/Super Continental, Gibson G101, Farfisa Compact, RMI 300A, Pianet N, Combo Pianet, S770, S760, S50, NS3C

DX7Alex
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:41 pm
Real name: Alex
Gear: Yamaha DX7iiFD
Ensoniq ASR-X
Hammond M-162 chop
Korg Monotron
Korg 01/W FD
Novation Xiosynth 49
Yamaha SY-77
Yamaha P-90
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Yamaha DX5

Post by DX7Alex » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:37 pm

V301H wrote:Coincidentally, there is a DX5 for sale in northern New Jersey not far from me and probably about 200 miles from you. Not in the best condition. Also has sticking keys. Apparently a common problem with these.

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/msg/1858614394.html
Thanks, man. That's the one :D! I'm about to send the seller an email, actually.
"We beat this thing, we kicked it down, on the ground." Stevie Wonder on ARP 2600 repair techniques.

DX7Alex
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:41 pm
Real name: Alex
Gear: Yamaha DX7iiFD
Ensoniq ASR-X
Hammond M-162 chop
Korg Monotron
Korg 01/W FD
Novation Xiosynth 49
Yamaha SY-77
Yamaha P-90
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Yamaha DX5

Post by DX7Alex » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:43 pm

Big Gnome,

Thanks for the description of the front panel! I've looked at millions of pictures, and had NO idea what any button meant. Your description has sealed the deal on me getting the DX5 :mrgreen: .
"We beat this thing, we kicked it down, on the ground." Stevie Wonder on ARP 2600 repair techniques.

Post Reply