Yamaha DX1

Yamaha DX1 Image

Among Yamaha's DX line of synthesizers, the DX1 is definitely the biggest and most expensive. With a dual 6-operator digital FM engine, it's like two DX7's wrapped up in a wood-paneled case and comes with a truly professional weighted 73 note keyboard sensitive to both velocity and aftertouch. The DX7 style membrane buttons have been replaced by actual push-buttons, display screens and the overall layout of buttons and diagrams is nicer and better organized.

Sound-wise, the DX1 is like a fatter DX7. It too features FM synthesis. That means that although the DX1 is a digital synthesizer, its sounds are unique and fresh with an analog/digital hybrid feel. Programming however, is not at all like analog synth programming. All DX series synths use FM synthesis and all are rather difficult to program or, at least, difficult to understand what to program. Fortunately the advanced DX1 has display screens that show amplitude modulation, envelopes, velocity, levels and de-tuning parameters unlike previous DX synths so you can better visualize what and how you are editing parameters. A neat new feature for the DX1 is that two patches (Channel A and B) can be used simultaneously with the keyboard in layer or split-mode. This mode is generally 16-voice polyphonic, but with just one patch loaded you can have 32 voices of thick polyphony! Pretty good for a synth over 15 years old!

Yamaha DX1 Rear Image

Although the DX1 may seem like a better buy than the more popular DX7, remember that the DX1 is expensive. There were only about 140 of these synths made and the retail value of a DX1 during its production year in 1985 was $13,900. The DX1 was the most expensive project Yamaha ever invested in. Expect to pay well over $2,000 for one of these today. They were followed by the DX5. Under the hood, the DX5 is identical to the DX1. The DX5 has done away with the heavy wood-paneling and has a less fancy keyboard. The DX5 also has a more compressed layout of buttons, sliders and diagrams on the front panel. The DX1, outdone by cheaper and more competitive DX synths is today, primarily reserved for those musicians big enough or wealthy enough to splurge on a real Vintage instrument with exquisite performance and interface features and sounds. It is used to this day by Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke, Kitaro, Elton John and Herbie Hancock.

Lookup Yamaha DX1 Prices

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122 Visitor comments
January 29, 2012 @ 11:39 am
Well, since we are all talking prices. I bought my DX1 on ebay less than 7 months ago for < $2000 and have only seen the prices falling. People in the know, know why this synth is just not worth it. I really regret paying that much because it has some major issues that are rarely discussed.

The displays were fine when I got the machine. Pretty and red! But there seems to be some type of defect with them and mine washed out after a few weeks of constant playing. Seems like more people are concerned about selling a collectors item instead of actually playing.
January 28, 2012 @ 11:52 pm
For a $10,000.00 price tag for a DX1 you get a $20,000.00 machine. Where can you buy a handbuilt synthesizer in brazilian rose wood and wooden keys. Might be heavy to move around but was settled in my home in the family room, every guest cant stop looking at it with the red light display. Of the 10 synthesizers I own, the DX1 is the most impressive one I got. Nothing cheap about it, wouldn"t sell it to anybody either.
January 27, 2012 @ 2:22 am
I was the one that bought mine on Ebay back in 2010 in early January that someone posted on here. I started bidding at $3500.00 and people kept adding the bids. within 3 days the price went from $3500.00 to $7500.00, so I give my final price of $9500.00 in the last 5 minutes of the auction, that if I had not gave that bid back in Jan 2010 I would have no DX1 now that was a decision I made but funny thing is, my neighbor wants to buy the thing from me for more money after he had seen it. I told him I would help him find one but not mine. Second I will admit the DX1 really is what they say, cool
January 25, 2012 @ 8:15 am
I paid $20k for a DX1, I was going to help starving kids in Somolia, but then I was like 'meh'.

There is nothing of musical value of the DX1 over a cheaper more common and equally competent (as opposed to powerful) DX synth.

Strictly for rich collectors.
January 17, 2012 @ 2:04 pm
I know someone desperately trying to inflate the price of this synth by posting the same false price and stupid comments about how great it is under different names. Get real.
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Rated 4.31 (667 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • YouTube Thumbnail
    Yamaha DX1
    by heathfinnie

    Manual - Download the original owner's manual from SoundProgramming.net.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 32 voices
  • Multitimbral - Bitimbral: 2 simultaneous patches (A and B)
  • LFO - Sine/Square/Tri/SAW up/SAW Down/Random
  • VCA - 6 Envelope generators 8 parameters each
  • Effects - None
  • Keyboard - 73 weighted keys with velocity and aftertouch
  • Memory - 64 performances; 64 patches: 32 ROM, 32 RAM, external cartridge memory
  • Control - MIDI, CV
  • Date Produced - 1983 - 1986

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