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 The DX7 style membrane buttons have been replaced by actual push-buttons, display screens and the overall layout of buttons and diagrams is nicer and better organized.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

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Yamaha DX1? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

122 Visitor comments
June 5, 2012 @ 3:22 am
A DX-1 has been sold on Ebay for $9800.00 in my last attemp to see one on Ebay I remember was 2009. While I have owned one over 4 years now I was trying to find one for under $5000. in 2007 to 2008 but only located 2 DX1's. One owner would not put with his if the price was right and the other wanted $8000. but I missed out and he sold it but I made an offer to the new owner, where he sold it 6 months later too mean for $9000. as I was not finding anything available. I have the option to sell it for more to a university but I think I am going to keep it as it is really rare and sounds wonderful
May 3, 2012 @ 5:27 pm
I just bought a DX5 for $300, and it seems to be in fair shape with everything that I have the knowledge to check working except one pitch bender wheel. I am a bass player, not a keyboardist, but I love them, and plan to use it for some music I'm writing. I also picked up an Ensoniq ZR-76 from the same person for $150, and everything works on it. I've seen both models on Ebay for between 400 and 1000 dollars.
Arik S.
April 29, 2012 @ 12:38 am
Guys, aren't you surprised that most comments on this page are about price DX1 is being bought/sold and how great it is (with little or no details why it is great)? Do yourself a favor, go to eBay and do "completed listings" search for Yamaha DX1. The truth will come right out: when, at what price, pics and if it even was or was not sold at that price.
caramel prisoner
April 14, 2012 @ 1:28 pm
"$11,000.00 sounds right for one of these synthesizers in mint condition."

if i had bought one for 1200$ myself 2 years ago, I'd post the same.

it is a *shame* for the community of musicians, that the past 5-10 comments on this synth have been made by co**s*****s trying to blow up the value of this instrument by stating bull [beep] like "Yamaha DX-1 goes to about $9500.00 to $10,900.00".

get a proper job guys. your synth won't make you rich.
this is indeed a decent piece of musical equipment, but not a classic car. people simply don't pay 10k for FM-synthesis.
March 12, 2012 @ 4:15 am
This is an magnificent synthesizer by sound, programming, quality, uniqueness and more that I cannot all say, it is a dream to play this synth. Yamaha really got it right making this synth and it still has a lot of possibilities you can do with it.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.31 (668 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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