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 The DX7 style membrane buttons have been replaced by actual push-buttons, display screens and the overall layout of buttons and diagrams is nicer and better organized.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

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118 Visitor comments
Steve
January 5, 2010 @ 12:00 am
Hands down this is the most beautiful synthesizer I have ever seen, it looks expensive just looking it at. It merely grows at night with its red light display and its programming features. It is a fun synthesizer and among the hardest to find on the market. I have only seen 2 on Ebay in the last 4 years and I have been looking for one every week on there. I am looking at one now that I am seriously considering of buying because if I don't I may never see one again for another year or so longer than that.
Scott
December 15, 2009 @ 6:53 pm
Yes, these are beautiful instruments. I own one and to know how hard it too me to get one 8 years ago, is a story itself. I still recommend buying one, even with 140 only made but some say there are 200 made. It is a rich mans toy, it is an amazing instrument. I could never sell mine, if someone offered me $20,000.00 for me, I wouldn't sell it.

The DX1 is a Depeche Mode sound keyboard
Nando
November 9, 2009 @ 12:40 am
Just a beautiful synthesizer all the way around, true sound, sounds like Depeche Mode when you hear it. These keyboards are well worth $6,000.00 or more, I mean they are beautiful to hear and look at at.
Daniel Fletcher of D a z z - S y n t h
September 19, 2009 @ 9:48 am
Dire Straits, Guy Fletcher used the Dx-1 to make stab chords for
Money for nothing.
Micke
August 5, 2009 @ 7:40 am
Also used by Hans Zimmer (Paperhouse OST), John Lord/Deep Purple, The Beach Boys and Bill Payne (Certain Fury OST)
 
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  • 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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