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 The DX7 style membrane buttons have been replaced by actual push-buttons, display screens and the overall layout of buttons and diagrams is nicer and better organized.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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117 Visitor comments
December 8, 2010 @ 9:46 am
I'll take a DX-1 over a CS-80 anytime; two very different beasts, but when it comes down to it, the DX-1 is a much more useful and versatile instrument. Don't get me wrong, the CS-80 is a wonderful and truly amazing analog monster, but it's a real dinosaur too; big, heavy and very retrograde (it's more of a relic I'd say). Too much to sacrifice for "that sound".
December 3, 2010 @ 6:02 pm
HSHS - the one that sold in Nov. 2009 sold for $9500.00 plus another $500.00 shipping from the UK. The last one I saw was $9000.00 plus another $300. to $400. shipping from Los Angeles. I have been looking to by any DX1 even above $12,000.00 if I can find one. I have the money and I will pay $13,000 and $14,000 if a seller wants to sell high. Only 140 of these synths are made and along with them being hand build ground up is worth it. I can afford to spend over $12,000 for one and the last 2 selling $10,000 each including shipping is cheap in my opinion. If they sale at that price they are vauled at that price. I haven't seen a DX1 for sale for a year now and they are parted with because owners don't want to sale them. Harry
December 3, 2010 @ 1:38 pm
there's one for sale on gearslutz :)
November 24, 2010 @ 10:57 am
Actually the last DX-1 sold on November 13 2010, on Ebay for $6500 with ROM carts, case and manuals,

Anyone offering $12k for it is full of [beep] .
November 24, 2010 @ 10:49 am
The last DX1 offered on Ebay was on early December 2009. It was offered for $5000 and nobody purchased it. Someone offering it or paying more money for it is just trying to inflate the price or getting ripped off. Hell, for $12000 i can buy a CS-80 offered on Ebay right now (november 2010)..
The DX-1 will never come even close to the CS-80 in terms of sound and price, not now, not ever.
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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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