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 The DX7 style membrane buttons have been replaced by actual push-buttons, display screens and the overall layout of buttons and diagrams is nicer and better organized.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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105 Visitor comments
Steve
December 7, 2011 @ 2:00 am
I know a person who sold their DX-1 and regretted it then spent 2 years disperately trying to get another one. Why did he sell it? Don't know but he admitted they are impossible to find and when he found one he paid about $9000.00 for one and paid another $800.00 to ship it from one country to another. With the programming abilities on a DX1 this is rare cool hardware to have on a synthesizer. Sure plugins like FM7 are neat to have but to have all these controls on a synth like on the DX1 over the rest of the series the DX1 is really the ultimate one to have.
VCO 8
December 3, 2011 @ 2:16 pm
Pet Shop Boys used one in 1986
Jay
December 2, 2011 @ 2:17 pm
$10,000.00 is the going rate if you can find a DX1, $12,000.00 is for one if it is in mint condition, $12,000.00 to $15,000.00 if who has owned it makes it worth more to a collector. A DX1 is a collectors sythesizer period. The days of paying less is gone they have gone up in value tremendously. Thats what I have seen them go for in the last few years. Really only 140 of them are out there, where can you get one? Thats what I mean.
Hank
December 1, 2011 @ 5:06 am
What makes the DX1 expensive is nobody can get one. When they are hard to locate you will pay the price to have one. I thought $5000.00 was expensive but heck now people are paying $10000 plus and more. The DX7 II centennial those run about $8000. but a DX1 is double the instrument and twice the sound. It is a real cool snyth and the people that mostly own them are famous but famous not I want one. I waited on Ebay a few years back and the auctioned started at $4500 and ended at $10,000, I just could not afford to take the highest bid and never seen one since.
Don
November 29, 2011 @ 2:15 am
I made an offer of $11,600.00 and the owner said let me think about it. I thought he is going to turn it down and I am off looking again. The seller called me the next day and we talked about his DX-1, he was the 2nd owner and didn’t want to sell it personally but needed room. I said if $11,600.00 is not enough I am able to kick some more money down if he wanted. He said $11,600.00 was a fair trade since trying to locate one was tough to find
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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