Yamaha DX11

Yamaha DX11 Image

The DX11 was released in 1988, four years after the DX7 hit the market. The DX11's synthesis and sound quality is classic DX-style FM synthesis using 4-operators per voice. The DX11 has one major advantage over the DX7 and other older DX-synths, however. The DX11 offered 8-part multitimbrality, whereas older DX synths were monotimbral. The DX11 is essentially a keyboard version of Yamaha's first true multitimbral FM synthesizer, the TX81Z rack module.

The DX11's multitimbral features allowed you to spread various sound patches across different areas or "zones" of the keyboard. It also allowed for complex ensemble performances using external sequencers or while playing live using "Performance" patches. Also added were some Quick Edit functions so you don't have to delve into the complexity of FM synthesis to make a few simple tweaks. These quick edits affect the tone, envelope attack and release times. Unfortunately there are no on-board arpeggiators or sequencers.

The DX11 is only 8-voice polyphonic. A standard DX7 has 16-voices and though it is monotimbral, superior polyphony makes the DX7 an often more popular choice. Also, with just 8-voices, the DX11's multitimbral performances can wind up sounding pretty thin. Other 8-voice DX-type synths include the DX21, DX100, and TX81Z. And unlike most previous DX synths which all used sine waves for synthesis, the DX11 offers up to eight different waveforms to work with! And all the classic DX sounds can be found in the DX11. Brass, piano, strings, bell sounds, percussion, effects, and much more. Other features include chord-stacking, digital delay, and panning effects, however there is no chorus effect as on earlier DX-synths. At its current low second-hand price, the DX11 is an inexpensive way to get useable DX sounds! It has been used by Astral Projection and Autechre.

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37 Visitor comments
Loic Rathscheck
April 15, 2011 @ 10:15 am
@fengland and Anita. This is syntheziser, in other words you will not find speakers on synths!! (other than the very rare speaker veriosns of the Roland Junos and Casio SZ-2000)
Besides, this synth will not play trumpets and flutes. You need programming skills to get round the DX11. What you will get out of it is wierd metal-like sounds what FM is mostly known for. The only organic sounds you'll find are e-pianos.
If you want speakers, get a home keyboard NOT a synth!
April 8, 2011 @ 1:22 pm
@anita - yeah, no built in amp like most synths - you have to hook it up to an amp, stereo, or headphones. good luck.
March 31, 2011 @ 11:50 am
Just unearthed one of these at our school and although it turns on...we can't get any sound out of it. Does it not have built in speakers or do we need to hook it up to other ones? Help! No instructions with it...Any help would be wonderful. Thanks.
March 2, 2011 @ 7:47 am
I picked up a DX-11 in perfect cosmetic/functional condition a month ago for $170 - the most brilliant decision of my musical life. I restored its sounds; the presets are fantastically vintage (I especially like Bank A). What I use it for though is MIDI control. I finally ditched the cheap plastic modern MIDI keyboards in favor of '80s build quality. With a little tweaking of velocity sensitivity in my DAW (it initially was hard to reach 127), it's the most expressive keyboard I've ever played. Add a Novation Remote Zero, and this is all my studio will ever need! Also, best looking synth ever!
February 17, 2011 @ 4:36 am
A hugely underrated machine, capable of really stunning sounds (with careful and patient programming of course). Awful presets yes, but what's the point in having a synth if you're not going to get under the skin and push it to the limits? Major advantages over the DX7 are the extra waveforms and the multitimbral performance mode. The keybed on mine is still very tight and responsive after 24 years! In summary: an interesting and highly versatile instrument which should be considered a classic.
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 3.48 (395 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Oscillators - 4-Operator Digital FM synthesizer
  • LFO - Yes
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - reverb, DDL delay, pan and tremolo (no chorus effect)
  • Keyboard - 61 Keys (velocity and aftertouch sensitivity)
  • Memory - 128 preset patches, 32 performance patches, External cartridge memory holds 64 patches, cassette interface
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (8-part multitimbral)
  • Date Produced - 1988
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Source unknown.

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