Yamaha DX21

Yamaha DX21 Image

A consumer level DX synth that sounds just like the DX100 - thin and brittle. Following the DX model this synth also uses FM synthesis which is difficult to master. You will need to program this synth to get better sounds because the presets are only moderately useful. It's capable of a good string, bass and droney-pad sound as well as industrial sound-effects and metallic like sounds.

Still it makes a better option than a DX27 or DX100 because it has the capability of layers and splitting the keyboard and there is a chorus effect. Portamento and a Unison Mono-Mode are also nice features for screaming lead synth performances. For a cheaper source of DX sounds with moderate programmability, check out the DX21. It's been used by Hardfloor, Level 42, Brother Beyond, Astral Projection, Technotronic, Vangelis, and Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim).

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67 Visitor comments
September 9, 2008 @ 12:01 pm
A well build 4op FM synth. TX-81Z is a better performer but this is a great buy at a low price. Built to last, no membrane buttons to break but a tad limited in the performance features. No velocity sensitivity is a bit of a let down but bearable. Chorus a great addition, really helps thicken up the sound. Also calling this synth "thin" sounding is a vast misrepresentation. Presets are your typically "thin" fare, programming wise it is capable of some rather thick gritty bass sounds. Not as strong in the low end as say a TX-81Z.
August 18, 2008 @ 6:40 pm
Absolutely love it. The DX series has a lot of fans and a lot of haters, but this being my first real synthesizer I will always love it. The FM programming is not hard like everyone describes it and this thing can do some really cool lead/metal noises. The organs and electric pianos can be good too if you tweak them.

The lack of velocity-sensitive keys is a big detractor, but there's always the DX7 I guess. This is currently my 2nd tier board for the rig I gig with when I play with The Amps (www.myspace.com/theampskc.) Turn on the chorus for most voices. Also layer the same voice on top of itself and detune for some pretty rich sounds. The pianos, string and brass all [beep] if you ask me.
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Rated 3.92 (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 dx21
    by alphacode909

    Manual - Download the original owner's manual here.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 notes
  • Oscillators - 4-Operator Digital FM synthesizer
  • #Instruments - (1) Monotimbral
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - Chorus
  • Keyboard - 61 Keys (no velocity/aftertouch sensitivity)
  • Memory - 128 patches and 16 performances
  • Control - MIDI (w / Velocity and Aftertouch)
  • Date Produced - 1985

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