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).

Lookup Yamaha DX21 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Yamaha DX21? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

67 Visitor comments
December 5, 2013 @ 10:32 am
This was the first synthesizer I purchased back around 1985 when I was 15. I managed to get a fat brassy sound used in the song 'jump' by van halen by layering 2 tweaked brass sounds, and detuning them slightly. Only set back was only 4 note polyphonic when in duel mode.
Still a great starter keyboard, which I ended up selling for $500.00 bucks before I went on to buy the Yamaha DX7 2FD - which was almost as good as the DX1 as far as sounds and capability went. I still have that keyboard today.
November 28, 2013 @ 11:20 am
It doesn't sound 'thin and brittle' to me.
October 20, 2013 @ 5:43 am
Yes it has best piano tons I have brand new condition one I think to sell it 200 us$
Harly John
September 30, 2013 @ 11:12 pm
I really wanted to try out the dx21 cause its look good and solid tome,.just want to ask any one if this synth.good for piano sound?..well need this for the band...tnks.
September 30, 2013 @ 2:02 pm
Used by Dominic Glynn for, among others, the 1986 arrangement of the Doctor Who theme. It was used for the melody in the theme.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.92 (666 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

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.