Yamaha DX7S / DX7IID / DX7IIFD

Yamaha DX7IIFD Image

The DX7, a classic FM synth, gets a make-over with three significant updates. The updated models feature a more sturdy chassis with actual push-buttons replacing the cheaper and less reliable membrane buttons of the original DX7. The two real time sliders (that allow for control of user-programmable parameters in real time) are larger than before. Internally, the biggest improvement is the updated 16-bit digital circuitry for cleaner and much less noisy sound quality. Patch memory has also been doubled from 32 to 64 voices. Additional general improvements include enhanced MIDI support, micro-tuning capabilities, aftertouch controlled pitch bending, and multiple LFOs.

The DX7IID and DX7IIFD (pictured) models also added bi-timbrality with keyboard split and layering capabilities. This allows two voices to be layered in dual mode, providing very rich combinations of sounds that would otherwise be impossible with the original DX7. Voices could also be split across the keyboard, for a two part multi-timbral performance capability; again, impossible with the original DX7 (or the DX7S, as the S stands for single timbre).

The DX7IIFD added a Floppy Drive (that's what the FD stands for) offering one megabyte of memory space (equal to 40 RAM cartridges) for thousands of voices, fractional scaling, SysEx data and more.

DX7 Centennial

Pictured above in silver and gold is the DX7 Centennial, released in 1987 to celebrate Yamaha's 100th anniversary. Not just a new paint job, this limited edition model has 64-voice internal RAM memory and 64-performance memory, 32-note polyphonic stereo output (2 x 16 voices), and a 76-key velocity and after-touch sensitive keyboard that glows in the dark. Only about 300 were made and it originally retailed for $3,500!

Like the DX7, these updated models may have been used by The Crystal Method, Kraftwerk, Underworld, Orbital, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, Depeche Mode, D:Ream, Front 242, U2, A-Ha, Enya, The Cure, Stabbing Westward.

Lookup Yamaha DX7S / DX7IID / DX7IIFD Prices

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49 Visitor comments
July 21, 2009 @ 1:54 am
@AC - The S is great, the IID/IIFD even better cos you can layer + other improvements. Also put any DX7 through some effects and it opens it up to what it's really capable of (surpasses MANY newer synths)

Can't agree about your D-50 slur though ;) the D-50 is wicked magic, absolutely NO need to use 'dated pcm samples', you really should look into D-50 in struct mode 1 (the common one used this days) it's basically a virtual analog, absolutely NO samples anywhere in this mode and is as warm as [beep] (as any digi synth has ever been). DX7 and D-50 are both legends and don't compete in the same sonic space so can co-exist beautifully. Neither one needs berating at the expense of the other.. get both and live :)
Analogue Crazy
July 12, 2009 @ 5:49 am
Just bough a DX7s from a friend and i absolutally love it. Ignore any negative comments, the DX7 is one of the finest Synths ever made and it's 6 operator FM system is still capable of many exciting fresh sounds.

I really like the DX7s model. I used a mk1 a couple of years ago and the DX7s has some great tricks up it's sleeve. The unison mode for me is what's the biggest advantage over the origional. And of course the output is a lot cleaner and makes a lot less background hissing.

Overall, i highly reccomend the DX7s. To me it's far better than the
D-50, M1 and all that bunch because it MAKES it's own sound instead of playing dated but warm ROM samples. This is why it's dated so well and is still a great purcuse, because it still can sound so fresh and exciting.
Jamie B
May 26, 2009 @ 12:31 am
Considering the very low price of a DX7 these days, don't even consider the TX81z. There IS a big difference in 4op and 6op. The only 4op board I ever liked was the V50, which was basically two TX81z modules plus drums, effects, and sequencer. The big advantage here was that instead of being a 12 bit system like the other 4ops, it used a 16 bit system like the 6ops, resulting in better sound quality. Aside from that, it had a thicker sound due to its layering capabilities, and also because of its effects.
In my opinion, aside from the V50, all other 4ops like the DX11, 21, 27 should be avoided unless you want something that sounds like a Nintendo system.
May 19, 2009 @ 10:49 pm
I've owned a DX7 mkII FD for a few months, and recently got a TX81Z, and I don't feel like I'll ever need to buy another synth. It's fun to program and seems to be able to make any kind of sound I throw at it. Don't listen to anyone who says it's difficult to program--with a bit of reading and experimentation it's a breeze to make your own patches. Remember that setting output levels for modulators is essential for creating the kind of sound you want, and operator frequencies are best set (at least at first) to ratios for clean simulation of musical instruments. And I'd like to hear any other synthesis method create such intricate overtones!

The units I have are beat up from apparent gig use, but the tact switches and potentiometers still react without a problem. It's a shock to see noiseless operation from potentiometers that old that obviously have never been cleaned.
January 16, 2009 @ 6:38 pm
The more I delve into this synth's possibilities the more I love it. I've programmed my own voices, and then 'performances' which made a massively 'fat' digital lead sound *unison mono mode in stereo*.. this is then put through some outboard effects to level the playing field against modern synths and it sounds... mind blowing. On top of that the playing feel is awesome, it really inspires when you have the right sounds and don't stick with presets or the overused stuff from the 80s.

Also, I know the mk1 is very cool - and worth owning just as the classic it is, but I know now that I'd really miss the layering and stereo/extra features found in this MkII so I'd easily advise this over the original for it being more usuable today (but both are still great regardless of what the cool analog crowd say - this thing does some amazing stuff I've not heard on my analogs or even my D50)
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  • 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 - 16 voices (8 voices in Dual mode)
  • Oscillators - FM Tone Generator (6 operators and 32 algorhythms)
  • LFO - Sine/Square/Tri/SAW up/SAW Down/Random
  • Filter - None
  • VCA - 6 Envelope generators 8 parameters each
  • Keyboard - 61 keys, Velocity and Aftertouch
  • Memory - Internal: 64 voices/32 performances, external: 128 voices/64 performances
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU
  • Weight - 23 lbs. (10.5 kg)
  • Date Produced - 1986 - 1989
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from
    and MatrixSynth.

    Thanks to Joel Lingenfelter and Scott Marcotte for providing some of this information.

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