Yamaha DX9

Yamaha DX9 Image

The DX9 was a not-so-special spin off of the aggressively popular DX7. The DX9 wasn't a great synth, it had all of the headache problems associated with its DX7 relative. Difficult programming and limited MIDI implementation to name a few. Still, it is a 4-operator FM synth like the other DX synths and is capable of interesting sounds.

In the mid eighties when the DX9 appeared it was a welcome cheap alternative to the DX7. But current DX7 prices have nearly hurled the DX9 into obsolescence. Also, unlike the DX100 which is famous now for its gritty house-bass sound, the DX9 doesn't have any particular sounds that set it apart from other synths like it.

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26 Visitor comments
June 28, 2010 @ 5:34 am
This was my first polysynth in 1985. Just left school and couldn't afford a DX7. The DX9 was a poor substitute for it's big brother. Even the action was cheap compared to the 7's stellar touch.
Some sounds were OK - don't pay much for one if you do buy.
Mic Romoog
November 18, 2009 @ 4:56 am
the common rumour is DX9 = crap, that's not really true! There are a lot of limitations but you can't exactly rebuild the sounds on a DX7 or TX81Z.
I don't know the secret, perhaps it is an advantage of the technical limitation. Compared with DX7 the distortion by Feedback value 6 or 7 is earlier, you can get more sharpness in sound.
I bought my DX9 in 1985 for 750€ (=1500DM, DX7 was by 2000€ in that time), 1987 i bought the TX81Z and two years later a used DX7.
I had spent a lot of time with FM-synthesis and trials to rebuild my favorite custom made sounds from DX9 to DX7 or TX81Z. By about 50% it was no problem, but there are some special patches i never got exactly in shape. A reason for still keeping the DX9!
November 17, 2009 @ 1:10 pm
Okay...just how many times exactly have you mentioned the "difficulty" of FM synthesis? Have you even tried it? It's not as difficult as you are trying to make it sound, plus, all you're doing really is repeating yourself, page after page.

Besides, with FM synthesis at least one can program their own sounds, and not have to be stuck with the same presets, like on so many of today's keyboards. It makes a better option for those who wish to create teir own presets, and isn't as bad as everyone claims.
Station Lightyears
July 6, 2009 @ 9:54 am
Bought mine in 1990 and still going strong! Oddly like this synth, the parameters are "upside down" compared to the other 4-op synths, but you can derive some interesting sounds from it, probably due to it's inherent limitations. Quite like the key response on it too. Used to trigger sounds on a Poly-800 from it, the warmth of the 800 and the typically FM sounds on the DX-9 used to combine quite well. Am sure one of the guys from Toto used to use one?
February 22, 2009 @ 1:03 pm
A great, inexpensive option for fm synthesis. The limited architecture makes programming sounds way more manageable than on the dx7 (that's the point of synthesizers right? programming your own sounds?). I do wish it had a bit more memory for patch storage and velocity sensitivity though. Even still, a very worthwhile synth.
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Rated 2.8 (270 Votes)

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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
  • Oscillators - Digital 4 operator FM synthesis
  • LFO - Standard modulation
  • Filter - None
  • VCA - ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Memory - 20 patches
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1983

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