The DX7 is one of history’s classic synths, responsible for immediately recognisable sounds that became trademarks of 1980s productions. It is particularly famed for its bright and percussive sounds such as electric piano, marimba and bass emulations as well as extensive options to tweak and program patches.

The Yamaha DX7 is a digital synthesizer built around an FM synthesis engine. It features 16-voice polyphony, a 61-note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch and elementary MIDI control. It was widely adopted during its years of manufacture in the 1980s, owing to its novel feature set and modest price point. As such, it has become inseparable from its association with music of this era. Several variants of the DX7 were released, including the TX7 and TF1 keyboard-less modules as the DX7 II series, which increased specifications like patch memory and audio quality, as well as improving the limited MIDI functionality of the original. 


While the DX7 has become known largely for its factory presets, the synth is highly programmable and opened up possibilities of tweaking and creating sounds in ways that analog synths before it. These patches could be stored on external cards, making it one of the first synths with presets that could be transported from one to another. Due to the complexity of the machine and the unfamiliar editing interface, programming of the synth was considered fairly specialist and most players stuck to using factory settings, leading to the ubiquity of the DX7’s trademark sounds.  


Given the prevalence of its use in the 1980s, many of the DX7s sounds will lend a retro feel to a track which can be a clever juxtaposition in modern pop, hip hop and funk productions. In spite of its popularity for slightly kitsch, throwback sounds like choppy basses and digital pianos, producers like Aphex Twin and Brian Eno have also embraced the DX7 for use in ambient productions. 

61 keys (C1 ~ C6) 
Sound Source 
FM Tone Generator (6 operators, 32 algorithms) 
Simultaneous Output Notes 
Poly Mode - 16 notes, Mono Mode - 1 note 
Internal RAM Memory 
32 Bank (32 Memory) 
External ROM Memory 
32 Bank x 2 (64 memory) 
External RAM Memory 
32 Bank (32 Memory) 
Mode Selectors 
Store, Memory Protect (Internal, Cartridge), Operator Select, Edit/Compare, Play-Memory Select (Internal, Cartridge), Function 
Volume, Data Entry [lever, switch: Yes (On)/No (off)], Pitch Wheel, Modulation Wheel, Operator On-Off, EG Copy 
Connecting Terminal 
Output (600 Ohms - unbalanced), Phones (8-150 Ohms) 
Control Terminal 
Foot Switch (Sustain,Portamento); Foot Control (Volume, Modulation); Breath Control Midi (In, Out, Thru) 
LCD Display, Cartridge Interface 
101.8(w) x 10.2(h) x 32.9(d) cm (40 x 4 x 13 inches) 
14.2 kg (31.2lbs) 
Power Consumption 

The Gear Rack

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