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In-depth Feature:  Yamaha DX200
Trevor Curwen writes:
  • Specifications .

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    Each sequenced pattern can be built from one synth track and three rhythm tracks that use the onboard rhythm sounds. With 256 fully programmed factory patterns in a variety of dance styles there is plenty of scope for merely modifying what's already there, but writing patterns from scratch is a simple process whether carried out in step time or actually played live. For the four tracks each of the sixteen steps can have its individual pitch, gate time (note length) and velocity adjusted from the front panel. This process is made even easier using the software editor as all sixteen steps are laid out in graphical form for each of the four tracks, with every adjustable parameter having a dedicated knob that can be grabbed and tweaked with the mouse. The rhythm tracks are built from a selection of the 120 onboard AWM2 sounds. These comprise a large selection of drums, one octave each of three different bass sounds, plus a few special FX that can be thrown in making some interesting rhythm beds to act as backdrop to the synth track.

    There are also four tracks known as 'Free EG' devoted to recording knob moves which can be used to put some extra movement into the synth track. These can be recorded by physically moving the knobs but the software editor allows you to accurately draw in the shape of any moves on a graphical display with a pencil tool, either freehand or combined with preset wave templates.

    Hands On/Demos
    It has to said that the DX200 has awesome capability in creating FM synth sounds, there are a fine selection of sounds stored with each pattern that deserve to be auditioned, but creating your own from the ground up has never been easier. With all the front panel controls in action, there is enormous creative scope that is taken a stage further when using the software editor. What's on offer is a striking range of metallic timbres, clangs and chimes, brittle distorted textures that would cut through any mix, punchy basses and sounds that can only be described as scary. There's a characteristic hard electronic edginess to much of this that will add great contrast to a track when used alongside softer analogue sounds.

    As for the sequencing, as an instant musical sketch pad for writing tracks the DX200 does a great job. Listening to the presets shows exactly what complex results can be achieved and individual patterns can be chained together to create complete songs, with provision for 10 songs in all to be stored in memory. Yamaha have also built into the unit a host of spontaneous playback functions that make short work of tweaking patterns while playing them back to create a unique performance. Among others, there are options to reverse patterns, mute them, re-trigger them and transpose them.

    MP3 Demos
    Description Size
    Crazy up tempo techno tune
    Sci-fi Industrial Big Beat
    Wierd Ambient pads

    More Resources              Articles - full listing
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  • DX200 Pages @Yamaha
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  • Check out the AN200 review
  • Price @ PieDog (uk/eur)
  • Price@ Musicians Friend

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