Synth Site: Yamaha: DX-1: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Scott Marcotte a hobbyist user from San Luis Obispo writes:
Well, I would like to say I am a DX-1 family member as well. So rare and so so so beautiful to own. I've have never seen anything as cool looking as the DX-1 synthesizer keyboard.

When I began my search for a DX-1, I really took on a big task to find one because somehow I became desperate to see it and hear it. I am really a new synthesizer player so I haven't put much time into owning synths before but have been building my synth collection. I own a Roland JD-800 and a Oberheim OB-12 and a Seil DK-600. All of these synths are wonderful to play and are all programming synths. When I discovered the DX-1, I discovered it's face contruction and it being user friendly and the only DX of it's series to offer programming. My JD-800 sounds wonderful but kinda of thin sometimes, my Oberheim OB-12 sounds very fat but not as genuine (which I believe the Oberheim Matrix 12 is the true Oberheim sounds but the OB-12 has an awesume programming display) but my DX-1 sounds just wonderful. It's is very true sounding as crystal clear. The wooded weighted keys, the key velocity, portamento, modulation wheel is just so awesume!! The patches with this synth is so cool (glass crystal, Time Warp, portobass, small boom poly, Take off, Lazersweep, Bell ting poly and more..)

This is truly one of the greatest synthesizers ever ever made. There is nothing like it and even today, it is STILL the coolest thing out there. There's nothing old fashion about this synth, it's turns heads like a Lamborghini Diablo and handles like a Ducati and built like a Rolls-Royce and Austin Martin. The DX-1 was a hand built instrument and Yamaha used the best materials Yamaha could find and they put it all together so beautifully. The wood alone is art work and at night, the light display, is really cool!

When this synth was made is was indeed, made before its time(1985). Regardless of it's weight and size, Yamaha really made and produced it best work on the DX-1 and if you ever want to own and see what the best of what Yamaha has to offer, the DX-1 is still the hottest thing they've made and on the market (but rare to find).

Owning a DX-1 and my quest to get one was my inspiration of Depeche Mode. They used this sythnesizer and the sound of their best sounds and even today, Martin Gore still uses this synth. If your ever heard of their new ablum Exciter from 2001, there are two songs called Freelove: "mini chorus mix" and "maxmal chorus mix", that has the true DX-1 sound.

If anybody says the DX-1 is too big and old, don't listen. Yes it is big but never never old. It is a true instrument and nothing about it is a disappointment. It is VERY reliable and built like a tank!! This is the best and if you have a synthesizer keyboard request list, the DX-1 is a must own. When I wanted a DX-1, I was determined to get one. It took me about 150 hours of Internet searching and e-mailed over 500 people to find one but after I did all the shopping I could, I love it when I bought it. At first finding a DX-1 last July of 2001 was dry and none were available but as a couple of months went by one came for sale, then two and then three and 4, 5 and then probably about 9 were for sale when I bought mine. The search came as the first one asking price was $4000., case and all and the owner said only 140 of them were made and felt if he didn't sell it he would keep it, and I continued on and came accross another for $3000. which I still felt desperate to pay the price but said I could wait a little longer, even though it happened to be Herbie Hancock's old DX-1, and then another from one London for $1720. but had no case and couple of others I knew that were for sale at about $2500. and $3000.00. However when I came to make a decision to by my DX-1, I somehow got a call from an owner and he said he was looking to sale his but kinda was tempted of still keeping it because it was the rarest thing out there and he loved it but through a good conversation we had, he decided to sell it for $2050.00 with all manuals, brochures, cords, voice roms and memory cartridges and a Anvil flight case and I was sold.

If you have an interest to try and find a DX-1, I can be of a help to find you one if you are interested but to tell you the truth, these are extremely rare and owners usually don't want to part with them and if you see one, you'll know why. If you an idea price range what to pay for a DX-1 expect to pay at least $2000.00 through $4000. and if you want a perfect one then expect to pay over $5000.00 but my guess is all DX-1's were all well taken care of, so consider any DX-1 a purchase instrument. Some people have gotten lucky and paid $1000.00 or $900.00 or so but a DX-1 is worth $2000.00 and up, so even so, I would pay $3000.00 if I had to because of their value. Also if you have a keyboard stand by Ultimate, the Apex single column stand model, it won't fit if you ever wanted to know.

The price of these things new were between $10,900.00 and $12,900.00 back in 1985 and seeing one you'll know why they were so expensive. They story on how many of them were made remains a mystery and even to Yamaha but the numbers are small from 140 of them to maybe a little over 200 were actually made. So they are very rare but are still well kept to there original condition. During my search to find one, I find many of them listed in major universities, through donations and synthesizer labs, which they would never part with if you ask.

But if you choose to find one, I know of a few for sale but remember these are rare and beautiful machines.

And as an owner, I share with you that a DX-1 is truly the best of what's out there in the synthesizer world. If you seek some sites and pictures of the Yamaha DX-1 here are some sites of interests at:

Well, I would like to say I am a DX-1 family member as well. So rare and so so so beautiful to own. I've have never seen anything as cool looking as the DX-1 synthesizer keyboard. So if you decide to try one, I say make it the top of your list because it is the best of the best.

Scott Marcotte

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jan-03-2002 at 18:22
StevO a hobbyist user from San Diego, CA writes:
&#65279;I Personally Own One of these beasts. This puppy is the heaviest keyboard I’ve ever owned (next to a B3). The sounds are Fat! The best thing is if you understand Algorithm programming your in there. Everything is laid out in a pretty user friendly fashion (Just remember where you started your edit point from). It makes a great Controller with it’s 76 note weighted keyboard. I own a So.Ca Music Store and still am a Yamaha Dealer today. I never even stocked this item on my sales floor. It just wasn’t a cost effective for the profit gain. Yamaha didn’t sell anywhere as many as these as the DX7. The DX-1 originally retailed for $10,900. Even at a wholesale price of $6540.00 WOW. After all, the DX-7 only originally came out in US at $1995.00. The DX-1 was soon discontinued for the DX-5 to take it’s place. I have this Midi’d up w/ a rack of tone modules, RX-5 Rhythm Programmer, QX-5 Sequencer and a Peavey DPM-4. The main problem with this unit is it is very &#65279;MIDI-EVIL! It took a few more years before midi implementation became standardized with most of the other manufacturers. There is something to say about FM Technology. I Still haven’t found out what that is.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Nov-30-2001 at 02:04
Topper a part-time user from England writes:
Where can u buy DX7 rom cartridges from? if you know, please e-mail me. I need to know


Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jun-13-2001 at 12:41
Scott Rider a hobbyist user from the US writes:
Having wanted a DX1 since 1984, I finally had the great fortune to discover one for sale about a year ago. I paid US$1000 for the DX1, a custom-built Calzone flight cabinet, two sets of volume and switch pedals, two keyboard stands and about a dozen ROM cartridges. I think it was a pretty good bargain given that only about 150 DX1s were made over 15 years ago.

Being the hardware circuit hacker I am, I got the machine home and into the house and onto a stand with the help of my brother. I then promptly got out a screwdriver and opened it up:

The machine has five microprocessors and 13 circuit boards. The wooden, full weighted-action keyboard assembly is immense, taking up about 65% of the space inside the enclosure. Underneath the keyboard are seven circuit boards that comprise the polyphonic aftertouch system, managed by one of the processors. The aftertouch data is sent to the dual-DX voice engine where it modifies specific operator attributes according to the settings in the edit menu. It should be noted that the polyphonic aftertouch information cannot be sent via MIDI: the data from the multiple keys would quickly overwhelm the rather limited data rate (31,250 bits per second) of MIDI and cause all sorts of lag and other undersirable effects. The overall aftertouch of the keyboard rank is transmitted over MIDI such as is done on a DX7.

The cryptic 16x2 line LCD of the DX7 made programming FM digital voices a challenge. While DX programming in itself is an art, it is made considerably easier on the DX1 by virture of the 750-plus LED programming display. This display, which takes up 50% of the front panel, will show all of the settings for a given operator. It also shows the algorithm and keyboard rate scaling. This display is further augmented by a 40x2 character backlit LCD, which displays the voice patch names, voice data, performance data and utility data. The parameter and program select buttons are real buttons (as opposed to the tactile-membrane switches of the DX7), with most buttons containing an LED to show the panel status--very handy for that dark stage or studio.

The DX7 had a single performance memory setting for all patches. The DX1 has not only performance settings for each patch of each DX engine, but also has memory settings that store which pair of DX patches and performance settings are to be used together. This makes it very easy to tailor the patches to one's performing style, whether on stage or in the studio.

The DX1 is bi-timbral: it has two 6-operator DX voice engines, each controlled by its own dedicated CPU. This is equivalent to two DX7s with the added capabilities of the performance-pair settings described above. The DX engines use the same OP-S and EG-S custom chipset, a 12-bit DAC and 4-bit DAC reference voltage prescaler. Each DX engine has its own front-panel volume expression pedal controls, as well as a 5th-order lowpass filter to remove digital waveform clock noise.

The DX1 is built in a manner that is rarely seen in synthesizers today. It is literally built like a tank from a heavy-gauge steel chassis, rosewood enclosure, custom frame pieces, heavy-duty power supply and about 8,000 electronic components. It weighs in at 50kg (112.5 pounds), and is most assuredly not a machine to be moved around by one person. I might note the flight cabinet alone weighs another 65 pounds; with the DX1 in its cabinet it is a task for two people to move the 180-pound behemoth even if it has heavy-duty casters.

I played with a DX1 in 1985; it is what induced me to buy the DX7 back then that I still own today. It was the feel of the DX1 keyboard I couldn't be without, however, and I bought the KX88 a year later to recapture much of what I remember the DX1's keyboard feeling like. There is something akin to magic in the DX1, however, and as the years went by I wondered if I'd find one in great condition at a bargain price. It took 15 years, but I found one. Now it sits in the center of my studio, attached to a TX816, a rack of effects and a mixer. I play it several hours a week, calling up and experimenting with the voices on the DX1 and assigning them to TF1 modules. It is pretty fun to find out where one can go when they have the right 'starship course plotting device' (thats what my brother called it the first time he saw it turned on).

Finally, I might mention that while Yamaha no longer supports the DX line, they will sell you the service manual for cheap and the user's manual for free! You can also get parts from them. Not too bad for a machine made that long ago.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-12-2001 at 01:46
303BASS a hobbyist user from Netherlands writes:
I know a store here in holland who has one for sale. It's price is about $7000!! You can buy a lot of cool stuff for that!

posted Wednesday-Jul-05-2000 at 09:20
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