Synthesizer Hardware => Synthesizers + Romplers => synths - early 80s => Topic started by: chrisNova777 on December 12, 2015, 03:29:17 PM

Title: Yamaha DX7 (1983) digital programmable algorithm synthesizer
Post by: chrisNova777 on December 12, 2015, 03:29:17 PM
yamaha dx7

Title: Re: yamaha dx7 (1983)
Post by: chrisNova777 on May 15, 2017, 06:48:19 PM
Title: Re: yamaha dx7 (1983)
Post by: chrisNova777 on June 17, 2017, 01:44:04 PM

Title: Re: yamaha dx7 (november 1983, article)
Post by: chrisNova777 on July 13, 2017, 11:13:42 PM

The DX7 is destined to be one of the keyboard classics along with the Fender Rhodes, the Mini Moog and the Wasp. In addition to joining this hall of fame the synth is going to overturn the conventions of instrument design, because it uses the latest generation of FM sound production, and so differs in many ways from the run-of-the-mill analogue synthesiser.

FM technology was developed for the GS synth range, which reflected the cost of the R&D involved and in addition to being expensive were bulky, relatively limited and programmed by computer-prepared magnetic cards. The sound quality was outstanding however, and Yamaha thought it worth the effort of making the FM system a more commercial proposition. The DX7, smaller DX9 and the larger forthcoming DX1 are the result of that development.

Why FM?

The FM system was described by John Chowning, patented by Yamaha and licensed to NED for the Synclavier. Conventional analogue synthesis relies on filtering down simple waveshapes and so cannot progress much beyond these shapes, but the FM system uses two simple waves — sine waves — and uses one to modulate the other. The product is a complex waveform which can't be obtained on an analogue synth and which can only be stored in larger computer synths by using large amounts of expensive memory. Frequency Modulation therefore depends on using two waves, a Carrier and a Modulator. The DX7 has six sine wave generators or Operators, each one being capable of use as a Carrier or a Modulator, and so three simultaneous sounds (or one complex sound with three main components) can be created.

The six Operators can be arranged in various ways. For instance it is possible to modulate a carrier more than once at different frequencies. The ratio of the Carrier and Modulator frequencies helps to define the tone of the sound produced. Each different way of arranging the Operators is known as an Algorithm. If you want a thick, complex sound, choose an Algorithm with three Carriers each only being modulated once. If you want a thinner sound with more different types of control, use an Algorithm with only one or two Carriers being modulated several times.

Because the FM system produces complex waveshapes it is much better at simulating acoustic sounds than an analogue synth could be. Yamaha have capitalised on this capability by adding various performance features and musically useful effects, which turn the initially imposing DX7 into a real keyboard player's keyboard. Although initial reactions to the DX range sounds have been very good, the fact remains that keyboard players having just mastered analogue sound creation are now being asked to come to terms with a completely different method of playing and programming. One common belief is that it's impossible to create a new sound without some kind of computer analysis of the original, but fear not; it's all much simpler and more logical than it seems, and with the potted explanation of FM above and the following fine details it should be possible to program a DX7 to sound like a didgeridoo in a darkened room with one hand tied behind your back.

Guided Tour

Yamaha's Martin Tennant gives a guided tour of the DX7's membrane-switch control panel which dispels most of the remaining difficulties. The top row of switches above the 5-octave plastic weighted keyboard are devoted to system control, and the bottom 16 to modulation. Once a parameter has been selected it is adjusted with a single left-hand Data Entry slider, which has fine control Plus and Minus buttons next to it. The remaining buttons are for editing sounds and for controlling the cartridge, which carries alternative sounds and slots into the right-hand side of the machine. The cartridge system is far superior to cassette dump because it is instantaneous, and individual sounds can quickly and easily be moved about in memory. The disadvantage is that cartridges will cost about £36. The remaining features of the top panel are the Master Volume slider, the sprung Pitchbend and Modulation wheels, and the central LCD display. This display informs the user which programme number has been selected, the name of the programme, which parameters are being altered, the amount of alteration, battery status and various other useful facts.


The controls are roughly as follows, remembering that each one has a different resolution or possible number of settings on the Data Entry slider. 1—Tune. 2—Poly/Mono, with two versions of each with different release characteristics. 3—Pitch Bend maximum. 4—Pitch Bend stepped (chromatically), or smooth. This control only has two possible positions, as do several others. 5—Portamento Mode (four choices with different release characteristics). 6—Glissando select (stepped portamento). 7—gliss/port time. 8—MIDI bus control, switching various functions to the MIDI output. 9—Edit Recall, will store the last edit change even after the machine has been switched off. 10—Voice Initialise, into a 'default mode' with standard settings from which to create a new sound. 11, 12, 13, not used, as the idea of setting a 'secret code' on cartridges has been abandoned. 14—Battery Check. 15, 16, Load and Save to cartridge. A cartridge protected with its built-in switch cannot be erased.

See You Later, Modulator

The lower 16 controls, as mentioned, control the modulation functions. These include depth parameters for the Modulation wheel, the optional foot controller, and the Breath Controller first seen on the CS-01. This can be used to bring in completely different effects under a basic sound, such as brass under a piano chord. The sensitivity of the Keyboard Touch Modulation is also controlled on the bottom row.

One of the separate group of switches to the left, Operator Select, activates an alternative set of functions concerned with the Operators, the Envelope Generators, the Keyboard Scaling and the LFOs. Individual operators can be switched on or off and can have a complex 8-part envelope assigned to them which can be copied to other operators if all the envelopes need to be identical. Keyboard Scaling is the method of producing different sounds at the top and bottom of the keyboard.

Creating a new sound can be time-consuming, but it's not too difficult if an existing voice is used as a starting point. The DX7 is unique in its ability to create more than one sound on the keyboard with each shading into the next, and one preset has a very good representation of a steam engine complete with bell, steam and whistle!

The DX1 may be available by Christmas and will offer more memories, more algorithms and a more comprehensive RAM dump facility. The smaller DX9 is already available, and although it has fewer options than the DX7, a slower tape dump system and no touch sensitivity it comes in a lot cheaper (£899 as opposed to £1299 plus pedals and switches) and can produce many of the same acoustic-like sounds.

FM Follow-Up

Yamaha are following up the inclusion of a MIDI on the DX machines with a computer link and MIDI sequencer, so it's obvious that this is only the start of the FM revolution. It takes a few weeks to get into the DX system, but those lucky few who've had a chance to do so swear that it's worth the effort. Whether DX-type keyboards will ever replace the often heavier-sounding analogue designs is open to question, and for a time it's possible that those who can afford it will want a DX as well as their Prophet or Juno, and not instead of. Only time will tell, but when the mew Yamahas hit the market in quantity it's going to tell pretty quickly.
Title: Re: yamaha dx7 (1983)
Post by: chrisNova777 on September 07, 2017, 12:20:34 PM

herbie hancock plays the dx7:
Title: 4 original dx7 rom cartridges by yamaha
Post by: chrisNova777 on April 13, 2018, 04:02:49 PM

A: "Master Group" - japanese and european preloaded bank
B: "Keyboard & Plucked Group"

A: "Orchestral & Percussive Group"
B: "Synth, Complex & Effects Group"

A: "Master Group" - american preloaded bank
B: "Keyboard & Plucked Group"

A: "Orchestral & Percussive Group"
B: "Complex & Effects Group"
Title: Grey Matter Response E! for the DX7, Version 2.0 (Sep 1987, Article)
Post by: chrisNova777 on April 15, 2018, 07:01:58 AM

IN THE COMPUTER industry, major players like Apple and IBM are often responsible for the creation of entire sub-industries. Hundreds of resourceful companies may thrive by providing unique products (both hardware and software) for a single successful PC. And these third-party developers usually enjoy a close relationship with the computer manufacturer they develop products for; after all, each company stands to gain from the success of the other.

The MIDI industry already has numerous examples of third-party success, but most of these are confined to the software field. Apart from RAM cartridges, relatively few companies have successfully marketed hardware add-ons or peripherals for other MIDI instruments. But any self-respecting rule has an exception. In this case it's E! from Grey Matter Response. This Chicago-based company has been around for almost as long as the instrument they set out to improve and their E! board is designed as an enhancement for the largest-selling MIDI device yet produced - the DX7.

The DX7 was designed at a time when MIDI was still more a nice idea than a way of life, so it's understandable that it hit the market lacking many of the MIDI features that we take for granted today. Let's face it: a DX7 makes a lousy controller. Sure, the keyboard feels nice, but it can only transmit on channel 1, its output velocity falls well below the maximum velocity value (127) that the MIDI spec defines and, furthermore, it has no Local Off mode, a crucial feature for any sequencer controller.

E! changes all that by giving the DX7 entirely new features and capabilities. And better still, E! itself keeps improving. So here's a look at E! version 2.0, the current release.


E! CONSISTS OF a single circuit board that is installed neatly inside the DX7. The installation is routine and can be performed in minutes by a technician or an adventurous DX owner. The board ties in to the DX7 by plugging into the empty sockets of the two Yamaha EPROMS it replaces. Essentially, by replacing Yamaha's brain - or operating system - with E!'s, your DX7 becomes a new machine.

All E!'s functions are accessed directly from the DX's existing front panel by means of five special software "pages": Memory, Function, MIDI, Scales and Physical Control. In practice, the system behaves as if it were a part of the DX7 way of life from day one.


E! STARTS OUT by adding lots of memory: enough RAM for up to 320 sounds - or voices, as Yamaha call them - in 10 banks of 32. To save you the maths, that's ten times the memory of the standard DX7. In addition, an optional 256-voice ROM library is available from Grey Matter Response at nominal charge. If you wish, they will even burn ROMs with your choice of 256 sounds that will then permanently reside inside your DX. I make that 576 sounds available, instantly. Handy.

Things look even better when you consider that unlike a standard DX, E!'s RAM is capable of storing function parameters with each voice. And because E!'s function parameters include everything Yamaha's do plus programmable volume, note ranges, and a host of other setup features, you'll be getting a lot of new features not previously available.

Don't forget about RAM cartridges, either. E! provides two ways of formatting them: the standard Yamaha format or a special GMR format which makes the storage of both voices and function parameters on a single RAM cartridge possible. Naturally, a GMR-formatted cartridge will only play back on an E!-equipped DX7.


THE FUNCTION PAGE is used to set up a variety of performance parameters that control the DX and an external MIDI slave independently. A complete set of function data is stored with each voice, including a specific MIDI Out channel that determines which MIDI slave(s) will be combined with the selected DX sound. The volume of both the DX and the slave is also stored with each voice.

E!'s six different velocity response curves let you fine-tune the response of the DX's keyboard to your playing style. You can also set minimum and maximum velocity limits and a velocity shift amount for both the DX and a MIDI slave.


A DX7 EQUIPPED with E! will transmit on any MIDI channel while receiving on any other. A variety of Merge Modes is available for combining incoming MIDI data such as key events, controllers or clock data with the DX's own MIDI output. Most MIDI users will agree that one more device that merges will be a welcome addition in the studio.

GMR have attempted to improve the suitability of the DX for use with guitar controllers. The result is, yes, Guitar Mode - a pseudo-Mono Mode, if you prefer. You'll also find a complete set of System Exclusive utilities to define E!'s communication with the outside world: editor/librarian/patch generation software, TX modules, additional FM storage devices and so on.

The MIDI Page also contains a useful patch mapping facility that lets you re-direct an incoming patch change to any other program number. This feature is especially handy if you have to plug your DX into somebody else's set-up or sequence file. You can use the buried patch changes to call the sounds you want the DX to play without having to shuffle sounds around in memory to match the original patch change numbers.

the version 2.1 Grey Matter Response E! Card with the optional memory expansion, allowing you to save an incredible 576 patches on-board — no cartridges or sysex transfers needed to get to all your favorite sounds. We’d heard of the E! card, but never realized that it added so much functionality. This is the last version of the E! Card that Grey Matter Response manufactured, and by far the best. E! v2.1 contains a ROM preset library of 256 voices, expanded memory with programmable function data, updated MIDI implementation, voice stacking, random detune, velocity processing, micro tuning & more…

This is what E! Card gives you:

Volume (DX7, MIDI)
Patch Maps
6 Velocity Curves (DX7, MIDI)
Velocity Limits (DX7, MIDI)
Velocity Shift (DX7, MIDI)
5 MIDI key assign modes
Random Detune
Timbre Shift
MIDI Transpose
Key Limits (DX7, MIDI)
MIDI out channel
MIDI in channel
MIDI auxilary channel

MIDI in parameters
– Bank Enable
– Module Enable
– Notes OFF
– Controller Merge
– Sequencer Merge
– Key Merge

MIDI out parameters
– DX/TX mode
– Aftertouch
– Key OFF
– Running Status
– Active Sensing

MIDI in patch mapping

MIDI in enables
– Sustain Pedal
– Aftertouch
– Mod Wheel
– Breath Control
– Foot Control
– Pitch Bend
– Program Change

MIDI out enables (same as MIDI in)

Local control enable
– Keys
– Sustain Pedal
– Aftertouch
– Mod Wheel
– Breath Control
– Foot Control
– Pitch Bend
– Program Change

Voice Enables
– MIDI Double
– DX Stack
– Out Data
– Out Channel
– Velocity Data
– Function Data

MIDI in velocity shift

Slider Reassign
– MIDI volume
– Bank Number
– Portamento Time
– Controller A or B
– Timbre
– Data Slider
– Foot Control
– Breath Control

Floating Split Interval

Pedal 2 Mode
– Portamento
– Control Mode
Controller Definitions

LED Brightness

Controller Remap — 576 internal patches
Title: Re: yamaha dx7 (1983) digital programmable algorithm synthesizer
Post by: chrisNova777 on April 15, 2018, 07:03:14 AM
Title: Re: Yamaha DX7 (1983) digital programmable algorithm synthesizer
Post by: chrisNova777 on December 21, 2018, 08:33:26 PM
Title: Re: Yamaha DX7 (1983) digital programmable algorithm synthesizer
Post by: chrisNova777 on January 18, 2019, 08:53:11 AM
Title: Re: Yamaha DX7 (1983) digital programmable algorithm synthesizer
Post by: chrisNova777 on May 30, 2019, 10:40:28 AM
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-DX7-Special-Edition-ROM-Upgrade-SER-7-chip-Firmware-Upgrade/253108137775?hash=item3aee6baf2f:g:qPMAAOSwL7VWlUVZ https://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-DX7-Special-Edition-SER-7-EPROM-Upgrade-KIT-New-ROM-Update-Chip/282609410624?hash=item41ccd56240:g:6VcAAOSwPfVZkEtn