Talk:Yamaha DX7

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Lately / Solid bass and 'Donk'[edit]

Surprised there's nothing about these sounds. Solid/lately bass came with most of the dx's and could be heard everywhere in pop, particularly late 80's and euro dance into the 1990's. Also the Derrick May Detroit techno sound which came to be known as a 'donk' later on in rave and hard house. Both very familiar sounds in dance music then and now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:13, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

Bass sound[edit]

I think the bass sound should be included in "Notable sounds (patches)". Do you agree?


There is a DSSI plugin called Hexter, which emulates the Yamaha DX7 and can be found here:

It can be added to "Software emulation". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 13 September 2010 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be something here about sytrus? Its a softsynth made by Image-line, which can load dx7 patches, although it isn't an emulation, it at least deserves a mention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:39, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


Can anyone tell me why the search for FM7 gets redirected here?

Obviously, that's a mistake and should be corrected. They are completely different instruments.

Accepted that they are completely different instruments, but the FM7 is basically a virtual recreation of the original DX7, with added modern bells and whistles. The FM7 is able to read original DX7 patches, for example. And then there's the name! Until someone writes a great FM7 article, this isn't a bad place to redirect to. Electricdruid 11:30, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

FM or PM?[edit]

A lecturer informed me the other day that the FM7 actually uses Phase Modulation and not Frequency Modulation. Can anyone verify this? It would be good to note in the article. Magic Window 15:16, May 12, 2005 (UTC)

The DX7 uses what would now be called DDS oscillators (Direct Digital Synthesis). These do indeed work by keeping track of the phase of the wave rather than its value. This is done since all waveshapes have a linear relationship between phase and time, and linear relationships make the maths much simpler. The crucial part of the DDS oscillator scheme is a binary counter called the 'phase accumulator'. It is the rate of increment of this counter that determines the frequency of the oscillator. The DX7 produces frequency modulation by using the output from another DDS oscillator to modify this phase increment. Whether this is FM or PM is a subject of some discussion over at Talk:Phase modulation. Having had a look at the maths, it seems to boil down to whether the modulation is multiplied with the increment (true FM) or added to it (PM). Since the DX7 adds it, it does use PM, not strictly FM. Electricdruid 11:27, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

The DX7 indeed used phase modulation; however, this is no "upgrade" of FM, hence I removed that part of the sentence; I leave it to the EEs to discuss why FM and PM are basically two faces of the same coin and will spare the math for now. 22:08, 22 May 2007 (UTC)Rainer Buchty

Image: of white space?[edit]

What gives? The image and the thumbnail both show as a big fat nothing! Did somebody go and peel a copyrighted image from another source and get squealed on?

2005 dec 15th image now seems to be someone's grandad. he looks like a nice fellow though

What's going on with the image for this page? I'm new to Wikipedia but I did my degree using this synthesiser and have a decent, self-made picture I'd like to upload. There seems to already be a picture in Wikipedia Commons though. I'd like to contribute but I don't want to go messing things up. I don't think I have the skills to fix the article with the existing picture, if that's suitable! JammyB 13:42, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that picture even comes from And it might be safe to use (if it's on Wikipedia Common, then it means something). But anyway, I saw that image removed so I tried to upload one again. I'm not sure if I did well, but I found it here: I don't know if it's copyrighted or not but as it was a nice and decent picture, I uploaded it. If you don't agree, you can freely delete it and replace it with something more adequate. Dioxaz 21:09, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

OK, it's been nearly a week and nobody went to change the copyright status of the image I uploaded. So, what should I do? I also saw that same exact image on Synth Mania. So, I'm assuming this image to be "public domain"... or, must I ask the maintainer of Synth Mania before doing so? Dioxaz 12:58, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

...July 8th 2013 - The DX7 picture seems to have disappeared again! Not sure why; there certainly aren't any Copyright issues, 'cos I took the picture myself in 2004! Maybe it'll return and if not, I'll have a go at uploading it again. I guess someone was playing around with the article... Steve. (iixorbiusii)

Factory patches[edit]

"The tone generation algorithms used were highly programmable, but it is said that 90% of all DX7 owners simply used the 32 factory default patches, and never tried to program their own patches. " This sort of statement has been said for years but it doesn't belong here. It's just a vague guess with no hard evidence. fataltourist 22:40, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Notable musicians that have used the DX7[edit]

I am deleting this section. If any of these musicians are actually known for using the DX7 or created some classic, memorable song/hook with it, then they should be mentioned. This list is more suited towards a fan site than encyclopedia.--fataltourist 14:49, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand your comment at all. No one makes songs with just one synthesizer, and Yamaha DX7 is surely one of the most successful synthesizers in history, so many many musicians were using it at least for some parts of some of their songs. What are you suggesting here - to make a list of 'notable' songs where a DX7 was 'actually' used? It makes little sense to me, this list would have been far longer than a previous one. --DmitryKo 01:10, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I'll try again. I was speaking hypothetically. If there was a particular song/hook that is noted for its DX7 use than that would be worth mentioning in the article (like The Who and the ARP 2600). That's my suggestion to someone who would be upset about me deleting that list. Basically, I don't like these interminible lists that add little content and end up making the page very long. Plus it's hard to prove/disprove that any of those artists used it, though I guess with a synth as popular as the DX7 it's safe to assume that everyone in the universe has used it.--fataltourist 21:45, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Um, people[edit]

The DX7 did use FM, in particular an algorithm developed by Julius Smith from CCRMA and patented. It was the Casio CZ synths that used PM (because of the patent). Yes, perhaps it was implemented in a weird way (maybe that's it could be patented, since radio stations were already using FM) but most historians (those I've read) agree that it was FM. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 08:35, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I just goofed this up somehow. I was editing and for some reason lost the link under synthesis type. I tried going back and forth between frequency modulation and phase modulation and gave up after a half hour. Hopefully someone can fix this.

The DX7 does use Phase Modulation, which in sound can be considered the same as FM (though PM have some advantages, more details can be found on the Phase Modulation page). I think many of you mistake Phase Modulation for Phase Distortion, which is used in Casio CZ synths and is something completely different. Phase Modulation (Yamaha DX) != Phase Distortion (Casio CZ). Dioxaz 23:23, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Just a note to agree with Dioxaz. PM and FM are often considered the same thing in synthesis, and there is much confusion between PM and PD. It was John Chowning at Stanford university who developed the FM/PM algorithm, and Stanford who patented it, and later licensed it to Yamaha.Electricdruid 23:57, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

  • I have changed the synthesis type to FM (Phase modulation). This should make both sides happy. --fataltourist 15:26, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Dioxas/Electricdruid, there is just no mathematical difference between phase modulation and phase distortion. The only thing is that with phase modulation you use a saw (ramp) curve as the "distortion" function (i.e. you don't get any distortion but read out the sine as-is) whereas with PD you apply a more complex (complex as in nature, not the complex number space) function to the phase pointer, hence the sine gets distorted into the desired shape. 22:12, 22 May 2007 (UTC) Rainer Buchty

Yes, I agree, Rainer. PD and PM are indeed basically the same thing. Adding a sine modulator to a ramp phase value (PM) and adding a distortion function to a ramp phase value (PD) are obviously so close as to be virtually identical. However, although the maths is the same, the implementation on the Casio CZ and Yamaha DX7 show considerable differences. Still, it makes you wonder how Casio got away with it, especially on the later VZ synths (using "iPD" synthesis) which blurred the line still further.Electricdruid 13:50, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

I think the difference between FM and PM (which is definitely what a DX7 does) is much simpler than most people make it sound. In FM, the value of the phase accumulator is changed. In PM, a COPY of that value is changed, and the underlying beat does not change, which is why it has tuning stability. The musical equivalent is 'rubato', as opposed to tempo modulation.. There really is no other difference. PD is a hybrid, it is a sort of rubato that DOES change the underlying step but only periodically: the total traversal of the accumulator must be done in the time for the required frequency, regardless of how step size changes in the meantime. In other words, a very fancy pulse width modulation. Because it can be applied either to the accumulator value, OR to the copy, equally, so long as by the end of the cycle all durations add up, there was likely no way to determine which way Casio actually did it, so no way to be sure of bringing a case successfully against them over the patent. Crow. (talk) 18:09, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Incomplete MIDI Specification[edit]

Does anybody agree that it might be worthwhile to discuss the Yamaha DX7's midi implementation, since it's non-standard, primarily the points where it strays? (for example velocity only goes up to ??? instead of 127) --Thor Andersen 08:42, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Yamaha DX5[edit]

Need an article on the Yamaha DX5, which has been used by Relâche (musical group) and Kitaro. Badagnani (talk) 09:22, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

FM Synthesis[edit]

While there may be some technical correctness in calling it PM, the current summary dismissal is a big mistake IMHO. Historically, unless you can prove otherwise, the Yamaha FM synths used Chowning's work which for whatever reason was called FM synthesis. Other products, along with countless books, articles and online sources call it FM synthesis.

I strongly feel that sentence needs further exposition. And it's not important whether it's technically PM or not as almost EVERYONE calls it FM synthesis. Wikipedia should not go about trying to rewrite history here. A casual reader on the topic is going to be really confused by that sentence.

I think calling it FM synthesis should be sufficient clarification, shouldn't it ? The reader than then refer to the article on FM synthesis (which should explain why it's PM synthesis not FM synthesis in detail). That article can afford to be more technical than an article on a specific synthesizer.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:16, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the above (I'm not entirely sure how many people wrote what bits of that), it DOES matter whether it's FM or PM because people want to know what it is, or they'd not be here trying to find out what a DX7 really is. Examining the patent makes it clear that the phase accumulator value is copied for modulation, original value left unchanged to keep frequency stability and simpler maths. Stating this is not re-writing history. History is about examining the record, and if previous records were wrong, they should be corrected. While it's worth formally noting that people persisted in using the term Frequency Modulation, not least because Yamaha decided that marketing it worked better that way, there is no 'revisionism' in stating correctly what they did, in terms of marketing AND technology. Whether people go into it at length on page one is debatable, but it should at least be mentioned there because it is historically accurate and verifiable. Crow. (talk) 18:21, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

  • There is no practical difference, both are a form of Angle modulation. "Phase" (instantaneous phase) is just an additional time qualifier, since it's essentialy an angle within the periodic sine wave of specified frequency (i.e. period) and is typically represented by complex numbers just like frequency. Think about it as a precise sports chronometer, where you have both seconds (frequency) and milliseconds (phase), as opposed to less precise training clock which only has seconds (frequency) and maybe a rough and small 1/10 s scale. So it's just a bit more precise practical implementation - though a substantially more complex one - that doesn't suffer from "calculation" errors (i.e. DC current or clock drift) that plague analog circiuts. Moreover, both frequency modulation and phase modulation can be considered a special case of quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) - though this would be far more complex and thus crazily expensive to implement using 1970s electronic design technologies. --Dmitry (talkcontibs) 20:51, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • See also the sections immediately above: #FM or PM? and #Um, people. --Dmitry (talkcontibs) 11:18, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

WX-7 and WX-11[edit]

Perhaps there should be a mention of the WX-7 and WX-11 which were wind synths based upon the DX-7 line. [1][2] (talk) 20:41, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Nope, these are not FM synths. Yamaha WX5, WX7 and WX11 were wind controllers which were specificaly designed for dedicated virtual acoustic synthesizers like Yamaha VL1 and VL7 keyboards and VL1-m and VL70m synth modules. WX5 and VL70m could be connected through a proprietary Yamaha interface; all of WX series could also control regular synths through MIDI, but the results were often less than spectacular. [1] [2] [3] --Dmitry (talkcontibs) 21:48, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Notable musicians that have used the DX7 revisited[edit]

This section has gotten out of control. This is an article on the DX7 not these artists. This section should reflect artists that are known for their use of the DX7 or iconic DX7 sounds. It also is essentially unreferenced (the only reference mentions that the artist owns a DX7 but doesn't indicate that the artist is known for its use). Any thoughts on what should be kept here?--RadioFan (talk) 14:23, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

  • In my opinion this section should either be deleted completely, or edited to remove all the artist names, with their replacement by a statement to the effect that the DX7 was incredibly widely used during its heyday so a list of specific users is arbitrary and pointless. Dubmill (talk) 06:47, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
  • A list of notable musicians who did not use the DX7 would be considerably shorter MX44 (talk) 22:32, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
What about the DX1 revisited? Thats the original synth of all time for the DX series. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Ya that's right the DX-1 is the all time DX series and still is, the DX has never been replaced since. That makes the DX-1 still the most advanced DX synth ever made today. The fact the DX7 was more affordable it was more widely used by more famous musicians so the fact of the matter is the list of the musicians should be listed. It is researched and I consur placing the long list of famous musicians on the DX-7 and DX-1. Yet for the record though I would watchout for Wolftengu and 2over0 because they have a habit of abusing the article of inverting edits for a living no matter what you contibute in good faith; some us don't get paid to edit all day long on the articles like these examples here[4][5]. So if you are solely on here to benefit the article, your contributes are welcome. God only knows why they spend so much time on their computers daily reverting edits on Wikipedia, I guess thats why our unemployment is so high. I would question everytime they revert or undo an edit, question them each time. Some of us make the effort to tell the facts of the article where some just want to play games and revert the edits no matter what. The DX-7 and DX-1 needs more discription and if you can benefit and add more details please do.--Globalstatus (talk) 21:18, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
You have absolutely no right of calling anybody else here a "no life". - - Master Bigode (Talk) (Contribs) 00:06, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

There should be a little something on DX1 also[edit]

I wanted to mentioned that the big brother of DX7 is the Yamaha DX1. Since the DX1 is the mother of all DX series, there should be a small history on it here too.-- (talk) 19:04, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

why? have you got one? :-)

duncanrmi (talk) 16:03, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

pointless debate...[edit]

...about the definition of what yamaha decided to refer to as 'FM'; link to the patents, the stanford/chowning one especially, & quote from them. that should be enough for the maths students here.

(has anybody actually read all of it? several typos, first one during his explanation of traditional analogue synthesisers, & no sign of the word 'phase'; this latter suggests that either chowning didn't understand his technique to be phase modulation- a terminological point for the semantics folks to squabble over- or he didn't know what he was doing.)

as for the rest of us- either a musician coming from a background of sound-design on analogue synths, or someone who's arrived later & has worked mostly with sampling & romplers- the section needs clearing up in the sense of what the waveforms are actually doing to each other. let's try to steer it away from trigonometric functions & fourier analysis if we can; I have a sine wave here, & an operator which is going to modulate it. in what way is this like or unlike the LFO>pitch-mod on my moog here? ignoring the frequencies for the moment.. there's a lovely little animation over on the phase modulation page, for example. how about then building on that to explain the number of carriers, operators & algorithms the designers arrived at?

this is an article about a very specific instrument, not about FM synthesis generally- that has its own page. what's important here, then, is to recognise that in 1983, there was *nothing* remotely like this available at the price-point, & capable of synthetic but passable emulations of real instruments, both acoustic & electric. building on that, what was the reaction of the professional & amateur musicians who encountered the instrument? then there's the third-party stuff- after-market mods, the jellinghaus programmer, the boom in professional synth programmers who could actually edit & even build DX7 patches without them all coming out sounding like doorbells or gongs. culturally- there's an argument (& even a facebook page of semi-humorous hate-posts) that the DX7 was in some way damaging to the art of musical synthesis, that it ushered in an era of finding the nearest preset & using that instead of creating a sound from scratch, simply because programming the DX7 from scratch was too time-consuming to do in a studio.

I think we want to get stuff like this into the article, if it's going to be a useful historical record of what the instrument's about, instead of (or at least, as well as) these mahoosive lists of the cloth-eared idiots who actually used the things. a list of the derivatives, the related products, is redundant without explaining the musical & cultural effect the original turd-coloured beast had.

duncanrmi (talk) 16:17, 2 April 2017 (UTC)