I just received my new SuperMax expansion board for the Yamaha DX-7 mkI and wow! It sure changes the Yamaha DX-7 for the better. I get 64 new sounds that are programmed to take advantage of the new characteristics of the SuperMax chips and I must say I am really impressed. My Yamaha DX-7 sounds much fatter with voices that now can be stacked. There are 512 memory locations which means I can reliably store a lot of voices without them crapping out with the Gray Matter E! board that I previously had installed. The delay and detune features are fantastic for acquiring natural effects such as chorus. I also love the sound creator which allows you to invent new sounds by automatically combining random parameters between voices.
The best thing of all is the arpeggiator. Wow! This arp is incredible to have on a Yamaha DX-7. I’ve had zero problems with it and it operates exactly as it should. I really like it. I have two Yamaha DX-7′s so I can use one to create rhythms that are quite complex using the arp and stacking. The other DX-7 can be used straight for playing my favorite lead or melodic sounds.
Are there any bad points about the SuperMax? Well I’ve only used it for a couple of days and so far there is only one minor negative point. If correct that has to do with polyphony. The Yamaha DX-7 has 16 note polyphony so when you stack or split the voices this gets reduced rather quickly which results in clicks that can be heard. The clicks are common with any keyboard that is running out of polyphony as the same thing happens on my Korg M1 and T2. Indeed ghost notes happen when you completely step outside the 16 polyphony, but once you get the hang of your polyphony limitations, the SuperMax addition is golden and not a serious problem.
I can’t imagine EVER going back to a stock Yamaha DX-7 after adding the SuperMax expansion board. It totally adds everything I’ve ever wanted on the DX-7 plus more. Note that I also have the E! Gray Matter Expansion board on my second Yamaha DX-7 and I must say the SuperMax knocks it out of the ballpark. I can’t wait to convert the E! Grey Matter over to the SuperMax once I find another expansion board. It’s not that I don’t like the features on the E! Grey Matter board, rather the board itself is just too unreliable for me. Perhaps I have a faulty board, but whenever I power it off for a period of time and then turn on the DX-7 the voices are all messed up. ( Note my battery is fresh and works great! ) It then takes time to load the voices in again and change my settings. The SuperMax is much easier, more reliable thus far, and much more user friendly. I just love it.
Finally, the SuperMax expansion board is super simple to install. No soldering is required. You just carefully pull out IC14, IC 20 and IC21 and then insert the SuperMAX in place of the missing chips. You can then save for original chips for when you either remove the SuperMax for selling or if you get another old DX-7 that needs chips. Don’t throw away or sell your old chips. You’ll never know when you might need them again.
- MEMORY EXTENSION: 512 Memory locations for sounds and functions.
- ARPEGIATOR: the most sophisticate on the market today!
- DELAY: use a new process!
- SOUND STACK: 3 multitimbral stacking modes (8×2, 5×3 or 4×4) with VOLUME, COARSE TUNE and FINE TUNE settings on each voice.
- SOUND CREATOR: the most powerful and effective way to create your own sounds on DX7!!
- ROLLING MODE: allows using up to 4 sounds per patch!!!
- VELOCITY CROSS-SWITCH: allows switching from one sound to other by velocity.
- TEMPERAMENT: can be set on each key on the keyboard
- And many other features: programmable MASTER VOLUME, KEYBOARD ZONES, several MIDI-OUT modes, MIDI DELAY, LOCAL CONTROL, MIDI implementation update (OMNI MODE, MIDI-OUT channel selection, “all keys off”, …)