Back in 1984 I owned one of these in high school. I later sold it when I went to University and never played one again until yesterday. I found a good condition Yamaha DX7 for $25.00 at the local second hand shop here in Nagano-city, JAPAN. The outside condition was fair to good, but the functionally wise it was in excellent condition. In fact, I opened it up inside and it’s near mint. All of the keys, buttons, levers, LCD, controllers, etc were in excellent condition. Jacks and Midi also worked great, so I think I got a pretty good deal for a Yamaha DX7 again. Note that I originally paid around $2000.00 for the one back in 1983-84 if correct. It’s amazing how cheap they are now. Mind blowing!!
Of course the sounds are dated in many respects and there are better alternatives perhaps with the later DXY, SY, FS1 versions, PLG expansions, etc. However, I felt right at home jamming on the Yamaha DX-7 once again and it feels great to find one here where I live in Japan. The gritty 12 bit sound is awesome. Yes, it’s a tad bit noisy, but like my Roland W-30 sampler workstation, it kind of has that great Lo-Fi sound. It just rocks!! I most remember how fantastic the key action was and it is nice to again play on such on such a nice and well constructed key bed. The preset sounds were there of course and they brought back lots of memories, but nowadays with the thousands of sounds available on the internet, I don’t think I’ll be using the presets much if at all.
Actually, one of the reasons why I bought the Yamaha DX-7 again in addition to nostalgia from my High School days, was because back then in the early 80’s there was no internet really. There were no Youtube videos, online PDF literature, Sysex Patch Collections, Forum Discussions, or sites devoted to tips and tricks. In fact I recall just having a 600 patch book which was quite labor intensive to program into the DX-7 only to find that the sounds were not all that hot. I’m very excited about diving into the loads of info and patches on the web which I’m sure will provide a very different ( and perhaps better ) experience with the Yamaha DX-7.
In addition, I registered DX Manager Version 3 a while back with my PLG150-DX plugin board. I connected the software editor to the DX7 late last night and it beautifully communicated with the DX7. I was able to transfer some patches and it seriously improved the sound of the DX7 considerably. It will also make editing much easier of course. Back in the 80’s day, you had to punch in all the parameters using the membrane buttons on the Yamaha DX7. You also had to write all the data out using patch data sheets which was time consuming. There were no fancy editors or storage methods other than the data cartridges. I think I had a few ROM Cartridges but never any RAM. The DX7 I bought yesterday had no cartridges either and with the prices on Ebay, I think I’ll skip those. I think I’ll be able to live just fine with 32 great patches once I find my magical set. Too many patches in the box usually distracts me too much, but that’s just me I know.
I’m also checking out a Yamaha DX7 Ei expansion board from Grey Matter which has long been discontinued. I’ve heard very mixed reviews on this for the DX7 MKI version and actually may leave my DX7 as is. I don’t need to have the DX7 layer, split, or do anything extra really as I can do all that via recording. I just wanted that old DX7 sound to insert into my music when so desired. It would be nice I suppose to have slightly more storage space than the 32 internal patches as I don’t like having a computer on stage, but likely, I’ll never gig with the DX7. It’s a one trick pony at this point although a very nice one!!
Welcome home Yamaha DX-7!!