Time machine: Yamaha DX7 II FD
A voyage into the heart of the Yamaha DX7 II FD from the year 1987.
Exploration by Marko Ettlich
16 Voice Polyphonic
It has been used by Human League, a-ha, Depeche Mode, Tony Banks, Toto and many more.
The DX7 was an amazing digital FM synth. The DX7s carries on the torch once held by the DX7. It offers the same great FM synthesis method and can also create sounds just as unique and wild as the DX7. However, they can be just as difficult to program and understand for most users. Some general improvements include enhanced MIDI support, micro-tuning, aftertouch controlled pitch bending, and multiple LFOs. Although many improvements have been made to the DX7 in this upgrade there still could have been room for improvement, which is where the DX7IID and DX7IIFD come in.
These next models allowed for keyboard split and layering capabilities. The DX7IID (pictured above) and DX7IIFD hold 64 voices in internal memory, as well as an additional 64 voices in a RAM/ROM cartridge that can be accessed. These voices can be layered in dual mode providing very rich sounds or a nice combination of sounds that would be impossible on the original DX7. They can also be split, for a two voice multi-timbral capability. Again, impossible on the original DX.
They have wonderfully clean sound and are stereo, providing pans and chorus and a few other nice effects. There are two real time sliders on these instruments, allowing control of user-programmable items in real time. Micro-tuning, as well as fractional tunings for eastern music etc. is possible. The FD includes a floppy drive for storage of patches, performance presets and sysex information.