Weapon of Choice: DX7
Yamaha DX7 was a synthesizer manufactured by the
Yamaha Corporation from 1983 to 1986, based on FM synthesis.
It was the first commercially successful digital synthesizer,
with its sound included in many recordings from the 1980s. The DX7
was the moderate priced model of the DX series of FM keyboards that
included the smaller DX9, DX100, and the larger DX5 and DX1.
One major reason for the success was the precision and flexibility
of digital sounds. Although the DX7 was not a sampler, its bright
sounds were much clearer than the analog synthesizers that preceded
it. Although the DX7 claimed to use FM, it actually implemented
phase modulation synthesis, an 'upgrade' on the FM technique.
The DX7 is well-known for its electric piano, bells, and other "metal
striking metal" sounds. It was monotimbral and capable
of 16-note polyphony.
The synthesizer included MIDI ports, but was released shortly before
the specification was completed, and has incomplete support for
Several improved models were released in later years, most notably
the DX7IID which improved sound quality and allowed bi-timbrality.
Third-party products for the DX7 also flourished in the 1980s, including
Grey Matter Response's E! expansion board, which
added sequencer functions to the keyboard. The DX7 family remains
popular to this day with many recording and performing artists.
Rack mount versions of the DX7 also exist, ranging from the TX7
(a simple desktop DX7 unit, with limited editing abilities) to the
TX802 (a DX7II in a 2-unit rack mount unit, with
8 outputs) and even the TX816 (eight DX7s in a
large rack unit, with individual MIDI ports and balanced outputs
for each module (via an XLR connector), giving the musician a massive
128 notes of polyphony).
In 1988, in celebration of the company's 100-year anniversary, Yamaha
released the DX7II Centennial. It was a DX7IID with a silver case,
gold painted buttons and sliders, and 76 glow-in-the-dark keys.
Only 300 were made and were priced at US$3995.
Native Instruments have developed a popular software
synthesizer, FM8 (2006) (previously FM7 (2001-2006)),
that emulates the DX7's digital circuitry and can load original
-- courtesy of wikipedia