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domingo, 13 de julio de 2008

The Complete Yamaha DX-27/DX-100 for FM8 tips & tricks help synth


The Complete Yamaha DX-27/DX-100 for FM8
You asked? You receive. Free history lesson in the box.

If the DX-9 was the big embarrassment of the DX family for its design limitations, the DX-100 was the unexpected smash success. It was a board that should have failed, and didn't.

Its beefier twin, the DX-27, had the sturdier case and full-sized keys, but was otherwise identical, down to the presets and internal logic. And yet, the DX-27 is barely a step above the DX-9 on the used-gear junkpile these days. I can only imagine it's because folks don't realize that you can get all the features of the DX-100 with an added full-sized 61-key (albeit not velocity sensitive) keyboard for pittance. DX-100's are collectible. DX-27's? Doorstops. Do yourself a favor, friends, and if you can't find a good price on a DX-100, check out the DX-27. Best-kept secret. :)

But back to the DX-100.

Why should it have failed? Let's see. For one, it used the same disastrous tape hookup that the DX-9 did, and no cartridge interface. Its 49-key range was an octave short of the industry standard 61, and the keys weren't full-size -- they were mini-keys, a nightmare for hands used to standard piano keys. No velocity sensitivity. No effects. Odd layout, designed for use slung over the shoulder with a strap, Eighties style...a trend that mercifully died with Terminator sunglasses, legwarmers and cement-hold hairspray.

Why didn't it fail? Three reasons. One, it was extremely affordable. It debuted at $445 -- a steal for a genuine FM synthesizer with the same 4OP matrix we knew and loved from higher-end boards. Two, the board fixed the DX-9's memory limitation problem by offering 192 ROM presets. Three, oh, what ROM presets they were! Especially the basses -- the DX-100 has a few legendary bass preset, including Easy Synth (the famous DX-100 bass preset), Elec Bass, Mono Bass (adjust portamento to taste), WOW, Metal Keys, and its own unique spin on the sample-and-hold SH Bass. (Use the Mod Wheel to make the magic happen.) If they sound a little tinny to your ears now, remember, fat basses love tube saturation! You can use FM8's effects rack, switch on Tube Amp and Cabinet, and see an immediate fattening, or use Antares Tube, Amplitube, Vintage Channel, PSP Vintage Warmer, or your own favorite sound-sweetening tube simulation VST to make it really shine.

The general consensus is that the other presets are weak, but I'm not sure I agree with that. There are some gorgeous electric pianos, a wide range of strings (including the sublime Silk Cello), powerhouse patches like the ancestor of the V50's Powerbrass, or the eerie whalesong of Waves. I think this preset collection is really quite impressive, and given the DX-100's are quite affordable on the used market, and DX-27's even more so -- this just might be a good bet for your first 4OP synth, if you're shopping. Meanwhile, try playing with FM8's arpeggiator with one of the chromatic percussive presets, and wham, you're Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran in seconds -- those FM vibes are much cooler than his poor, sick little overdriven Wasp.

You'll hear the DX-100 featured heavily in Orbital, Scanner, and Jean-Michel Jarre's work, quite a hefty curriculum vitae for a board marketed as a low-end home synth!

Sysex dumps are included. FM7 users please accept my apologies; the FM7 version isn't ready at this time, but I've included the Sysex for you to import. Very few patches needed heavy modification; the main problem I ran into was the "too much vibrato" problem, which could be solved by setting the LFO 1 value in the matrix view to slightly more than half its current value, or the "BC patches are silent" problem, which can be circumvented by removing all BC and Controller 1 values from the matrix completely. (The synths had a switch which disabled BC/C1 dependence if these add-ons weren't plugged in, but FM7/FM8 isn't that bright.)

The Complete Yamaha DX-27/DX-100 for FM8

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