Yamaha DX7 vs DX7ii (Mk2, DX7S)

The latest episode of Woody Piano Shack compares two generations of Yamaha DX7 synthesizers, the original Yamaha DX7 and the DX7ii (Mk2, DX7S).

Video Summary:

Yamaha DX7 versus DX7ii

Let’s discuss and demonstrate the differences between the original Yamaha DX7 and the DX7S, one of the later DX7ii mk2 models from 1988. We’ll address the cosmetic differences and the changes under the hood. Lot’s of playing and sound demos as usual. We’ll also talk about some of the other DX models of the time.

28 thoughts on “Yamaha DX7 vs DX7ii (Mk2, DX7S)

  1. Original one sounds much sweeter to my ears.
    No wonder they are different. If a company wants to release a new version of some synth, it should sound different.

    1. I remember playing both when they first came out, the Mk2 was a huge sonic improvement (even ommitting the fact that it could layer two tones). My major gripe with the original DX7 is that all the sounds become sine waves as you play up the keyboard into the higher registers, probably due to over-aggressive anti-aliasing.

  2. Honestly, sounds like different programs, different attack envelopes, more modulator emphasis on the attacks. The Mk2 got a lot of attention due to the increased bit depth. I think the programming on the original was more inventive and had more character.

  3. There are adaptors for the MK1 cartridges.
    The Centennial was released same year as the MK2’s, 1987.
    The TX802 is not really 8 DX7’s in a box, as it’s still 16-voice.
    To play it polyphonically parts have to be linked.
    The TX-816 was more like 8 DX’s in a case, but even that had limitations, such as No main output and no editability.
    There have been several expansions made for all models, mainly the Greay Matter ones would have deserved a mention.

  4. will be interesting to compare same programs and not totally different sounds. The original DX7 always sounded more warm in my times I use alot the Yamaha TX802 multitimbral FM module.

  5. no one cares. use one of the following excellent fm emulation plugins instead:
    – Native Instruments FM8
    – u-he Bazille
    – Synapse Audio Dune 2
    – Image-Line Sytrus
    – asb2m10 Dexed
    – Native Instruments Massive
    – Image-Line Toxic Biohazard
    – Ableton Operator
    – FXpansion Cypher
    – Tone2 Nemesis

            1. Incorrect..the low spec DAC does everything and you cannot just use a bit-crusher to make a low-spec DAC….that is a huge misunderstanding..

              1. Yes there are more involved methods to recreate a low spec dac, but that’s not what I am talking about. I think there is more going on than a 12 vs. 16 bit dac …

  6. Is there are VST plugin that facilitates resolution reduction from 24bit down to 16, 14, 12, 8 ?
    Are they called ‘bit crush’ effect or… ?

  7. The reason to ‘care’ is that for some of us, it’s nice to know the history and hear the comparisons. And I think he did a good job presenting the instruments not as an expert but as someone that was a more casual user and also not trying to explain the depth of the product or sell a product. A little info on the DX1 and DX5 might have been nice….given he touched on some other DX synths.

    As far a emulations, that new Volca from Korg seems nice though not having played on in person can’t vouch for it.

    But agree with the user above that in terms of pure FM synths, there are good software options that don’t weigh as much as a tank and provide better agility. I’d suggest Native Instruments FM8 as a better emulation than Massive. But on the other hand, one of my secret weapons is the under-rated Big Tick Rhino – very tasty.

    There are also free FM Synths like Dexed but I suppose anyone reading this far down in the comments knows all that.

  8. Very nice video; never had the opportunity to play both side by side.

    Rhino is still my favorite FM synth since there are no limits to how the oscillators can be connected and any waveform is fair game (or create a new one with the additive editor). “Bonita Keys” is a gem.

  9. Octopus was an amazing FM VST/AU – somewhere between a DX and a Synclavier, with a completely different take on programming and control, centered around a huge number of assignable envelopes. It’s the one maker-abandoned softsynth I mourn the loss of. I still use it but nervously, waiting for the eventual necessary OS or spec or other change that will render it inoperable. Or the system crash that will cause me to re-register it, only to find it’s no longer possible.

  10. Can we please elaborate on the unbridgeable gap between software and hardware some more? I feel the topic hasn’t reached exhaustion quite yet.

  11. Dexed the free FM plugin synth is also pretty good if you’re ‘in the box’ and want DX sounds..it also loads dx7 libraries unlike the new yamaha 4 op minikey or the supa-knobbed montage

  12. Thanks for the review.

    I worked with a lot of DX7’s back in the day, I was a recording engineer during the ’80s/early 90’s, but never had the opportunity to run into a DX7s or if I did it never stuck in my memory.

    Does the DX7s sound the same as the DX7ii? Seems to be a lot of disagreement on web about that.
    I can’t say because the musician’s I was working with at the time, if they had the newer version, they had DX7iiD of FD.
    I’ve always thought the DX7iiD/FD models had a much warmer, meatier sound than the DX7 mk1s which I always thought sounded transistory, but your DX7 sounds gorgeous.

    Thanks again for the review, it left me with a higher regard for the original DX7 than I had previously.

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