_The art of sound design
To demonstrate the awesome power of the DX7 V, we teamed up with some of the finest sound designers in the industry, including some of the original crew behind the sounds of Yamaha's original.
Nori UBUKATA - on DX7 V
"The DX7 V offers huge improvements on the original"
Nori Ubukata is a veteran synthesist and sound designer, and was involved in creating sounds for the original DX7. Inspired by the soundtrack for "A Clockwork Orange", Nori went on to become a professional musician, specializing in synths, and composed music for TV-CM. After his years at Yamaha, Nori moved to France where he now works as a freelance musician, sound designer, and all-round synth guru.
“From my experience with the original, FM synthesis is a familiar tool for creating sounds. The DX7 V offers two huge improvements on the original, firstly that it's so much easier to operate, letting you set specific values, and secondly that it sounds much, much cleaner. There is less aliasing and noise compared to the original.”
“I suppose I'm in a unique position when it comes to creating sounds for the DX7 V. I like to think that I'm just trying to make my original sounds even better than they were by using the additional features. Like transforming sketches into full, finished paintings.”
Victor MORELLO - on DX7 V
"The smallest change can have a huge impact on the timbre."
Music producer and in-house sound designer at Arturia. He has been experimenting with sound for as long as he can remember, from school with a plastic ruler and a desk, then later on by abusing my electric guitar. Computer programs and synthesizers were the logical follow up. Lately he has been looking to merge club music with more experimental structures and textures.
“I think the main part of the commercial success of the original instrument was that it was able to quicky dial up a large range of sounds, without the hassles brought by analog synthesis which was promeninent before this. But the way the sound was generated was actually pretty unique ! The main strength of the DX7V for me are the added modulation sources as well as the MSEG envelopes that allow to quicky try out very precise shapes which is primordial for this kind of synthesis, as the smallest difference of level or rate can have a very important impact on the timbre that is created.”
“Working on this project was a perfect opportunity to get deeper into FM synthesis, which is something that I wanted to do for a long time. It was a bit hard to start at first but Klaus (Summa) gave me some very useful tips that helped. One of them especially helped : start with only a Carrier and a modulator. Experiment only with the modulator level, then try different ratios, and only then, start tweaking the envelopes. After that, perseverance and curiosity is the key ! It took a fair amount of hours of experimenting but I discovered along the way that it was possible to make very realistic and organic sounds, more expressive than what substractive synthesis can offer. Another tip for the road : if you keep getting harsh and metallic tones, keep your modulator level between 50 and 75, this is usually the most musical range.”
Allert AALDERS (Sonar Trafic) - on DX7 V
"There is so much creative potential"
Allert Aalders is a musician, instructor, and live sound engineer based in Utrecht, Netherlands. He runs Sonar Traffic, an electronic music studio with over 50 mostly vintage synths. He was a member of 90s ambient-techno act Human Beings, and has engineered for the likes of David August, T. Raumschmiere, Thomas Azier. With a focus on electronic sound design for other live acts and synth manufacturers, Allert also tutors people in subtractive, FM, and modular synthesis.
“I have to admit, when I first heard the DX7 in the 80s I hated it. I though it was cold and it couldn’t do what a Prophet or a Jupiter could. Then I started studying music technology at Utrecht School of Arts, and Ernst Bonis introduced me to FM synthesis. The DX7 suddenly became incredibly inspirational, it had so much creative potential once you got your head around it! It’s a world of it’s own, there’s almost no way you could do these sounds with a subtractive synth. I love the fact that the DX7 V expands on that with a great modulation matrix, excellent new envelope generators, and great added FX.”
"First and foremost, I wanted to do a balance of “Typical FM” sounds and more organic sounding stuff. If you set modulator levels beyond a certain point you start hearing the “bessel functions” in the sound; a sort of harsh movement that’s typical of many abrasive FM sounds. Although this sound is in itself an important feature, taming them leads to a more natural quality. While programming I was looking for usability, expressiveness through the use of the velocity parameters and the macro sliders, and of course a bit of experimentation."
Mark GIJSMAN - on DX7 V
"There is so much creative potential"
Mark Gijsman is the mastermind behind FMBass.com, a hub for soundbanks dedicated to the various different Yamaha FM synthesizers. He has also created factory sounds used in many contemporary instruments, including the Nonlinear Labs C15, as well as expansions for Yamaha's Reface DX and CS synthesizers
“What made the original DX7 special in my opinion is that it sounded like nothing else out there, it was ahead of it's time, it is a very dynamic synthesizer. The DX7 V expands on the original, not only the new waveforms but also the inclusion of the modulation matrix, in which this instrument is in a league of it's own. The coolest thing is that the YM3812 sound chip waveforms are included, a brilliant move!”
“Because the DX7 V can be programmed in the same way as the original, I could approach it exactly like I was programming my old DX7 Mark 1. I like to give the user a wide palette of sounds, so that no matter what genre you favor, you can always find something to use in your production. Pads and emulations of acoustic instruments are my favorites."
Clément BASTIAT - on DX7 V
"Simple things done well are often the best "
Clément Bastiat is a musician and mastering engineer. Starting out on violin at age 5, Clément became heavily involved in electronic music. Always creating new and unusual sounds for his dark psytrance project Cubic Spline, Clément also applies his golden ears and sonic vision at Storm Mastering.
“I feel that the original DX7 is thought to have democratized FM synthesis, even though technically it uses a type of synthesis called ""phase modulation"". I was pleasantly surprised to see that the DX7 V also utilizes this rare form of synthesis! I would say the main strengths of the DX7 V are its new features: the additional waveforms which greatly enhance its versatility; better envelopes than the original ""hard-to-predict"" ones; great new filters; and the Mod Matrix. All those things make it possible to do old school DX7 sounds, as well as modern PM-subtractive hybrid synthesis.”
“As the factory sounds of the original DX7 are already inside the DX7 V factory bank, and thousand of DX7 Sysex presets can be found online, I decided to experiment with the more modern tones available in the emulation. Most of the time I had specific sounds in mind, but I also let myself ""float"" and explore. ”
“The first thing I do is find a great operator sound, without using the envelopes or anything else. Just tweaking the ratios and making sure your first ingredient is great. From there, you can start to 'freestyle'. ”
“I tried my best to cover the whole range of the sounds the machine could create. From complex percussion sequences to skull shaking aggressive bass sounds, but also softer ambient pads.”
Matt PIKE - on DX7 V
"It takes the original depth and diversifies it."
Matt Pike is a UK-based electronic musician, sound designer and interactive audio artist. Previously releasing music under the name Aer, he now spends his time focusing on mixed media interactive education and play therapy projects, production music composition, sample pack creation and preset design.
“The original DX7 opened an entirely new sonic palette to musicians with its approach to synthesis. It's routing, envelopes, and keyboard scaling options allowed for an extremely broad range of timbres, from the natural to the extreme. What the DX7 V does exquisitely is take that original depth and diversify it. The modulation matrix and alternative waveforms let you combine modular and subtractive synthesis techniques with the power of digital FM.”
“I tried to free my mind from the sounds people expect to hear from the DX7, as classic presets are available online for SYSEX imports and sound fantastic on the DX7 V. Instead I wanted to push the sonic capabilities the extra features enabled and explore textural themes that felt synonymous with the era of the original synth. Some sounds came about by building new timbres, some from heavily modulating and breathing new life into classics.”
Summa - on DX7 V
"The DX7 V is so close to the original"
Summa has been working as a professional sound designer since 1999, and has created sounds for countless virtual instruments from the likes of Native Instruments, Ableton, LinPlug, Loftsoft and Virsyn. You can find his sounds in the preset libraries for both FM7 and FM8, as well as Massive, Absynth, Razor, Kontour, Monark, Octopus, MorphoX, Komplexer, Tera, Cube, FMHeaven and more. Summa also writes articles about synths and sound design for various publications and sites, including Keys Magazin and Amazona.de.
“In my opinion, the DX7 is what I tend to call the Minimoog of FM synths, with just the right amount of depth and complexity. Due to its imperfections, it has a wider sweet spot than most of the other hardware FM-Synths, it always seems to sound 'right', or at least 'interesting'. In a way, it's a perfect synth to get into FM. ”
“The DX7 V is pretty close to the original. So close, you can copy the parameters manually from a DX7 to the DX7 V. I tried that with my manual TX81z -> DX7 "Lately Bass" conversion.”
“Since there are already lots of DX7 sounds available, I tried to make as much use of the additional DX7 V functions as possible. I made the most of the multimode filter and feedback for every Operator, the loop- and syncable multi-point envelopes, and the additional Operator waveforms. Other than that, I assigned macros for realtime-control and tweaking the sound on the fly. ”
“Most people think that you can't program a specific FM sound on purpose, that most results are rather random or need lots of math to achieve the sound you want. For me, this just isn't true. If you master the learning curve, even if it's a little steep, it's possible to program an FM synth pretty intuitively. Math-wise, just tiny bit of fractional arithmetic will suffice.”
With DX7 V at your fingertips, you'll have instant access to hundreds of superb presets. Presets that will inspire your creativity, and tempt you to dig deeper and start creating exploring the sound-shaping power of this iconic synth yourself.