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FM is still alive

DX7 Mark I

Yamaha DX-7

Back in 1983 the DX-7 had it's day. Practically every record in that period featured the DX sound. The only thing is that people thought it was hard to program. Thus the 3rd party SOUND PROGRAMMER Industry was born. I was part of that also, programming a number of sounds for a 128 slot ram cartridge by Sound Connection (in Palo Alto). Never made any money, but it was fun. Had good reviews in Keyboard magazine at the time. Today I am STILL programming my DX-7 using XOR on the Atari. I have a STORY connected to my particular Dx. (I sent it to Yamaha hoping for a new DX-7..but wishful thinking!)


I looked at Dx programming almost like WAVE sample synthesis. I create parts of a sound, then put them together to form a complete sound. Sometimes I start with ALG. # 5 or 6 which gives you 3 different sound textures to put together. One could be a bell like timbre. The second a brass sound. The third a low bass sound. When put together you end up with BELL-BRASS.

Below you will find some of my sounds in standard sysex format and a utility to load them called DUMP-IT by Ben Hall. A Note on loading the DX sounds. Go to Function Button # 8 and set the midi channel to 1,and enable SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE. Also turn OFF Internal Protection. I would back up your internal sounds also, before dumping new sounds in. MIDIAN would be good for that. I also program my FB01 which is 4 operator FM. You will also find some sounds for that. ENJOY! Please Email me if you have some comments on the sounds.


I tend to look at DX programming as putting together components to make one sound.

1. Pick your Algorithm. I usually start with Alg 5 or 6, which gives you three stacks to work with.

2. Work on one stack. MUTE the other operators you are not working on. This is tremendously helpful. For example, using alg 5, I want to work on operators 1 and 2. I mute ops 3,4,5 and 6. Now you can concentrate on getting a cool sound using ops 1 and 2.

3.Work the envelope of the first op which is the basis. Then slowly turn up the Operator level for the next one. At this point, you have to decide what type of sound you want. Do you want a bell type of sound? then you will need a high freq on op 2, a fairly low output level so is not overwhelming and and sharp attack on the envelope.When you are satisfied with how that sounds, MUTE ops 1 and 2, UNMUTE 3 and 4, bring up the operator level for operator 4, and then decide what type of sound will go well with your bell sound you just created. Perhaps you want another bell sound, but you can detune them from op 1, so when you put them together you get a full chorused type of bell sound.

4.So for each Stack: decide what type of sound you want.

5.When completed, Unmute all ops and listen to the result.Add any finishing touches.

6.Now decide what types of Modulation, Velocity and keyboard level scaling you need.

7.When completed: SAVE THE PATCH!

This is one viewpoint on programming. Another is to take an existing patch, and edit it from there to your liking, adding velocity changes, pitch envelope effects, or whatever.


Here is a technique I have learned thru the years for getting SUPER lead Sounds from the DX

1. Use any sustaining patch such as strings, analog brass, organ, whatever.
2. Put the portatime to 2 (or whatever you want)
3. use SUS-key P follow Mode for the portamento
4. Step on the Sustain pedal, and HOLD IT.
5. Start playing your riffs.
6. You will notice the Volume going UP and it turns into Mono=mode, but a very interesting tone that is different then using regular portamento. Really great lead sound! TRY IT Beats the pants out of some of the stuff you hear these days!

There is also other flavours of FM synthisis such as 4 operator instruments. These include the Yamaha DX9 ( the DX7's little brother) and the FB01 which is the same as the internal synth used on the Yamaha Cx5M Music computer. (I used to have one) One of the more "famous" 4-Op modules was the TX81Z

The Tx81Z

Today you might consider this a "budget" synth. you can get them rather cheap now. I have seen them for less then $75.00 USD.

Basically, the TX81Z is a 4 Operator,8 algorithm FM digital synth with 8 part multitimbral and 3 "psudu" effects. It also has 128 sounds in memory, including a user bank so you can put in your own custom sounds. Bisides Sine waves you can also choose different "harmonical" waveforms, which are not really your typical standard waveforms, but contains certain harmonics of the overtone series. Another great advantage of the TX81Z is it's microtonal abilities. It has 13 non-standard tunings in memory with two slots for user scales.

The TX81Z is also 8 part multitimbral. It is best used in performance mode in which you can combine patches together to form a complete sound.

One example is to layer two string sounds, detune them to create a richer sound, and layer a bell sound with long sustain, and its a pretty good pad combo-patch.Detuning really adds to the richness of the sound. Goodbye goes the myth of "thin" sounding FM.Some popular patches in the Techno feild are "Lately Bass" which a lot of techno people buy the TX81Z for. Of course the beauty in the TX81Z is in creating your own patches...which is true in any "real" synth.

Also using performance mode, you can select a microtune scale and assign each sound (patch) to a different midi channel, and thus compose something using 4 to 8 instruments in the microtonal scale. Good use out of a cheap FM synth!Of course to beef these early synths up, you really need an outside effect processor. Any delay/echo box will do. Chorus also adds a lot....guess that would make a subject all by itself!

Overall, this is an excellent synth. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!


Another interesting feature of the TX81Z and the more recent incarnation of the DX7 (the mark II)is that they were capable of being tuned in any manner whatesover. This was called Microtonality. This opened up a whole new world (literally) in that many ethnic scales not using the 12 tone equel temperment could now be explored as well as the ability to create your own scale structures. There is an interesting program called SCALA which enables you to select scales from a huge library and send them to these instruments that could accept the Microtonal protocals. Using SCALA, I was able to create a good library of scales for use with the TX81Z and the Caged Artist 4 op deluxe program. ( see below for the download link) The 4Op deluxe application also gives you access to the tuning tables of the TX81Z so you can easily create your own scale structures. Using microtonality opens up a new world of composition that has yet to be explored more fully in the MIDI community.

Tims DX7, TX81Z and FB01 ORIGINAL Sounds

Here are my own sounds created with DX heaven, XOR and other editors. Mostly from scratch. These are pads, space sounds, layers and lead sounds. They require some sort of reverb, delay or chorusing to really bring out the textures.Enjoy.


These are my first set of sounds for the DX7 and FB01. The FB01 sounds are excellent for leads and textures, with some patches having indevidual portemento programmed. Using portamento makes it sound "modern" with the new craze on analog synths.

DOWNLOAD my DX-7 and FB01 sounds along with DUMPIT

TIMS 30 Banks and "Operation Rescue"

About a year ago, I sent Mr Tim Garrett (of the DX-7 Mailing list) several cassettes of Data that were retrieved from a mobile home fire where my beloved CX5m and DX7 were burned. My DX survived ( I get some real stares bringing it to a gig! :-)But the Cx5m did not. However my Data Cassettes with all my DX sounds as well as CX5M Sounds (same as Fb01)survived!When finally joining this List, Tim was kind enough to take on the project of "rescuing" the data.So after retrieving the cassettes from the "burned and Charred" box, I sent it to him.

Today, he has finally "caught up" and sent me the first results of his rescue! About 30 banks of sounds including sounds from the SOUND CONNECTION cartidge which I was a part of creating. Tom Coster Jr (Son of Tom Coster of Santana Fame)also partisapated. As a matter of fact Tom sold me my Dx7 when he was working for Draper Music in Palo Alto, CA.

Comments on the sounds: Some were programmed from the front panel of the DX, while the rest were programmed using the excellent DX7 editor of the CX5m.There are some duplicate sounds within the bank set, so please bear with that. For the most part you will hear some new and invocative sounds. After hearing them for the first time "again " after 7 years, it really brings back the memories and they still sound "fresh" Enjoy using these sounds.

Tim's DX7 Sounds in Standard Sysex format. 30 banks Use DUMPIT to load them.



Original banks as well as collections in standard Sysex.Includes DR T's original sounds that came with DX-Heaven.

Download Tims DX7 Collection

Tims TX81Z files in Caged artist format for 4 Op Deluxe. Contains a whole library of Microtonal scales as well as performance setups. and Sounds by Tim.


Here is my DX7 article from the September 2002 issue of MyAtari


DX Heaven Caged Artist Editor

DX Heaven

The Caged Artist series of synthesizer System Exclusive (or patch) editors/librarians was created by Bob Melvin and distributed by DR T Software in the late 1980s. Today, Bob Melvin has given permission for free trading of these excellent editors. The first program in the series was "DX Heaven" which was for the first generation Yamaha DX7/TX7 synthesizers. It was, as the title states, for DX7 programming. DX Heaven was originally written in the mid '80s for the Apple II computer but was ported over to the ST with many additions. DX Heaven could also be used as an MPE module for use in Dr T's Omega II KCS. Thus you could play a sequence in KCS, and be tweaking the sound at the same time. DX Heaven also has an excellent random patch generator, making it fascinating to hear what the computer comes up with which can create interesting patches. You can choose which parameters (mask) and what percentage of change you want. Then the more you click on "randomize" it keeps generating new patches, which you can keep or discard. Using one seed patch, I was able to generate many "useable" patches and also create sounds that would have been hard to create "by hand" only because I would not be that extreme in selecting the parameters.

Auditioning sounds is easy using the arrow keys as well as just clicking on a sound. The editing screen shows all parameters at once, which makes seeing the whole patch convenient in making comparisons. There is also a separate envelope graphic screen in which you can drag around points of the envelope with the mouse for some real fast editing of parameters! The interesting thing about this graphic is that you see all operators at once while the one you are working on is highlighted.

  • DX Heaven MPE compatable Caged Artist editor
  • DX Heaven without MPE Caged artist editor

    4-op deluxe TX81Z editor


    The Caged Artist series also included 4-Op Deluxe, the editor and librarian for 4-operator FM synths, such as the TX81Z, FB01, DX11 and DX100. These editors could also be used in conjunction with KCS as MPE modules (as mentioned above). The neat thing about this is that you can have several editors up and running at the same time and simply click in-between them. For example, I have KCS version 4 installed on my Falcon. When I run the KCS program, it automatically loads DX Heaven, the FB01 and TX81Z editors as well as the MT32 editor (which I use as well). By simply going to the MPE menu on the main screen of KCS, I can choose which editor I want to work in. Makes for a very nice multi-tasking musical environment

  • 4 op Deluxe Caged artist editor


    NEW: June 2003 .Thanks to the REC UP DX7 WEB SITE

    I was able to convert a huge library of DX7 sounds to .TX format using the new version of DX CONVERT ( see below) for use with DX Heaven or XOR. I have also included a set of banks of new original sounds created with DX Heaven. The library is very organized into 3 groups. This is a collection of all the best PD patches that have been available and weeded out for duplicates. I am happy to say that many of my own patches made it into this PD library. The size unzipped is 940K, so if you are using a 1040ST with 720K disc drive, you will need to put the files on seperate discs. Those with Falcons or TT030's can happily fit the whole thing on one 1.4 disc.

  • Download the Ultimate Dx Heaven Library

    Ross Maclver's Caged Artist Utilities Utilities.

    Ross is a member of the Atari-MIDI forum and has newly coded these utilities to service a need. We are very thankful for people like Ross who coninue to code for the Atari platform.

    DX-CONVERT. New version June 2003. Utility by Ross Maclver. Converts Dr T/Xor format files to standard sysex as well as Sysex to Dr T . Excellent! A Much needed utility.

    Download DX Convert Latest version 2003

    TX CONVERT.These are utilities for the Yamaha TX81Z. TX Convert will convert sysex files from a variety of formats (Advanced 4OP, 4OP Ed, Omni Bank, Super Librarian, sysex, and others) into .DXX files for use in Dr. T's 4OP Editor. Listing will create an alphabetic listing of all your patches in all your .DXX files.


    DX Droid


    This was Hybrid Arts contribution programmed by Tom Bajoras. The program was originally named DX-Droid, but had to change its name to appease the force! (George Lucas and friends) So the final version was called DX-Android. There were even adverts in the electronic music magazines at the time with a picture of a droid (very akin to Star Wars) playing a DX7 and ST computer along with a TX816 rack! Those with DX7 synths today can still use this excellent program. DX-Android was one of the first programs to incorporate random patch generation, thus making it a landmark application in its time. In many ways it almost seems like a "DOS" program as it did not use the GEM menu system, but using a combination of function keys, mouse and arrow keys, allows navigation through all the elements of the program. This program also presents many screens to view different aspects of FM synthesis, thus offering a different way to program than the one-screen view. Highly recommended!

    Today, Tom Bajoras has released DX-Android and the source code. I have been working in conjunction with David Leaver to produce a copyright-free version. He was finally able to take out the copy protection, so now we have a working edition of this fabulous program. You need to have a formatted disk handy as the program asks for a blank disk when first starting. There is no manual yet, but with the tried and true method of click, enter and learn, you will be able to manage the program, which is logically laid out.



    DX7 Edit

    DX7Edit. Supplied by Stichting ST.(Dutch) Comes with many banks of sounds not found on the usual DX7 PD stuff. Excellent editor and librarian. Able to load and convert between Pro24 and X Beam Transform formats.

    Download DX7 Edit

  • Midian. A generic SysEx utility.Abel to load and send standard system exlusive. Excellent!

    DX7, Fbo1 and CZ Sounds from Andrew , with librarian


    Dump & editor program for Yamaha DX-21, DX27 and DX100


    DX7 edit .prg by Jaap Kramer. Load Standard Sysex and send one patch at a time.


    Dutch Atari- Midi TX81Z dumper.Supplied by Stichting ST


    Uniman Demo with DX7 profiles


    David Black's TX81Z editor


    DXpatch. A single voice patch editor for the DX7


    DX Shuttle

    DX-Shuttle. Dx7 librarian with banks of sounds


    FM wave analysis Application


    DXpert by Five Pin Din Software . Lawrence Wilkes
    Released as Freeware 5-17-04

    DXpert is a an editor and patch organizer for the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. You can load banks of patches, move them around by the drag and drop method, as well as an extremely easy to use and comprehensive editor. Random patch creation is also possible.What also makes this application unique is that you can load and edit standard sysex files for the DX7 that can be found in plenty on the internet.

    55 Banks are included.
    Lawrence has also released the Source Code which he belives was created in GEM basic. This is included in the download.

    This program can be run on any Atari computer as well as Emulators with MIDI function. The STEem Engine is an excellent emulator for PC and would be the right choice for this application.

    If you want to run this on an Atari with a 720K disc drive, simply remove the Source code folder from the archive, and copy onto a 720K DOS formatted disc.

    I am very thankful for Lawrence in making this program available as the rise in FM synthisis is still being explored..

    dxpert.zip 255K

    The original Demo is also available which contains the voices in the book " 600 sounds for the DX7"

    dexpert Demo

    DX Edit

    DX7 and TX816 Editor by Jim Patchel.Excellent multi-demensional editor with algorithms graphic select and sliders for most functions. Source code is available as well.(see below link)


    Jim Patchel's TX816 Editor page which includes the source code. for DX ED.


    DX Bunker Editor

    DX Bunker. Excellent DX7 Editor and Librarian. Freeware from Germany. Works on 030 machines in Hi Color modes as well


    Cubase Mixermaps for the FB01 and some other 4-OP Synths


    4-Op Librarian from Quin Soft


    Contains the editor FOUROPED.PRG for Yamaha 4 OP FM synthesizers, TX81Z, DX 100, DX 11 etc. and loads of sounds


    YS editor for the TX81Z

    Martin Tarenskeen's YS Editor Page with many programs and sounds for 4 Op FM. These are excellent editors and librarians for the 4 -Operator FM synths such as the TX81Z, TQ5, DX11, ect. Martin is continuing to update his programs. Go below to get the latest releases.

    YSEDITOR homepage

    Martin also has other MIDI related pages:

    JXEDITOR homepage

    UNI_MANiacs homepage

    Page for DX-Class,DXnames and more DX7 utilites and source code.


    Sylib DX editor main screen

    NEW: from France. An Atari-MIDI forum member brought to my attention a very forward looking DX7 editor that was made available by a French programmer named Marc Bareille. I contacted him and he is now making available several of his other System Exclusive (SysEx)type programs. These include DX-Edit (for the Yamaha DX7/ Tx7 FM synths). For owners of 6 Operator FM instruments such as DX7 or TX7, this editor and bank manager is fantastic. Excellent graphics include envelope, algorithm , LFO wave as well as Keyboard level scaling which is not a common graphic in DX7 editors. Those with Falcons and TT030's, the higher color modes can be used which display the dialogs with 3-D type windows.You can also convert regular sysex files with a utility program provided in the ZIP. Download them here:

    Synlib030: for the Falcon and TT. Includes editors , librarians for the K5 and Matrix 6

    Synlib for the ST. DX7 6 OP editor only

    Sylib DX editor screen

    Marc Bareille's web site

    Marc Bareille's Synlib page with source code

    TX802 Editor and bank dumper from the Netherlands. Works with DX7 and TX7. Contains excellent banks of original sounds
    Download the TX802 Editor


    TX81Z, TQ5, DX11 Sounds in XOR and Caged Artist Format : 4 OP Deluxe(From Trond)


    DX7 sounds in Standard Sysex format. The best organized Collection I have seen from the Net! Load them with DUMPIT or MIDIAN.


    DX7 sounds Sounds from DX7 list members. Use DUMPIT or MIDIAN (atari) to load them .


    More TX81Z Sounds ! 32 banks. Standard Sysex. Use midian or Dumpit to load them


    FM synthisis LINKS

    Dave Bensons site. Considered "THE Dx7 resource". You can join the DX7 Mailing list here as well. I have been a member for years and have made many "friends" there. Well worth it if you still use your DX


    Here is a Text file on how to change the battery on a DX7II as well as with E! Installed. Provided by Larry Stanos of the DX7 List

    DX7 manual ON-Line


    Yamaha DX7/TX7 page with info and 20,000 Patches! Use DUMPIT or Midian to load them


    DX7 downloads Includes librarians


    Sounds download including DX7


    Atari-Midi File section with Many DX7 sounds: look for DX anything.However you will need to become a member to access the files. See Forums (above)


    Stephan Ibsen's "FMSounds" website




    Jon Morgans Excellent FM site with Downloads for PC(Dx manager and more)


    Production notes by Neil Booth, musical director, on his production of Les Miseribles which involved 4 DX7's in the score.