The hot new DX200 is a programmable desktop sequencer with a return to Yamaha’s legendary sound of FM synthesis. Based on the classic DX7, an authentic 6-operator FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis engine sits at the heart of the DX200, bringing back the famous sounds of the DX-series synthesizers. Taking a few clues from the success of Korg and Roland’s desktop sequencing synthesizers, the DX200 is a realtime 16-step sequencer (groove-box) designed for musicians and DJs alike! On top of that, the DX200 is fully compatible with DX7 System Exclusive MIDI data for downloading DX7 patches into the DX200, and vice-versa!
In addition to the 16-voice polyphonic FM synth sounds, the DX200 also provides 32 voices of AWM2 sample-playback for drum, percussion, bass, and rhythm sounds. There are over 120 sounds available to choose from; most are geared towards the dance genre. Sixteen realtime control knobs provide hands on access to FM parameters, LFO, envelope, filter, and effects. FM synthesis/programming has actually been somewhat simplified for use in the DX200. One feature that was sorely missed in many classic DX-series synthesizers was the omission of filters. However, the new DX200 has an advanced resonant multi-mode filter with variable 12, 18 or 24 dB/oct slopes and lowpass, hipass, bandpass, and band reject modes. The lowpass features a dedicated envelope generator. The ADSR envelope can control both the filter and the Amp. Also onboard are portamento, polyphonic, mono, and unison modes. The LFO features up to 21 waveforms and can modulate either the pitch or filter.
Although the DX200 can be used as an FM sound module via MIDI, its advanced sequencer makes it an excellent all-in-one FM groove machine! And with all those classic FM sounds (punchy bass, ambient textures, metallic sounds, etc.) the DX200 is definitely set apart from other similar groove machines. The sequencer section is also modeled after classic analog style sequencers. A simple turn of a knob can control each step of the current pattern. That is – for each of its 16 steps per pattern, the pitch, gate time and velocity can be independently tweaked in realtime. The sequencer offers one track for your FM sounds, and three additional tracks for the AWM2 rhythm sounds. Each track can be assigned to individual MIDI channels. Patterns can be created live in realtime or carefully programmed in step-mode, and they can be chained together for up to 10 songs. Songs can be exported via MIDI for use in sequencers or off-line storage.
Motion Control is also implemented in the DX200 via the Free EG. It’s an envelope generator that gives up to 4 tracks for recording parameter tweaks giving complex, evolving motion to your sounds and patterns! All knobs transmit MIDI control change messages too. Yamaha’s Scene Memory function is also onboard for quickly storing tweaked parameters for instant recall or to “morph” between the two scene memories in realtime! The two scene memories are stored with each pattern.
Although the realtime control is essential for the DJ, the DX200 also comes with tools for the studio musician! A great software editor package is bundled with the DX200 for even easier editing via external computer (Mac/PC). The software editor provides in-depth editability and control, such as the ability to hand-draw envelopes, and much more. A graphic simulation of the DX7 is included as well as the ability to import original DX7 sounds and patterns.
In the end, the DX200 is a God-send for any musician looking for those classic DX/FM sounds without all the hassles and complexity of programming and maintaining the old synths that provided them. The DX200 has realtime control, built-in realtime sequencing, filters, morphing ability and much more! At such a reasonable price, the DX200 just may transcend its classic ancestors.