A DX synth that sounds just like the DX100. Following the DX model, this synth also uses FM synthesis. It's capable of a good string, bass and droney-pad sound as well as industrial sound effects and metallic-like sounds.
Still it makes a better option than a DX27 or DX100 because it has the capability of layers and splitting the keyboard and there is a chorus effect. Portamento and a Unison Mono-Mode are also nice features for screaming lead synth performances. For a cheaper source of DX sounds with moderate programmability, check out the DX21. It's been used by Hardfloor, Level 42, Brother Beyond, Astral Projection, Technotronic, Vangelis, and Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim).
"This keyboard is the first piece of equipment I ever owned, and it’s still with me and in use today. It’s a digital FM synthesizer, part of the DX family – including the famous 'Detroit techno' DX7 – and its counterpart TX modules, all released by Yamaha in the 1980s."
"I was given it by my dad in 1992 when I was 13. My setup [then] would be the RX21 (the DX21's matching drum machine) with the volume turned down on unused sounds, and those patches used as MIDI triggers; I’d record into a Fostex four-track. Over my teenage years I collected guitar pedals and cables and FX units. The RX21 I sold in part exchange for a Roland R8, but the DX21 never left my side."
"The sounds it makes are generally starker and cold when compared to the analog warmth of other iconic ’80s synths from Roland and Moog. The DX21 has four operators, each can be turned on or off and manipulated with attack, sustain, decay as well as frequency, modulation etc. The synth itself can play 32 voices at once – which means eight-key polyphony on a four-operator sound, though you can’t say, do 16 keys of a sound with two operators turned off – it’s eight max. That’s the simple way I’d describe it anyway, I’m sure proper tech geeks would point out my mistakes and go into far more details.
"The DX21 is – in my opinion – a deeply underrated member of the DX series, with everyone clamoring for the DX7 and DX9 – but also the smaller-sized DX100: even though the DX21 is essentially two DX100’s put together. You can split the keyboard between two different sounds, a unique feature, and even split the sounds left and right outputs, which in my early days saved a tape bounce and gave so many more options for experimenting.
"I still have the DX21 today, and it still gets used regularly – mainly for stark, klonky noises or its amazing bass sounds” - posthuman
Polyphony: 8 notes
Oscillators: 4-Operator Digital FM synthesizer
# Instruments: (1) Monotimbral
Keyboard: 61 Keys (no velocity/aftertouch sensitivity)
Memory: 128 patches and 16 performances
Control: MIDI (w / Velocity and Aftertouch)