The Yahama DX7 synthesizer ! The sound of the 80’s.
Released in 1983, the DX7 presets were used in countless songs, like these : http://bobbyblues.recup.ch/yamaha_dx7/dx7_examples.html
Famous for his e-piano sound, and bells, marimba and other metallic or crystal clear sounds.
It was used and still can be used in any music genre, from pop ballad to hard techno.
I digged into the many free FM VST plugins, searching for those who are able to recreate that clean 80 FM sound.
Here’s 4 free VSTi that can stand for the title of “best free DX7 VST emulation” :
1. Dexed FM VST
This VSTi is freeware and available for Windows and Mac OS X.
It can import / export original DX7 sysex, so you can use it as a DX7 editor.
The project is alive and recent, and it sounds very nice ! All FM lovers must try it.
2. OxeFM by Oxe Music Software
This is not really a DX7 emulation, but it can do 6 op FM synthesis (and more!) and can reproduce all the DX7 algoritms (and more!) with his matrix.
It also features two filters (named operator X & Z ) and let you choose other waveform than sinus waveform (for those who want to nail the TX81z sound !)
It has all you need for FM synthesis.
It’s worth notice that this VSTi is multitimbral, you can set different sounds for each of the 16 MIDI channels.
The drawback of this, is that the delay reverb effects only work for “all voice” and setting are not saved “per patch”
The preset browsing / handling is a bit cumbersome too.
The synth writes a registry entry with the path of the “.bin” files that contain the presets :
Root: HKLM; Subkey: “SOFTWARE\Oxe Music Software\Oxe FM Synth”; ValueName: “SoundBankPath”; ValueType: String; ValueData: “Oxe FM Synth”;
3. Hexter VST
Hexter is no more available in VST format. The binary can be found on the internet if you really badly want it. The GUI is not SEXY but it can import and export DX7 .syx files.
It also adds 4 onboard effects : a tube drive, an echo, a reverb and a chorus effect.
4. VX7 by Speedsoft
download it here : http://black.winny.free.fr/MAO/VX7/
This never-released-still-in-beta FM synth has stoped since 2003, but it can produces FM sounds, had 6 operators, and can import DX7 patch, it can also import SY77 data.