Synth of the Month:
Yamaha DX11

Mike Paradinas: “My synth of the month (I feel dirty typing or thinking that) is the Yamaha DX11. It was the main workhorse of my early µ-Ziq material.

It is a very versatile multitimbral 4 operator FM synth which slots really well into many styles of music.

It wasn't just the typical FM sounds that I loved, but it was also very good at woodwinds and pads. Adding a bit of outboard reverb really softened it up and the thin sound meant it worked very well as an 8 part multitimbral ensemble.

It had very similar presets to the DX100 (and DX27) which was a favourite of Aphex Twin in his early material.”

Vintage Synth Explorer: The DX11 was released in 1988, four years after the DX7 hit the market. The DX11's synthesis and sound quality is classic DX-style FM synthesis using 4-operators per voice.

The DX11 has one major advantage over the DX7 and other older DX-synths, however. The DX11 offered 8-part multitimbrality, whereas older DX synths were monotimbral. The DX11 is essentially a keyboard version of Yamaha's first true multitimbral FM synthesizer, the TX81Z rack module.

The DX11's multitimbral features allowed you to spread various sound patches across different areas or "zones" of the keyboard. It also allowed for complex ensemble performances using external sequencers or while playing live using "Performance" patches. Also added were some Quick Edit functions so you don't have to delve into the complexity of FM synthesis to make a few simple tweaks. These quick edits affect the tone, envelope attack and release times.