Friday, August 26, 2011

DX7 Rhodes

The DX7 Rhodes is a watery, Crest toothpaste-glitter sparkle magical sound that has enchanted us all at some point or another. And yet most people don't even know what it is! This post serves to remedy that.

Exhibit A:

From Wikipedia:

The DX7 Rhodes, also known as DX Rhodes, FM Rhodes, FM E. Piano, or Digital Rhodes, is a Fender Rhodes emulation originally produced by the "E. Piano 1" patch on the Yamaha DX7 (and TX-series rackmount) line of synthesizers.

This distinctive, fresh sound, while by no means an exact duplicate of the ever-popular Fender Rhodes electric piano, was nevertheless very reminiscent of it and has become, arguably, the single sound with which the DX7 is most identified. This sound was subsequently edited and expanded upon to produce the now famous DX7 Rhodes sound.

DX7 II (and DX7S) released in 1987 made a distinctive, bright, overtone-rich version of the "E. Piano 1" sound available as a preset. On the DX7 II this sound became known as "Fulltines."[2]

Variations of the DX7 Rhodes sound were produced by individual artists and programmers, as well as manufacturers of other synthesizers. Though not always produced on Yamaha DX/TX equipment or using FM synthesis, the family of sounds based on Yamaha's "Fulltines" became ubiquitous in popular music from 1984 through the early 1990s. Most synthesizers and home keyboards included an "electric piano" patch that imitated the DX7 Rhodes sound. In the 1990s, improvements in sampling technology, decreased emphasis on synthesized sound in popular music, and a resurgence of interest in vintage keyboard instruments led to the sound falling out of favor.

Because the "E. Piano 1" DX7 preset only faintly resembled a real Rhodes Piano, and the subsequent "Fulltines" even less so, devotees of real vintage electric pianos often express their distaste for the DX7 Rhodes sound.

Exhibit B:

The DX7 Rhodes featured prominently in the end credits of every early 90's animated Disney blockbuster.

Exhibit C:

In 1997, James Cameron's 'Titanic' provided one final triumph for the DX7 Rhodes before it faded into obscurity

Exhibit D:

Dong-dong rocks out on the DX7 Rhodes for 11 solid minutes at some old lady's funeral.