A mint-condition DX1, Yamaha’s greatest FM synth, goes on sale for €149,000

Yamaha DX1
(Image credit: Kim Oeij/Reverb)

The DX7 might be the most famous of Yamaha’s ‘80s FM keyboard synths, but it wasn’t the most powerful. If you leave aside the rack-based TX816, that honour went to the DX1 which, with its dual 6-operator engine, was like having two DX7s in one. 

The DX1 was also significantly more luxurious than the DX7, coming in a rosewood case and featuring a 73-note weighted polyphonic aftertouch keyboard. An enhanced and expanded interface meant that it was easier to program, too.

Even back in 1983, when the synth was released, it was expensive, but now a supposedly unused DX1 in mint condition is being offered for sale on Reverb for the staggering list price of €149,000

This is said to be in full working order with no scratches or discoloration, having been kept in a flight case for many decades, only venturing out for regular servicing. Despite its age, it’s described as “absolutely new” (the keys are said to appear unplayed) and “a true museum piece”.

If you’re still wondering why that price tag is so high, you also need to consider how rare the DX1 was. Only 140 were made, mostly sold to artists and studios with deep pockets. DX1s were used on records by Dire Straits, Michael Jackson, Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk, Toto and other ‘80s big hitters.

The appointed seller - Kim Oeij - estimates that very few DX1s (between three and five) in this condition still exist, so it’s likely to go up in value if the winning bidder looks after it.

Yamaha DX1

(Image credit: Kim Oeij/Reverb)

You can get more information or arrange a private viewing via Kim Oeij, who’s based in the Netherlands. If you live in Europe, shipping is included in the price (as is a flight case), though you’ll have to pay for this and other import taxes if you want it delivered to the US or anywhere else.

If this particular DX1’s price is a little too steep, you could try and seek out a DX5 - essentially the same but without the rosewood panelling or polyphonic aftertouch keyboard - though this isn’t going to be cheap or easy to find, either. Then there’s the good old DX7, which currently seems to be going for between $500 and $1,000, depending on the condition.

Alternatively, go and grab Dexed, a cross-platform DX7-inspired synth plugin that can be downloaded absolutely free.

Oh, and also bear mind that Behringer purchased Tears For Fears’ old DX1 back in 2018, so maybe a low-cost clone might be coming our way at some point.

In the meantime, here's Doctor Mix showing you why this thing is so special...

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine