Yamaha DX5

Digital programmable algorithm synthesizer

Yamaha DX5 vintage synthesizer
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1985 (May)
Initially sold for ¥555,000

The DX5 is basically a budget version of the flagship DX1, and part of the first repackage of the FM technology after the initial line released in 1983.

Shown at the Frankfurt MusikMesse 1985, it gives the public the internals of the DX1 and all its 6op layering features at a fraction of the price (2.999£ instead of 7.000£) and weight (18kg instead of 51kg). Musicians who relied on two separated DX7 synths (1.300£ each) to achieve chorusing could now get a single package with the same sound capabilites and better memory management at a similar cost.

This is achieved by cutting on the interface, which maintains lots of buttons and the larger LCD screen but looses all the real-time visualization, and the use of a light plastic keyboard instead of weighted keys.


  • Dual programmable 6-operator 32-algorithm digital FM tone generators.
  • Independent 8-parameter envelope generator for each operator.
  • 32-voice x 2 internal RAM memory.
  • 64 internal RAM performance memories, each storing a combination of voice and performance functions.
  • Dual cartridge slots for ROM cartridges containing 64 voices or user-programmable 32-voice RAM cartridges. ROM or RAM cartridges storing data for the 64 performance memory locations can also be used.
  • Independent audio outputs for each tone generator channel.
  • Single, Dual, and Split play modes.
  • 76 keys with velocity and after-touch sensitivity.
  • 32-note polyphonic output in SINGLE play mode.
  • Sustain footswitch, portamento footswitch, volume and modulation foot controllers, and breath controller inputs.
  • MIDI IN, OUT and THRU terminals.
  • MIDI send and receive channels independently programmable for each tone generator channel.
Yamaha DX5 brochure
Yamaha DX5 brochure
Detail from Electronics & Music Maker, Oct 1985
Detail from Electronics & Music Maker, Oct 1985



76 keys
Touch control: key velocity, after touch

Sound source

FM tone generator (6 operator x A-B)

Simultaneous note output

Polyphonic: single 32 / dual 16 / split 16+16
Monophonic: single 1 / dual 1 / split 1+1

Memory capacity

Voice memory: 4 bank x 8 voice x A-B
Performance memory: 8 bank x 8 performance

Connection terminals and interfaces

Output A, Output B, Output P (phone jack, XLR type balanced)
Output Phones (stereo phone jack)
Control jack: modulation, volume, sustain on/off, portamento on/off
Cartridge insert A, Cartridge insert B

Dimensions and weight

1229w x 113h x 441d (mm) / 48.4” x 4.4” x 17.4”
18Kg / 39.7b.