My Yamaha Reface DX Piano Review
Since 1887, the Yamaha Corporation in Japan has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer.
They offer a full line of musical instruments, and a leading producer of audio/visual products, semiconductors and many more.
My Initial Thoughts
Back in the early 1980s, Yamaha was at the forefront of FM (frequency modulation) synthesis.
Most prominently, of course, with its trailblazing DX7 model.
As part of its Reface series, it now brings an updated version of this classic.
Naturally, I was impatient to try it out...
I hope you'll like my review!
Check the Price on Amazon
Feel, Specifications, Dimensions, and Integrations
As I mentioned, the DX is part of the Reface series by Yamaha.
Like the other models, this synth is compact and portable (battery-powered) and comes with 37 mini keys and built-in speakers.
Also, it provides MIDI and USB connections, as well as audio input and L/R audio outputs.
With the audio input, you can run another keyboard or other devices through the DX.
Connectivity for a sustain pedal is also provided.
And now for the sound, and how it fares compared with its mighty predecessor.
Well, it surely didn't disappoint me. Just trying on a random preset immediately summoned those lush 80s FM sounds.
From electric pianos and sounds emulating the Fender Rhodes, to bells, pads, and leads, I was rather impressed.
My take is that, with its sound engine and portability, the Reface DX is well-suited for any songwriter.
Don't let the fact that it is built upon a classic Yamaha model lead you to think of it as merely a nostalgia act.
The sounds generated will also apply to modern EDM, house and even alternative music.
Sound aside, the Yamaha Reface DX is solidly built.
For a unit of its size, I've found it to be surprisingly sturdy and durable.
Advanced Features and Performance
The Yamaha Reface DX is an 8-voice polyphonic synthesizer that runs on a 4-operator FM sound engine.
It has an integrated effects engine, 32 voice memory slots, and a rather user-friendly control area, including a backlit display.
It also features a looping option, with the capacity of 2000 notes (roughly 10 minutes), which you can also overdub.
Bear in mind that this function does not enable you to saved loops after powering off.
But I still found it to be a useful tool when performing live.
You can control the four-operator engine via the corresponding buttons, allowing you to tweak the levels, feedback and frequency.
In addition, the 'Edit' control will let you dig deeper into the world of FM synthesis.
And all this by means of the display which offers a great overview when editing, with in-depth patch data.
The Reface DX also comes with two effect processors, with delay, reverb, touch-wah, flanger, phaser, chorus all on board.
All of them editable, as well.
The appearance of this unit might raise some eyebrows from old-school Yamaha enthusiasts.
Namely, the built-in speakers and the mini keys could be unappealing for some.
However, adding things to perspective, the price of the DX makes up for those slight disadvantages.
Pros & Cons of Reface DX
Great sounds, quality for the price
Great interface, allows for intuitive use
The free downloadable iOS Capture app significantly expands your possibilities with this synthesizer device
8-note polyphony can be a bit limiting
I don't like the 32 patch memory slots
The mini-keys setup might be frustrating, especially for a unit heavily relying on harmonic musical output
My Final Thoughts
Despite some minor flaws, the Reface DX is a worthy successor of arguably one of the best synthesizers of all time, the Yamaha DX7.
For its impressive sound-generating abilities, it is surely worth checking out.