It was understandably an overnight success and spawned
a myriad of offshoots. Originally there was just the DX9 but there
were countless DX variations over the ensuing years until FM synthesis
lost it flavour.
But however popular the DX was in its time, its synthesis
method was almost impenetrable to all but the most determined programmer.
Using a technique known as FM SYNTHESIS invented by Dr John Chowning,
it involved learning about operators, modulators, carriers, algorithms,
frequency modulation ratios and more..... just as most of us had
got our heads around oscillators, filters and envelopes!!
Also, because of the sheer number of parameters involved
in this new-fangled synthesis method it was unfeasible to have knobs
and sliders for every function and so the the DX7 was the first
(?) parameter access user interface on a synthesiser making it even
more impenetrable. As a result, a huge market grew providing cartridges
with preset sounds that rarely (if ever) got tweaked.
Along with 8-bit drum machines, the DX7 became the musical
backdrop for the '80s with tinkly Fender Rhodes and metallic slap
bass impersonations dominating the music of that era. It also (temporarily)
marked the end of analogue synths as people went down the FM route
and any 'analogue' product released around the same time was almost
doomed to extinction.
Thankfully, in these enlightened times, FM sounds can
sit alongside analogue synths and samples quite comfortably and
Nostalgia contains a good collection from the original.