Tried & Tested

How close does Dexed come to emulating the famous Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer?

Words: Andy McGirr

One of the most influential instruments of the ’80s was the Yamaha DX-7. First released in 1983, it remains one of the highest-selling synthesizers to date. Due to the DX-7 being somewhat rare these days, secondhand units are commanding large sums. If you plan to turn your hand to producing synthwave or you just want those rich percussive tones the DX-7 was famed for, then it can be an expensive commodity. Thankfully, there is a completely free software emulation called Dexed. 

So how does Dexed sound compared to the original? Considering it’s completely free – and the only alternative software clone of the DX-7, Arturia’s DX-7, will set you back $200 – it sounds fantastic and very close to the original DX-7.

On side-by-side comparison, Dexed sounds ever so slightly harsher than the original, however some tweaking of the parameters can help to alleviate this. It also supports the original DX-7’s sysex sound patches, one of its strongest attributes. A quick search online and you’ll find the sound patches of the original, which can be imported straight into Dexed.


If you aren’t too fussy about having the original sounds, then Dexed is fully programmable and its user interface, although not as pretty as Arturia’s version, is easy to navigate and programme. Dexed is supported by Mac, Windows and Linux. Take a trip down memory lane and give it a try!

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