CULT SOUNDS                                                                                   

The Yamaha DX 7 Electric Piano Sound

This sound 'represents' the 1980s. Whitney Houston, Chicago, Phil Collins and many other artists used the famous Patch No. 11 in their productions as a "clean" substitute for the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano. Up to then, the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano was the sound standard in many productions. Its warm and bell-like sound was both an alternative to and an extension of the acoustic piano sound, easy to amplify and  manipulate with the position of the pickups and with effects such as chorus, phaser and delay. The DX 7 was the best selling synthesizer using FM Synthesis.


Chicago "Hard Habit To Break", 1984

Luther Vandross "Here And Now", 1990

Whitney Houston "Where Do Broken Hearts Go", 1988

The basic sound was often modified, made more brilliant or layered with similar sounds from the DX7 II, the TX 816  or the TX 802

Keith Sweat "I'll Give All My Love To You", 1991

The diagram shows the use of the electric piano patch between 1960 and 2012 according to the Billboard Top 100 single charts


A musical sequence played by Immanuel Brockhaus with a virtual Grand Piano sound.

The same sequence played on a Fender Rhodes MK 1. The difference is quite big.

The same sequence played on a DX 7 with the original preset patch 11. The DX7 sounds more brilliant and clean.

Individual sounds

Song examples


The list shows all artists and titles during 1983-1992 (Billboard Top 100) using the DX 7 and TX modules sounds.

These are the songs with the most exposed DX 7 electric piano sounds (excerpt from whole list):

Sergio Mendes - Never Let You Go

Peabo Bryson - Tonight I Celebrate My Love

Chicago - Hard Habit To Break

Julio Iglesias & Willie Nelson - To All The Girls I've Loved Before

REO Speedwagon - Can’t Fight This Feeling

Debarge - Who’s Holding Donna Now

Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram - Somewhere Out There

Surface - Shower Me With Your Love

Luther Vandross - Here & Now

Keith Sweat – I’ll Give It All To You


Today, the Sound is back! Bruno Mars, "Versace On The Floor"