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Have been playing around with the reface keyboards for a few days now and thought it about time I give my thoughts on them beginning with the reface dx.
As many of you will know, the whole concept of a small retro keyboard with mini-keys is not something that immediately got me excited, indeed I would go as far as to say I was totally against the idea and had to wonder what on earth Yamaha thought they were doing! Having now had the chance to use these keyboards rather than rely on specs and videos I have “slightly” changed my opinion.
So, to the reface dx. First thing I would say is don’t draw comparisons with the Yamaha DX7, as it definitely is not in the same company as that illustrious instrument. If comparisons need to be drawn I would say you should be looking to the other 4op synths of the 80’s such as the DX100 and DX11 but even then it might be short of the mark. Rather, look at the reface dx, as an instrument in it’s own right. Sure it’s FM, it has 4 operators and it does sport some classic DX sounds but, it’s a lot easier to program, it has a really nice little LCD display to help guide you around and it has a touch panel with four virtual sliders for changing parameters.
The display is bright and clear and presents more than enough info to help you get around and edit sounds. The touch panel works really well and in combination with the display you can do anything you want to do without connecting to a computer. Likewise the speakers, although small are of high quality and surprisingly loud. If you run the reface dx off batteries, which last about 6 hrs then it really is a ‘go anywhere’ synth!
The sounds, well you all pretty much know what it sounds like. It has 32 presets on board in 4 banks of 8 covering the usual 80’s FM favorites of sparkling bells, motion pads, popping basses and classic ‘dx’ type pianos. All in all the quality is good and especially if you put it through a pair of powered monitors or pa system. You can create your own sounds and store them but unfortunately there are no ‘user’ slots so you will have to overwrite whatever is there already.
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