4-Operator Digital FM synthesizer with 8 octaves and MIDI
Pitch and modulation controls
Sustain via footswitch
Breath control (very rare)
MIDI in, out, thru
Mono line output
24 user sounds
8 banks of 24 presets each
I'm not too complicated, I just pick one of the user presets. Possibility to switch between different banks.
The sound editing is totally empirical. You'll need a good number of hours with this synth to get to know its real possibilities.
Avoid theoretical approaches! FM synthesis on the DX range was perhaps the biggest intellectual rip off in the pro audio world of the 20th century.
The user's manual is clear but there's nothing like real-life experience.
The easily identifiable sound of the DX range requires you to process the sound with effects or mix it with something else in order to hide the synth's characteristic sound.
The sounds aren't realistic. But then again which synthesizer sounds realistic?
The keyboard isn't velocity-sensitive. But you can play with an expression pedal via MIDI. In this case it's very empirical again.
The best sounds are: electric bass, lead (Feed Lead), clav-sounds, special presets (Space talk, Schmoo).
I purchased a secondhand DX27 in 1987 and I still have it: indestructible and ever trusty.
Previously to the DX27, I worked with a DX21, a Korg Poly 800II and a Roland SH101.
I've noticed that it produces more noise than the DX 21 and FB 01, but it doesn't matter, it's still my DX27.
I only miss a pitch envelope like on the DX21 and the DX7.