Yamaha DX 100
The DX100 is a small keyed 4 octave polyphonic keyboard with basically the same FM synthesis method as the classic DX7 - there are only 8 algorithms and 4 operators - but this is really enough to create a fairly extensive range of sounds.
For those who are unfamiliar with FM synthesis,the term stands for Frequency Modulation and a brief synopsis of the method can be found at [http://leebor2.100webspace.net/fm.html] - this is the same system used on your FM radio - except in this case you get to choose the carrier and modulator frequency which thence produces the same sort of squelchy sounds you hear between radio stations.
The DX100 has a pitch bend wheel and a modulation wheel,volume control and data entry slider - which also doubles as the volume control for any MIDI device that it controls. It can also be breath controlled via any of the BC range of Yamaha devices which are inserted into the stereo jack at the rear.
There are 24 user areas to store your own voices and 4 more banks of 24 voices supplied with the unit in ROM memory.
There is a full set of MIDI sockets - ie IN OUT and THRU - and it also comes with a carrying strap - which means it can be played guitar style - rather as one plays the SHS-10 or SHS-200 keytars.
The editing system is quite complex and requires either external software or a full understanding of how the FM system works and which keys do what.(see my webpage below for an FM Tutorial)
Voices can be dumped to a cassette if you have the right connector - or dumped to a PC via System Exclusive - the implementation of SYSx on this keyboard is quite amazing for it's size. Every control key produces a SYSx code and requests for Dumps can be made via SYSx - Personally I have been using MIDI-ox to transfer voices to and from my keyboards and the DX100 works well with this.
Power supply is 12v and there is an output socket (mono) as well as a headphone socket, The sustain control jack can control either sustain or portamento.
SYSx downloads for this instrument are available at templarseries.atspace.com/dx100.html
Similar models are the DX27 which is a large keys version,the DX21 which adds layering and splitting and chorus.Other models on ebay include the DX7 [Mk1 and 2] and more rarely the DX9 and DX11. The DX7 is the flagship model which is sought after for its extra operators and cartridge facilities.
Good points: The portamento can be set to operate permanently or only when two keys are held one after another - depending whether the keyboard is in MONO or POLY mode,this helps to produce those sliding bass sounds such as used by Jaco Pastorias.
Pitch bend range can be altered for each voice which is useful,and you can also make the breath control offset the pitch which presumably aids saxaphone patches.
Touch sensitivity can be simulated by careful use of the attack controls and the breath controller helps dynamics. It also can be made to respond to the MIDI volume control so that other touch sensitive keyboards will make a difference to the sound made by the DX when they send MIDI to it.
Niggles: The DX100 is only mono (as opposed to stereo) and is not touch sensitive.However because it operates rather like the old analogue mono synths stereo is not missed.
Manuals for the Dx 100 can be obtained directly from Yamaha [http://www.yamaha.jp/manuals/english]
Other links for DX synths can be found at my own site [templarseries.atspace.com/synths.html] and if you want a cheap talkbox for this keyboard,check out youtube and also my page [templarseries.atspace.com/talkbox.html]
There is a mod for this instrument allowing the breath control to be controlled by the mod wheel [home.earthlink.net/~kerrybradley/id6.html],but if you are not happy about altering the insides of a Yamaha,then an alternate method for breath control could be by using a DH-100 and MIDI-ox [downloadable from the web].Read my guide on the DH-100 - basically you filter out the NOTE on and off messages from the DH-100 using MIDI-ox and use the breath control MIDI signal to control the breath control system of the DX-100,if you cannot get hold of a BC-1,2,3 then this method saves you from having to open your Yamaha,even if it fills up the MIDI in socket - luckily the DX-100 has a THRU socket,so using a digital horn seems like a viable idea as long as you are not gigging and so having to drag a PC along with you - for home recording MIDI-ox running on Win9x allows YOKE-ing programs together and thus the breath control can be singled out and recorded as a control signal onto something like CAKEWALK - and add expressive control to your DX-100 without finding one of those rare breath controllers - trouble is - digital horns are getting rarer too - so grab one from Ebay before they disappear!
Expect to pay upwards of £50,they commonly go for over £90.