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Item 9284 - Prince's Purple Rain Tour and Studio-Used Yamaha DX7 Synthesizer Catalog 584 (Jun 2020)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Estimate: $25,000.00 +
Sold Price: $73,697.50 (includes buyer's premium)


Yamaha DX7 digital programmable algorithm synthesizer personally-owned and -used by Prince during the recording of the Purple Rain album and its subsequent 1984-1985 North American Tour, measuring 40 x 13 x 4, with upper panel featuring two strips of masking tape marked in various ink types by Prince as a means of distinguishing the featured set of 32 algorithms. Prince appears to have made codes for a total of 23 of the algorithms, which read as follows: “Struge / Lets Work / House Lp / Pony SMPLS / Bass Riff / The Shit Lp / Huh Lp / Dope Drum / Segway Lp / Tambo Lp / Yea Yea / Scream 1 / Bell / Kiss Lp / Another Lp1 / Another Lp2…Open Girl / Crowd / Girl Laugh 1 / 2 / 3 / 4.” The left side bears another strip marked “Primary,” and a strip to right side of back plate reads: “Fink Main.” Left side and backplate features strips of black tape, the upper left section features a swatch of black Velcro, and the back Yamaha parts label identifies the serial number as “79085.” The underside of synthesizer bears a tape strip marked “8/86, Rev. 1.8,” and the power cord labeled “DX-7.” In fine condition, with expected wear from use, which includes scuffs and adhesive remnants, and a missing knob to data entry control.

Released in 1983, the Yamaha DX7 utilized FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis and very-large-scale integration chips to create the first successful digital synthesizer and one of the bestselling synthesizers in history. Its keyboard spans five octaves, with sixteen-note polyphony, features 32 algorithms, each a different arrangement of its six sine wave operators, and the expression allows for velocity sensitivity and aftertouch. The DX7 was the first synthesizer with a liquid-crystal display and the first to allow users to name patches. Its preset sounds, routinely referred to as harsh, glassy, or metallic, offered a richer and brighter timbre that became a staple of 1980s pop music. Prince was an early adoptee of the DX7, and its funky and percussive tones can be heard prominently across Purple Rain, with his major hit single ‘When Doves Cry’ being an ideal example of its innovative sound. This amazing DX7, the hallmark of ‘The Minneapolis Sound,' was the only one Prince owned and is covered in his handwriting—a magnificent museum-quality piece of equipment used on Purple Rain and other classic Prince records.

Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Prince's Personal Sound Engineer, Shane T. Keller.

The Prince Estate is not affiliated, associated, or connected with RR Auction or this auction, nor has it endorsed, authenticated or sponsored the items available for auction. Further, The Prince Estate has not licensed any of its intellectual property to RR Auction.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.


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