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Importing DX7II floppy disk

I recently tested the virtual synth FM8 (http://www.native-instruments.com/index.php?id=fm8_us) which emulates a Yamaha DX7.
Which brought memories back when I bought a DX7II in 1987 and loved it (except for the inability to reproduce analog fat sounds).
I sold it in 1997 so it’s been a while but the sfotware sounded accurate to me.
In 1988 I also visited the Frankfurter Musikmesse and heard some great DX7 sounds at the Yamaha booth. So I asked the guy if I could get a copy. He said he would send it to me if I would give him my address. And suprisingly he send me a Yamaha floppy with these sounds.
I still have the floppy and decided to give it a try to import it to PC. First I tried to read the disk in windows but that failed. Then I tried to boot in DOS which resulted in being able to read the disk but no content were returned. Eventually I managed to recover it this way:
– Create DOS boot floppy disk and copy MAKEDISK.exe to it (Atari ST utility to copy disks, check your fav search engine)
– Boot in DOS
– Insert Floppy and run this command: MAKEDISK /READ dx7 /AUTO
– After this is done you have now a dx7.ST disk image that could be read in an Atari ST emulator (but not useful since different FAT)
– Now use a hex edtor (for instance HHD Free Hex Edtior) to browse through the file and locate sound names
– When you find it (in my case it was at offset 3c00), copy the 4K block and paste it into a new file.
– In the new file prepend this: F0 43 00 09 20 00. And append this at the end: 00 F7. This will should be 4104 bytes long
Note that the 00 at the end is the checksum and is most likely invalid. I created a program to calc it but most programs will just give a warning and allow you to import the file.

7 responses

  1. Paul

    Thanks for the disk image!

    It was possible to extract voices, performances & micro tunings. By adding system exclusive headers, all original data could be transmitted.

    Back to 1988…

    April 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

    • That’s great! Not easy to recover it but once it works priceless:-)

      April 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    • Hedge

      Any chance you could share your results? Would love SysEx of performances and micro tunings. Was able to load the voices but had to wing my own control assigns and performances.

      November 16, 2016 at 11:05 am

  2. Ilya

    Hey there! Got an DX72FD from a great friend for long-term use. This is my first time with a keyboard this epic. It has a data rom and apparently working floppy drive (it formats), but it had a battery replacement before it got to me. At this moment I have no MIDI connectivity with my PC for the next month (or so), but I do have a floppy drive in my old XP machine and a bunch of 3,5 inch diskettes from the day. How can I use the floppy to do a factory reset for internal patches? The cart patches work, but I do like what Internals sound on YouTube, and want to try them. Here you post about ripping Messe patches from disk to PC, can we go in reverse?) Is there a way to burn “an original disk-ette” or otherwise make DX7 see the syx files on the diskette for import to internal? I think I’m missing something, or should I just search on? Any clues appreciated!

    February 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    • I never tried reverse. You could ask on Yamaha forums (maybe Yamahaforums.co.uk). However these are DD double-sided format. Not sure if your PC supports that. It seems easier to look into a USB to Midi converter.

      February 27, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      • Ilya

        Thing is, my Windows 7 pc has no intention to work with either an internal floppy drive (hardware supported) nor PCI soundcard with an MPU. At least not w/o much more tinkering. My old XP machine can run them both, but not w/o Midi cables. I managed to find a 2HD floppy or two, and formatted it to 2DD 720kb with a small app, with marker hole taped up… My XP machine can read and write files to that disk, but DX7 can only write files to it, read it’s own files (L00, C00..) or format disk. DX7 can not see any files written to it from PC.
        Funny thing that PC can see it’s own files, it can see the DX7’s filenames, but it can not read/copy those files. Maybe due to different writing head size or something else. Don’t know if it could write those files either. What a challenge! So far, unless there is a 2DD diskette full of patches, written by another DX7, the floppy path is only for cart and performance backups. On the bright side, I managed to get USB MIDI cable from unexpected source, and figured out how to upload some of the patches. Falling deeper in love each day with this DX7.

        March 2, 2017 at 7:22 am

    • The way I was reading floppy disk was to boot with MS DOS boot disk and not even use Windows. Then I used some basic utilities and commands.
      If you are able to setup MIDI it will be so much easier:-).

      March 2, 2017 at 7:26 am

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