Sonic LAB Review: Yamaha DTX-Multi 12

Compact electronic percussion system      08/03/10

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8:17 mins

Yamaha is  one of the big players in the electronic percussion world. Their DTX drum kits - are now at the pinnacle of what is achievable in a full electronic kit, its pretty much them and Roland when it comes to the top of the heap. The DTX-Multi 12 takes the Octopad concept first adopted by Roland and ads another four pads to give a total of 12 (or 17 if you count the additional trigger inputs). 



There's plenty of options with connections for up to five additional pads plus a Hi-Hat pedal. This makes it possible to set it up as an augmentation of a traditional acoustic kit, with triggers from the kick and snare or other judiciously placed pads, or the heart of a totally electronic system. Additionally, the DTX-M12 can also be triggered by hands or fingers, or even cats running over its surface, so you could use it as the electronic component of a percussion setup -  or art installation.


Audio IO - Stereo output plus headphones with separate level control, with an additional Stereo Aux input can be routed to the LR+Phones or just phones.


On board sounds give you access to up to 50 programmable kits, with three built-in effects -all with discrete sends per pad and 1200 on board vioices ranging from acoustic to electronic kits, world percussion and wierd sound effects. The on board sounds are okay with plenty of potential for warping out with the on board effects - including compression, drive and distortion as well as the usual candidates, but the real appeal is going to be the on board sample RAM - 64MB into which you can load samples from USB storage. This memory is retained even after power up, and will just come right back when you switch it on - no loading required. And, you can apply the effects to the samples too.


Each pad can have up to four layers assigned to it, these can be velocity switching, sequenced -1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 on each consecutive hit, or triggered simultaneously. Sounds can also be pitched, filtered, enveloped, panned and played either mono or poly for multiple triggering.


Just Hit It

Construction is pretty sturdy, capable of taking some hard hits without complaining, however, you can use hand and finger modes if you'd rather, making it work for a variety of situations. The pads themselves are quite rubbery feeling with a reasonable bounce and arent too loud when hit.


General Pattern

There's also a built in pattern recorder, with 128 preset patterns, and 50 User locations. This is actually quite a comprehensive recorder with plenty of scope for some serious usage, those of you with a long memory, will recall some familiarity with the Yamaha drum machines, with Job settings




Pattern Parameters Range
Pattern length (bars) 1-999
Tempo 30-300bpm
Time Signature 1/4 -16/4, 1/8-16/8, 1/16 - 16/16
MIDI Transmit Volume, Pan, Prg chg, Bank, 
effect send level Variation, Rev, chorus
SMF import and playback Type 0 (single channel only)


 A couple of other noteworthy functions  - there is the option for a separate click track which can be routed to the headphone output only if desired - you can either have the DTX play the notes while synced to the tempo setting or incoming clock, or via MIDI notes from the input - a nice touch.


External Samples

These can be loaded from USB memory stick, or USB hard drive and yes, there does appear to be enough juice to power the drive - my WD pocket drive spun up when hooked up. Samples can be loaded into the internal 64MB ROM, though this does seem to take a while. Once inside the machine, they can be assigned to pads (up to four layers per pad) , and have all the parameters applied to then that regular voices can (env, mix, filter and effects). This is where the unit really does seem to work well - 64MB should be enough for all but the most demanding sets with space for loops and single hits alike - great if you are looking to take an album on the road and dont want to tether the drummer to a computer.



Repeat To Fade

A pretty impressive unit all in all, plenty of options, if you dont like the internal voices - load your own, effects are ample for most situations, there's a lot of potential to customize this to your setup with samples, triggering options and pattern playback.  I'd say the DTX-Multi12 ia quite a contender for the gigging drummer or percussionists must-have unit.


Its not all perfect though- an external editor would certainly make the complex setups a little less fiddly and the ability to sample from the Aux In would also be welcome.


Yes it is a little more pricey than some of the other pad based systems out there, but a lot of thought has gone into the useability, as well as it being built well enough to stand the rigours of the road. The last thing you want in a live situation is to worry about your kit breaking or malfunctioning and the DTX feels like it is up to the job.



£689/$899 RRP


Available now.






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6 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Marc JX8P    Said...

Like the review! Also, a very cool drumpad.

08-Mar-10 04:25 PM

Cerebral Infect    Said...

Thanks for the review. But it wasn't your best (sorry).

Well, it looks like a straight contender to roland SPD-20 Roland SPD-30. Why not do a comparative review to the SPD_30 ? Add the Alesis performancepad too !

I used to have a SPD-20, but sold it. Programming kit on it was a tedious job and no midi editor was available for it. Luckily we are in the 2010 where everything can be programmed on a computer. And by looking at the DTX, you will need a computer for it or DX7 patience !

08-Mar-10 11:04 PM

Nick B    Said...

Thanks for the comments. It would have been lovely to do a comparisson, but that would have turned into a 30minute show I think.

09-Mar-10 01:32 AM

MPS    Said...

I have had one since December. Some thoughts...

The Aux In is for connecting an MP3 player to practice along with or to monitor some external signal.

The acoustic kits, to be frank, were few and disappointing. The Hipgig and cocktail kits are thin and weeny sounding. Not useful to me, but maybe someone else would love them. There seems to be a lot of India related drum sounds compared to everything else. Not sure why that would be. I also think it is a shame that Yamaha felt compelled to have so many "Human beatbox" sounds in memory. No use to me whatsoever and in a machine that samples it seemed a shame to include so many sounds in ROM that you could make on your own and load in if you want. I wish there was an editor program and a way to add and subtract from the factory sounds.

I have also struggled with making a layered, velocity switched sound. The process is quite convoluted compared to my old SPD pad.

All that aside i think that having 12 pads in such a compact, Darth Vader looking package is wonderful. I am an all electronic drummer and this works in to my V-Drum system to the left of my hi-hat for bells and claps, triggering loops and adding spice.

Since the new Roland SPD-30 appears to be aimed more at loop based "groove" stuff, and I mostly just play these things live, I am glad that I have the Multi-pad.

09-Mar-10 08:30 AM

Igor C    Said...

Sorry, is it possible to make live loops with the dtx multi 12 as it can be made with octapad spd 30?

02-Sep-10 08:57 AM

Arwain Christian    Said...

just one question. What process do you use to be able to start and stop a external sample that was imported in wave format, using the pad in which the sample was imported.(the pad is set at loop and not one shot )

12-Apr-12 10:18 AM

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