Yamaha TX816

Yamaha TX816 Image

The TX816 is a monster of DX and FM digital synthesis. It is a unique system in that it is a rack unit that could take up to eight TF1 modules. A TF1 module is basically a DX7 condensed down to a single circuit board with almost no front panel controls. Definitely designed for use with external hardware and software controllers the TX816 allows you to easily carry around up to eight DX7s! Software such as MOTU Unisyn, Emagic SounDiver, or even another DX7 can be used to program the sounds in each module via MIDI.

Yamaha TF1 Image

Each TF1 module consists of a 16-voice, 6-operator digital FM synth engine. So a complete TX816 with all eight TF1 modules would offer up to 128 voices and 48 operators! Each TF1 also features an indepednent audio out (XLR) and MIDI I/O for a total of eight audio outputs and MIDI I/O's. It also has one global MIDI in/out port with 8-part multitimbrality, but no common stereo or mix output.

The TX816 was designed for demanding live use where portability, polyphony, and lots of outputs are a must! The TX816 is fully compatible with all other DX synthesizers including Native Instruments FM7 software-based plug-in. You can use the TX816 like it's eight seperate DX7s or mix and pan each module together to layer your sounds into one monsterous DX powerhouse! It has been used by Kitaro, Chick Corea, Michael Jackson, Europe, and Scritti Politti.

In the early eighties these sold for anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000 depending on how many TF1 modules were installed (from two to eight typically). Luckily for today's musicians you can get a software plug-in like FM7 for ten times less money and you still get everything the TX816 could do, and much more too!

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45 Visitor comments
February 28, 2009 @ 6:45 am
This is how you should see it.
An FM7 is like having a Toyota in the drive way, always ready to take anywhere and with all the convenient features one can wish for.
In your garage sits this monster of a race car, that you only ever take out when you really feel like a real car experience.
That's what the TX816 is. It's that Gran Torino that you only take out when it matters. Sure, when composing it's easier to have an FM7, but to get that huge shimmering rhodes sound, only the 816 qualifies.
February 12, 2009 @ 8:17 am
Ok , this is really just 8 dx7 or tx 7 - a cheaper option and very similiat is the tx802 , its virtually identical.Sound wise - fm7 plug ? you must be joking - ive used a dx for years and i do like the ease of plugs and i did many a/b tests with fm7 and the dx and i can say how bad the fm7 sounds next to the dx - its like miles away in body and tone and how it sits ina mix - the problem isnt that the fm7 cant emulate the patches - it can and sounds identical in ' patch ' terms but lacks body - its like take a good sound and daw record it - even with good convertors you lose a % of that body and warmth etc - take a fm7 ? you already have lost it.......these power is in the circuits and the ad/da these synths throw their sounds through
December 28, 2008 @ 5:14 pm
The plug-in product being anywhere near the hardware? I have used both, but luckily only own the hardware (albeit a 6 module).It is absolutely massive. It's in no way instant gratification by a stretch, but if you use a PC loaded with a cracked sequencer and FM7?.. If that's how you approach music making, this isn't for you. If you take any freeware programmer to this and spend the time, with it's very noiseless outputs, you can have something impossible in the software domain.
eg: set up (in my case 6 modules) a low creeping sound in two modules; pan hard left/right; detune ever so slightly.. do the same for another 'pair' of the same sound, which comes in a little more slowly, then the same for the latest sound.. ever heard of acoustic mixing? (what happens in the air between speakers with micro phase differences?) ever felt your hair stand on end from sound? I'm rambling, but this machine impresses any musician who visits our studio.. ;)
November 8, 2008 @ 6:00 pm
It's not quite the same as an FM7.
Stacking 8 FM7 sounds is not that straight forward.
Latency will occur too.
The TX816 has XLR outputs, so sonically there will be a difference too.
Practically, yes, there is a huge difference. The TX816 weighs 12-Kg and can become as hot as a BBQ.
Imagine having eight DX7's in a box though. This machine was hi-end stuff back in the days, only used by heavy weights such as Chick Corea, Jay Oliver, Wally Badarou, David Gamson, Howard Jones and George Duke.
what a load of bollocks
October 17, 2008 @ 3:45 pm
>Luckily for today's musicians you can get a software plug-in like FM7 for ten times less money and you still get everything the TX816 could do, and much more too!
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Manual - Download the original owner's manual from SoundProgramming.net.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 128-voices via eight 16-voice TF1 module cards
  • Oscillators - Digital FM synthesizer with 6 Operators and 32 algorithms per TF1 module
  • LFO - Yes
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - None
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 256 patches (32 x 8)
  • Control - MIDI 1 IN/OUT per TF1 card, 1 global IN/OUT (up to 9 I/O total) with 8-parts multitimbral
  • Date Produced - 1984

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