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
May 9, 2010 @ 9:31 am
Also used by Alphaville, BBC Radiophonic workshop, Howard Jones, Ken Freeman, Harold Faltermeyer (soundtracks),
Hans Zimmer (soundtracks), John Massari (soundtracks),
Billy Currie/Ultravox, Mic Michaeli/Europe, Amin Bhatia, David Bryan/Bon Jovi, Alan Holdsworth, Alan Parsons Project,
Wally Badarou, Jens Johansson/Yngvie J. Malmsten, New Order, Chick Corea, Kraftwerk (?), Tangerine Dream, Bil Wolfer, Moskwa TV and others...
April 13, 2010 @ 2:23 am
Wally Badarou used one, coupled with a Synclavier, during the recording of his marvellous "Words of mountains" album.
March 27, 2010 @ 1:41 am
An elegant instrument. Capable of immense sounds. Couple it with a DX5 and a TX802 and some programming. Amazing.
February 2, 2010 @ 12:21 am
I had a professor once who bought a tx816 that had been left outside for years, and it was working still working fine. This synth must be pretty tough.
david Morley
December 19, 2009 @ 2:50 pm
I used a TX816 for years and it still sounds incredible. The software does the same thing in theory BUT it does not sound the same. The outputs of the TX are top notch and software doesn,t replicate that. Mix analogue and be happy.
Can,t beat hardware.
Bargains on the used market. Buy them before people realise what they are passing up.
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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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