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
April 11, 2011 @ 6:11 am
also used by new order around the time of Technique.

Check out hooky doing a demo of the happy one for more geek spotting.

February 24, 2011 @ 2:42 am
The FM7 could be used as a nice TX816 editor and that is all :) Author of this article needs to play a TX816 to hear what it actually sounds like once again before comparing the two .
February 23, 2011 @ 4:50 am
"I must say that the FM7 doesn't even come close to the sound of the TX816. The TX816 sounds way deeper, warmer and fatter...."

I agree too.!!!
TX816 is a beast of FM sound!!!
February 17, 2011 @ 10:10 am
14bit? Which models had 14bit DA's? AFAIK TX81Z and others have 16bit converters. First generation of DX's had 12bit, as well as DX11.
And i hated it. That quality difference causes that otherways almost identical equipments like DX11 and TX81Z sound totally different quality wise.
DX11 practically lack bass. Especially pure ones which TX81Z can deliver loud and clear!
Scott Gibbons
November 5, 2010 @ 4:50 pm
Character, not just quality of DAC is important... Also, higher fidelity does not mean better. Many people (myself included) prefer the old 12-bit DX7 over the later 14-bit ones.
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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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