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 30, 2011 @ 9:11 am
One thing to mute all soft/hardware discussions:
Take the factory TX816 FM-Epiano patch (every module just has to deal with a part of the sound, it's not a stack of 8 identical sounds), all modules on same MIDIchannel, pan each single output individually on a mixer (not just hard right or left), detune each module slightly and start playing. No effects needed, this just blows you away.
8 DX7s at a time combined for one sound and we are still talking 16 voice polyphony, nothing a TX802 can do..
May 26, 2011 @ 12:45 pm
It was also used by Kraftwerk in their album "Electric Cafe"
May 23, 2011 @ 10:25 pm
Agreed, there's not one software FM/PM implementation that does the modulation in the way that the hardware does, I think I've tried them all now.
And I have no idea why they can't... One would think emulating digital would be the easier task.
bobby h.
April 20, 2011 @ 11:10 am
Tony Banks of Genesis also used one of these on the 'Invisible Touch' album and tour.
April 17, 2011 @ 2:26 am
Also used by europe (Mic Michaeli) in conjunction with a Roland JX-8 to create the lead synth in the final countdown (factory preset on TX816) if you were wondering.
see: http://www.musicplayers.com/features/bands_general/2006/1206_Europe.php
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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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