Yamaha TX81Z

Yamaha TX81Z Image

Yet another FM synthesizer from Yamaha, this one comes in a compact, multitimbral, 1-unit rackmount module and is basically a key-less version of the DX-11. It has far more professional features than its relative, the FB-01. The TX81Z features great FM type synth sounds similar also to the DX-21 and DX-27. It's still not as good as the classic DX-7, but it's an inexpensive source of those sounds with lots of programmability. Eight voice polyphony, 128 preset sounds, 32 user and lots of functions hidden behind 11 push buttons.

The TX81Z features a new ability to use waveforms other than just a sine wave. There are eight voices that can be split, layered and detuned. Also onboard are pseudo-effects including delay and reverb. These features can be stored as performance setups. The effects are simply envelope and re-triggering effects. The TX81Z works great as a sound-module for any live or studio production. It's got a wider range of sounds than the DX-7, may not be quite as warm or 'classic' sounding, but at its low price and with the excellent MIDI implementation it makes a great alternative or backup synth for percussive, punchy FM synth sounds. It's used by Fluke, Roni Size, Astral Projection, Squarepusher, Jimmy Edgar, Future Sound of London, and Josh Wink.

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82 Visitor comments
February 15, 2012 @ 1:46 pm
I just picked up one of these for $60 and spent the whole night playing with it. 2 new patches created and I must say this synth sounds impressive. I was never able to recreate punchy FM grittiness and 80's arcade type sweeps with my SY77 since that thing is a monster to program. This little guy was so simple! I should have started learning FM on a 4op.
The synth is noiseless plugged into my mixer. I can't believe these aren't more sought after units.
BTW I could have sworn that the review I read here just yesterday was bashing it and gave it 2 stars. This review is more deserving.
another matt
January 24, 2012 @ 10:46 am
There's more to the TX81z than Lately Bass (although that patch is awesome, I really like Elec Bass 1 as well) - it's multi-timbral and multi-waveform, which if you use properly you can come up with some surprising sounds (I put two pure "sawtooth" waves slightly detuned together for a nice analog-esque lead). There's a TON of patches for this synth out there, and you can usually find one under $100, so if you like FM at all, get one of these!
December 17, 2011 @ 8:07 am
I'm annoyed how ppl. in forums praise this as it's "gritty" 12bit sound, and in same breathe they say how solid sound TX802 have because it has 16bit converters.

How wrong! Where ppl. get those ideas? Are they just writing their assumptions as truth without even owning this synths?

TX81Z has 16bit converters and PURE SOLID NOISELESS sound. It's actually famous about it.
TX81Z can produce earth shaking sub basses without any noise what so ever.

Unlike it's keyboard cousin, DX11. Now THAT one had gritty and noisy converters.
Pete Marriott
December 16, 2011 @ 2:31 am
I just picked one of these babies up today and I'm really excited about using the "Lately Bass" on a few new tracks I composed! I used to work with this synth back in the early 90's so I'm pretty familiar with this baby and how good it sounds.
November 24, 2011 @ 5:02 pm
I don't care what anyone says: the operating system on this synth is genius! And it's truly built to last. I imagine most of these units will still be banging out crazy digital basses (and leads, and pads...) in another 25 years!
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User Rating

Rated 4.19 (684 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 notes
  • Oscillators - 4-Operator Digital FM synthesizer
  • #Instruments - 8 parts
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - Built-In Pseudo-Effects: Reverb by envelope modulation, Delay by re-triggering on free voices
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 128 patches, 32 user, 24 performance setups
  • Control - MIDI (w/ Velocity and Aftertouch)
  • Date Produced - 1987

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