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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84 Visitor comments
October 26, 2012 @ 5:25 pm
You say "It's still not as good as the classic DX-7".
That's untrue and clueless.

The TX81Z is simply different. It has 4 ops, but thanks to its 8 waveforms it can make sounds a DX7 cannot make (the opposite is also true, of course). It does also sound cleaner than a DX7.
September 29, 2012 @ 1:45 pm
The TX81Z has much to recommend it. The microtuning capabilities allow just intonation (w/selectable tonic) & historic equal temperaments that, played with other gear, gets "live" slightly flawed intonation from note-to-note, adding realism. Even/odd ability in performance mode, different from midi overflow, can be used within a single TX to make a 2-timbre duet playable in one hand! Performance mode allows 1-midi ch. multiple keyboard splits for live playing, or multi-channel setups for sequencing, including combinations of both at the same time, with 24 such setups stored on board!
May 20, 2012 @ 9:33 pm
Armin Van Buuren used this on 'Blue Fear'. Perfect for throwback trance sounds, and won't break your bank.
April 30, 2012 @ 1:47 pm
Nice song Aiwendil, good usage of the sounds, I really enjoy this one, I haven't even gained much ground on it yet. I fiddle around with some algorithm changes here and there, as well as implementing my own stylistic sounds in Init voice. I'm still working on that though, as well as tuning the performance parts, it's a bit strange but awesome to play with. The catalog takes a bit of getting used to scroll through everything and figure out what button makes you go forward or backward or other. I use for experimental music and more so later on, so youtube Ish233 if curious. Happy to have it !
April 1, 2012 @ 5:24 pm
I wasn't bothered to read the whole 10 pages of comments, but like dr3tri wrote, it sounds just as good as anything else made in the same period and is actually quieter than for instance the Roland MT32/CM32L series which I would kinda compare it to.

I bought one from the US for a friend of mine recently and just threw something together just now: http://www.eox.no/TX81Z_demo.mp3

Mind you.. this is very much a rough sketch only...will maybe finish it later this easter we'll see (cont.)
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.19 (700 Votes)

  • 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.
  • 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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