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
April 23, 2013 @ 9:18 pm
@coverup: Actually, even better! It can be configured for up to 8-part multitimbrality. (You only see four parts at once in Performance Edit mode, you have to scroll off the edge of the page to see the other four.) This does leave you with only one voice per part, but if you plan around this (helps if you're used to working in tracker or chiptune music) it's incredibly flexible.
April 19, 2013 @ 7:14 pm
@James: This sounds like the internal battery needs replacing.
April 19, 2013 @ 1:20 am
...I guess my comment got messed up - so yeah, they display garbage characters and make horrible noises (worse than the synth lol) so what I want to know is has this happened to anyone else? If so, is it an easy fix? Thanks
April 19, 2013 @ 1:19 am
I just picked up one cheap, but whenever i save a new patch to the internal ram and then switch the machine off and come back to it later, all the patches are corrupt and display stuff like
Pulse Emitter
April 17, 2013 @ 3:20 am
i enjoy this synth a lot, i’ve had two over the years. programming it right from the screen doesn’t bother me at all. the waveforms other than sine create some nice textures. a beautiful sounding synth! looks great too, and has a cool name ;-)

i haven't done it in a while, but there is a way to have it cycle through a different patch with each key played.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.19 (701 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
  • Resources & Credits
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