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
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.
March 20, 2013 @ 12:04 am
I finally figured it out, the most overlooked part of this synth that makes it particularly badass is that it has 4 part multitimbrality. This means you can have A) a four voice poly patch with two separate 4-op (4 voice x 2) patches layered on top of each other; or B) A complex mono patch made up of 4 discrete elements.

Think about that. You can program a sharp and clicky attack for a bass, layer a couple of midrange texture patches and have a solid thunking sine wave to hold it together.

Or detuned chorused metallic poly sounds... Very flexible once you start thinking this way
February 17, 2013 @ 12:10 am
The tx81z is one of the most fascinating synths i've ever come across, the one thing everyone must understand when approaching this mysterious black box is that it needs at least some external processing.


heres an album recorded in one improvised take using only a TX81z in single mode being run through a boss me50b bass pedal, there were no overdubs.

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Rated 4.19 (683 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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