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
November 10, 2013 @ 10:47 am
This is the most incredible piece of kit I have ever heard. Based on the DX7-11 ( make that 8 of them!) we hooked it up to a Yamaha QX1 sequencer, using the legendary MIDI Mode 4; thought we'd died and gone to heaven.
Dj Tricks
October 1, 2013 @ 11:34 am
@josh I also 100% agree with your comments .. you can produce FAT warm Bass sounds from this 80's FM synth....

Quick demo of analog &. Digital vid http://youtu.be/ZilF-_20BwM
September 21, 2013 @ 2:18 am
After several years in softsynth land I finally made the move to hardware with an Integra 7 and this. NOW I understand what all the HW guys talk about. I never heard any softsynth do FM like this. Prefect match to cover the bass that the I7 can't. Since I'll never have a real Jupiter 8, I'll just make due...

Much like the CheezBurger cat, I haZ a happy.
August 17, 2013 @ 5:12 am
does anyone knows how to do program changes from ableton live to it? cheers
June 7, 2013 @ 3:43 am
The TX81z is my favorite unit. I like to run it in dual channel mode. Stabs, bass, and wacky leads this unit glues a track together. In my opinion, it's influenced dance/pop as much as the 303, but that's besides the point. When you've got standard architecture synths and pad machines and you need some rounded low-mids the TX81z delivers that better than anything else. What it does, it does well. If you can't make great tracks with a TX81z, a sampler, an analog or two, and a couple of romplers, then it's not the gear. ;)
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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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