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
January 19, 2014 @ 4:22 pm
N.B.: Never had a problem with a low volume level of the main outs with proper settings. Using the headphone out is not a good idea IMO, it's slightly noisy and some sounds may get distorted.
January 19, 2014 @ 4:20 pm
If the volume of a certain patch or multitimbral setup is too low, check its output settings, it should show "LR" (output to both channels) instead of just "L" or "R".
January 15, 2014 @ 11:51 am
If anyone is having trouble with levels, I recommend using the headphone output instead of the main outs. I found this tip at gearslutz and I've been really pleased with the results from it!
December 27, 2013 @ 10:40 pm
@ Sean:

I don't know what sound achievement you're looking for, but you have tried turning up the volume on the tx81z itself, no ? The sound is very thin at times, you can make it stronger by tweaking some creative voices. Turn on the carriers, use the modifiers in anyway you think is psycho acoustically interesting. You can put it through a compressor or leveler or some boost on the mixer, but I guess you already have these things. You may want to get a reverb pedal or mixed effects pedal to increase the style within your rig. I'm just guessing.
December 19, 2013 @ 10:30 am
i absolutely cannot find a way to transmit SysEx messages to this little bugger from my Mac using SysEx Librarian ! i've used SysLib successfully in the past but for whatever reason it's not working with my TX81Z.
can anyone tell me which midi channel (and/or other settings) are necessary to receive SysEx messages ? (yes, i've turned off the memory protection).
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  • 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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