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
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).
December 2, 2013 @ 9:57 am
incredible synth. not an allrounder, very specific. use in between a kurzweil stage piano (great strings and pads, good pianos) and some analog monophonic with great dual moltimode-filters (for bite and edges). it delivers primal bass layers and secondary string sounds as well as some more artificial pianos to be mixed in. performance mode is fantastic though 8 voices sometimes are a bit less. some would better get two of them having 16 voices for stacks etc.
November 22, 2013 @ 12:49 pm
exceptional synth, though a little bit inferior in overall sound quality much more versatile than the classic dx7. capable of doing incredibly warm sounds as well as icecold biting stuff.

the 20$ editor is one of the best working synth-editors as well. the midi/sysex-implementation of the synth is superb - complete (system values, program change maps, microtunings and the more regular stuff), reliable and quick.

i use it as primal source for bass and keys, and second layer for pads/strings. it has a strong character, certainly not everyone's cup.
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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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