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
July 24, 2010 @ 2:01 am
Benjamin, "technically" speaking, from a purely Yamaha FM synthesis perspective, the TX81z isn't "as good as a DX-7" because it's still just 4 operators to a DX-7's 6 operators. Now, the real point you make is that the TX81z also has other waveforms (that the DX-7 does not) so the real error the author made was comparing the two together in the first place. This synth really represents a split away from tradition Yamaha FM into a new realm, that may have actually been very interesting if the "FM crash" didn't happen a few years later.

We are in total agreement on one thing though! Who buy's an FM synth for it's warmth?
June 15, 2010 @ 8:19 pm
To clarify some of the garbage written above:

"It's still not as good as the classic DX-7"

Says who? Why not? It has more waveforms than the DX-7 and you can use them to make a more wide variety of timbre's than a DX-7.

"...may not be quite as warm or 'classic' sounding"

Does anybody by classic FM-synths for "warmness"? As far as "classic sounding"; that's another matter of opinion. Plenty of people hate the presets, but with the number of options on the TX81z, you can do more types of sounds than a traditional DX-7.

Somebody please shoot whoever writes these "summery" articles above!
May 30, 2010 @ 11:16 am
Anyone else install the expander card that put several of these in the original box?
Used it for Midi guitar work.. lovely
Evan Long
May 27, 2010 @ 12:56 pm
After being thoroughly unimpressed with the DX100, another 4 op FM synth, I am thoroughly pleased with the TX81Z. The TX81Z has more waveforms and more features, such as performance mode, and you can hear the difference in the presets alone.
February 12, 2010 @ 2:47 pm
I love mine, it's probably the hardest synth ever as it's like 8 DX7s in a box with about 4 buttons used to program it! It is often regarded as being less coplex than a dx7 synth but it has more waveforms so this isn't really true. I managed to get the techno backing sound to "Good Life" from it using the midi delay. Wicked, amd really cheap as well. Good for geeks!
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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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