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
August 28, 2010 @ 12:30 am
Bought one off Ebay a few weeks ago but couldn't play it until now because DIN to DIN midi cables are hard to come by for cheap, and low price was why I bought the TX81z in the first place. I have to say, I was using a Yamaha PSS-680 (a decidedly "toy" keyboard) as my MIDI controller, and they sound pretty similar. The PSS-680 is a 2-operator FM synth, and certain sounds are pretty much the same on both. That's not a bad thing to me. I got the tx81z because: 1. it was 58 USD and 2. I've never owned a rackmount before. My first impression is that it's preset sounds are hit-and-miss for trance (my style) and the programming is tedious and has a steep learning curve for somebody without much digital synth experience. The tiny screen isn't much help, either, and editing the patches with the front-panel takes a few minutes to understand at all and will probably take a lot longer to master. All in all, though, you can get some intense sounds and it's worth it if you can find it cheap
Enigmafon Records
August 14, 2010 @ 8:31 pm
The TX81Z is a better bang for the buck than even most "virtual" analog VST synths out there..
For less than $100 you get a great assortment of sounds, including a 1000 sound library you can get for free. For more info just google our Enigmafon Records website, there you can find a review of all the TX81Z librarians editors for windows.
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
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User Rating

Rated 4.19 (700 Votes)

  • 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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