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
October 14, 2010 @ 4:47 am
Great rack, simple and to the point = very playable (via a quality set of keys, or even your sequencer) with a punchy FM sound that is all it's own. These 4 Ops are under-rated but this rack has the extra waves, not quite an SY77 (which is the other end of the FM spectrum) but they compliment each other well. Works great with analog synths too.
October 11, 2010 @ 12:56 pm
Another module I thought was 'expendable' until I realized the cult-like prestige of FM synthesis and this module in particular. Now with a DX7 driving this I have a separate FM synth section to satisfy requests! Also, the 'Lately Bass', 'Jaco bass' and of course EPiano are indispensable. Yamaha can provide certain, proprietary 'sounds' which turn on the listeners immediately and are 'Yamaha' exclusively.
October 8, 2010 @ 7:28 am
I've got one of these. FMs are very often underrated, especially when you consider how plainly different they are to analogue type sounds - they're cold, brittle, bright in ways that analogue simply cannot be. If you already have a bunch of analogue synths, get something cheap and nasty like this synth - it offsets that warmth like chilli with chocolate :)
September 20, 2010 @ 6:23 pm
+2 to both Benjamin and David. BTW. It's drivin me nuts how much inaccurate information there is in the web about Yamaha FM synths DAC's. Someone with real first hand information from Japan should give FM "community" hand over and real exact facts. :D
September 17, 2010 @ 4:22 pm
buy one. I'm sure there are emulators, but if you got into this just to make trance music, well there's the problem. This little guy can teach you things about synthesis you could never learn elsewhere. FM has a steep learning curve, but once you start to get it, it's pretty rad. no it's not "analog" but, it can so be FAT. it can also make super warm pads and with the super slow LFO's assignable to each osc, very subtle time based effects are possible. It's multitimbral, and can make pretty cool drum sounds. The delay effect is cool for the fact it doesn't keep time very well. Watch out for batter life. No it's not a dx (you don't want a dx unless it's a 2fd), but it's a hell of alot cheaper and has more sonic possibilities due to the added waveforms.
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Rated 4.19 (697 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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