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
April 30, 2011 @ 3:50 pm
...... "LATELY BASS" OMG.....:)
April 12, 2011 @ 5:21 am

bought mine on
March 8, 2011 @ 3:04 pm
It's a DX11 with fewer buttons? Why did it recieve an 'excellent' rating? FM 4-op is great (apart from the noise and lack of body in the sound) but this is inconsistent rating IMO.
February 15, 2011 @ 9:58 pm
This is one of the hidden synths that nobody likes to talk about anymore. There is nothing that sounds like this thing. It can get harsh, grimey and metallic sounding with all the operators firing off or it can actually sound pretty analog when you cut it down to 2 or one voice. Yeah the small screen and using buttons isn't very quick but if you can wrap your head around how it works you can get a million sounds out of it. If all else fails just get a good patch editor. This Mug is a money maker!!!
December 27, 2010 @ 10:38 pm
This is my favorite synth of all time. I've been programming it through the letterbox for a number of years now and it never ceases to amaze me. Author compares this to the dx-7... mk1 dx-7 was mono, this is stereo. This has 8 waveforms, so 4 operators*8 = 32 wave op combos. dx-7 can't come close with one waveform and 6 ops. I know it's not that simple but the amazing keyboards you can coax out of this box chill the spine. The bass is crunchy in a way that only vintage FM can sound. Soft synths don't know how to alias like this naughty girl. This naughty girl turns tricks like julia roberts in pretty woman. And what a pretty woman she is...
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.19 (701 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
  • Resources & Credits
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