Initially sold for ¥56,000
Apparently rack synthesizers weren't really an established concept in late 1986, as the TX81Z was reviewed in comparison with the smaller FB01 as a more complete version of a multitimbral MIDI box. It does implement a lot of the functionalities that were missing in the first wave of digital synthesizers by Yamaha such as the TX7, but it's really a full synth in a compact case: extremely useful for those lacking the space to buy a full keyboard every time.
With a very aggressive price, the rack proved to be very popular. So much that one of its factory patches, LatelyBass, became a definining sound of the late-80s to mid-90s rap, house and dance scene. The new waves available for each one of the 4 operators made possible the creation of more grungy and dirty sounds than before.
Due to its success, the rack was then translated into a full keyboard synth, the DX11. Even with a hard to use interface and the lack of a pitch EG compared to its bigger brother, it still is a very capable and flexible MIDI machine.
- Produces up to 8 different voices simultaneously, making it ideal for use with a MIDI sequence recorder.
- Voices and all memory parameters can be edited from the front panel. No separate programming device or computer is necessary.
- New LSI tone generator chip can perform FM synthesis using a total of 8 different waveforms.
- “Pseudo-reverb” effect programmable for each voice.
- Either Fixed or Ratio frequencies are selectable for each operator.
- Two independent LFOs and a Vibrato Generator.
- While voice and function data is compatible with DX21/27/27S/100 voice data, the sound quality has been upgraded, and the resolution of the EGs has been improved.
- 128 ROM factory preset voices.
- 32 user-programmable voice memories.
- 24 user-programmable performance memories.
- 13 Microtonal Scales (2 user-programmable and 11 preset).
- Pan, Single Note Chord, and Transposed Delay effects.
- Save and load TX81Z memory data to and from a cassette.
- Transmit and receive TX81Z memory data via MIDI.
- Program Change Table for re-directing program change messages.
- Alternate Voice Assign lets you play a different voice with each successive note.