Ski's "History of Yamaha FM Synthesizers"


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GS1 - Preset FM machine. Could read additional patches from magnetic cards. Gorgeous wood piano-like case. Never before heard sounds. Stratospheric price.

GS2 - Road case version of the GS1. Looked very much like the CP-35 electronic piano that was built in the same year.

DX7 - The synth that changed the world. 6 operator FM engine. Possibly the first polyphonic synth at the $2000 price point (MUCH lower cost than the polyphonic Moogs, Oberheims, etc. of the day), with velocity sensitivity, aftertouch, and sounds that no other machine had.

DX9 - Watered down version of the DX7. Get a real DX7 instead.

DX1 - Like two DX7's in one monster synth with a weighted keyboard. A rare, very expensive classic.

TX216 (w/ 2 TF1 modules) - Like two (somewhat upgraded) DX7's in a rack.

TX816 (w/ 8 TF1 modules) - Like eight (somewhat upgraded) DX7's in a rack. Scientists are still searching for a way to actually use the equivalent of 8 DX7's simultaneously.

DX5 - Another rare classic, like two DX7's in one 76 note synth.

TX7 - Tabletop version of the DX7 with slightly upgraded engine.

DX21 - Small 4 op FM synth.

DX27 - Another small 4 op FM synth.

DX100 - An even smaller 4 op FM synth.

DX7IID - The "new" DX7. Same basic 6 op FM engine, but with cleaner 16 bit sound, and lots of new features, including two Voice layered Performances.

DX7IIFD - The "new" DX7, with a floppy disk drive.

DX27S - A heavier DX27 with an added Chorus effect.

TX81Z - Rack mount 4 op FM engine module, but with additional waveforms, rather than just sine.

FB01 - Little 4 op desktop module with DX100 architecture. Forgotten by most; even Yamaha fails to mention it in their history.

DX7IIC - Centennial version of the DX7IIFD. Gold color, and 76 note keyboard.

TX802 - DX7IIFD in a rack.

DX7S - Watered down DX7II. Get a real DX7IIFD instead.

DX11 - Essentially a keyboard version of the popular TX81Z.

V50 - 4 op FM workstation. Very similar engine to the TX81Z and DX11, with additional waveforms available other than sine. Onboard drum samples, sequencer, and effects.

SY77 - Combines FM and AWM (sample playback) synth engines, and adds a sequencer and effects. An outstanding synth and workstation.

SY22 - Simplified FM engine with Vector Synthesis. Similar to the Korg Wavestation.

TG33 - Tabletop version of SY22. Great sound, great fun, and dirt cheap used prices.

TG77 - Rack mount SY77.

SY99 - A real classic. Like the SY77, combines FM and AWM (sample playback) synth engines. Best combination of FM & AWM ever built.

SY35 - Smaller version of the SY22.

EX5/R/7 - Not considered a "true" FM machine by most, but the FDSP "Self FM" algorithm IS a "true FM" engine, albeit a simple one. Considered by some to be the best synth ever made by Yamaha.

FS1R - Probably the best FM machine ever. Most capable and powerful FM engine to date (way beyond the original DX7), including formant sequencing, modeled analog filters from the AN1x, and great effects. 1U rack mount only.

PLG100DX - Essentially a somewhat updated DX7 on a plug-in card that fits in some of the "MU" series modules (and the later CS6x, S80, etc.).

PLG150DX - An updated PLG100DX (the FM synth engine remains identical, though). Great addition to your Motif or other PLG capable machine.

DX200 - Desktop FM synth/AWM beat box module with lots of realtime control knobs. Adds modeled analog filters to the standard 6 op FM engine. Great sounds and lots of fun.
Not really interested in FM.

But as a point of interest, if Mr Ikutaro Kakehashi had met Dr John Chowning 6 months earlier, history would have been very different.

We would have the Roland DX7 instead of the Yamaha DX7.
Yamaha D50 ?

then we might hv Yamaha D50? Yamaha JV1080 ?
haha ?! queer analogy.

You are such a synth fanatic !
I only read technology, nvr bother abt the tech creaters.

I'm a FM fan, fond of those metallic, bells sound and of course the DX7 e.piano.
Re: Yamaha D50 ?

bongman said:
I'm a FM fan, fond of those metallic, bells sound and of course the DX7 e.piano.

It's a misconception that only FM makes great metallic and bells sounds.
VA/RA do these types of sounds pretty well too. But no one used them in RA's heydays because everyone was too busy programming fat bass and searing leads and because the synths were monophonic them. They had to get a real electric piano to play chords.

On the other hand, FM excel at these sounds (rather than fat bass and searing leads) and the DX-7 was filled with them. If you compare the strings and brass sounds on the original DX with the bells, xylophones, electric pianos, marimba etc, you'll know what I mean. The strings and brass were flat as pancakes but the metallic sheen made those sounds were so realistic that musicians used them in droves and made the DX famous.
shit man! i love the DX7 and the TX8 something... on the motif rack, sounds are absolutely fantastic!!!
RA ? what's RA? FM synths are pretty nice. They've got bite. Everyone should get one, especially some of the old gear out there. Managed to get the tx802 and an sy85, they're really the business. Compared to the FM7 these have a rawer quality, though generally after messing with the audio they're less noticeably different from the software counterpart.
I love FM. Can't get over those electric piano sounds of DX7. I remembered spending ages programming on my SY synth years ago to get that "perfect" FM electric piano sound. After I sold my SY77 and SY99, I can never again quite reproduce that sound, now that I don't own any more Yamaha products. I actually saved the setting on a floppy somewhere even though I cannot use them - just for sentimental value.