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Yamaha TG77 - woah! Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 11th October 2017
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Yamaha TG77 - woah!

Just recently got one of these on the advice of a mate and I have to say - it's blowing my socks off!

Is it just me being relatively uninformed about FM or is this a bit of an unsung masterpiece, in another league to the (great) DX7 that seems to be getting all the love these days?

The metallic/ ethereal sounds are it can make are unlike anything I've come across elsewhere and even the presets are absolutely amazingly good (I'm guessing at least some/ most were programmed by the previous owner though). I'm still learning the basics of FM programming but I've had some success modifying the existing patches.

Anyone know of any good resources on this, either for learning to programme it or a source of patches to use & modify?
Old 11th October 2017
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulletproof View Post
Anyone know of any good resources on this, either for learning to programme it or a source of patches to use & modify?
SY programming manual

Yeah they're great . SY77/99/tg77 are the top FM synths IMO. Looping envelopes ftw.
Old 11th October 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
Thanks for this bluegreengold. Much experience with it yourself?
Old 11th October 2017
  #4
Gear Maniac
My DX7 is my favorite synthesizer. My SY77 is the "big guns" for when I need to light up faces with magic breathtaking layered evolving patches.

I find its best to learn FM on a simpler FM synth like a DX7. The SY77 is like two DX7s, a D50 and a JD800 kinda smashed into one crazy digital synth.

FM is my favorite type of synthesis and is not too hard to master. The SY77s EGs are more complex and difficult to manipulate in predictable ways than a DX7 (which is still inSANELY powerful and still difficult to accurately predict what tweaking will yield).

I'd say just keep mangling your presets. It's a great way to deductively figure a lot of things out.
Old 11th October 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
Looping envelopes ftw.
Yes! We take them for granted in software synths , but the Sy77/TG77 had them way back in the early 90s. It's the key to some of the more interesting textures.
Old 11th October 2017
  #6
Great synth!
Old 11th October 2017
  #7
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tux99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulletproof View Post
Just recently got one of these on the advice of a mate and I have to say - it's blowing my socks off!

Is it just me being relatively uninformed about FM or is this a bit of an unsung masterpiece, in another league to the (great) DX7 that seems to be getting all the love these days?
You clearly missed the following thread:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...alog-like.html
Old 11th October 2017
  #8
I own A TG-77 as well. bought it for its AFM engine only. I actually hate its AWM part and to my ears any patch that uses AWM sounds cold and soul-less...moreover i find editing it quite a bit of a drag for simple stuff like filter/envs. Trying to find an AFM only commercial bank put into it’s Internal bank.
Old 11th October 2017
  #9
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by maqio View Post
I own A TG-77 as well. bought it for its AFM engine only. I actually hate its AWM part and to my ears any patch that uses AWM sounds cold and soul-less...moreover i find editing it quite a bit of a drag for simple stuff like filter/envs. Trying to find an AFM only commercial bank put into it’s Internal bank.
RCM is killer though, especially using 0hz operators as waveshapers!
Old 12th October 2017
  #10
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Old 12th October 2017
  #11
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Klonfocius's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulletproof View Post
Just recently got one of these on the advice of a mate and I have to say - it's blowing my socks off!

Is it just me being relatively uninformed about FM or is this a bit of an unsung masterpiece, in another league to the (great) DX7 that seems to be getting all the love these days?

The metallic/ ethereal sounds are it can make are unlike anything I've come across elsewhere and even the presets are absolutely amazingly good (I'm guessing at least some/ most were programmed by the previous owner though). I'm still learning the basics of FM programming but I've had some success modifying the existing patches.

Anyone know of any good resources on this, either for learning to programme it or a source of patches to use & modify?
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! Not only your socks but your underwear and your shirt! Did you know that you can split the 2 crappy stereo effects and have 4 crappy mono effects? It's fantastic, you can actually do qudraphonic crap
as they did in the 1970 with HIFI crap!

I just recently pulled min out of the closet to change battery and do something about the dying backlighter! Then i will put it back into the closet and just remeber how nice it sounds.
Old 12th October 2017
  #12
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It’s such a powerful instrument, especially when you take advantage of velocity and other real time controllers.

Mine is currently criminally underused though for a variety of reasons from an annoying high pitched whine from the display inverter, a hard to read display (even with a new EL foil), and no decent editor software for OSX (best solution so far is to run FM Alive in a Windows VM). If anyone knows a London/UK based tech who can swap out the display for an LED please pm me!
Old 12th October 2017
  #13
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Thread Starter
Old 12th October 2017
  #14
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Klonfocius's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
It’s such a powerful instrument, especially when you take advantage of velocity and other real time controllers.

Mine is currently criminally underused though for a variety of reasons from an annoying high pitched whine from the display inverter, a hard to read display (even with a new EL foil), and no decent editor software for OSX (best solution so far is to run FM Alive in a Windows VM). If anyone knows a London/UK based tech who can swap out the display for an LED please pm me!
The whine can be reduced by pouring the LCD transformer in bathroom silicone or epoxy i did the silicone.

DIY?
https://www.google.se/search?q=Yamah...hrome&ie=UTF-8


You buy from here:
5.2"24064 lcd 240x64 T6963C Controller Module Display,Black on White
Old 12th October 2017
  #15
Gear Maniac
Yeah the TG77 is a great beast. T´was the first synth besides the 303 that really impressed me (oh yeah, and JMJ´s laser harp thingy) when i was a lil kid. And it still does, it´s has a great price/value ratio and is very deep.
Would be my go-to machine for FM if i didn´t already have so many.
Old 12th October 2017
  #16
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BassX's Avatar
any recently acquired gear is great.
i once had a TG77 which obviously initially was a great machine (i bought it because Front 242 used it ) , but for me, after a few months the annoyance and the timeconsuming editing quickly diminished my enthusiasm.
Old 12th October 2017
  #17
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by BassX View Post
any recently acquired gear is great.
i once had a TG77 which obviously initially was a great machine (i bought it because Front 242 used it ) , but for me, after a few months the annoyance and the timeconsuming editing quickly diminished my enthusiasm.
Did you try out an editor? If not, i certainly get your point and agree..
Old 12th October 2017
  #18
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Originally Posted by AuldLangSine View Post
Best feature? The button conveniently placed on the front panel that turns off the effects.
I've mentioned this is most all sy77/tg77 threads but since everyone always complains about the fx.

The actual effects are not really much different than having a few spx90s. Nobody thinks those are the greatest ever, but they totally usable. The issue with the sy77/tg77 is that the fx bus is filled with garbage opamps that introduce a lot of noise and ringing. Swap those out and the efx, while not mind blowing, are perfectly useable and up to par with most built in synth efx.
Old 12th October 2017
  #19
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BassX's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by defdaft View Post
Did you try out an editor? If not, i certainly get your point and agree..
no i don't use a PC at all.
so any synth i would buy has to be easy to edit on the synth itself.
Old 12th October 2017
  #20
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
The actual effects are not really much different than having a few spx90s.
No, they actually are different. The modulation effects are similar to the SPX90 (including the nice symphonic effect, which is basically the only useful one), and the ICs used in the TG77 are capable of running the same algorithms (the is done in the FX900), but the reverb effects are quite different and actually much worse than the SPX90. The same lousy reverb algorithms are also in the SY55, TG33, TQ5, V50 and various other models.

Quote:
Nobody thinks those are the greatest ever, but they totally usable. The issue with the sy77/tg77 is that the fx bus is filled with garbage opamps that introduce a lot of noise and ringing.
The effects don't have an analog signal path that's separate from the rest of it. Everything comes out the same DAC.

Quote:
Swap those out and the efx, while not mind blowing, are perfectly useable and up to par with most built in synth efx.
Actually Yamaha lagged pretty far behind in the onboard effect processor department for some time. They rehashed the same crappy effects in far too many products. The effects in the M1, D50 etc. are much better. Yamaha sometimes did use better onboard effects (the SY99 had the best, but SY85 and some others were also okay), but they weren't really consistently up to par until around the mid 90s.
Old 12th October 2017
  #21
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Originally Posted by acreil View Post

The effects don't have an analog signal path that's separate from the rest of it. Everything comes out the same DAC.
take another look at the schematics. the efx are on an analog bus and are routed through lousy amps twice. As for whether the verbs are worse than the spx90, they're really not much different, perhaps fewer parameters to tweak, but for general use the output is similar. Grainy early reflections and reverse verb is still grainy ER etc. If they don't sound muted and hissy, they are a lot more useful.
Old 12th October 2017
  #22
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
take another look at the schematics. the efx are on an analog bus and are routed through lousy amps twice.
I did look and no they're not. All the mixing is performed before the DAC. You can mute the effects and the signal path is exactly the same. If you're referring to using the individual outputs (which aren't present on the SY77 or SY99) rather than the main outputs, the individual outputs only pass through one less op amp stage; the signal path is otherwise pretty much identical.

Quote:
As for whether the verbs are worse than the spx90, they're really not much different, perhaps fewer parameters to tweak, but for general use the output is similar. Grainy early reflections and reverse verb is still grainy ER etc. If they don't sound muted and hissy, they are a lot more useful.
The SPX90 was a barely adequate reverb in 1985 (although it was actually relatively powerful for modulation effects thanks to the MOD chip, which provides 16 LFOs). There are only 32 memory reads or writes per sample, which doesn't really allow for enough delay lines, taps, etc. for good reverb. Almost all other effect processors are more powerful than this.

The SPX90 also had only 524 ms total delay memory. Minus the pre-delay there's about 408 ms remaining for reverb. That's again barely adequate, not really enough for anything good.

The TG77 and others use the same amount of memory (16kwords) but a higher sample rate (48-55.93 kHz, depending on the model). So the delay memory is reduced to between 293 and 341 ms, with about 291 ms available for reverb. Because of this smaller delay memory, the SPX90 algorithms couldn't be ported directly, so new ones were written. They're not only less flexible, they're also much more metallic and all around sound considerably worse.

So basically the SPX90 was marginal already, and with new algorithms and less memory available for reverb, it's pretty much awful. This would be adequate for a PSR keyboard or XG module, but pretty lame in a flagship workstation, especially when all the competitors actually had good effects. And throwing in 4 effect processors doesn't really make it any better.
Old 12th October 2017
  #23
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
I love the effects. They're particularly spectacular in the TG33
Old 12th October 2017
  #24
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Originally Posted by acreil View Post
I did look and no they're not. All the mixing is performed before the DAC.
Cool. Could you send me a link or PM the schematics, because the service manuals I'm finding now don't actually have the board traces, only a block diagram. I'm not trying to be antagonistic, but I did actually do this, and I'm pretty sure I didn't just trace the board visually before replacing...
Old 13th October 2017
  #25
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
I love the effects. They're particularly spectacular in the TG33
It's nice to have a healthy selection of weird and crappy sounding effects, but I would prefer to have some nice ones too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
Cool. Could you send me a link or PM the schematics, because the service manuals I'm finding now don't actually have the board traces, only a block diagram. I'm not trying to be antagonistic, but I did actually do this, and I'm pretty sure I didn't just trace the board visually before replacing...
SY77
TG77
SY99

I think these are the same files I have.
Old 13th October 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acreil View Post
I think these are the same files I have.
Thanks for that. So of course, you're right.

What confused me was IC5 -- I did this all naively (and drinking beer)-- I mistook the YM2039 floating point converter for the DSP chip without bothering to look it up. You can see there is an output EX0 being split and going into two bifet opamp buffer and back into the YM2039 SHA and SHB. That was enough to through me off. Damned if I know what that does. Some kind of feedback correction for the DAC?

Anyway I swear beyond just cleaning up everything on the outputs in general, that the sound quality is less degraded with the efx engaged. I'm willing to entertain that it could be bias, but that's how I hear it.

...and the 'crappy' yamaha efx, though kinda spartan and not so lush are good for filling out the patches in way that fits in as an element of the patch, perhaps not so much as some lush space efx smear that for instance Korg does. I feel like it fits with the FM/AFM mix pretty well. Going through my patches I'd say they are integral to the sound ~75% of the time. IMO it only looks bad when you compare it with the sy99. That era korg/roland efx sound is pretty much just a different philosophy. Even the better spx990 style in the 99 are still very much that yamaha algorithm vibe.
Old 13th October 2017
  #27
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acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
What confused me was IC5 -- I did this all naively (and drinking beer)-- I mistook the YM2039 floating point converter for the DSP chip without bothering to look it up. You can see there is an output EX0 being split and going into two bifet opamp buffer and back into the YM2039 SHA and SHB. That was enough to through me off. Damned if I know what that does. Some kind of feedback correction for the DAC?
I was confused about it too the first time I looked at it; it's a weird design.

As far as I can tell the YM3029, in conjunction with the PCM56, is Yamaha's last and best floating point DAC design. The YM3029 first converts the linear data to a floating point format, then sends the mantissa to the PCM56 (this is 16 bits). The analog signal from the DAC goes back to the YM3029, which contains the exponent part of the floating point DAC, then it goes out to an external buffer, then back into the YM3029 where it's split into 4 channels. The dynamic range of the whole thing is 22 bits (I can't confirm this figure, but it corresponds to both a patent and one of the user manuals).
Old 13th October 2017
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
SY programming manual

Yeah they're great . SY77/99/tg77 are the top FM synths IMO. Looping envelopes ftw.
Despite having many FM capable hardware and software synths, there is nothing which can replace my SY99, which I am still using every day. SY77/99/TG77 are timeless masterpieces from Yamaha, which were far ahead their time and still are in many aspects.







Old 19th October 2017
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

I'm expecting an SY99 tommorow and I'm feeling kinda pumped Bought it without the posibility of testing it so hope it arrives in perfect condition as the seller assured me it is.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
I just received a TG77 with blue display this week.
I sat down today to program it from the front panel.
HOLY COW!

I’m very used to the EX7’s very good UI from 1999, but going back 10 years to this UI is a complex and confusing affair to say the least!

I figured out one way of changing the selected operator, my selecting it on the mix/output page, is there another way?

I made a really nice 2OP sound where it starts with one OP and then the modwheel brings in a second operator with feedback loop. Drenched in Hall Reverb and Symphonic it’s pretty nice.

So, just 4 more OPs, a noise source and RCM to go!
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