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Yamaha TX-802 / DX-7II / SY-77 Opinions?
Old 30th September 2010
  #1
Yamaha TX-802 / DX-7II / SY-77 Opinions?

I have an opportunity to get a good deal on a TX-802 rack mount FM synth.

I already have NI's FM7, is there any reason to clog rack space with this thing? I know FM is capable of some incredible sounds, but weather or not my time would be better spent in the box is what I"m unsure of. I like the cold sounds FM can produce, so I'm already sold in that respect.

Anybody have one and have some insights?
Old 30th September 2010
  #2
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebison View Post
I have an opportunity to get a good deal on a TX-802 rack mount FM synth.

I already have NI's FM7, is there any reason to clog rack space with this thing? I know FM is capable of some incredible sounds, but weather or not my time would be better spent in the box is what I"m unsure of. I like the cold sounds FM can produce, so I'm already sold in that respect.

Anybody have one and have some insights?

I've got one. As Yamaha FM synths go, this is one of the best - late generation DX7 sound generator, plus 8-voice multitimbral with separate outs.

On this forum, where the dominant mantra is "only the very first one produced is any good", some people think that the original DX7 sounded better. I do not agree with this.

Even though the user interface on a TX802 is simpler than that on a DX7, I still recommend you use a software editor like JSynthlib.

Mine has a problem with buttons double triggering, BTW. Make sure that yours doesn't.

As for comparing it with FM7, I can't comment, since I've never used it. Other software FM synths that I have used sound very similar to a DX7, and often have enhancements like extra wave forms, filters etc, and improved user interfaces that make FM programming simpler.
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Deleted 8456dd3
Guest
It sounds great. But is near to impossible to edit it from the front panel, so its basically a multi-timbral preset box.... oh a setting up a multi-timbral patch is a complete pain in the ass too.
Sold mine in the end to get a DX7II as its much easier to edit it.
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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projectwoofer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
On this forum, where the dominant mantra is "only the very first one produced is any good", some people think that the original DX7 sounded better. I do not agree with this.

As for comparing it with FM7, I can't comment, since I've never used it. Other software FM synths that I have used sound very similar to a DX7, and often have enhancements like extra wave forms, filters etc, and improved user interfaces that make FM programming simpler.
As I'm one of these people, I can assure you that it's widely known that the mkI sounds a bit different than the mkII. There are websites with A/B tests too and you can listen yourself. Check this for a detailed comparison:
YAMAHA DX7 / DX7II: Sound Comparison

Whichever you like better, it's just a matter of pure taste. I personally prefer the mkI. As for the DX7/FM7 comparison, I did an A/B test with the exact same patches and the difference is huge! The Yammy is so much more alive and with a strong presence and nice harmonics...
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
I have an 802 and both the FM7 and FM8 softsynths.

The 802 is a little fuller and grittier sounding than the FMs, in a good way. But you're still in FM land -- getting a hardware box is not going to change the KINDS of sounds you can get. It's just that, say, a clavinet sound is more satisfying on the 802 than the fm7.

Going from the fm7 to the fm8 is almost a more interesting switch than fm7 to 802. The fm8 is still thinner and cleaner than an 802, but it's got a musical sound and it makes a LOT of different noises.

--And yeah, like everyone says, editing an 802 from the front panel is not fun . . . the usual '80s Yammy thing, two line green lcd and no data entry wheel, it's all button punching.

--Last thought: 802s are often VERY cheap, no one under 40 knows or cares about them.

Hope this helps.
Old 30th September 2010
  #6
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The Elf's Avatar
Had my TX-802 for a looong time, using it to replace a number of TX7s.

The 802 is a neat solution for hardware 6-op FM. I primarily use mine as a pair of synths, sending each channel down one of the 802's I/II outputs. It was almost a poor man's TX-816, but it was actually not far behind it when you consider that you rarely used all of the polyphony of each FM module in an 816. With the 802 you decide how much polyphony each of your parts will use and away you go. I long ago programmed my 802's performances to give me a wide range of polyphony/output/number of synths options to cover all the bases I need.

If you like classic FM sounds you'll like the 802. Editing has never been a big deal for me; I collected thousands of patches long ago and I use FM as a lucky-bag of presets.

I view the 802 as cake decoration - I would need to be sure I had the cake, the marzipan and the icing before I'd need to consider the trimmings on top. But when you need a bit of FM zing I think the 802 is a great solution.

It sounds cleaner than the earlier DX7/TX7 to me and I like that - I personally have no use for hiss and grunge.

HTH!
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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projectwoofer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Elf View Post
It sounds cleaner than the earlier DX7/TX7 to me and I like that - I personally have no use for hiss and grunge.
If you wanted something really clean and modern, I think tou should buy an FS1R and have maximum flexibility. The DX7mkII is not thaaaaat cleaner than the the mkI...tutt They both have a more vintage character, although this is more obvious on the mkI. And I never heard any hiss out of the mkI...
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #8
I'm really only interested in the TX 802 because it's there, and cheap. My university is selling off some old stuff to students, and I'm the only one of the only ones who knows what most of it is.

I'm not sure if the sound differences between the FM8 and TX 802 are so big. However, I've learned that hardware investments ted to pay off in the long term, as they don't break from software version changes.

I'll pull it out and give it a go some time this week.

I really with they would sell me their old Moog Modular. It sits in a back room surrounded by junk.
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #9
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relis's Avatar
 

If it's so cheap, get the damn unit.


It sounds teriffic, btw. Overall, one of the strongest sound I've came across ever. Hit that bass and you'll know what i mean.
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectwoofer View Post
As I'm one of these people, I can assure you that it's widely known that the mkI sounds a bit different than the mkII. There are websites with A/B tests too and you can listen yourself. Check this for a detailed comparison:
YAMAHA DX7 / DX7II: Sound Comparison
I didn't mean that I don't agree that it sounds different. I don't agree that it sounds better.
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebison View Post
However, I've learned that hardware investments ted to pay off in the long term, as they don't break from software version changes.
This doesn't work for all instruments. FM synths have reached their depth in price already; the method of synthesis scares people off. Get it; you can always flip it for the same price you bought it for.

Now, if you'd have bought a fully loaded top of the line Akai or E-mu hardware sampler in 2000 or so, your theory no longer holds heh
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
This doesn't work for all instruments. FM synths have reached their depth in price already; the method of synthesis scares people off. Get it; you can always flip it for the same price you bought it for.

Now, if you'd have bought a fully loaded top of the line Akai or E-mu hardware sampler in 2000 or so, your theory no longer holds heh
The DXs and TXs are the only genuinely important classic synths that you can buy for pocket money.

Just out of curiosity, what does a DX5 or a DX1 go for nowadays (assuming you can even find a DX1)?
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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Xero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
The DXs and TXs are the only genuinely important classic synths that you can buy for pocket money.

Just out of curiosity, what does a DX5 or a DX1 go for nowadays (assuming you can even find a DX1)?
you'd be lucky to find a DX1 for less than $8000-10000 i reckon. Actually I take that back, looks like one sold on ebay around $5500. So basically the same as a jupiter 8. DX5 probably cost a lot less than that though, not quite the same level of desirability as the legendary dx1...only 140 made apparently.
Old 30th September 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebison View Post
I have an opportunity to get a good deal on a TX-802 rack mount FM synth.

I already have NI's FM7, is there any reason to clog rack space with this thing? I know FM is capable of some incredible sounds, but weather or not my time would be better spent in the box is what I"m unsure of. I like the cold sounds FM can produce, so I'm already sold in that respect.

Anybody have one and have some insights?
Considering that the price of a TG77 on the used market is about the same (around $200), I'd definitely buy the newer synth. I love my TG77, I think it's the absolute pinnacle of FM synthesis. And yes, it does sound different than FM7/8.
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero View Post
you'd be lucky to find a DX1 for less than $8000-10000 i reckon. Actually I take that back, looks like one sold on ebay around $5500. So basically the same as a jupiter 8. DX5 probably cost a lot less than that though, not quite the same level of desirability as the legendary dx1...only 140 made apparently.

I didn't realise they made so few.

Maybe we should start a "would you rather spend $5000 on a DX1 or a Jupiter 8" thread

I admit I'd go for the Jupiter 8 in this case. . .
Old 30th September 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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projectwoofer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
I didn't realise they made so few.

Maybe we should start a "would you rather spend $5000 on a DX1 or a Jupiter 8" thread

I admit I'd go for the Jupiter 8 in this case. . .
Agreed!thumbsup
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Thanks for all the helpful advice!

Plugged in the TX 802 today. The last person to use the unit was some visiting composer, some time in the mid 90s. He filled it with all kinds of terrible sounding microtonal patches. I couldn't even figure out to access the basic factory prests, it kept prompting me for a cartridge. It'll take more than a few minutes of messing around for sure. I'm ok with FM, but that interface is pretty bleak.

Looking forward to it though.

I found a Rhodes MK1 under some crap back there so I think I might ask about that instead!
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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Xero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
I didn't realise they made so few.

Maybe we should start a "would you rather spend $5000 on a DX1 or a Jupiter 8" thread

I admit I'd go for the Jupiter 8 in this case. . .
pretty much any yamaha with a -1 is like legendary and not too many made...gx-1, fx-1, dx-1, etc, infact the fx-1 might even be more fancy than the dx-1, it's like the GX-1 of FM synthesis

http://bradschulz.com/images/fx-1.jpg

i'd go with a jp8 too :P
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaPi61 View Post
Considering that the price of a TG77 on the used market is about the same (around $200), I'd definitely buy the newer synth. I love my TG77, I think it's the absolute pinnacle of FM synthesis. And yes, it does sound different than FM7/8.
The TG77/sy77 is great I think it and the fs1r show what fm could have been if fm had continued to develop
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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depulse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaPi61 View Post
Considering that the price of a TG77 on the used market is about the same (around $200), I'd definitely buy the newer synth. I love my TG77, I think it's the absolute pinnacle of FM synthesis. And yes, it does sound different than FM7/8.

+1 for the TG77, adding resonant filters to the DX gives so many more options for making pads, strings, analog-digital hybrid sounds, etc.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebison View Post
Thanks for all the helpful advice!

Plugged in the TX 802 today. The last person to use the unit was some visiting composer, some time in the mid 90s. He filled it with all kinds of terrible sounding microtonal patches. I couldn't even figure out to access the basic factory prests, it kept prompting me for a cartridge. It'll take more than a few minutes of messing around for sure. I'm ok with FM, but that interface is pretty bleak.
I've never used a TX802 but assuming it's similarish in basic design to a DX7 / DX7ii then there probably won't be a way to restore the internal sounds apart from using a Yamaha ROM or RAM cartridge or alternatively dumping the presets (often in .syx) via MIDI.

You'll probably have to turn off local memory protect, set the bank numbers you want to dump, check what MIDI receive channels it's set to, hook it up to a MIDI interface and a PC, use something like MidiOX to dump the syx to the TX802. (Or do the equivalent on a Mac)

Dave Benson's page has the factory DX7 presets (and loads of other ones) and this site has the DX7ii ones.

☮ Dave Benson's DX7 Page ☮

DX7II Factory sounds - Windows Live
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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danielb's Avatar
The TX802 has 2 ROM banks (A and B), 1 cartridge bank (C) and 1 internal RAM bank (I).

As I understand it, you can only use the microtonal feature if you have a cartridge.

You should be able to download the manual from Yamaha's site. If you can't,PM me and I will send it to you.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asbak View Post

You'll probably have to turn off local memory protect, set the bank numbers you want to dump, check what MIDI receive channels it's set to, hook it up to a MIDI interface and a PC, use something like MidiOX to dump the syx to the TX802. (Or do the equivalent on a Mac)
Many DAW's can do that without the need for additional software.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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dlmorley's Avatar
I love the TX802
I have a TX816 which I prefer but it's more complicated to use..and the sound of the 802 is different, so both are valid.
The 802 got so much use in the R&S studio (label I worked for) and I think for the money they cost, you can't really say anything negative.
Great synths.
I say buy it.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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Just wondering : is it possible to edit/save patches on the tx-802 while in multi mode (I think the s77/tg77 can do that, and their interface seems better) ?

btw, I played around with fm8 demo last night, the power of the algorithm matrix doesn't quite compensate this horrendous, mouse driven, redundant interface...certainly with time and experience, but I don't get it, adjusting eg's is and frequency ratios in floats tutt I hate this mouse/visual target interaction, it drives me mad
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #26
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wishy-washy View Post
Just wondering : is it possible to edit/save patches on the tx-802 while in multi mode (I think the s77/tg77 can do that, and their interface seems better) ?
It's always in multi-mode. there's no specific single mode.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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The manual says it has 8 edit buffers, someone could write a kick-arse editor for that.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 

I love my TX802.

If you're on Mac and looking for an editor, I highly recommend this librarian:

DX7 Librarian Page

It has a huge library of patches culled from around the internet, as well as a pretty solid patch editor and librarian functionality.
Old 1st October 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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NoVi's Avatar
Actually recently been mixing some tunes from the late 80's were the 802 was all over the place. I remember by that time FM synthesis was becoming sort of uncool, when workstations like Korg M1 appeared. But listening back I'm pretty amazed by its sound, so much that I'm watching second hand sites to maybe buy one again.

I remember back then I had an Opcode Galaxy librarian/ editor but I guess that app never got past the OS9 platform
Old 2nd October 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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asynchro_nous's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
As I understand it, you can only use the microtonal feature if you have a cartridge.
You're thinking of fractional scaling, not microtuning.

Here's a link for an acceptably scanned manual: http://www.maths.abdn.ac.uk/~bensond.../tx802-man.pdf
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