TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different? (answered)

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part12studios
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TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different? (answered)

Post by part12studios » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:13 am

Hi there,

I've got both and I'm looking to keep one and sell off the other.. but according to http://www.vintagesynth.com/yamaha/tx81z.php this article they say the TX-81z has more professional features but I couldn't really tell.. they seem more similar than different..

however the things that appeal to me about the FB-01:

1. smaller space..
2. 96 user slots vs 32 on the z..
3. inexpensive / easy mods for the FB to make it sound better

However I just thought I'd ask the experts if anyone has any thoughts on what the TX-81z would offer that might sway me view. The TX-81z still sounds great for what it is. I am not unhappy with it, but I'm trying to thin out the studio some.

Thanks,
Caleb
Last edited by part12studios on Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by forcedopinion » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:42 am

I have had both.

Do you have a computer editor for the FB-01? You can't program anything with the front panel. Unless you're using the various preset banks on the net, you're stuck with it's stock sounds.

The FB-01 is really noisy which works in some favors and is really bad in others.

I personally prefer the TX-81z because you can program from the front panel, even if you just want to tweak some presets. The box itself doesn't distort the patches like the FB-01 does. Also, on the TX you can make multi-patch stacks, I don't think you can do that with the FB.

Here's a track that I used the FB-01 on:

https://soundcloud.com/forced-opinion/t ... e-end-demo

The FB-01 is the high pitch lead towards the end. The recording is kinda blown out because I recorded it to tape and went for a filthy sound. Anyway, the FB-01 worked for me in this case because the heavy distortion that came from it naturally. I haven't been able to get something that dirty from the TX-81z without adding distortion from a stomp box or plugin.

This song - - uses the TX-81z as the main sequence. Much cleaner and crisper. It's been a while since I recorded that but I believe it's just a preset, don't think I tweaked anything on it.

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by part12studios » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:01 am

@forcedopinion thanks for the insight! yea so my approach to both units has been to use MIDI Quest and basically scour thousands of patches and pick the best. I did this for the TX-81z and I'm in the process of

but i still couldn't help but wonder as I evaluate both units. I've kinda hoped I could get my hands on a 2nd 81z to do stereo patches.. which is another plus about the FB-01.. it has a stereo out. Now I'm not sure if it's just a phase out type of stereo (faux) or if it's something better but i'm previewing the sounds and the stereo effect is nice even if it's not true stereo.

I am unlikely to really tweak these patches as I have other synths with sliders / knobs that i'd be more likely to tweak however i DO have an iPad and Patch Base which just released an FB-01 editor for it so even that's no longer a concern.. or if I really wanted too.. get a PC in the studio running MIDI Quest into the whole setup..

Still before I make a final decision I'll definitely do a pepsi challenge between the two.. one thing i'm interested to see is what 32 patches I went with in the TX now that i've just done this deep audit of 2500 some FB-01 patches.. obviously there are plenty of "heard that.." patches in 2500 but still it's been interesting to see.. i have narroed it down to just under 500.. now doing a deeper pass where these are all generally good sounds but can't keep them all in at once.. so i gotta do another pass..

Thanks!
Caleb

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by ninja6485 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:25 am

If you put the tx81z in multi mode, and pick the same sound for each output you can have the sound in stereo. And you can edit each side differently and get complete control over the left and right if you want. I don't have aNY experience with the FB, but I recently sat down with my tx81z to finally familiarize myself with FM programming, and it opened a whole new door to the synth's capabilities. I highly recommend doing this before you let it go. Before I learned to use it I was getting basses, and clinky lead sounds out of it. Now I'm getting ambient metallic atmospheres, old radio noise sounds, blippy sound effects, and a variety of pads ando leads I never knew it did well. Anyway, just some personal experience/ food for thought!
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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by part12studios » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:46 pm

oh yea that's a clever idea for sure. Certainly worth halving the polyphony for that! Thanks for the tip. The fact that the TX can be edited from the front is a nice feature missing in the FB. Patchbase (mentioned below) though does level the playing field some albeit with additional hardware.

The main thing that kills me is the 32 patch limit.. FFS Yamaha.. I know memory was expensive back then but 32 patches is just not enough.. the FB-01 has 96 so someone finally got with it.. having that many patches to be called on at once without having to do sysex stuff (could do unisyn but prefer not too)

As for editing either of them definitely check out Patch Base for the iPad. The TX-81z and now FB-01 are supported.. https://coffeeshopped.com/patch-base I got this app originally to support my CZ-1000 which it did well (fun random patch option not seen in even programs like MIDI Quest) which opens up a lot of possibilities.

I know the TX-7 I'm more reluctant to let go because it with it's 6 operators and higher polyphony definitely makes sounds the 4 operator devices can't pull off, plus i even geeked out and got the blue LCD backlight screen for it.. heh. It definitely made some sounds I couldn't get out the other two.

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by Virgule » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:39 am

Program Change is much slower on the TX81z and I like how simpler it is to setup splits, layers or assign voices to midi channels from the front buttons of the FB.

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by part12studios » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:59 am

cool, yea i need to figure out how to use the multi timbral stuff because i suspect i'm going to be using that in songs.. i know it's only 8 poly on either but yea seems like the patch assigning is pretty straight forward on the FB.

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:28 pm

FB01 has exactly one LFO for the entire synth. That is a serious problem when using it in multitimbral mode :? since all the sounds have to use it.

There was a third party patch expansion mod offered for the TX81Z back in the 1980s. It was created by a friend of mine, wish I could remember what it was called :help: Good luck finding one now...

Good TX81Z resource page here.
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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by part12studios » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:52 pm

yikes one lfo for all? yea thats pretty terribad.. but good to know if/when doing multi timbral stuff.. fortunately I don't love FM synths for their LFO patches.. since they can't sync to midi clock.

Seriously.. why do soooooo many old school midi items not support lfo midi clock.. it just seems like a huge waste of potential.. the JX-8p kills me for that.. would love to use S/H with patches but being totally free form with no syncing makes it very tough to use with other instruments..

All the old CV/Gate stuff that MIDI was making obsolete had this kind of control so it seems like a step back when MIDI offered so many leaps forward..

but yea good to know.. i wonder how it manages LFO priority if say 2 patches in the FB.. one has a fast s/h LFO while the other has a slow sine LFO.. who wins?

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by madtheory » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:13 pm

meatballfulton wrote:Good TX81Z resource page here.
That's great! I love how he writes :)

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by part12studios » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:29 pm

lol you know i was so focused on the links and data points i was skimming right past the humor.. lol.. he's so funny.. :)

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by grenert » Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:01 pm

Hi, Caleb.
I can't comment on the TX81z (never had one), but after doing the mods on this page:
http://llamamusic.com/fb01/

I found that I liked the FB-01 sound a lot more than my DX100, and out went the DX!
I still kept my TX7 for 6-op sounds.

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Re: TX-81z vs FB-01 more similar than different or not?

Post by part12studios » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:45 am

Sounds about how I feel currently @grenert! I haven't done the mods yet, but they seem so economic / accessible and look pretty simple (correct me if i'm wrong) that I would love to do those mods.

Though I must say I despise the fact that i have to work with 32 patches in the TX-7... i mean seriously.. WTF.. I know memory was expensive back then but even basic MIDI can support 128 patches.. give me 32 rom or 64.. the DX-7 was so popular it would have seemed like the first thing they would do is expand that with future models.. ok enough ranting..

I'm using Digital Performer 3 and I have to see about getting the unisyn 1.5 plugin working as that would open up the ability to push patches via sysex which is better, but still a bit of a hassle..

Having 96 patches to load up in the FB-01 was incredible.. even though 96 is still not enough.. at least it gave me a chance to really come up with a good healthy range of sounds from the 2500 I had to audit (painful and time consuming but worth it) to narrow down first about 400 i liked and then a final 96 short list.. can't wait to make it purr soon!

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