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yamaha synthesizer history
Yamaha Yamaha Synth overview..

Yamaha FM synthesizers. for yamaha EX and vector series scroll down..
find editors for your FM synth here
find a complete "how to make a bass with FM" tutorial here / Tutorial für FM Bass Sounds hier..


first generation

DX1 , DX5


yamaha dx5 synthesizer algo panel
the gs1 and gs2 started it all with FM synthesis (simple "piano like" combo keyboards, also the CE20 and CE25 combo simple-sizers.. not really worth a look these days.. shame on me for all vintage fm fans, but it's just preset keyboards..)
- first there was the DX1 with a big algorithm display 1984, later the DX-5 (1985) and of course the DX7 (1983). they are all 6 OP FM synthesizer. the DX-1 was very very expensive but had lots of displays and 76key keyboard. the reast qas identical to the -:
DX1 pic by theo bloderer @
the biggest dx ever: incl a special algorithm display!..'s a nice dx1 link...

that means: you got 6 Oscillators with Sine Waves ,
frequency modulation fm synth - how FM works?
please check the synth? menu

fm synthese: german/deutsch: wie FM synthese funktioniert unter synth? oder ausführliche erklärung FM Synthese erklärung

the most exiting thing maybe the enormous dynamics, because every OP envelope (OP = operator = oscillator) could be set individually to respond to velocity. yes: every OP has a dedicated output level and ratio and multi-stage envelope.

the speciality with yamaha is: you need to think different: the rates are "angles",so 99 is the fastest possible rate! (don't confuse this!)..

at the same time yamaha put out the 4 OP systems (cheaper), DX9 (1983) and later the DX21 that had split and dual mode like the DX5 and the poly mode only synths DX27 , DX100 etc.. all 4OP synthesizers.
more 4 OP synthesizers? the V50 workstation, DX11 (the first 4OP - multimode dx!), TX-81z (racked DX11), FB01 small module in a "cheap" looking case. (smaller than 19", not rackable but an expander)..
fm synthesizer yamaha dx-5
thx to PMM - twicethemovie - peter m mahr for
DX5 images

also they introduced rack modules like the TX-7 (the non-rackable but desktop DX-7) and the big TX816 . it had lots of tf1 modules that represent ONE DX7 each,so you could eqasily have 8 DX-7's in a rack!.. the TX216 had 2 TF1 modules 1985.

the dx or fm synthesis is well known for bell and rhodes sounds, but it can do much more than that!! or fm basses got popular in the 90ies ;) but autechre and other new electro bands showed there is another use of fm synthesis sounds!!

the first generation DX had 12bit DA converters, so you had aliasing and "hard" sounding sonic "response".
there were very strange models like the ys100 and ys200 (almost preset/simplified FM synthesizers), the 4OP workstation V50 and 6OP and 4OP synthesizers:

DX-TG-SY-FS-PLG ---- the fm synthesis HISTORY @ yamaha

-1st generation DX series (80ies, a bit rough sounding 12bit converters): DX1,DX5, TX7 , DX9 , TX816 / TX216, DX21.
yamaha dx7 synthesizer

click to enlarge DX7 , the legendary 12bit one..
yamaha dx-7

the 4 OP DX frist generation , no velocity.. DX9
yamaha dx9<-- enlarge the little brother
DX-9 / 4OP
2nd generation (better DA on some models, still the most wanted generation for its "vitality" of sound):
DX27 , DX-27 s/ DX27L , DX100, FB01 , DX-7IID , DX-7IIFD , DX7s , TX-802 , TX81z, DX-11, V-50 , TQ05 ... 16bits AD from now! higher quality. on the DX7II / DX11/TX81z models.
Yamaha also put out the
yamaha fb01 fm synth
<-- FB01 (thx joerg for pic)
very cheap 4OP synth with 8xmultitimbral synth. you can change everything as long as you use a software editor. but: well, for FM you should consider editor software anyway. the 4OP and 6OP Range also took place in Yamahas "keyboard" range and some "exotic" keyboards (cheap to mid price range). even sound cards..
yamaha dx100 synthesizer
click to enlarge the (4OP) DX100 (1985), it's small enough...

a special machine is the MSX Computer CS5m, which is almost the same like the
FB-01 or a downsized TX81z (little drawbacks..) but it is perfect for lofi and 8bit lovers ,because you can access the AY8910 , the internal 4 OP synth is not as easy to access via MSX (maybe for compatibelity reasons) so you have to use the additional editor and composer card or try to find the right pokes and peeks..)

yamaha cx5m standard
and CX5M II 128 msx computer with 4 OP-fm sound
yamaha cx5m msx computer with fm sound
click CX5M to enlarge..
there is a FM voicing card in the slot, you need the editor to change the sounds.. otherwise you need to program it yourself (if you know where to poke to?) ;)
yamaha cx5m II 128 msx computer with fm sound
click on the pic to see the CX5M II / 128
btw it stands on a GS2 2OP first FM Synth and the big full expanded TX816 with TF1 modules (each one is a DX7 !)

<--- the GS2 looks like this
with the TX-816 on top -
the keyboards on the left are also used for the CX5M Computers..

3rd generation: TG77,
SY77 , SY99 added samples (77:rom, 99: ram), designing your own algorithms and up to 3 feedbacks and nice spx like FX (spx1000 x2 on the SY99) and : from now on no1 could say FM sounds thin!! thats still refering to the 1st/2nd gen fm synths .. 20bit AD now.. more hi-end sound but some prefer the 2nd generation for "authentic" dx sound (rough and hard) we are talking about small changes..
<-- 3rd gen FM: TG77 pic thx to lostweb.

4th generation:
FS1R , the only 8 OP + 8 OP(unvoiced) synth!

5th generation: dx200, plugin concept: works on most yamaha workstation called plg100dx (beside modules for physical modeling aka vl70m, piano and VA (called AN) etc.. well ,the dx-200 is almost soundwise the "2nd generation"..

the DX7 got updated for its old style 12bit D/A converters. so the DX7II and DX7IIFD (and dx7s) were born 1987 (read about disk format of it under "digital" or tricks). there was a rack version also: the TX802 . the 2nd generation DX7II had unisono mode!! find the DX7II as a rack " TX802 " . find unisono in TX816/216, TX802 , DX7II series and layer-type sounds on the FS1R ,tg/sy models. the DX-21 and DX11/tx81z have performance and/or unison modes ,too! which is very interesting!! sounds fat!
tx802<-- TX802 (thx for pic top summa)

btw: there have been a lot of expansions for the DX7 (more memory etc.. like e! etc..)
today you can get a "hardware plugin board" PLG-DX that is in fact a complete DX-7 for CS6X, Motif series etc..
the dx200 is also based on the DX7 PLG board. its a DX7 with knobs like some sort of macro "easy page"-control.. you can edit the DX7 with software but in a live situation you still have those knobs like "harmonics" to change the OP frequencies at one knob tweak.. so it is a comprimise,but not a bad one.. there is only one much better solution: the programmer:
jellinghaus dx programmer luxury programmer and the most known yamaha fm synthesizer: DX7 , 25 were made by the company from dortmund/germany JELLINGHAUS - controls DX7 , TX7 or TF modules of a TX816 module rack as well..

the latest DX7 - based synth is the strongly expanded yamaha FS1R , has 8 OPs and another 8 "unvoiced" OPs with BPF filters and lots more plus formant sequencing.
Yamaha DX-7II Centennial: there was a special version in 1988 with 76 keys, 32voices, means 2 DX7II s in one case.. rare of course like the silver version of the DX7.

yamaha fs1r FS1R pic thanks to plasmatron
another on by myself..
there is another very rare 8OP "vintage" synthesizer from 1988 called yamaha FVX1
it's high price may have shocked the ppl and helped not to sell it much, had also FX on board.

but before the FS1R , yamaha had the big SY and TG series:
yamaha tg77
SY77 and TG77 that had samples on board and the first FM synthesiizers form yamaha with filters (well you do not necessarly need them in an fm synth) 2 filters to be exact. also extra env for pan and samples that could be included in the FM signal path (As an operator), had 3 feddback lines instead of 1, the FS1R also has only 1 feedback line. also the TG77 , SY77 and SY99 all had a free assignable algorithm. the SY99 had some ram slots to use OWN samples with!!.. 4 slots, 512MB each. available. thats the main difference and the 2 spx900 FX processors. the TG77 had ind. outs. the SY77 and TG77 had a smaller fx unit, but also 2x2 FX sections as the SY99 but no sample ram. also the tg and sy synths could route the pitch env individually to the OPs unlike all other yamaha fm synthesizers.

the latest one is the DX7 as a "plugin hardware" that can be attached to some newer yamaha keyboards and the dx200 groovebox, that has a DX7 and a 16step sequencer in it.. (german: deutscher test hier zu lesen!)

of course there are also software plugins - but not from yamaha. native instruments made the fm7 and loftsoft has the fmheaven. both got a free algo-matrix and fm7 has 128 step envelopes that even sound "wavetable'ish" if intensitively used.. ;)

ONE GENERAL WARNING : most yamaha FM synthesizer KEYBOARDS do have a range from 0 to 120 for velocity! thats,why some people get shocked when they realize: oh, I can not go beyond 120 (121-127 = maximum velocity). so I recommend the racked versions exept if you do not want to use the keyboards for other synthesizers than the internal one!!
the old dx, the newer one (DX7II), SY77 .. etc.. they are all limited here.. anyway the SY99 is still the top model for 6OP FM with rom AND ram samples.. the FS1R sounds a bit "nicer" .. and it's response is somewhat "slower".. we are talking about "freak infos" here..

german/deutsch einen test zum fm7 und fmheaven gibts hier..

the typical relationship to control the OPs (OSCs) amplitude - 6 ENVs of a TG77 :
Fm synthese DX7 / TG77

an FM algo of a 6 OP synth.. software like the fm7 allows feedbacks as many as you like, in the TG77 / SY99 you can have up to 3 of them. the feedback will generate "noise"-like effect.. but you can create very noise like sounds by using a hi-frequency OP at max level.. this one is the TG77 's algorithm - btw: pm/pd phase modulation is often the same result than the fm systems. you know, yamha holds the patents, only pd systems can have feedback ,so yamaha themselves used also "PD/PM"..
algorithmus FM

more on fm in deutsch/german:

more digital synthesizers by yamaha..:

SY22, SY35, TG33

Yamaha made the SY22 and the voice doubled TG33 and SY35 (all with AT and VEL , the tg33 has no keys of course) as
VECTOR SYNTHESIZERS , so they all have 2 FM (2OP only) and 2 ROM OSCs (yamaha call it AWM) to blend between with a joystick like the prophet VS or korg wavestation.. the FM is not really accessable, but there are some secret paramters in there.. but not reachable via sounddiver etc. but I have seen 2 editors on PC that will do it.. but is is NOT more than adjusting the spectrum a bit and some harmonics.. but since it is based on FM (ok, it's only 2 Oscs, but its FM!) it should be mentioned here.. they are not bad for pads!..
there are some hidden parameters SY22,SY35,TG33: Algorithm, Waveform, Frequency, including Fixed Frequency Mode
Detune and Pitch Scaling (also for rom sample section), Amp Envelope with Level/Rate scaling
Pitch/Amp LFO switch (both operators)
there is a cool site on the vector series here..
since the samples are 12bit and the FM is 2 Oscillator FM this one is for quite industrial pads!!..
since it is quite cheap you could have fun with one of these..
yamaha tg33
there are some editors for the hidden parameters, find some here
there are some little differences in the waveforms but most of them are "interchangeable" but not the same.. the tg33 is more a sy22 expander and the sy versions are 8times multitimbral and provide only one stereo out pair of jacks but have layer functionality and SY means 16 voices max. some screens and buttons are different. the SY need to send a whole sound while the tg33 accepts single sysex data, too.. the tg33 has 32 voices and is 16times multitimbral. no foot control (..) it's been said the sy-35 has some 16bit samples, but this is unclear.. but .. well "consider" it could be - tg33 and sy22 are still 12bit..
the tg33 looks very strange "desktop", its the expander version but it is not a rack.. it's a desktop synth. the SY's both are keyboards. the sy-22 is the smaller one (half the voice power of the tg-33) and half number of presets (thats sooo important, huh?)
EX5 and EX7 are no FM synthesizers, but they are a mixture of AN (analog modeling / virtual analog like an1x), VL (like the VL plugin hardware or the vl70m reduced..), FDSP (some resonator / pwm simulating by feedbacked delays..), and AWM (rom samples)
quite flexible synths, the ex5 is the more powerful one.. the ex7 is a bit "slimed down" ex5 ;) (processor is less powerful here)..
the Cs1X , CS2X and CS6X the Cs1X , CS2X and CS6X are not analogue, they are rom based synthesizers, the cs6x has also plugins slots for yamahas "plug in hardware" like VL, AN, Piano etc. and of course a DX module that is exacly a DX7 !! - basically they have a standard VA-structure but no FM,ringmod etc..
the cs1x and cs2x are almost yamahas answer to techno of the 90ies and offered ok-filters and standard rompler synths - same look like the an1x which is VA (virtual analogue)... but also offers a nice FM section but cannot be compared to yamahas 4,6 or 6OP FM synthesizers .. there are also some other synths that accept the yamaha hard plugins expecially the DX module.. like some MU sound modules and motif series..
yamaha motif ES rack
is yamahas answer to rolands fantom and fantom X, the Motif ES can also can handle your own samples, it's structure is much like the fantom but does not provide the "structures" and ringmod combinations...
Yamaha DX7II (FD)
Diskformat lesen mit Mac/PC
Der DX7II schreibt seine Disketten im MSX-Format, ein altes Format aus der 8-bit Computer Zeit, den japanische Hersteller fast schon zum Ende der 8bit-Ära geschaffen haben.. Wenn man mit dem Mac oder PC jetzt auf die Sounds zugreifen (zB um sie in Native Instruments FM7 oder fmheaven zu importieren) will muss man sich wohl nach einem Converter umschauen der MSX Diskformate lesen kann. Also nicht DOS! Es gibt noch ein paar andere ältere Geräte von Yamaha die dieses Format benutzen.. Vorsicht: viele emulatoren emulieren nicht das disk-format sondern die hardware und arbeiten mit abbildern der MSX disks im DOS oder Mac/HFS(+) format.. versuchs bei
Yamaha VL1..
physical modeling Synth.. V2.0 .. you can make very special sounds with this!.. mono- / duophon
the Yamaha VL1 - physical modelling for the masses. still quite rare: there are 3 versions:

-the vl1 - duophonic (has 2 "elements" = sound enignes) or the racked vl1m
-the vl7 - monophonic

the downsized version vl70m or the vl module that can be found in some yamaha mu modules and as a module to slot into their bigger newer workstations.

the vl70m is NOT the same as the vl1/7 series and also sounds "weaker". and the FX are also downsized.

more yamaha..

VL1 physical modeling synth
yamaha vl1 physical modeling synthesizer
VL1 synthesizer yamaha
VL1m - Rack Version
yamaha vl1m
click to enlarge.. VL1m
Yamaha Yamaha Synth overview..

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