Apparently rack synthesizers weren't really an established concept in late 1986, as the TX81Z was reviewed in comparison with the smaller FB01 as a more complete version of a multitimbral MIDI box. It does implement a lot of the functionalities that were missing in the first wave of digital synthesizers by Yamaha such as the TX7, but it's really a full synth in a compact case: extremely useful for those lacking the space to buy a full keyboard every time.
With a very aggressive price, the rack proved to be very popular. So much that one of its factory patches, LatelyBass, became a definining sound of the late-80s to mid-90s rap, house and dance scene. The new waves available for each one of the 4 operators made possible the creation of more grungy and dirty sounds than before.
Due to its success, the rack was then translated into a full keyboard synth, the DX11. Even with a hard to use interface and the lack of a pitch EG compared to its bigger brother, it still is a very capable and flexible MIDI machine.
|FM tone generator (4 operators, 8 waves, 8 algorithms)|
|Simultaneous note output|
|Polyphonic: 8 notes|
|Monophonic: 1 note|
|Voice memory: 128 ROM voices + 32 RAM voices|
|Performance memory: 32 RAM performances|
|Connection terminals and interfaces|
|Output I, Output II, Output MIX (phone jack)|
|Output Phones (phone jack)|
|MIDI IN, MIDI OUT, MIDI THRU|
|Dimensions and weight|
|480w x 45.3h x 279.5d (mm) / 18 7/8” x 1 3/4” x 11”|
|3.4Kg / 7.5lbs|
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