Yamaha TX802 FM Synth Delight

Yamaha TX802
Yamaha TX802

Yesterday I picked up a near mint condition Yamaha TX802 FM synthesizer here in Nagano-city, Japan. I was visiting a local second hand audio store where I find a lot of gear and nestled under some effect racks I found this FM synthesizer gem. I have heard a lot about the TX802, but have never seen or owned one. I currently have both a Yamaha DX7 mkI and a DXY7II and believe the TX802 is basically 8 DX7II synths in one box with each having a polyphony of 2. That’s when played in separate multi-timbral mode using each of the 8 parts. You can combine them if correct and get more polyphony up to 16. I’m still wrapping my head around how the polyphony is allocated in this thing.

The sound is fantastic as shown by the video posted below. I found the video on Youtube and was really impressed with what you can do. I’m REALLY running out of space with all my gear in my studio at home so I’m pleased that I can “for now” substitute my DX7 synths for the TX802 by connecting it via midi to another controller. The Yamaha TX802 should also prove a bit more useful when sequencing and for storing additional patches which can be called up quite easily.

What I was most surprised about was actually finding this piece of gear in the store. I think it was just put out on the floor within 24 hours of my last visit as I’m sure this would not have stayed long on the shelf. The price tag was a hundred bucks and for that I feel it was a great find and money well spent. I also found a used Yamaha TG55 on the same day for half the price that included some Synth Wav cards that was also a great find. All in all a good day for acquiring FM synthesis vintage gear.

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TC-Helicon Voice Live 2 ROCKS!

TC-Helicon Voice Live 2
TC-Helicon Voice Live 2

I’d have to say that my recently purchased TC-Helicon Voice Live 2 is probably the BEST purchase I’ve made all year for 2012. This is also one of the few devices I’ve actually bought new. Over the past year my two daughters have been using and learning to sing with two TC-Helicon Voice Live Play vocal processors and they’ve been extremely reliable and useful. I actually used the Voice Live Play myself a few times and really enjoyed it. I knew I had to get one for myself and elected to buy the flagship Voice Live 2 after watching the video I posted below which showcases the vocal processor pretty well in live use.

After working with the Voice Live 2 for a week now I’d have to say it’s EVERYTHING I’ve wanted. I can flip on the delay, FX, harmony, doubling, reverb, or change patches on the fly with absolute ease. It’s also super easy to do within the song so you can change your voice effects at different parts or sections. It’s very useful to edit the parameters and save to new patches, but frankly I’ve found myself using only a handful of patches and then hitting the buttons to tailor the sounds to my songs live. I like things to be as simple as possible on the stage and the Voice Live 2 offers that flexibility quite a bit. The Voice Live 2 is almost exactly like the Voice Live Play, but has the added programmable functions and the additional buttons on the device. If you just need the sounds like my kids do, then the Voice Live Play is all you need. However, as a synth player and someone who likes to experiment with the sound itself, I find the Voice Live 2 the best vocal processor I’ve ever used.

Simply put, if you need to emulate any sort of vocals for dance, RnB, Rap, Hip-Hop, or Pop Music, the Voice Live 2 will either nail or get you close to the sound. The harmonies are top notch, and the doubling plus reverb is simply stunning as it really helps to get my rather low voice into or on top of the mix. That is actually what I like best about the Voice Live 2, I no longer have any issues getting my voice to cut through the music. I’ve already had a lot of people ask me how I get my vocals to sound so clear and still blend with the song well. In fact, It’s very easy to get lower vocals to sound a bit higher while still being natural. It’s the Voice Live 2 all the way for me and I STRONGLY recommend it to anyone wishing to add vocals to your music.

Check out this video here. It’s extremely easy to do this with the Voice Live 2 and it really opens up creative options for your music. See how the guitarist in the video manipulates his voice using the various buttons on the Voice Live 2. You can now add delay, harmonies, fx, and change patches wherever needed in the middle of a song. It really spices up your music. Even if you don’t sing much, you can still add rap, say phrases, and voice nuances anywhere in the song. There is even a fantastic “stutter” mode which allows you to stutter phrases over your synth parts. Really cool stuff.