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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6 thoughts on “Yamaha TX802 FM Synth Delight

  1. Blueman

    Hey Jim,
    I have been following your post for some time and they are great! As a owner of a TX802 myself, I can tell you it’s one the most underrated FM gear out there, despite of the excellent specs that it offers. Maybe one the facts that led to it is the lack of specific literature, which unfortunately is common among any rack versions. I hope we can revive some of these knowledge sharing our findings.

    Cheers.

  2. Roy

    This is a great synth! I bought one myself for $130 and it included a RAM4 cartridge. I do need to replace the battery though, which is soldered to the board :-(.

  3. Hal

    A fantastic synth, but mine is unfortunately a little “sick” 😦
    The outputs distort, and although I have the service manual I’ve heard that this issue (apparently present on a few TX-802 units) was specifically adressed in one of Yamaha’s official “Service news” bulletins. I suppose Yamaha sent them to service-personell during the period these synths were actively in sale.

    Does anyone have access to the service news bulletin which addresses the cause/solution to the above and would like to share?

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