I dig this little synth and its funky wedge shape. I have used it
with heavy filter effects for creating some truly bitchen sounds.
the down side is that it is not rack mountable but I found a slot under
my effects rack that it tucks into nicely in the studio.
Although it was originally intended for use with a Yamaha DX7
Keyboard as an expander module it works great as a stand alone
synthesizer in conjunction with a sysex editor/librarian and a personal computer
you can produce a wide range of sounds. Even with a simple midi librarian you can now
down load literally thousands of pre-made patches off of the internet even though this
little guy will only handle 32 at a time. The big difference between the two Yanaha machines
besides the fact that the DX7 has a Keyboard is that the TX7 has analog filters with their
rich warm sound and the DX7 sounds sterile and anemic with its feeble digital audio filters.
If like me you have an older slower computer system
(My computer is a Pentium 2 at 300 MGZ) then outboard
hardware may be your only option. Software synthesizers are great
and have allot of bonus features like filters that can be controlled in real time
that the original hardware machines did not have but all this stuff taxes your
Computer's memory and run time or may not operate on your system
at all. Check the system requirements before you buy and remember
you can do a lot more with the vintage gear nowadays than the designers
had ever dreamed of by interfacing with your computer and the right
midi tools, and a good midi sequencer. If like me, you are working with
this type of hybrid system you can find some great deals on used
software and hardware online as the new versions are released
the older synthesizers, and applications drop in value drastically.
I will explain the process for those unfamiliar with these old machines. First thing to remember is that in the early 1980s there was
not a world wide web and personal computers were not a thing like we have today. My first computer was a Comador Vic 20 with about 5 K of memory and no midi ports. (Midi is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.) To get midi you had to buy the Comador 64 that came out some time later. My Vic 20 had a cassette interface for saving programs on to an audio cassette tape, no floppy or hard disk. This meant you spent hours of programing to get the machine to do something interesting and then when you tried to save the program to tape it wouldn't work half the time and you lost your program!
Both of my main midi synthesizers the Yamaha TX7 and Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 have a similar cassette interface. I have had very good luck with the Prophet saving Sysex (System Exclusive data) to cassette tape. In fact I have to because it will only send one patch or (sound) at a time over the midi cable as SysEx, there is no implementation for a bulk dump from the Prophet. The Yamaha TX7 is another story completely, all thought it has a DIN connector on the back of the unit for connection to a standard cassette tape machine I have never used it. Sending SysEx over the Midi cables is far faster and more certain. Plus you can save thousands of patch setups on your computer and instantly transfer them to your synth at will all be it 32 patches at a time with the TX7 synth. There is even a way to do this with computer midi sequencers like Cakewalk so that your particular patch settings or voices are stored with the midi music file and transferred when you play the file. The other advantage to transferring SysEx over the midi cables is that you can use a MIDI Librarian/Editor application to store, index, search files and edit Banks of patches by moving patches from one bank to another or with some of the more powerful editors you can even create new sounds from the program on your computer and load these to your synth.
I have provided a few links below to several sources of SysEx files for the TX7 these will work on the DX7 keyboard as well. The files are compressed in ZIP format, so you will need to unzip them with Winzip after you down load them.
Once unzipped you will find Banks of 32 patches each (Yamaha calls them algorithm's). You will need a program like Midilib to load these from the computer to the synthesizer. If you have Cakewalk click on VIEW from the top tool bar and scroll down to Sysx and click on that. You will be able to open a sysex file and send it but first make a copy of your synths bank of patches and save these on your computer. Loading files over writes the RAM memory and there is no reset button or factory patches stored in ROM to be recalled. Cakewalk has a DRM for the DX7 just scroll though the memory to find it. If you have a different sequencer program poke around in the tool bar you probably have a similar Sysex function. MidiLib is a little more robust than my Cakewalk Pro Audio 8 utility in that it reads the patch names and displays these along with the patch number just like you see in the little LCD screen on the TX7. Also it is much easier to shuffle the patches between banks with midilib.
If you load new patches into your TX7, the existing patches will be over written, so make sure you have backed-up your patches first! Read and understand before pressing any buttons on the TX7.
MIDILIB can be down loaded for free from this page below in the Midi Tools section.
MIDILIB is a Yamaha DX7 librarian (a library of sound patches, rather than books), that includes the function for transmitting and receiving system exclusive data to an external device. You will have to switch 'memory protect' on your synthesizer to
'OFF', so it will accept the system exclusive stream of data. To do this on the Yamaha TX7 press shift on the synth, then press Load Port, the LCD screen will display Protect ON, now press NO -1 key, and the display should read Protect OFF, now you are ready to receive sysex data from your computer. After the the process is completed turn the TX7 off and then back on to reset the operating mode.
PROPHET 5 INS|
I have written a Cakewalk Instrument Definition for the SCI Prophet 5 synthesizer.
I believe this file will also work with Cakewalk's SONAR sequencing software.
You will find a link to the file in the Prophet 5 Resources page on this site.
The file allows your midi sequencer software to send and receive patches via sysex data.
MidiLib is a simple Midi librarian editor for Windows that is configured for the Yamaha TX7-DX7 as well as
3 other synths; Kawai K1, Roland D110, and Ensoniq Mirage. This a beta version 0.1 from 1996
so it will work on your old PC in fact it will run from a floppy disc its so small.
I have used midilib myself for quite some time now with great success. Just down load and unzip and
you're ready to go. Instructions are in the readme files. 12-7-2003 UPDATE: I heard from the author of midilib
Jim Orshaw. He informed me that this is the last version he released. Thanks Jim!|
DX Manager by Jon Morgan.
DX Manager is a general-purpose editor and librarian for the Yamaha DX7 and compatible synthesizers.
This includes the original DX7 Mk1, the TX7 tone generator and any other compatible 6 operator DX/TX series synth.
DX Manager will run under any Windows operating system from Windows 95 SR2 on.
To use DX Manager with your DX7 you will need a hardware MIDI interface such as a Creative Labs Soundblaster soundcard.
The download includes over 1MB (10,000+) public domain voices (Patches), all sorted and with no duplicates.
Please note: Testing of DX Manager has been limited to the MkI and MkII DX7s and the TX7.
Download v1.1 Freeware as of May 2004.
Fortunately I was able to purchase a used copy of Unisyn 1.5 on ebay used.
From what I gather it was the only stable version of this software made for Windows machines at the time.
MOTU's Unisyn has a powerful graphic voice/patch editor and comes equipped with plenty
of profiles installed for tons of synthesizers.
making it possible to organize all, or most of the older midi equipment in your studio.
Unfortunately MOTU does not provide updated profiles for new synthesizers or much support at all.
I rarely use my copy of the software these days. The main reason is that Unisyn saves it's files
in Unisyn's dialect of sysex and since I started with Midilib my files are all
in Midilib's dialect of sysex. Plus it aint easy to make good sounding mods even with
the powerful editor of Unisyn on your funky TX7 sound banks. But when I can't find the sound I want anywhere else it is nice
to be able change the TX7 sound with Unisyn even if it takes some work and head scratching.
Bottom line if I were in the market for a new midi editor / librarian today I would look at Midiquest from SoundQuest
with all those profiles pre installed it is a great midi tool box if you work
with many different modern synthesizers and SoundQuest provides updates and
can open standard sysex files.
Lets your Midi software talk to each other.
Hubis does not work under WIn2K/XP. Please us MIDIYoke.
MIDIYoke can be obtained as part of the MIDIOX package.
Midiox reads your midi data in and out from the computer.
It can read your synths data too. This is a Freeware utilities
sysex editor / librarian for Windows 9X machines.
FM7 is a software version of the DX7/TX7 plus allot more.
If you have a 1GHZ machine or better this may be the way to go.
I've not tried it but it looks like a pretty cool application form
Native Instruments for MAC, PC, or VST plugin.