Native Instruments FM8 vs Hardware FM operator synth the TX-802 (rack version of the DX7mkII)

Native Instruments FM8 vs Hardware FM operator synth the TX-802 (rack version of the DX7mkII)

What happens when you record the output of the TX-802 & the FM8 playing the same sysex patch?

A small comparison between modern & classic FM synthesis.


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Test info –

  • Exact patch & midi file used for both sources
  • Silence trimmed tops & tails
  • Level normalization

16 Responses to Native Instruments FM8 vs Hardware FM operator synth the TX-802 (rack version of the DX7mkII)

  • Spoiler alert! Answer below.

    ˙ʇǝqɐɥdןɐ ǝɥʇ ɟo ɹǝʇʇǝן ʇsɹıɟ ǝɥʇ ɥʇıʍ buıʇɹɐʇs dnoɹb ǝɥʇ = 208-xʇ ǝɹɐʍpɹɐɥ ǝɥʇ

  • more great posts.

  • Cool! I just got FM8, and while I don’t have an original Yamaha to compare it to, now I at least know it’s close!
    Thanks for your work on this–and all your great samples and analyses!

  • For what it’s worth, even before I knew the answer, I thought that Group A was slightly louder and a bit “noisier”–it seemed to have just a *tiny* bit more “grunge” in the samples. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all!

    And I know the samples were normalized, but all of Group A’s sounded louder than B’s. I don’t think either one was “better”, though. Some people may have voted “A” better because it was louder or had a bit more “grunge” in it. I liked them both.

  • I’ve voted on A because I thought it had more to the top… more sizzle and glimmering.

  • Group A is the hardware and sounds better (to me).
    I own/use DX7mkIIFD, TX816 and TG77 and use NI FM7 & FM8 (NI Komplete owner).
    The software lacks some low end w/ the last 3 patches of group B and some highs in other patches. Can´t specify ´cause I don´t want listening again.
    Group A is he hardware not only because of these differences,- it´s also noisier, so it was easy to find out.

  • Group A is the hardware imo. It also sounded CLEARLY better. I own a DX7 MKII and an SY77. I also use FM8 extensively (one of my favourite VSTS). I’ve never really ‘compared’ blind, and in the context of a MIX most of these differences are unimportant – the VST being more streamlined and integrating = possibly more productive to some.

    However, as a sound source the hardware (IF indeed it IS A) clearly sounds more ‘present’. It’s not just about volume (as someone suggested), there is a definite muted tone to GROUP B. It lacks sheen, it lacks that ‘edging into mathematical madness’ that the hardware has. I can’t fathom how digital v digital algorithms would sound so different so it MUST come down to the remaining hardware and it’s journey into the computer. 🙂

  • i could tell A was the hardware and i thought B sounded more accurate to the mathematical intent of the patch. with FM, i want that accuracy, especially because the FM7/8 has “infinitely” more complexity available in its patches than any Yamaha hardware.

  • Wow i am surprised how different these sounded ‘A’ was much nicer (fuller) to my ears, i think i might get myself the hardware version.

  • I somehow knew group A was the hardware (more distortion in the high end, more grit, you name it) but I liked group B more – personal taste.

  • B sounds cleaner, thinner and lacks something in the low end.
    I think A is the hardware and sounds better.
    I guess it’s a matter of taste.

    It would be interesting to compare TX802 with FM8 recorded thru a tube preamp instead of recording it directly into the computer.

  • I thought B is hardware and I like B better. I think my ear is fxxxed up. LOL

  • I like A better than B. A seems fuller and the attacks are also sharper. B sounds a little dull. That’s a bummer because I need to get a TX802 now.

  • Any chance I can get the sysex for these?

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