Yamaha FB-01 Vs Roland MT-32

US The battle of the heavyweights      18/03/24

Released one year apart, the FB-01 and MT-32 both have cult status in the synth world and offered something different from each other. Here we have Espen Kraft taking a closer look at them, comparing their features side-by-side and playing some example sounds. The MT-32 was synonymous with early video games, cited as the best way to play DOS games by 8-Bit Keys, who certainly knows his stuff. Both units were capable of a wide range of sounds, however they cannot be programmed without an external editor -  You'll find a Max4Live editor for the FB-01 here.

Here's what Espen says: 

Yamaha FB-01 from 1986 and Roland MT-32 from 1987. Two modules that over time has gained a cult classic status. For different reasons. Before any of them became that, they were 2 multi timbral sound modules that fought for the money of the happy amateur musician in the mid-to late 80s.

The MT-32 had 32 voices of polyphony and had a simplified D-50 sound, effects and drums. The Polyphony came with one "downside", if the voices were made up of the maximum of 4 partials, the total polyphony was only 8 voices. The voices/partials were dynamically allocated so you didn't have to keep track of the numbers though.

The FB-01 has a total polyphony of 8 voices, but you can distribute those as you wish in a quite flexible way. 8 mono voices over 8 different midi channels was very new in 1986. None of the modules made it possible to edit sounds on the front panel, so you needed a sysex editor for that.

Which one do you prefer? 


More from Espen Kraft: https://www.youtube.com/@EspenKraft


About the author [midierror]: midierror makes nifty Max For Live devices, innovative music hardware, award winning sample packs and hosts a podcast speaking to people in the music world.

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