Free Plugin, Cyclone, Recreates Yamaha TX16W Sampler


Sonic Charge has released Cyclone, a complete Yamaha TX16W sampler emulator in VST and Audio Unit formats.

Heres what they have to say about it:

Cyclone is a true low-level hardware emulator. It simulates all the important circuits of the Yamaha TX16W, including the main 68000 CPU, the properietary Yamaha DSP circuits, the 12-bit sample memory and the 400kHz non-linear DACs. Cyclone not only looks like a real TX16W, it sounds like a real TX16W and it runs the exact same software as a real TX16W.

That last sentence is worth elaborating on. We have not merely created a new virtual instrument with a vintage sound, neither is Cyclone an updated version of Typhoon. Cyclone features a full 68000 emulator that runs the exact same version of Typhoon that was released 14 years ago. This implies that using Cyclone will require a bit more effort than your average modern virtual instrument. But this can also be a very rewarding experience. Regard Cyclone as a time travel portal to an era from the past. The era of the monster dinosaur samplers.

See the Sonic Charge site for more info.

36 thoughts on “Free Plugin, Cyclone, Recreates Yamaha TX16W Sampler

  1. Hilarious. Did anyone actually own one of these? I had one and it was a nightmare! The idea of recreating is is laughable. Someone please explain this to me. It sounded good but the OS (including the 3rd-party OS) was a total pain – the original OS bordered on unusable. I was so thrilled to move on to FZs, Akais and other samplers. Great for masochists.

    That said, I sincerely would like to know why anyone would want this. I don”t remember the sound being so amazing that it justified the torture of using the device. Maybe at the TIME it was incredible for a 12 bit, but now, and furthermore – emulated, so you aren’t getting the real DACs?

  2. PS: Also I realize I may be wrong and it’s a great machine. I don’t mean to malign the programmers that did this! But it’s not my memory and I lost a lot of time to this machine.

  3. Yeah, I have to also wonder about the motivation behind this. It must have taken considerable effort to develop all this emulation. But why spend all that effort to emulate what by today’s standards is a vastly underpowered, noisy, low-fidelity sampler? Why not instead put the time toward developing a modern 24-bit capable sampler (which can be loaded with noisy 12-bit samples if you’re into today’s toy electronics).

    1. maybe it’s a proof of concept for another project?

      the os is written…coding an emulation of the ALU and all that stuff isn’t soooo complicated. there is a lot of information on that topic for game emulations and stuff.

      i think it’s fun! i’m curious to try it. and how the DAC emulation sounds etc.



  4. Its not about the sound quality, which is perfectly musical, but about file-handling. I have to agree: why would anyone take on a software emulation of THIS albatross when we’ve come so far? It pushes the idea of vintage charm too hard.
    Its a great example of Yamaha’s opaque OSs over many years. Their gear always sounds great, but operates like Windows, as if it was designed for the engineers and not the end user. At least with the first OS, The Casio FZ-1 forced you to save all the sample data as a new file when you made minor synth-type changes, so you ended up with floppies piled way past yer arse. This sort of mess is why we now have Kontakt and similar tools, which banish that crap.

    I’d love to sample the base library and use the results as added fodder for my *modern* sampler, which does not require that I stand on my head while singing a microtonal aria.

      1. No, I was trying to start another Win vs. Mac fight. Did it work? 😛 Actually, I have to praise Yamaha’s sound quality again. I had a loaner TX81Z and it made a believer of me. However, I also had some lengthy time with an SY85. It blew me away with its clarity and playability, but wrangling the OS was like being raped by a squid. Software editors take a lot of the sting out now, but back then, it could be full-mode Hell after a while. Like anything else, you have to weigh the housekeeping against the goals. Anyone who writes Windows code is an alien and should avoid me, as I have a ray gun.

    1. A little reading shows the the dev actually created the 3rd party software for this. So there’s your motivation (not vintage charm). I doubt anyone would have bothered if it wasn’t something they were familiar with.

      I’ve had a lot of fun playing with this so far and I’d like to thank the dev for bothering (especially as it’s free). Ps. You don’t actually have to use floppy discs

  5. jehova! oh, no!
    owned one, and i am still heavily traumatized after all these years!
    imho maximum worst machine in terms of usability, ever, ever, ever made! i feel utter disgust…

  6. Did this sampler use a proprietary format for the diskettes? Maybe a format nothing else is capable of reading? That’s about the only reason I can think of to want an emulator for this thing (to read images of the original sample diskettes).

  7. Hi. Magnus here.

    I just want to answer a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind here: why the hell did someone bother to create this? Although the explanation was part of my original announcement on, Synthopia unfortunately left that part out.

    In short, the one and only reason why I created Cyclone, and am giving it away for free, is to celebrate that my company was formed 20 years ago with the release of Typhoon for TX16W. With Cyclone you can step back in time and revisit this machine exactly like it behaved and sounded back then. Regardless if that experience will give you pleasure or pain (for me personally it is a bit of both), I think it is interesting to recall the good and bad of music technology twenty years ago and how it has evolved since.

    It was all just for fun guys. Peace.

    / Magnus

      1. Cyclone reads disk image files. You create such files from real floppies with various free tools, e.g. WinImage, Disk Utility etc. If the disks are in Yamaha format there is a bad sector that makes it a bit harder (never understood why, perhaps copy-protection), but I know at least one tool that can read those directly. It’s a unix command-line though. Another solution would be to convert them to Typhoon format first on the TX16W.

    1. Thanks, Magnus, and Happy New Year!

      I’ve never owned one of these, but I’m interested in experiencing it–both the good and bad. These were out of my price range when they were available, but I’m looking forward to this.

      It’s too bad someone already used the “TX16W” name for a VST sampler. I downloaded *that* last year when I thought it was this! (FWIW, it appears to be a good, flexible VST; it’s simply not an emulation of the Yamaha hardware, as the name would suggest.)

      And I know some were looking for the ASR-10 in VST format, but Digital Sound Factory has some great samples of that (and other Ensoniq samplers from the era) here:

      Like (hopefully) everyone here, I appreciate the effort that went into this. Thanks again, Magnus!


    1. Nah. Although I admit this was more fun to develop than I had expected, I believe it was a one off thing. As I explained, I made it for a rather special cause, I own the copyright to the operating system (Typhoon) and I knew the hardware. It didn’t take more than two, three weeks to put everything together.

      1. What a nice job !
        Any chance to get a Linux version (LV2 or NativeVST) … for Ardour, and the (maybe) soon to see Bitwig ??

        1. Although we do not currently plan Linux support for any of our products I am watching the development of Linux DAWs (in particular Bitwig) with great interest. It would be nice to break free from the Apple dominance some day, although that is probably a bit of a pipe dream.

  8. Better still, how about a virtual E-mu Emax! (The original 8/12 bit version.) For that classic Nine Inch Nails sound!

    Although the big problem is that it used analog filters – but consider it a challenge!

  9. I have found the main character of the Emax sound is the A to D converters sampling at 11khz. I converted some samples to 11khz and send them to the Emax through the serial port using Passport Alchemy and it did not sound the same as when the audio passes through the A to D.

    If anyone has audio of the TX16W please post it.

  10. I would love seeing an Akai S5000 VST, including the EQ filters, reverb and delays from the FX card. The EQ filters were genius. Anyone else?

  11. Regarding the comments about the Emax, yes, they sounded amazing. The low pass filter especially. Biggest problem I had with it though, was the midi response time. So slow!

    I’ve never used a TX16W though, and don’t remember ever seeing any for sale or hearing about anyone using them even. That said, I like how it’s apparently been so accurately reproduced with this plugin. It would be great to see more old samplers done the same way, even down to their limited sampling time.

  12. Hello

    I owned 2 TX16W’s and a license for the Typhoon OS (which was a breeze to use compared to the Yamaha OS). The main thing that kept me running ths sampler for years was the sound of the unit. I still use some of the samples produced on those units oh so many years ago.

    Regards and thank you Magnus for the gift.


  13. Ooooh i had one of these around 15 years ago.
    I ended up dropping it off at the local recycling center, couldn’t even sell it on ebay.
    Oh well like someone said it is just for fun, I know I won’t be buying this fun fun software emu.,
    For me the fun was getting rid of this machine to free up space in my studio.

  14. just tried this out…it is pretty cool. It sounds like it should…and i did some sampling and overdriving during sampling definitely gives you that vibe that i’m after from using an oldschool sampler.

    the interpolation is a bit too smooth for me (But it hink that also goes for the hardware unit aswell)

    i really enjoy that you can use the cursor keys instead of just the arrows on the GUI.

    I don’t know what the original OS was like..but that Typhoon OS is easy. I just wish you could modulate the start times with CCs or VEL..

    here is the sound of the original hardware’s ability to make things pretty lo-fi and cool:

    great fun!



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