Yamaha FB-01 Four OP FM Sound Generator

Yamaha FB-01 FM Sound Generator

The FB-01 is cool little four op FM synth module introduced by primarily as a means of supplying a multitimbral FM synth for background sequencing. The idea is that you use your DX7II as your main with the FB-01 filling in the background parts.

The FB-01 was also used by computer game designers as a way to add better sound quality to computer games of the time (same concept with the Roland MT-32). Several of the Sierra adventure games support the Yamaha FB-01 with a special driver built directly into the games.

The little FB-01 has gone through several bouts of being cool and then being considered seriously un-cool. Our position here at HOS has always been that of course a TX81Z will do most things better than an FB-01, but that does not mean that the FB-01 cannot have a place in your mix. Plus the red LCD has always been cool.

Yamaha FB-01 FYI

  • For some reason it is called the FB-01/u in the owner's manual, it is unclear what the "/u" was suppose to indicate.
  • The FB-01 is basically the synth module version of the Yamaha DX21 but with added eight part multitimbral capabilities.
  • There was a special FB-01 rack mount kit available separately from Yamaha at the time of production, but it is was rare even then.
  • The Yamaha CMX1 music computer has the equivalent of an FB-01 built right in.
  • The IBM Music Feature card (1987) for IBM personal computers is basically a Yamaha FB-01 on a ISA card.
  • The FB-01 actually has some FM synth settings that no others had at the time, such as the ability to alter the attack rate based on key velocity and the operator adjust property (an operator output override setting). Neither of these parameters existed in any other Yamaha FM synth prior to the SY77.

Yamaha FB-01 Tech Specs

Synth Type / Synthesis Branding four operator FM synthesis with eight algorithms (only sine wave carriers)
FM Chip OPP (YM2164)
Patches 240 plus 96 in for user memory
Low Frequency Oscillator one LFO
Filter none, there were no filters for Yamaha FM synths until much later
Portamento yes
Responds to Breath Controller Like most of Yamaha's FM synths, yes it does
Polyphony 8 Notes
Timbrality 8 Part Multitimbral
DAC Resolution 16 bit (Yamaha YM3012 chip)
Sequencer none
Built-In Effects no internal effects, some Yamaha documentation refers to effects but they are talking about things like pan and detune, not what we call fx today
Production Years 1985 or 1986 to UNKNOWN

How to Reset the Yamaha FB-01 to Factory Default Settings

Power the FB-01 off completely and then turn it back on while holding down the SYSTEM SET UP and INST SELECT and DATA ENTRY -1/NO buttons. Technically this is not a "factory reset" procedure. This put the FB-01 into test mode and as soon as it powers up it will immediately start a memory test. You will know that this test is completed when you see "S-RAM WRITE END" on the LCD. All user data is erased when the FB-01 is put into test mode.

Common FB-01 Repairs and Maintenance

For the most part, the FB-01 is rock solid. About the only thing that needs to be done is to replace the internal FB-01 lithium battery. It's a CR2032 so you can pick them up anywhere.

Some people claim that the buttons can stick over time. Opening up the unit and cleaning should resolve this issue, but use caution around the actual tact switches that are under the buttons and be sure not to drive grime into them (they have a 1mm stroke, just in case you need to replace one).

Yamaha FB-01 Documentation

Please feel free to visit our FB-01 warehouse page containing owners and service manuals for the FB-01.

Yamaha FB-01 Questions

  • When was the FB-01 actually released by Yamaha? Some say 1985 others say 1986?
  • What does the “FB” in Yamaha FB-01 stand for?