Yamaha TG100 AWM Tone Generator

Yamaha TG100 AWM General MIDI Synth Introduction

The Yamaha TG100 was Yamaha's foray into the small, computer side, General MIDI synth, aimed at gamers and hobby musicians (this was before Yamaha introduced their XG line). Of course, Roland had a lock on this, somewhat small market already going back to the MT-32 and CM/GS line.

Yamaha TG100 AWM Tone Generator

Around the time of the TG100's release, Roland introduced the SC-55 Sound Canvas. While the TG100 was based around 12 bit PCM samples, the Sound Canvas was pushing all 16 bit samples. The resulting sound difference made a lot of people skip over the TG100 and go straight to the SC-55.

All that being said, there is still room in my setup for the TG100. I occasionally use it for General MIDI playback in a game here and there. The TG100's sound quality is actually decent for the market and price point it was trying to hit. It just got outgunned by Roland and the mass of wavetable sound cards that hit the market soon after.

Yamaha TG100 rear ports showing serial port for direct connection to Mac or PC

It had the standard features of a “computer side” GM synth of the time, such as the ability to directly connect to a Mac or PC via a built-in 8 pin mini-DIN serial port. This meant that the user did not have to purchase a separate MIDI interface. The TG100 also had an audio input port. These were used to route sound from your computer's internal sound card through to the MIDI music of an external GM synth. This was primarily used with games that had some in-game digitized sounds that would play through your sound card, but that also supported General MIDI music. This way you could play your game and have the external synth play the GM music, but still be able to hear any digitized sounds that the game designers had included.

Additional Yamaha TG100 Pics

Yamaha TG100 complete front panel Yamaha TG100 showing its cool little MIDI velocity meter capability Yamaha TG100 editing buttons and volume control area Yamaha TG100 closeup of LCD tick marks Yamaha TG100 bottom manufacturer's label

Yamaha TG100 Tech Specs

Synth Type / Synthesis Branding AWM Advanced Wave Memory (not Waveform Modulation as is sometimes written)
Waveform Data 140 12 bit PCM samples
Waveform ROM 2 Mb
FM Chip none whatsoever, this is AWM only, if you add FM to AWM Yamaha calls that DASS (Dual Architectural Synthesis System)
Stock Patches 192 factory patches plus 10 drum kits with space for 64 user patches
Low Frequency Oscillator one, semi-editable
Filter None at all, what do you expect at this price point?
Portamento yes, via MIDI sysex, like semi-portamento
Polyphony 28 Notes
Timbrality 16 Part Multitimbral
Built-In Effects six different kinds of reverb and two kinds of delays
LCD 1x16 LCD screen
Production Years 1991 to UNKNOWN

How to Reset the Yamaha TG100 to Factory Default Settings

With the TG100 turned on hold down the PART and EDIT buttons simultaneously Press EDIT repeatedly until you see “Init All: Sure?” on the LCD screen. Now press the +1/YES button to initialize the TG100.

Yamaha TG100 FYI

  • The TG100 has a kool little mode where it operates as a MIDI note velocity meter. When put in Velocity Meter mode, it will display a bar graph on the little LCD indicating the MIDI velocity level of the incoming notes (press PART and EDIT simultaneously and press EDIT again until you see “VeloMeter: auto” then use the +1/YES and -1/NO buttons to switch between the three modes).
  • In 1993 Yamaha released the CBX-T3 which was essentially a slightly cheaper TG100 without an LCD screen. While it could be argued that the TG100 was meant for musicians, the beige, vertical standing CBX-T3 was definitely marketed to the General MIDI game crowd. For some odd reason, some CBX-T3 units have green LEDs and others have amber, strange.
  • Like the Korg AG-10 and the various Roland units such as the SC-7, the TG100 has an 8 pin mini-DIN connector on its rear panel for a direct connection to a Mac or a PC without the need for a dedicated MIDI interface.
  • The TG100 (and CBX-T3) has a “C/M” mode that claims to be semi compatible with the Roland CM and MT-32 line of synths.

Yamaha TG100 Documentation

Please feel free to visit our Yamaha TG100 warehouse page containing manuals for the TG100 and the CBX-T3.

Yamaha TG100 AC Adapter Information

Original AC Adapter Model Yamaha PA-1505
Output Voltage 15 Volts DC
Max. Current Draw 500mA
Pin Configuration Center Positive
DC Power In Connector Outer Diameter 5.5mm
DC Power In Connector Interior Diameter 2.1mm
Note Like many of Yamaha's 15V units, the TG100 will function just fine with considerably less voltage, 12V for example works with no problems.

A Few Yamaha TG100 Links

YouTube Vid Pitting the TG100 Against the SC-55

This video compares the Yamaha TG100 and the Roland SC-55 Sound Canvas with several of the classic DOS games of the time such as Doom, Descent and Duke Nukem 3D. NOTE: unfortunately there is no actual video in this “video”, just the music comparisons. The Roland music plays first directly followed by the Yamaha version.