Tone Generator

The Yamaha TG500 is, more or less, the rack version of the SY85.  When this module came out, it was the first to offer a 64-voice polyphony.  In 1993, this was a big deal, because back then 8-16 voices were still acceptable, and 24-32 would have been considered very good.

The TG500 features the improved AWM2, Yamaha's 2nd-generation Advanced Wave Memory technology.  There's plenty of memory: 8MB of waveform ROM, and even an Expandable Waveform RAM:  up to 1MB of waveform RAM can be installed to allow loading of external samples via waveform cards or the MIDI Sample Dump protocol.

Voices can be played individually, or up to four voices can be combined
and “layered” to form performance combinations.  The TG500 has 384 presets including 252 voices, 4 multi-instrument drum voices, and 128 performance combinations. 192 internal RAM locations additionally
store 126 voices, 2 drum voices, and 64 performance combinations.


The TG500 also provides RAM memory for 16 multi-play setups.  Programmable digital filters allow the TG500 sound to be tailored as required.  The filters also feature a resonance parameter equivalent to that found on the SY77 and SY99 Music Synthesizers.

The basic quality of the TG500 voices is further enhanced by a range of programmable effects offering quality rivaling some of the finest separate signal processing systems.

Other Features:
• Slots for dual external memory card sets (VOICE and WAVE).
• Easy-to-read 24-character × 2-line backlit LCD display.
• Recognizes individual key aftertouch.
• Stereo L/R and 4 individual audio outputs.


Yamaha TG500 audio demos in mp3

Here are the Yamaha TG500's on board demo songs:


1 R.Y.O

2 Unity

3 Cyborg

and here are demos from the unit:

Stream all Preset Voice I mp3 examples below

Preset Voice I
Voice name with audio demo My comments
00 AP Grand A spiky, expressive and powerful concert grand piano.
02 AP Dance Typical early '90s house piano, similar to the classic Korg M1 piano
04 AP Tack Cool prepared piano sound, works great even for ragtime
06 BA Wood Warm contrabass.
08 BA Fingr Realistic fingered electric bass
09 BA Frtls Beautiful chorused fretless bass, typical fusion style.
10 BA Pick1 Picked electric bass with a nice tone.
15 BA Syn 2 Nice analog+FMish synth bass
17 BA Syn 4 Moogy.
18 BA Syn 5 Classic '80s synth bass.
19 BA Syn 6 Superbly expressive resonant synth bass.
25 BA Syn12 Reminds of the ARP Odyssey tone in Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon".
26 BR Trump Quality trumpet.
27 BR Mute Classic muted jazz trumpet
38 BR Syn 2 Fantastic, warm and synthy analog brass.
44 BR Tooth Nice Oberheim style syn brass.
46 BR Toto Does a very good job emulating the FM brass used by Steve Porcaro of Toto.
48 CH Aah Airy, spacious choir - great as a pad also.
49 CH Ooh Typical pop choir
54 CH Vespa Barbershop vocals
55 CH Vocod Nice vocoder vox
56 FI Blue1 Sweet blues harmonica
60 FI DulcM Nice dulcimer sound
61 FI Harp Warm and nice
63 DR Kit Excellent, punchy and realistic drums.

Stream all Preset Voice II mp3 examples below


Preset Voice II
Voice name with audio demo My comments
00 FI Lip Beautiful, smooth whistling sound
01 FI Sitar Nice sitar patch
02 GT Nylon Fantastic flamenco guitar
07 GT Strt1 Beautiful Stratocaster through reverb and delay
15 GT Warm Great electric guitar with creamy distortion.
18 KY EP 1 Superb Fender Rhodes electric piano, responds realistically to velocity.  Mod wheel adds classic tremolo effect.
19 KY EP 2 Pop version of the electric piano, mellow and romantic - perfect for ballads.
21 KY EP 4 Classic DX7 FM piano.  The modulation wheel adds the symphonic effect (chorus-like).
30 KY Clav1 Powerful Hohner Clavinet reproduction.
33 KY Acrdn Charming accordion patch.
35 KY Cali2 Divine calliope voice!
38 ME Grind Stunning special effect
40 ME Kali A kalimba from outer space
41 ME Mello Enchanting twirly pad
43 ME Orch2 Classic orchestra hits
46 ME Templ Fantastic ethnic percussion
50 OR Jaz B Standard Hammond B-3.  Mod wheel engages fast spinning rotary speaker.
55 OR Pipes Angelic church harmonium

Stream all Preset Voice III mp3 examples below


Preset Voice III
Voice name with audio demo My comments
01 SC Digi3 Classic 1980s comp synth (FM + analog combination)
02 SC Ecko Another great '80s comp synth
04 SC Housy Elegant and classic house-style analog synth
11 SC Spike Interesting and different cross between synth and FM bass.
15 SC Vocal Cool vox type
18 SC Wondr Beautiful patch, perfect for modern styles
22 SE Chou Superb sci-fi fx
24 SE Dropr Another excellent sci-fi effect
27 SE Hell yep...
28 SE Hyena ridens
30 SE It Cool!
35 SE S&H Inside the alien mother ship...
36 SE Star Flying by..
37 SE Up&Up It never stops!
40 SL Digi Stunning resonant synth, perfect for expressive solos or comps.
47 SL Saw 2 Minimoog'ish
50 SL Whisl Another great analog lead
51 SP Abyss Gorgeous synth pad
55 SP Glass Pure crystalline beauty.
56 SP Goner Nice vector-style evolving synth.
57 SP Hyper Marvelous shifting pad
60 SP Movie Perfect for soundtracks
62 SP Nehan Just a great, moving pad.
63 DR GMIDI Very nice drum set that follows the General MIDI layout (more or less.)

Stream all Preset Voice IV mp3 examples below

Preset Voice IV
Voice name with audio demo My comments
01 SP Phaze Happy synth strings
03 SP SawSt Deliciously '80s
08 SP Sweep Gentle, evolving pad
09 SP Sweet Ravishing string synth
13 ST JeanL Presumably inspired by great Jean-Luc Ponty's violin tone
14 ST Sectn Nice chamber string orchestra
15 ST Power Beautiful and ominous at the same time
17 ST Dark Classic string ensemble, useful for many styles of music.
19 ST Arco Realistic and expressive
27 ST Combo Fantastic synthesized strings.
28 TP Glock Beautiful, dreamy glockenspiel
33 TP Siam Interesting ethnic percussion
36 TP Bambu Nice
38 TP Timp Realistic orchestral timpani
44 WN Sopr Expressive soprano saxophone.
45 WN Alto Soulful alto sax
46 WN Tenor Nice and jazzy tenor sax
47 WN Bari And here's a cool baritone sax
49 WN Picc Piccolo flute with outstanding vibrato
53 WN Oboe Very nice
63 DR Efect Showing off the excellent effects section of the TG500.

Stream all Internal Voice I mp3 examples below

Internal Voice I
Voice name with audio demo My comments
01 AP Dark Incredibly beautiful grand piano eq'd for classical music.
04 BA Soul Super cool shake-the-room synth bass
07 BA Head Nice acid bassline
08 BA Tri You need to have big woofers to hear this... standard for drum 'n' bass
13 BR CS80 The classic and rare Yamaha analog polysynth...
20 CH Analg Charming analog vox.
24 FI Koto Incredibly expressive koto.
28 GT Amod Superb tremolo guitar a la David Lynch/Twin Peaks
31 GT Dist2 Mega-distorted guitar chords
41 ME Bnshe Silly banshees
42 ME Bubbl Very cool special effect
45 ME Mojo Typical early/mid '90s house/techno chord
46 ME Poot Wash of synth
47 ME Sweep Good resonant filters in this machine.
49 ME Treml Reminds of the Korg M1 and its successors...
52 OR Door0 Classic Vox Continental organ as used by The Doors
53 OR Jazz Another good Hammond organ with Leslie
57 SC Anti Superb '80s comp synth.
59 SC Bhind More synths from the '80s.

Stream all Internal Voice II mp3 examples below

Internal Voice II
Voice name with audio demo My comments
00 SC Hool Nice Wurlitzer-like electric piano
06 SC Reflx Springy metallic synth.
08 SC Thumb Excellent, chorused slap bass.
09 SC Uzzy Very responsive, resonant filters, a joy to play.
14 SE Alien This is actually scary!
15 SE Clox The clock shop's gone crazy.
16 SE Crck A summer night
18 SE Duel Perfect to score independent sci-fi movies
19 SE Fear Cool progressive metallic synth.
21 SE Lava Too close to the volcano!
26 SE Vaqum Good sound effect, useful.
27 SE Vektr Cool vector-like synth
29 SL Ick Different.  Fun.
30 SL 2VCO1 Classic '70s analog modular synth sound.
34 SL Sqsaw Nice solo synth
36 SP 1980 Even 1983 I'd say.
39 SP Glas2 Pureness.
48 SP Ray Reminds of Vangelis, Tomita, and the other '70s greats.
51 ST Cntra Very realistic contrabass.
61 WN Flut1 Nice flute

Stream all Preset Performance I mp3 examples below

Preset Performance I
Performance name with audio demo My comments
00 CO Dream Stupendous.  Stupendous.
02 SP Aztec Very nice, airy synth vox pad.
08 CO Soire Elegant piano.
18 SP Faery Superb evolving pad.
20 CH OohAh Awesome - this reminds me of the backing vox pads used by Enya.
32 CO Jazzr Typical contrabass/ride cymbal on the left + piano on the right.  Velocity adds crash too.
33 OR Gimme Incredible emulation of Steve Winwood's organ sound in "Gimme Some Lovin'"!
37 BA Rezzo Powerful synth bass.
40 CO E.S.P Hypnotic performance, very seventies, a la Ashra Tempel
42 SP Stars Perfect for ambient/new age
49 OR Nave Another great church organ.
50 SP Ace Lost in it.
52 CH Comet Beautiful.
53 BA Guppy Very guppy.  Whatever that means.
55 BR Fatti Quintessential synth brass.  Very Jupiter-8.
56 CO Inca Great setup.

Stream all Preset Performance II mp3 examples below

Preset Performance II
Performance name with audio demo My comments
02 SP Carol Merry Christmas
03 SL Mitey Mighty modular indeed...
04 ME Orion Superb syn pad.
06 SE Rolls Outstanding special fx
20 ME Honto Flying saucers
38 SE Zoom Washing machine in space
44 ME Alien The good alien.
48 CO Kings Seriously good choir.
54 SE Flies Fun
56 CO Happi Killer little setup!
59 TP Bells Very good quality.
60 ME Hit When only sampled waves will do...

Stream all Internal Performance mp3 examples below

Internal Performance
Performance name with audio demo My comments
00 CO Aster Incredibly beautiful setup, with synth bass+ana-strings, and a Mellotron'ish flute
02 SP Mtrix Oberheim influence here...
04 ME Sprk2 The perfect new age pad...
15 BA Susud Presumably inspired by Phil Collins' "Sussudio"'s bass line.
19 GT Pedal Decent pedal steel guitar.
34 ME Chorl Fantasy pad.
42 SP Wind Elegant and charming strings.
48 CO Nuage For busy new age tracks.
51 CO Japan Pardon my (very) limited knowledge of Asian playing techniques...
58 ST Solo Nicely expressive violin.
60 GT Wires Very U2.
63 CO Fire This reminds me of the (great) Generalmusic S-series.


Yamaha TG500 specifications

Factory Voices & Performances:

AP ...............Acoustic Piano
KY ...............Keyboard
BR ...............Brass
BA ...............Bass
GT ...............Guitar
FI .................Folk Instruments
WN ..............Wind
CH ...............Chorus
TP................Tuned Percussion
SP ...............Synth Pad
SC ...............Synth Comp
SL................Synth Lead
ME...............Musical Effect
SE ...............Sound Effect
DR ...............Drums


Year of release: 1993
Polyphony: 64
Sound generation method: AWM2
Preset memories 4x64 preset voices, 2x64 internal voices, 2x64 preset performances, 1x64 internal performances
MIDI: in, out, thru
Sound expansion capabilities: 2 sets of data/waveform card slots
Sequencer no
Arpeggiator no
Effects yes


Yamaha TG500 Factory Reset (initialize)

Power on the TG500 while pressing "PLAY MODE", "UTILITY/SELECT" and "EXIT" at the same time.  the display will briefly show

== TG500 Initialize ==
Internal memory vanished    :-)

An alternative method found on the internet is:

Power the TG500 on and then:

[-1]=AUTO,  [+1]=MANUAL

Yamaha TG500 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)


Yamaha TG500 manuals

available at



SITE Type of resource DESCRIPTION home page  

Yamaha TG500 review with audio demo