What is Cyclone?
Sonic Charge Cyclone is a free software emulation of the Yamaha TX16W sampler from 1988. It was written to celebrate that 20 years have passed since the first release of Typhoon for TX16W. Typhoon is an alternative operating system for the TX16W and offers lots of improvements over the original Yamaha operating system. Typhoon was developed by Magnus Lidström who later formed Sonic Charge. The last version of Typhoon is the free Typhoon 2000 and this is the version that runs in Cyclone.
How does it work?
Cyclone is a true hardware emulator. It simulates all the important circuits of the Yamaha TX16W, including the main 68000 CPU, the DSP circuits, the DACs, the ADC and the floppy drive. Much effort has been made to create authentic simulations of all sound generating circuits. You can expect Cyclone to sound 99.9% identical to a real hardware TX16W and it runs the exact same software as a real hardware TX16W.
Where do I find sounds?
Except for the demo sounds on the Typhoon disk we have chosen not to distribute any sounds with the Cyclone installation. You should be able to find links to sound archives in other posts on this forum.
How do I load sounds?
Unless the sounds that you have found are in .fxb or .aupreset format you need to load them manually from disk image files.
Follow these steps to load disk images that contain Typhoon sounds:
- Click the drive to select an .img file. (This does not load anything. It just inserts the virtual disk into the virtual drive.)
- [System Setup]
-  or [+1] until you get to [Load *]
- [>] to [Go] and [Enter]
- Wait and follow any instructions on the display.
- Click [Performance Select], [Voice Edit] or [Wave Edit] and [+1]/[-1] to browse the sounds.
Use the same steps for loading Yamaha disks except that you should choose [8.Import] instead of [7.Load *].
Notice that some disk images do not have Performances. Some don't even have Voices, just Waves. Furthermore, [Load *] and [Import] do not automatically clear the memory before loading the new sounds. To empty the TX16W entirely, use [System Setup] [Utility] [4.Items] [Delete] [2=All] [Go] or simply click the power button to reboot the TX16W.
I have a zip file containing TX16W files, how can I load them?
Typhoon cannot access files on your computer directly. You need to create a disk image with the files you want to load. Here is one way:
- Unzip the .zip if necessary.
- Go to http://soniccharge.com/floppybaker
- If there are already files in the box on the page, click remove all.
- Drag and drop the files you want to load to the big box page on the page.
- Click the smaller box at the top to enter a name for the floppy.
- Click bake .img file to bake and download the disk image file.
In OS X it is also possible to mount .img files directly in Finder by simply double-clicking them.
Why is this so complicated?
Remember that we are emulating a piece of music machinery from 1988 that runs an operating system that was written between 1991 and 1993 (with some final changes in 1999). All the restrictions of the original machine are there and the software (Typhoon 2000) has not been modified in any way to benefit from almost 20 years of technology advances. Regard Cyclone as a time travel portal to an era from the past. An era of monster dinosaur samplers.
Why is loading so slow?
The emulated floppy drive is "infinitely" fast, but the emulated 68000 CPU (that runs Typhoon) is not. It runs at a fixed rate of 8Mhz to ensure stability and correct audio. The downside to this is that it restricts the transfer rate from the floppy drive too. Notice that you can save the entire state of the machine including all sounds currently in memory to .fxb or .aupreset files. These files load "infinitely" fast.
Can the software be improved?
It depends on what sort of improvements we are talking about. Typhoon 2000 is the last version of Typhoon and in practice it can not be updated. The last time it was compiled was in 1999, using a home made build environment on a Mac that was already old at the time. Recreating this build environment on a modern machine would be a huge, if not impossible task. The emulator (Cyclone) on the other hand can of course be updated.
Can I use the computer keyboard?
Yes. In most hosts you can use the numerical keys, enter, -, cursor up / down (for +1 / -1), cursor left, right and F1 to F8 (for the function buttons beneath the display). Sometimes you need to click the plug-in window to activate it before the keys work.
Can it sample?
Yes, provided that your DAW can route audio to an instrument plug-in. The sampling quality is very close to an original TX16W. Don't forget to turn up the input gain knob on the front panel.
What does the black button next to Voice Edit do?
This button says Filter Edit on a real TX16W, but it does not serve any purpose in Typhoon.
Is there a standalone version?
Not with this release, sorry. Only VST (and AU on Mac). But I can recommend VST Host for PC (http://hermannseib.com/english/) and VSTLord for Mac (http://arne.knup.de/).
Can it run original Yamaha OS?
Sorry, no. The emulator is complete enough to run Typhoon 2000 only. Running the original Yamaha OS would require including ROM that is copyrighted. Typhoon includes an import function that can load original Yamaha sound disks.
So, how do I use this thing, really?