Typhoon FAQ, Part 1: Introduction, Features, and Trivia

Last updated March 2, 2005
The Typhoon FAQ is divided into three parts. The other parts are:

Table of Contents, Part 1

About the FAQ

This document is exclusively about the operating system Typhoon running on the Yamaha TX16W sampler. For all other information about the TX16W sampler (including the Yamaha operating system, TX16W technical details, the mailing list, the archive, tricks & tips and more), check out the TX16W WWW page at http://www.t0.or.at/~mpakesch/tx16w/.

Here are links to some other files of interest:

Disclaimer: All the information in this document is unofficial and potentially wrong and out of date. However, I think most of it is rather accurate and up to date. If you find anything wrong, please send mail to Pierre Gander (pierregander@hotmail.com) about it!

This FAQ was compiled by Pierre Gander (pierregander@hotmail.com), from the TX16W mailing list and from my own experience (I've owned Typhoon since December 1993). Thanks to everyone on the list for their contributions. Some parts of this FAQ was simply copied from the TX16W FAQ created by Mark Lakata (lakata@nsdssp.lbl.gov). Also thanks to Magnus Lidström (cucumber@stacken.kth.se) for details about Typhoon.

Suggestions, corrections or comments to this FAQ are very welcome.

The latest version of this FAQ can be found at http://www.pierregander.com/typhoon/.


[This section contains the info first released from Nuedge about Typhoon in 1993: /Editor's note]

TYPHOON OS development group:

Magnus Lidstroem
Fredrik Lidstrom
Alexander Jean-Claude Bottema
Torsten Alm

What is Typhoon?

Typhoon is a new operating system for the Yamaha TX16W sampler, entirely replacing the poorly written original Yamaha OS. The operating system was written by disgruntled TX16W users on their own, entirely from scratch.

This OS will transform your TX16W into a completely new and fresh machine that will stand strong for many years yet to come.

N.B.: note that Typhoon waves, voices and performances has nothing to do with the waves, voices and performances (respectively) in the Yamaha OS. [But the old Yamaha waves can be read. /Editor's note] The horrible term "timbre" doesn't exist and everything has a dynamic feeling- no more edit buffers.

Typhoon Release 1.0

[Typhoon Release 1.0 was first available in December 1993. /Editor's note]

Typhoon version 1.0 is now available for $159. It is a fully operational and well tested version which includes all the features promised in earlier information. However, two features that we feel are of importance are yet to be implemented: an "import routine" for loading setups created with the Yamaha OS and a "system backup" routine for creating a backup of the system diskette. In a short time (hopefully within a couple of months) version 1.0 will be replaced with version 1.1 which will include both these facilities. Upgrading will be free of charge except for manufacturing and handling costs [about $15]. (The full price for v1.1 has not yet been decided.)

NuEdge home page on the World Wide Web

The NuEdge home page is at http://www.nuedge.net.

Typhoon Specifications

What are the advantages of Typhoon compared to Yamaha?

It's pretty difficult to compare the Typhoon OS with the Yahama OS, since Typhoon is entirely different. Although, some prominent features are:

(Typhoon v1.0:)

(Typhoon 2000:)

What are the limitations?

The most of the limitations have been eliminated by work arounds in software. You still can't sample audio longer than 262k samples, or approximately 8 seconds using 33 kHz, due to a serious hardware limitation. Similarly the loop can't get larger than 131k samples.

Another issue is the usage of the individual outputs. Because of hardware limitations, it is still the case that the usage of the individual outputs implies a special mode (where 8 audio channels are reserved for the individual outputs and the rest for I/II) pretty similar to the Yamaha OS, but slightly more flexible in Typhoon due to the dynamic voice allocation.

The "Resample" feature isn't about sampling the outputs of the TX16W back into itself. Unfortunately, this is impossible due to hardware limitations. (As a point aside Typhoon, it would technically be possible to resample from the outputs into the sample input, but then no dynamic changes to the sound can be used, i.e. envelopes, filters, modulations, etc, and the notes had to be started before the sampling occured, and all this would be rather limiting. This info comes from Magnus Lidström)

(See also the section Missing features for features from the Yamaha OS not currently supported in Typhoon release 1.0.)

How much memory does Typhoon consume?

Approximately 128K and 64K of wave memory (where the filter tables are stored.) There are separate 128K RAM reserved for the system on the TX16W motherboard, so only 64K of the wave memory are consumed.

Albeit some data structures are stored in wave memory, it's pretty negligable compared to the memory that are consumed by waves. Note that the Yamaha OS consumes approximately 700K, and still you've got to swap for some functions. Hence, by using Typhoon, you'll actually gain 700K-128K-64K ~= 500K!

Is Sample Dump Standard (SDS) implemented in Typhoon?

Yes. You can originate a sample dump from Typhoon to a computer, and Typhoon automatically goes into receive mode if the computer sends a sample. There is a nice little bar graph display that shows the progress of the dump.

What is Typhoon's implementation of SysEx?

Besides SDS (Sample Dump Standard), there is no System Exclusive handling.

What sound file formats are supported by Typhoon?

Typhoon supports only the three following sound file formats; AIFF, AIFFC (DWVW compression) and Yamaha waves used by the original operating system. However since Typhoon supports the SDS (Sample Dump Standard) you can exchange samples via MIDI with any software supporting this standard.

Thoughts and Trivia on Typhoon

Why should I bother with Typhoon. Why not sell my TX16W and buy something else?

There does not exist a both cheap and good sampler on the market. With Typhoon, the TX16W becomes competitive with the more expensive ones. Now, with Typhoon 2000 available as freeware, there are good reasons to keep your TX16W.

Software samplers are starting to come onto the scene, but they still require a top speed computer to run comfortably alongside your other music software. Furthermore, you will need to get a high quality sound card with 10 audio outputs if you want to match the TX16W's capabilities.

What is Typhoon like (to use)?

This is a common question, but one that is difficult to answer. Below I have quoted what some people on the list have said about it, to get you an idea of the more subjective sides of the matter:
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 09:00:09 -0700
From: Adam Horvitz (abomb@primenet.com):

"with the Yamaha OS I was
always afraid to add samples, voices, or alter the Performances after I
"stored" and especially after it had been saved to disk... would always
lose something in the process (esp. voices). In order to add/subtract in
the past I'd have to format new disks (hope it didn't crash in the process,
cause it would under low memory situations), transfer just the wave forms,
and then creat all new voices and performances... what a royal pain in the
ass. So much time was wasted. Working with Typhoon all weekend made my life
Vlad Spears (spears@sybase.com) adds:
"I fully agree.  My TX's are now lean, mean sampling machines.  It's almost
an unbelievable transformation, and I recommend this program to anyone who
uses their TX on a regular basis.  If you don't use your machine because of
the wanked Yamaha OS, buy this one.  You'll find yourself actually enjoying
the (minimal) time you spend setting up your samples."

Why the name Typhoon?

Torsten Alm (totte@dnex.se) of the NuEdge development team is the man behind the name. He says he came up with the name from thinking about the W in TX16W for 'wave' and then associating to the sea and wind. After considering several types of wind he picked the one that sounded the best (and wasn't copyrighted) and ended up with Typhoon.

Additional sample compression

Although the Typhoon Compressed format is supposed to be one of the best lossless sound sample compression formats, on some samples you can get at least as high as 30% additional compression when using PKZip (version 2.04g was used). This could be useful to try if you have little space available.

Disk drive in Typhoon

Typhoon reads regular 720k DOS formatted floppy disks, contrary to Yamaha OS which is limited to MSX-DOS format.
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 1997 05:31:57 -0800
From: Schaaf (schaaf@alice.adsnet.com)
Subject: Re: Floppy Drives Again

One additional advantage with Typhoon is that it puts a lot less wear and
tear on the drive. It doesn't constantly do nasty disk reads like Yam-OS.
Typhoon puts the FAT into the limited system RAM. This is one reason why
grafting a hard drive or even 1.4meg drive onto Typhoon is probably
impossible, at least for us mortals.

Did NuEdge get help from Yamaha when developing Typhoon?

The following came by way of Tony Uccello (tonyu@torcomp.com) 24 Oct 1997:
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 22:10:15 +0200
From: "Fredrik Lidström" (f103@physto.se)
Subject: Re: TX16W specifications request.

Hi Tony,

NuEdge Development did not recieve any help from Yamaha Corp. in developing
Typhoon. All we recieved from Yamaha was their blessing and a very good
luck. I guess you are, as we were, on your own at this one.

Fredrik Lidström - NuEdge Development

Is the source code for Typhoon available?

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 23:01:12 -0400
From: Ed Edwards (edwards@erols.com)

. . .
As you (as well as Magnus) know, I have asked for a licence to the
source code for Typhoon.  We have proposed to make NO PROFIT off the
upgrade.  We just want to further the development of what NuEdge
started.  We asked them if they would allow us to develop an upgrade and
send all profits to them.  NuEdge did not respond.

Are there more information on Typhoon available?

There is a 4 and a half page long review of it in Sound on Sound (June '94 issue). The conclusion goes like this:

NuEdge claim that Typhoon transforms the TX16W: this is certainly true. The extensive modulation mapping features alone turn the TX16W into a very playable instrument. There really is no question about the comparison with the original Yamaha OS; if you have or use a TX16W then Typhoon is a must.

There have probably been reviews in most large keyboard and music technology magazines, but the details about this are missing.

Typhoon 2000

What are the new features in Typhoon 2000?

Typhoon 2000, released by NuEdge, is free and can be downloaded at http://www.nuedge.net/typhoon2000/Typhoon2000.htm.

The most prominent new features in Typhoon 2000 are:

What Is Improved In Typhoon 2000?

There are a lot of improvements in Typhoon 2000, both feature-wise and quality-wise. These are some of the most notable improvements:

(The above text was taken from the NuEdge home page.)

For overly interested people, here are the features that was promised for version 1.1, so that you can compare (as stated when v1.0 was shipped):

The sheet supplied with version 1.0 of Typhoon also mentions a few other features planned for future versions (but which probably won't make it to v1.1):

The Typhoon wave file format

Thanks to Dave Huizing (stallion@worldonline.nl) we have documentations of the Typhoon and the aiff-c file formats. Here's what he writes:
fmt_typh.doc (or .rtf) is a filedscription of the compression format on the
Typhoon file format which is actualy the aiff-c format.
The aiff-c.z file is a Z compressed postscript file of this aiff-c format.
and they can be found at:

ftp://ftp.t0.or.at/pub/sound/tx16w/faq/formats/aiff-c.z              102 Kb

ftp://ftp.t0.or.at/pub/sound/tx16w/faq/formats/fmt_typh.doc           18 Kb

ftp://ftp.t0.or.at/pub/sound/tx16w/faq/formats/fmt_typh.rtf           20 Kb





How to get Typhoon

Typhoon 2000 is available for free downloading at http://www.nuedge.net/typhoon2000/Typhoon2000.htm.

Last updated March 2, 2005 by
Pierre Gander (pierregander@hotmail.com)