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Alphaville 80s sounds
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gurujon
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#1
11th February 2013
Old 11th February 2013
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Alphaville 80s sounds

I am working on some AV-cover songs And I trying to capture the sound of the Forever young album. Ive nailed most of the sounds, but some still missing.
Does anyone know anything about this production?
Did they use some special boxes for effects?
Lexicon 224? CE-1? Spring reverbs?
Also im curious about the big in japan intro sound.
Is it a sample from the PPG library mixed with JP-8?
Its similar to a sound in Get your kicks - Fancy.
And that weird fretless bassline, it doesnt sound like PPG, but there no credited bass player, and the band surely dont play bassguitar.

I have a lot of questions, but I think this is enough for now

I appreciate any help.
#2
11th February 2013
Old 11th February 2013
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JX8P for pads. Or for VST use OPX pro
#3
11th February 2013
Old 11th February 2013
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In an Alphaville forum there was an answer from Bernard Lloyd, one of the members of the band:

FY-album:

roland jupiter 8 (synthezizer)
roland m 100 system (monophonic-synthezizer)
arp odyssey (monophonic-synthezizer)
korg ms 20 (monophonic-synthezizer)
korg ms 10 (monophonic-synthezizer)
korg sq 10 (sequenzer)
mfb fricke (sequenzer)
ppg wave 2.3 (wavetable-synthezizer)
ppg waveterm (sequencer/sampler)
linn lm 1 (drummachine)
roland tr 808 (drummachine)
simmons (drumsynthezizer)
hohner string
solina string


AIU-album:

roland jupiter 8 (synthezizer)
yamaha dx 7 (synthezizer)
yamaha tx 816 (synthezizer)
korg dw 8000 (synthezizer)
ppg wave 2.3 (wavetable-synthezizer)
ppg waveterm (sequencer/sampler)
korg sqd 1 (sequencer)
linn drum (drummachine)
roland tr 808 (drummachine)
simmons (drumsynthezizer)
solina string


BTB-album:

roland jupiter 8 (synthezizer)
yamaha dx 7 (synthezizer)
yamaha tx 816 (synthezizer)
korg dw 8000 (synthezizer)
roland d 50 (synthezizer)
roland s 50 (sampler)
emu emax (sampler)
korg m 1 (synthezizer)
sequential prophet vs (synthezizer)
ppg wave 2.3 (wavetable-synthezizer)
ppg waveterm (sequencer/sampler)
yamaha qx 1 (seqencer)
akai mpc 60 (drummachine/seqencer)
linn drum (drummachine)
roland tr 808 (drummachine)
atari computer/creator software
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gurujon
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11th February 2013
Old 11th February 2013
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Thanks for your replies!
I already had that list, but thanks anyway.
You can add Simmons sdsV to the list. The simmons
drumsynth is most likely the sds 3 and the waveterm is A.
And Curt Cress played the sds7 on some of the tracks.
Wolfgang Loos played a Gibson guitar on Big in Japan.
Everything was recorded on a Tascam tape recorder.
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11th February 2013
Old 11th February 2013
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Do you know what was used to play the pad on forever young the song? I'm not the biggest fan when it comes to 80s cheese, but that shit melts your face off.
gurujon
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11th February 2013
Old 11th February 2013
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Yes, I do Actually, I already made a complete cover version of Forever Young, and I think it sounds very much true to the original.
Its complex, multilayered. In short:
Its a PPG wave mixed with Jupiter-8 pad. Go through the wavetables in the PPG and you will find the sound. You just need to tweak the filters a little. The PPG sound is the foundation, it is the very first sound you hear in the song.
#7
12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gurujon View Post
Yes, I do Actually, I already made a complete cover version of Forever Young, and I think it sounds very much true to the original.
Its complex, multilayered. In short:
Its a PPG wave mixed with Jupiter-8 pad. Go through the wavetables in the PPG and you will find the sound. You just need to tweak the filters a little. The PPG sound is the foundation, it is the very first sound you hear in the song.
Cool man, I'm glad you were able to reconstruct that stuff. Doesn't the PPG use digital wave samples? I woulda thought that was all analog.
#8
12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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Which synths used is one thing how 80’s music where mixed. The loudness war rearmament where still a few years ahead. The music produced in the 80’s had dynamics and lots of effects.
Try to cut back on the compressors and let the music live. Also don’t be afraid to use some lush reverbs, chorus. Then you think it is too much reverb, add a little more.:D

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gurujon
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12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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Demokid, thanks for your advice! I think youre right about the reverb :D
It sounds like they use some special effects, some metallic-ish sounding reverb? Is there a special reverb unit with such character? I was thinking maybe L224?

StringBean, Thank you! Im no expert on the PPG and I use the VSTi plug, but I think it is 8 bit waves, 8-part multitimbral with internal sequencer and 12 bit sampler in one huge package. (v.2.3)
The magic with the PPG is perhaps analog circuits and filters? Im just guessing.
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12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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Forever Young is probably one of my favorite albums of that era.
After hearing Big in Japan incessantly on the radio, I started with the 12" single then went full on with the album.
Incredible synth textures, melodies, harmonies, etc., I was really hooked on this very little known german band.
I couldn't believe they weren't blowing up in North America, but it seems it was different in europe, they still have such a cult following.
The albums that followed were less impressive overall, despite a few good tracks here and there, but man, Forever Young still remains a classic in my book.

Just thought I'd throw in my enthusiasm for an Alphaville topic
In fact I'm gonna revisit it now after a long absence.
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gurujon
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12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
Forever Young is probably one of my favorite albums of that era.
After hearing Big in Japan incessantly on the radio, I started with the 12" single then went full on with the album.
Incredible synth textures, melodies, harmonies, etc., I was really hooked on this very little known german band.
I couldn't believe they weren't blowing up in North America, but it seems it was different in europe, they still have such a cult following.
The albums that followed were less impressive overall, despite a few good tracks here and there, but man, Forever Young still remains a classic in my book.

Just thought I'd throw in my enthusiasm for an Alphaville topic
In fact I'm gonna revisit it now after a long absence.
I totally agree. In my opinion it is truly unique and the perfect "new wave" album. Tasty sounds, good vocals, intelligent lyrics, great melodies, super production. And to think about that Big in Japan demo was actually created in 1977, with all the key elements included, is just mindblowing.
They were truly pioneers. Forever young was originally a fast track with a techno beat and it was created in 1980!
007
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12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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Yeah that's right, forgot about the uptempo FY version with those vocal stabs!
I remember hearing the demo version of Summer in Berlin, which Marian recorded in his studio apartment years before the album, and it was incredible.
Very lo-fi but so much soul to it, I think I liked it even more than the album version!

Listening to FY now as I type, 'Fallen Angel' is playing, wicked wicked wicked.
Damn those harmonies, this is album is still so brilliant 30 years later!

Back then I seemed to favor those bands that were known for 1 song/hit but who's full length album often flew under the radar with the masses.

Men Without Hats 'Rhythm of Youth' was another example.
What an incredible record, the songs, the sounds, the melodies, the production!
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gurujon
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12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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007, I dont know if youve listened to the Dreamscapes collection of Alphaville, but if not, I strongly recommend you disc 1, demos of all the Forever young album. The demo of FY is much better than the 12"maxi.

Ah, Men without hats...Great stuff.
Back in those days I had this top 5 album list:

Forever young - Alphaville
Some great reward - Depeche mode
Heartbeat city - The cars
Youthquake - Dead or alive
and...
The story so far... - Divine, e (native love is still cool!)
007
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12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
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I'll check out Dreamscapes, thanks!
Since you bring it up, I just remembered the b-side to Big in Japan...
"SEEDS"....what an awesome track, totally forgot how much I used to love that one.
Ah man I'm goosebumping with memories!
gurujon
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#15
14th February 2013
Old 14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
I'll check out Dreamscapes, thanks!
Since you bring it up, I just remembered the b-side to Big in Japan...
"SEEDS"....what an awesome track, totally forgot how much I used to love that one.
Ah man I'm goosebumping with memories!
Thanks for sharing the goosebumps. We can never get enough of synthesizer goosebumps...
Yeah, Seeds is one of my favs too. There is a remix of that track on Dreamscapes 3.


I uploaded some of my Alphaville instrumentals on Youtube under the nick "74goldenjet". Any constructive feedback will be highly apreciated. Tips and tricks to make them even more authentic...
#16
14th February 2013
Old 14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gurujon View Post
Also im curious about the big in japan intro sound.
Is it a sample from the PPG library mixed with JP-8?
Its similar to a sound in Get your kicks - Fancy.
And that weird fretless bassline, it doesnt sound like PPG, but there no credited bass player, and the band surely dont play bassguitar.

.
The bass line in Big In Japan may be the Roland system 100M or Jup-8 triggered from the TR-808.
gurujon
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14th February 2013
Old 14th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikael488 View Post
The bass line in Big In Japan may be the Roland system 100M or Jup-8 triggered from the TR-808.
The bassline is in fact the 100m. I think it is the same on "Seeds" the b-side of Big in Japan.
What I would really like to know is how they made that collage 5th sound in the intro.
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