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Bass sound from... "Just an Illusion"?
Old 15th April 2012
  #1
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Bass sound from... "Just an Illusion"?

Does anyone know what synth the bass sound from the song "Just an Illusion" came from?

The song was released in 1982.

Old 15th April 2012
  #2
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Yoozer's Avatar
Minimoog?
Old 15th April 2012
  #3
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Aaaaahhhhh... the memories, the memories... that song was (and still is) so beautiful. It was such a hit back then.

Anyway, I've wondered myself for years, and of course I can't be sure of it, but my ears have always told me Roland. And I want to say Roland SH-101 - which came out in 1982 indeed. The tone color, filter, envelope and most of all - the portamento - really sound like the SH-101.

In fact, I can recreate that sound perfectly starting from the "Funky Bass" factory patch and modifying the filter and vca envelope just a tiny bit. Set the portamento at around 3 and voila' = Just An Illusion bass.
Old 15th April 2012
  #4
tun
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MC-202, so sonically yes, same as SH-101!
Old 15th April 2012
  #5
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Jauqq's Avatar
 

I'd read it was one of the first uses of a TB303......?
Old 15th April 2012
  #6
tun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jauqq View Post
I'd read it was one of the first uses of a TB303......?
I remember reading a Steve Jolley and Tony Swain interview a while back. Definitely a 202. Anyway, use your ears... it doesn't sound anything like a 303.
Old 15th April 2012
  #7
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Sounds like a real fretless bass with an octaver.

Last edited by oscarproducer; 15th April 2012 at 02:40 PM.. Reason: mispelling
Old 15th April 2012
  #8
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xanax's Avatar


this dub edit has the full bass line solo'd around 2:20 .. i've been wondering what it's been for years, actually never would have thought a 202?!!
Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tun View Post
MC-202, so sonically yes, same as SH-101!
Ha! Thanks, I had a feeling the sound was that Roland sound, and you just opened my eyes, because it makes sense: those bass patterns, when they repeat, are all identical, with the same type of note repetition and same inflection of the portamento etc.

In theory, it could have been the playing technique of the keyboard player, executing each repeating pattern in exactly the same way and turning on/off the portamento as needed, BUT it makes much more sense that they created individual patterns for each of the bass parts, and simply sequenced them together in the song using the MC-202's built-in sequencer

Do you have a link to that interview?
Old 15th April 2012
  #10
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yes it definitely sounds like an mc202 to my ears but
wow, they should have been spending quite a lot of time programming that bassline sequence on an MC202!
also they might have been using two 202s or they might have recorded the sequence in two rounds,
cause a single 202 can not jump from one sequence to another unless you stop it and load the second sequence via cassette.
they might have been controlling the 202 via the EXT KYBD input,
but due to its internal architechture the MC202 shows some lag when controlled from an external keyboard
and I doubt they used to modify 202s back in the early 80ies.
some of the notes sound slightly out of time, so maybe they recorded the two patterns using realtime record on the 202 and then tewaked them a little bit with portamento etc. cool!
Old 15th April 2012
  #11
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Space Station's Avatar
ahh leee with three e's..
Old 15th April 2012
  #12
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xanax's Avatar
@rodion: if you listen very closely to the solo bass part in the dub edit i posted above it sounds like they spliced up different lines to build it, probably a workaround to the 202's sequencer limitations
Old 15th April 2012
  #13
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Guys, you're overthinking this

On an MC-202, you can play the notes in real time to the metronome (or from another synth via cv/gate), and while you can't "chain" patterns as you can on a 303, you can navigate to sections and copy measures.

What they probably did, is that they manually played all the bass patterns needed for the song (there's just a handful of same patterns which repeat) on the MC-202 via the built-in keyboard or from another synth, and then simply "built" the bass line for the song by copying measures - intro, verses, chorus etc.

And that's my final take on this
Old 15th April 2012
  #14
tun
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Mr Varaldo, I tried to find the link to the interview to post it here but unfortunately couldn't. It was several years ago when I read it... around the time Lindstrom remixed Just An Illusion for Juno records in London.

Also, from what I remember it was programmed using the 202's sequencer.
Old 15th April 2012
  #15
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xanax's Avatar
if the melody was done manually in real-time into the 202, what is the advantage of doing so and not just playing it live from a SH-101 which is more comfortable to play with full keys? or does the 202 sequencer allow quantize or certain slide features even when recording real-time?
Old 15th April 2012
  #16
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Actually you guys are forgetting one thing. The song in question was recorded in Jan (or Feb) 1982 and neither the SH-101 nor the MC-202 existed at that time. The SH-101 wasn't released until late '82 (the 1st ed. of the service notes is dated Nov '82) and the MC-202 didn't appear until mid '83 or thereabouts.

It wouldn't surprise me if it's a Minimoog through some effect box.
Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikael488 View Post
Actually you guys are forgetting one thing. The song in question was recorded in Jan (or Feb) 1982 and neither the SH-101 nor the MC-202 existed at that time. The SH-101 wasn't released until late '82 (the 1st ed. of the service notes is dated Nov '82) and the MC-202 didn't appear until mid '83 or thereabouts.

It wouldn't surprise me if it's a Minimoog through some effect box.
Dang - you're right, Mikael, thank you for pointing it out. I didn't check when the MC-202 came out and it indeed came out in 1983.

So, Tun, it appears that your interview theory goes out of the window.

I'm still confused though, as I really can get that sound on the SH-101. Perhaps a previous SH version??

I have the Minimoog so I'll try to see if I can get it on that as well, but the portamento slide really sounded like an SH...

And it still sounds sequenced to me. I'll report back.
Old 15th April 2012
  #18
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xanax's Avatar
aha the plot thickens !!

i'll go ahead and say it never sounded very 101/202 ish to my ears, but what do i know
Old 15th April 2012
  #19
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flat's Avatar
Check at #4.02

Surely not Korg Trident MK1?

Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by flat earth View Post
Check at #4.02

Surely not Korg Trident MK1?

The same keyboardist with the Trident on top appears to be doing the piano solo in the middle, while the bass line is still going, and I would find it practically impossible to be able to play the piano solo with one hand, and keep playing the busy, highly syncopated bass line with the other hand at the same time.

So I suspect that the other dude playing the keytar (is that a Moog Liberation?) might be playing the synth bass, and the other keyboardist playing the piano (and Trident for poly synth fill ins)

The plot is definitely thick now.

I've got the Minimoog going and while I can come up with a similar sound, the glide on the Mini does not sound like the record at all - unless they used the pitch bender and kept the performance extremely steady and sequenced it somehow.
Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #21
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
And it still sounds sequenced to me.
Well, the MC4 dates from 1977 so that's a possibility. If it sounds 101-ish, perhaps it's some other CEM-based machine?
Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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flat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
The same keyboardist with the Trident on top appears to be doing the piano solo in the middle, while the bass line is still going, and I would find it practically impossible to be able to play the piano solo with one hand, and keep playing the busy, highly syncopated bass line with the other hand at the same time..
From what I can see, there are 2 keyboard players. The one playing the Trident isn't the same one as the piano solo guy. (see the stripes on back of his shirt #3.26. The other guy doesn't have them)
Old 15th April 2012
  #23
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SonicBern's Avatar
 

Support for MOOG here (using Roland EFX):

KVR: Just an illusion - Imagination > bassline ?

Support for 101 etc here:

synths in Imagination - "Just an Illusion"


In the Moog thread there is a I knew the guy that worked with them comment...

Old 15th April 2012
  #24
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If you pause the video posted by flat earth above (at 1:49) you can see a guy playing some type of keytar in the background, possibly a Moog liberation.

The same guy (?) can be seen playing the strap-on keyboard in this live performance (in the left foreground @3:43):
Imagination (Just an illusion) 1982 TGV.flv - YouTube

I paused the video at 3:47-3:48 and it does look like a Moog liberation to me.

A very similar bass sound can be heard on this Imagination song:
IMAGINATION - Music And Lights (1982) - YouTube
Old 15th April 2012
  #25
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by flat earth View Post
From what I can see, there are 2 keyboard players. The one playing the Trident isn't the same one as the piano solo guy. (see the stripes on back of his shirt #3.26. The other guy doesn't have them)
Gotcha - well, you know what to do Fire up the Trident and see if you can get that bass sound!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicBern View Post
Support for MOOG here (using Roland EFX):

KVR: Just an illusion - Imagination > bassline ?

Support for 101 etc here:

synths in Imagination - "Just an Illusion"

In the Moog thread there is a I knew the guy that worked with them comment...

Ha - thank you for the link, even though I'm not sure of that opinion... you can't process a bass guitar through an SH-101

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikael488 View Post
If you pause the video posted by flat earth above (at 1:49) you can see a guy playing some type of keytar in the background, possibly a Moog liberation.

The same guy (?) can be seen playing the strap-on keyboard in this live performance (in the left foreground @3:43):
Imagination (Just an illusion) 1982 TGV.flv - YouTube

I paused the video at 3:47-3:48 and it does look like a Moog liberation to me.

A very similar bass sound can be heard on this Imagination song:
IMAGINATION - Music And Lights (1982) - YouTube
Yes, I noticed the Moog Liberation a few posts above and came to the same conclusion as you. However, I've been trying for the past few minutes and again - while I can get a similar bass sound on the Minimoog, I can't get that type of portamento feel from it. The SH-101 nails it, instead, but I do realize it wasn't quite yet available at the time of the recording.
Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #26
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flat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
..... Fire up the Trident and see if you can get that bass sound!
Yeah, I tried that earlier. The closest I got was using the brass section (best for core bass sounds) , mixed with the synth section. tbh, even using the joystick to slide the notes, it didn't have that rounded sound. I'm pretty sure its a Moog tbh.

Its just odd, that guy playing the Trident, is playing spot on if you look closely, and the instrument is clearly 'on' with leads attached. Even has a sticky note above probably with performance notes and patch changes. Why would he mime?

I guess we shall never know.
Old 15th April 2012 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flat earth View Post
Its just odd, that guy playing the Trident, is playing spot on if you look closely, and the instrument is clearly 'on' with leads attached. Even has a sticky note above probably with performance notes and patch changes. Why would he mime?
maybe cuz the trident was being used on other songs that night but wasn't suited for that particular song's bassline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
while I can get a similar bass sound on the Minimoog, I can't get that type of portamento feel from it.
could it be the liberation has a different slide than the mini? i know it has that bend strip that allows some pretty neat tricks...
Old 15th April 2012
  #28
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This TB303 documentary claims the group Imagination used the TB303 Bassline on tracks from that album...

The bass sounds at the beginning of the video definitely sound like the bass from "Just an Illusion"... at 8:29 he mentions the group using the TB303 on their album... he also says the the group Newcleus used the TB303 on the song "Jam on it".




I always loved the song "Jam on it"...




Do you guys know any other "Hit" songs that used bass sounds from the TB303?
Old 16th April 2012
  #29
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xanax's Avatar
^ that documentary (if you can even call it that) is notoriously riddled with mistakes (it refers to the 303 square wave as sine) believe me the guy who made that has even less a clue then we do about the imagination bass synth, but what is for sure is it isn't a 303.. oh and the sounds at the beginning of the video are of a real bass lol
Old 16th April 2012 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanax View Post
^ that documentary (if you can even call it that) is notoriously riddled with mistakes (it refers to the 303 square wave as sine) believe me the guy who made that has even less a clue then we do about the imagination bass synth, but what is for sure is it isn't a 303.. oh and the sounds at the beginning of the video are of a real bass lol
LOL... well I guess we're back to square one.

Who knows what synth was used in "Just an Illusion"? LOL
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