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Joy Division synths
Old 20th May 2012
  #1
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Joy Division synths

Having recently gotten an ARP Omni-2 I thought I'd start a thread on the classic synths and gear used by Joy Division / Martin Hannett (the band was one of my major influences in the '80s).

In particular, I'd love to collect info on the other synths / gear used by the band, like the Transcendent 2000 synth. Was the Transcendent used for the vibrato synth in Closer, btw?

It seems obvious that the synth strings were the Omni-2. Here's my latest video on the ARP for that sound.

Old 20th May 2012
  #2
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

WOW! Sounds just like Joy Division! Good job!

Too bad dude hunged himself..
Old 20th May 2012
  #3
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

Yes I have got to say Closer is also my fave Joy Division album..
Old 20th May 2012
  #4
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Space Station's Avatar
Nice work. I have the console 'atmosphere' was recorded on.
Old 20th May 2012
  #5
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Nice work. I have the console 'atmosphere' was recorded on.
Oooohh!
Pictures please!
Old 20th May 2012
  #6
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Resonant Serpent's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Nice work. I have the console 'atmosphere' was recorded on.
!!!
Old 20th May 2012
  #7
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flat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
Having recently gotten an ARP Omni-2 I thought I'd start a thread on the classic synths and gear used by Joy Division / Martin Hannett (the band was one of my major influences in the '80s).

In particular, I'd love to collect info on the other synths / gear used by the band, like the Transcendent 2000 synth. Was the Transcendent used for the vibrato synth in Closer, btw?

It seems obvious that the synth strings were the Omni-2. Here's my latest video on the ARP for that sound.

Very nice demo Paolo and congrats on the ARP

I was surprised how similar it can sound to the Trident. The strings in particular.
Old 20th May 2012
  #8
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acealive's Avatar
very well done. Such a great piece of music.
Video took me back in time...thanx for doing it.
Old 20th May 2012
  #9
Gear Nut
E&MM March 1985

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
Having recently gotten an ARP Omni-2 I thought I'd start a thread on the classic synths and gear used by Joy Division / Martin Hannett (the band was one of my major influences in the '80s).

In particular, I'd love to collect info on the other synths / gear used by the band, like the Transcendent 2000 synth. Was the Transcendent used for the vibrato synth in Closer, btw?

It seems obvious that the synth strings were the Omni-2. Here's my latest video on the ARP for that sound.
Very nice idea and video; I would love to hear someone recreate more of 'Heart and Soul' or the Kraftwerk-inspired out-take 'As You Said'.

I have some scraps of information from various interviews about Closer.

Here are some excerpts from an interview by Matthew Vosburgh with New Order that appeared in the March 1985 issue of Electronics & Music Maker:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernard Sumner
The keyboards on Closer were basically a Sequential Circuits Pro-One, a Powertran Transcendent 2000 and an ARP Omni - in fact, mostly the Omni. The Omni was good, but you had to process it, like we used to put it through a graphic equaliser and then split the bands up. We used to put it through a Marshall Time Modulator as well, to get that ’78 record’ effect: you know, sort of speeding up and slowing down the way a Mellotron does.

On parts of Closer, on ‘Decades’ for instance, there are percussion sounds from an ARP 2600 being run from an ARP sequencer - electronic bass drum sounds and stuff.
Although Sumner's memory may be faulty: I don't think that the Pro-One had been released at the time Closer was recorded in spring 1980.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Morris
I used a Simmons SDS2 on that album, for things like the snare sound on ‘Isolation’.

Last edited by Peter Hanes; 20th May 2012 at 03:22 PM.. Reason: Added comment on Pro-One; corrected spelling
Old 20th May 2012
  #10
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEXUS-6 View Post
WOW! Sounds just like Joy Division! Good job!

Too bad dude hunged himself..
Thank you, Nexus - it might be a one-trick pony, but I really love the Solina-esque strings, fat synth bass, and basic synth section of this keyboard. I have other string keyboards (RS-202, Orchestrator) but I'll probably sell them - the Omni has a great sound and a flat top, which is useful to hold another synth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEXUS-6 View Post
Yes I have got to say Closer is also my fave Joy Division album..
Same here - back then I bought all their releases, the singles etc. , I like Unknown Pleasures too, and the live version of "New Dawn Fades" contained in Still is imho much better than the studio version in Unknown Pleasures - but the "rarefied", hypnotic atmosphere of Closer represent the band at their best, I think...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
Nice work. I have the console 'atmosphere' was recorded on.
Oh, wow! Is that the "wrap-around" Helios at Strawberry shown in those Martin Hannett videos? Please post pics!! Do you have any info on the other synths used by J.D., the ones with heavy vibrato which is impossible to do with the Omni-2...

Quote:
Originally Posted by flat earth View Post
Very nice demo Paolo and congrats on the ARP

I was surprised how similar it can sound to the Trident. The strings in particular.
Thank you, Flat Earth! Polysynths from the '80s are my favorite types of synths, and eventually one day I'll get a Trident... the PolySix was my first analog synth, and I loved that sound... it's good to know its strings are of the classic "Solina"-type warm sound..

Quote:
Originally Posted by acealive View Post
very well done. Such a great piece of music.
Video took me back in time...thanx for doing it.
Glad that you like it I plan to do more videos emulating the sound of Joy Division and New Order, another key component is the Clone Theory for Hook's bass, which I have - but I'd love to get hold of a Transcendent 2000 at some point.
Old 20th May 2012
  #11
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hanes View Post
Very nice idea and video; I would love to hear someone recreate more of 'Heart and Soul' or the Kraftwerk-inspired out-take 'As You Said'.

I have some scraps of information from various interviews about Closer.

Here are some excerpts from an interview by Matthew Vosburgh with New Order that appeared in the March 1985 issue of Electronics & Music Maker:


Although Sumner's memory may be faulty: I don't think that the Pro-One had been released at the time Closer was recorded in spring 1980.
Great info, Peter, thank you! I didn't know a Pro One was also used, I'll check on the year of release. There is definitely a synth in Closer that cannot be the Omni, because it features LFO-based pitch vibrato, which the Omni doesn't have (it only has filter LFO, not pitch) - so it must be another synth -

I'm also sure that Hannett processed all those synths a lot, like Sumner says in the interview... In "Decades", for example, there is a very haunting synth vox sound that also cannot be the Omni, but a different synth. It almost sounds "vocoder'ish", so I wonder if it was the Transcendent 2000 or perhaps the Pro One through EQs / filters / Marshall Modulators and who knows what other Hannett treatment
Old 20th May 2012
  #12
Gear Nut
Hannett with The Names

If you scroll down within this page: The Names interviewed by Rick Greenley, you will find some anecdotal information about Hannett's recording techniques with Factory band The Names.
Old 20th May 2012
  #13
Gear Nut
Steven Morris recollections

There's some discussion about Closer (and sequencing on the early New Order records) in this interesting interview with Stephen Morris: THE ELECTRICITY CLUB | STEPHEN MORRIS INTERVIEW
Old 20th May 2012
  #14
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TheBrightSide's Avatar
Great post Mr Varaldo,
I'm happy to see Joy Division getting some love here.
Your'e arp sounds awesome. Such a warm classic sound. Ive played around with a Solina and I think that your omni sounds nicer.
I recently sold a Synare 3 drum synth which J.D. used (not the actual one)
Steven Morris had one in his kit. You can hear it most in "She's lost control"
There's more Joy Division analog to add to your list!
Old 20th May 2012
  #15
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hanes View Post
There's some discussion about Closer (and sequencing on the early New Order records) in this interesting interview with Stephen Morris: THE ELECTRICITY CLUB | STEPHEN MORRIS INTERVIEW
Thank you, Peter - I had seen the Electricity interview, but not the Names one... great info, keep it coming

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide View Post
Great post Mr Varaldo,
I'm happy to see Joy Division getting some love here.
Your'e arp sounds awesome. Such a warm classic sound. Ive played around with a Solina and I think that your omni sounds nicer.
I recently sold a Synare 3 drum synth which J.D. used (not the actual one)
Steven Morris had one in his kit. You can hear it most in "She's lost control"
There's more Joy Division analog to add to your list!
Thank you, BrightSide - it does sound very similar to the Solina, doesn't it...

I'd love to get a Synare, any version and of course, there's a lot more equipment out there to recreate the Joy Division sound.

Here's a list from JoyDiv.org
Old 20th May 2012
  #16
Gear Nut
Bernard Sumner

Here's a long and wide-ranging interview of Bernard Sumner by Jon Savage: http://www.jonsavage.com/film/bernard-sumner/

It includes a digression about the 1979 track 'Atmosphere' and some more about Closer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernard Sumner
Stuff that he did, like 'Atmosphere', I thought was beautiful. 'Atmosphere' was on a 16-track, and it was the first polyphonic synthesiser that I got, which was a [Solina] string synth, and a Bontempi organ from Woolworths, and I used to play both of them together, and I couldn’t believe you could get a synthesiser that could play more then one note. That was a real turn on for me.

In fact I did a lot of the keyboards for Closer while I was laid down, with this ARP Omni synthesizer.

We were doing 'Decades', and… we used to record it by direct injection, where you put the synth straight into the board, but we wanted some real life ambience on it, so Britannia Row had a huge games room, so Martin put some big speakers up in there.
Old 20th May 2012
  #17
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hanes View Post
Here's a long and wide-ranging interview of Bernard Sumner by Jon Savage: http://www.jonsavage.com/film/bernard-sumner/

It includes a digression about the 1979 track 'Atmosphere' and some more about Closer:
Thanks again, Peter, great information. It looks like the strings in "Atmosphere" might be Solina, instead of Omni - then. Funny how the interviewer (who probably was listening to a taped recording, and wasn't familiar with the ARP Solina name) calls it "Cellini (?)" in the interview, but obviously Sumner is referring to a Solina string ensemble...

"Atmosphere was on a 16-track, and it was the first polyphonic synthesiser that I got, which was a Cellini (?) string synth, and a Bontempi organ from Woolworths, and I used to play both of them together, and I couldn’t believe you could get a synthesiser that could play more then one note."
Old 20th May 2012
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hanes View Post
Here's a long and wide-ranging interview of Bernard Sumner by Jon Savage: http://www.jonsavage.com/film/bernard-sumner/

It includes a digression about the 1979 track 'Atmosphere' and some more about Closer:
I agree that Atmosphere is probably a Solina and not Omni. I saw an interview with Bernard Sumner (I think it was in the Joy Division documentary) in which he said they found the Solina at the studio where they recorded Atmosphere (Cargo Studios). I imagine that they then bought an Omni so they could play the song live/do more songs in that style. Closer seems like mostly Omni, although there is definitely some Arp 2600 (white noise and drums in "The Eternal" for example)
Old 20th May 2012
  #19
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13chroma20 View Post
Closer seems like mostly Omni, although there is definitely some Arp 2600 (white noise and drums in "The Eternal" for example)
Thanks for your comments, but how can you be so sure it was an Arp 2600? Where is your proof? Why couldn't it be the Transcendent 2000, which has noise parameters and has been proven to be used by the band..
Old 20th May 2012
  #20
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post

Oh, wow! Is that the "wrap-around" Helios at Strawberry shown in those Martin Hannett videos? Please post pics!! Do you have any info on the other synths used by J.D., the ones with heavy vibrato which is impossible to do with the Omni-2...
I wish..I would have to be seriously rich! No Atmosphere and Dead Souls were recorded on my 70's Soundcraft .. It is in restoration after coming out of storage for many years. I don't know anything about JD synths over what's here, although I was always told it was Omni II. Solina MK1 and Omni strings sound incredibly similar. I have both.
Old 20th May 2012
  #21
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Station View Post
I wish..I would have to be seriously rich! No Atmosphere and Dead Souls were recorded on my 70's Soundcraft .. It is in restoration after coming out of storage for many years. I don't know anything about JD synths over what's here, although I was always told it was Omni II. Solina MK1 and Omni strings sound incredibly similar. I have both.
Gotcha - which Soundcraft '70s model is it? I recently got an early '80s Soundcraft, a 1600, and think the Soundcraft boards of that era sound very good, especially for the price... classic British EQ and very, very decent preamps.
Old 21st May 2012
  #22
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
By the ways, guys - you know when Bernard says how he used a "Bontempi from Woolsworth's" in the interview....? I think this might be it in this video of Chance (Atmosphere) - it sounds like the Bontempi I used to have as a child

Old 21st May 2012
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
Thanks for your comments, but how can you be so sure it was an Arp 2600? Where is your proof? Why couldn't it be the Transcendent 2000, which has noise parameters and has been proven to be used by the band..
Post #9 in this thread quotes Bernard Sumner saying that the Arp 2600 was used for percussion on Closer. I am assuming that the white noise stuff on The Eternal is the Arp and not the Powertran because it sounds exactly like a 2600, as well as the fact that it is much easier to make this sound with the 2600 than the Powertran.
Old 21st May 2012
  #24
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13chroma20 View Post
Post #9 in this thread quotes Bernard Sumner saying that the Arp 2600 was used for percussion on Closer. I am assuming that the white noise stuff on The Eternal is the Arp and not the Powertran because it sounds exactly like a 2600, as well as the fact that it is much easier to make this sound with the 2600 than the Powertran.
Gotcha. I'll try to get a Powertran in the near future and see if I can get that noise effect on it... Thanks
Old 21st May 2012
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
Having recently gotten an ARP Omni-2 I thought I'd start a thread on the classic synths and gear used by Joy Division / Martin Hannett (the band was one of my major influences in the '80s).

In particular, I'd love to collect info on the other synths / gear used by the band, like the Transcendent 2000 synth. Was the Transcendent used for the vibrato synth in Closer, btw?

It seems obvious that the synth strings were the Omni-2. Here's my latest video on the ARP for that sound.

Watch the Synth Britania video. Bernard Sumner/Albrecht talks about using a little string machine or organ with push button chords on Atmosphere. It was in the studio and he wrote the song in a few minutes. He said he was shocked at how fast they were able to write the song.

Joy Division - Atmosphere (Video) - YouTube

Anyone know what keyboard he used? It had buttons for the chords. I would watch the Synth Britainia video again. I think it might have been an Elka with chord buttons. It was a pretty low end keyboard.
Old 21st May 2012
  #26
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I think Atmosphere used a Bontempi like this one.

Google Image Result for http://weltenschule.de/TableHooters/picts/Bontempi_B9.jpeg

I think Bernard mentions the blower motor that was running.
Old 21st May 2012
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
Having recently gotten an ARP Omni-2 I thought I'd start a thread on the classic synths and gear used by Joy Division / Martin Hannett (the band was one of my major influences in the '80s).
Thank you for another cool synth demo video.

IIRC my Omni 2 has one strange bug. I think it was transposed 1 octave up. I remember listening to the "demo casette" i think on Youtube and i've noticed my Omni can't go that low in the string. Really weird thing.....


Care to do a small test for me? I will upload C1 key for the each section if you can verify if your Omni is at the same pitch. That's all.
Old 21st May 2012
  #28
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Thank you for another cool synth demo video.

IIRC my Omni 2 has one strange bug. I think it was transposed 1 octave up. I remember listening to the "demo casette" i think on Youtube and i've noticed my Omni can't go that low in the string. Really weird thing.....


Care to do a small test for me? I will upload C1 key for the each section if you can verify if your Omni is at the same pitch. That's all.
Sure, no problem, Don - post the samples and the register settings you used, and we can compare them
Old 21st May 2012
  #29
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Dysanfel's Avatar
I have found that Vintage String Machine does a great emulation of the Omni 2 for those interested. I love the sound of "Closer" and consider it the greatest album of all time.
Old 21st May 2012
  #30
Gear Addict
 

I was lucky enough to meet Bernard Sumner in a studio a few years ago. He was very friendly and more than happy to talk about synths over tea and biscuits during a break.

Can't recall if we spoke about the Omni, but I remember he raved about the ARP Quadra which has some crossover with the Omni (and was used by New Order).

We had been talking about Prophets and his words were something like... "The Prophet 5 is fat, but the ARP Quadra is fatter, the fattest of them all.".

It is always nice to meet people who are so enthusiastic about both their music and the equipment they use. I found Bernard very inspiring.
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