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Attempting specific Tangerine Dream "Thief" sound??? DAW Software
Old 4th January 2013
  #1
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Attempting specific Tangerine Dream "Thief" sound???

Hello,

I am attempting to emulate a specific Tangerine Dream sequenced sound that is on their "Thief" soundtrack [circa 1982] to incorporate into my own music. The sound kicks in gradually at approximately 2 minutes and 10 seconds and is hard to miss:

Tangerine Dream - Thief - Diamond diary - YouTube

So far, I've received the advice that the sound is most likely an analog synth (probably moog), feed through a phaser. One should start with a minimoog emulator (or similar) and work from there -- possibly with a bit of noise, and with all 3 oscillators running (perhaps in fifths, or osc 2 a fifth up and osc 3 an octave up), probably sawtooths, with the filter way up, and very fast attack and release envelopes.

Thought I would ask here as well to get additional opinions.

Thanks.
Old 4th January 2013
  #2
could be moog, but doesnt necesserily sound like moog. not sure, could be done with any snappy 2 vco analog with a 24dB filter.. their oddy mkIII, mini, ppg 300 modular they used at the time etc.

the key here to get this kinda guitarish or almost FMish "twang" with analogs, is to tune the VCO2 an octave higher with a narrow pulse wave, but precise no detuning, so you get this almost static "digital" phasing i.e. attenuating of some freq, that in effect accentuates the 3rd harmonic (ie 8+5th) so it appears as if osc are set a fifth apart but they aren't. a distinctive sound. VCO1 should be square (saw if going for softer sound)... add classic exponential filter env . they've done this trick with moog modular on their seventies albums too. but that sounds much bigger and less twangy than this example.


you wont get it stuffing a 3rd osc at the 5th, thats too strong and creates a subtly different result. been there, done that all possible variations on my minimoog.

second, the sequencing is done with step sequencer utilizing "ratcheting" technique which they utilized a lot on the 1983 Hyperborea opening track too (similar sound to this). this presumes a synth with CV/GATE input.

and finally huge part of this sound is BBD delay set in tempo on 8ths notes - crucial for TD style arpeggios. then both dry signal and delay signal are fed into big plate or hall reverb.

its just one sequence but racheting and in-tempo delay make you feel as if there is more going on. classic.

the minor/major chords that come over the top are OB-X, and a Rhapsody 610 does the high stringy sound. that i'm certain as i've used both in that manner. and they've utlilized them that way on both Exit and Le Parc albums.
Old 4th January 2013
  #3
That is about when their sequencer kicks in. They used at the time a modular synth made of Moog, PPG, and custom made stuff for them. I saw them live just before they did that soundtrack (they ended their tour in LA so they could work on it here) and they played something similar live. Its at least two sequences, one of which is triggered at a much faster rate then the slower main sequence. Not sure if that helps at all.
Old 4th January 2013
  #4
215526
Guest
Thanks...you guys definitely know your stuff!

I am attempting to capture [or come close to] this sound from TD using software synths...not hardware, unfortunately.

I should be good with some of the synth sounds [e.g. Arturia Minimoog, Numerology for ratchet sequencing, Logic Pro plugins for modulation effects]; however, it's the BBD delay that I would need. You wouldn't by chance know of a software plugin that offers BBD delay?

I did a Google search and could only find a VST for Windows...it's by Audiosyn:

Audiosyn BBD Echo 80 VST 1.1.5 .:. Magesy® R-Evolution™

Anything comparable for Mac?

Thanks.
Old 4th January 2013
  #5
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synthguy's Avatar
While Clusterchord has the essential of the sound down, I suspect that this is a complex sound done with their modulars. That fifth sound could well be a harmonic rather than a separate oscillator, but it is kind of hard to tell because it does sound as if there could be four or more elements blended together. And when the sequence begins to rescind, you hear it cut back to one basic element of saw/rectangle. I would set up a virtual modular patch to start with like this:

- Percussive noise chiff
- Percussive saw with rectangle at unison, playing with width but trying something around 40% or so to start because it sounds a little hollow
- Percussive rectangle an octave up added subtly, around 20% to start
- Envelopes on filters 0 attack, half second decay, sustain 50% or less, release around 3/4 second or so, added to a mostly closed lowpass with very light or no resonance
- Envelopes on amp with a slight attack, slightly longer decay, sustain around 2/3 to start, short release of a third of a second or less.

And if that didn't give you the harmonic mix you wanted, you could try a very subtle oscillator of either saw or rectangle tuned to a fifth. I would vary all the times just a hair because the sound seems more dynamic than four sources running through a single filter, especially the way they cut it back to one elemental sound in parts. While the synth waves could possibly be done in one "voice," three OSCs into a single filter and amp, I would make that noise chuff a separate voice if you do. Trigger the envelopes with an LFO set to four times the sequence tempo for the "chuttery" parts. Setting the delay will be tricky, because it's practically contributing to the melody of the sequence. I can't help you on the delay, but it could actually be longer than a second.

If all I had was a Voyager, I'd try putting all four parts through the LP filter with envelopes as I stated and see how it sounded, fussing with it as the sequence played.

If I had something else, a Little Phatty or Mopho to layer, I'd try something like

- Sawtooth and narrow rectangle added lightly an octave up - I might even try two osctaves for the heck of it, with envelopes as I said
- Wide rectangle with noise for the chiff layer

Or some variation. I'd see if I could put my own touch on it without harming the original character. But since I have a virtual modular, I'd just do that and adjust things as the sequence plays.
Old 5th January 2013
  #6
215526
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthguy View Post
While Clusterchord has the essential of the sound down, I suspect that this is a complex sound done with their modulars. That fifth sound could well be a harmonic rather than a separate oscillator, but it is kind of hard to tell because it does sound as if there could be four or more elements blended together. And when the sequence begins to rescind, you hear it cut back to one basic element of saw/rectangle. I would set up a virtual modular patch to start with like this:

- Percussive noise chiff
- Percussive saw with rectangle at unison, playing with width but trying something around 40% or so to start because it sounds a little hollow
- Percussive rectangle an octave up added subtly, around 20% to start
- Envelopes on filters 0 attack, half second decay, sustain 50% or less, release around 3/4 second or so, added to a mostly closed lowpass with very light or no resonance
- Envelopes on amp with a slight attack, slightly longer decay, sustain around 2/3 to start, short release of a third of a second or less.

And if that didn't give you the harmonic mix you wanted, you could try a very subtle oscillator of either saw or rectangle tuned to a fifth. I would vary all the times just a hair because the sound seems more dynamic than four sources running through a single filter, especially the way they cut it back to one elemental sound in parts. While the synth waves could possibly be done in one "voice," three OSCs into a single filter and amp, I would make that noise chuff a separate voice if you do. Trigger the envelopes with an LFO set to four times the sequence tempo for the "chuttery" parts. Setting the delay will be tricky, because it's practically contributing to the melody of the sequence. I can't help you on the delay, but it could actually be longer than a second.

If all I had was a Voyager, I'd try putting all four parts through the LP filter with envelopes as I stated and see how it sounded, fussing with it as the sequence played.

If I had something else, a Little Phatty or Mopho to layer, I'd try something like

- Sawtooth and narrow rectangle added lightly an octave up - I might even try two osctaves for the heck of it, with envelopes as I said
- Wide rectangle with noise for the chiff layer

Or some variation. I'd see if I could put my own touch on it without harming the original character. But since I have a virtual modular, I'd just do that and adjust things as the sequence plays.
Thanks!

I guess it's a little more complicated than I originally thought. . .which explains why I have been having great difficulty in trying to emulate that particular sound.
Old 5th January 2013
  #7
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synthguy's Avatar
I have a feeling that it's their Frankenmodular, patching together stuff from Moog, PPG and the custom units. But you should be able to do it with at least a couple of synths MIDIed together, or dare I say it, a high power rompler. I know that kind of talk gets people lynched around here, but I'm not here to collect net cookies. I think I could manage something like it on just a Virus, Radias or Nord Modular, though I find the first two are a bit sweeter, and they have their own effects.

Since this is for an original composition, I'd suggest putting your own touches on it. Bringing some element in and out gradually as the sequence plays, say drop the noise/chiff partial on an exposed segment where it "solos" (partial = entire synth voice with its own OSC-filter-amp), drop the attacks to zero and make it plucky, then morph back. Use a filter on one partial that's 12db rather than 24, and try a bandpass on one if you can do that. Increase the level on the high octave as it plays until it's prominent, make it two octaves. One last edit: while there's no phaser, add one along the way, not too thick, and bring it in then out if you have the ability to do that. If you can't, and I wouldn't bam-switch it in and out, I wouldn't do it because it will muck up the sound. Play with it, make something about it yours instead of just a clone. Most of all, have fun with it.
Old 5th January 2013
  #8
215526
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthguy View Post
I have a feeling that it's their Frankenmodular, patching together stuff from Moog, PPG and the custom units. But you should be able to do it with at least a couple of synths MIDIed together, or dare I say it, a high power rompler. I know that kind of talk gets people lynched around here, but I'm not here to collect net cookies. I think I could manage something like it on just a Virus, Radias or Nord Modular, though I find the first two are a bit sweeter, and they have their own effects.

Since this is for an original composition, I'd suggest putting your own touches on it. Bringing some element in and out gradually as the sequence plays, say drop the noise/chiff partial on an exposed segment where it "solos" (partial = entire synth voice with its own OSC-filter-amp), drop the attacks to zero and make it plucky, then morph back. Use a filter on one partial that's 12db rather than 24, and try a bandpass on one if you can do that. Increase the level on the high octave as it plays until it's prominent, make it two octaves. One last edit: while there's no phaser, add one along the way, not too thick, and bring it in then out if you have the ability to do that. If you can't, and I wouldn't bam-switch it in and out, I wouldn't do it because it will muck up the sound. Play with it, make something about it yours instead of just a clone. Most of all, have fun with it.
Indeed. It's always fun...as I discover so many new sounds in the process of finding that one sound. Right now I'm restricted to soft synths since I simply can't afford any hardware at this time. Good news is I do have the software step sequencer "Numerology" in addition to my Minimoog virtual synth which should facilitate getting the "sound"...or at least something close to it. My intention is to incorporate TD sounds into my own compositions while adding a twist of originality of course. . .so as not to copy them. Adding some automation like you suggested should yield some cool results too.

Thanks again for the wonderful advice!
Old 5th January 2013
  #9
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synthguy's Avatar
The Minimoog softies I've encountered should be able to give you that TD sequenced sound in abundance, and the Moog filter is recreated well by them. Two to four instances of them programmed like I mentioned, add a digital delay plugin and mess with the timing as it plays, and even if you can't nail it, you should be able to come up with a sound that makes you very happy.
Old 6th January 2013
  #10
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Always difficult to approximate T.D due to the number of custom things they used. Agree with above, I am more than happy withe the Arturia moog stuff, you can certtainly do Rubycon/Richoet period stuff easily.

I would also recommend the Waldorf PPG plug in. Its not always obvious why at first, though some of the pre-sets are straight from Exit etc - but get to know it and you'll hear why that early digital stuff was essential to thier move into the early 80's style, and where the more gritty chunky and glassy sounds come from.
Old 6th January 2013
  #11
215526
Guest
Thanks for the additional tip on using a digital delay plugin with the arpeggiated sounds of the virtual Minimoog...what a difference it makes! I am using Delay Designer within Logic Pro...which gives the options of cutoff, resolution, transposition, pan, and level, for tweaking the delay signal.
Old 6th January 2013
  #12
215526
Guest
For the BBD delay plugin I am most likely going to go for this:

Expert Sleepers - Little Spacey
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