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Rocky Training Montage
Old 19th January 2013
Rocky Training Montage

Hi guys,

I think its probably a prophet 5 but does anyone know what synth creates the arpeggiated bassline at the start of Vince Dicola's training montage

Vince Dicola - Training Montage (Rocky IV) - YouTube

Old 19th January 2013
Here for the gear

Training Montage


To the best of my recollection (it's been a very long time!), here's the total list of gear we used for my scores to ROCKY IV and TRANSFORMERS:

YAMAHA C7 grand piano
MOOG Modular synth
EMU Modular synth
OBERHEIM Modular synth
ROLAND Jupiter 8 synth
YAMAHA DX-7 synth
YAMAHA TX-816 synth (8 DX-7's in a rack)
MOOG MiniMoog synth
PPG Wave synth
EMU Emulater 2 synth
AKAI S-900 sampler

Regarding the synth bass sound you're inquiring about at the beginning of "Training Montage"... It's been a very long time so I'm working from memory here but I'm pretty sure that sound was created using a combination of Moog and Emu modular synths, and it's possible that a Jupiter 8 and a Yamaha TX-816 (basically 8 DX7's in a rack) were involved as well.

My good friend Casey Young (sound designer for Yes and Michael Jackson, to name a few) helped out tremendously on both projects and the majority of gear we used belonged to him. Most of the sounds we used were created from scratch (no factory presets) using some combination of the above and would be very difficult to duplicate without the gear listed.

FYI, that was NOT an arpeggiated part... I played it live. In fact, I played about 99% of all the keyboard parts in real time for both scores. (We only used arpeggiation as an ambient 'color' for a few cues.)

If you're considering making a purchase, I suggest the following:

YAMAHA Motif synth
NORD Stage 2 (the best organs, acoustic and electric pianos I've heard in a keyboard in a long time, and the synth section is pretty powerful)
SPECTRASONICS Omnisphere synth (computer)
EAST WEST Symphonic Orchestra sound library (computer)

The synth sounds won't be as huge and 'punchy' as we were able to get with the gear we used, but you should be able to cover a lot of ground stylistically. If I was forced to choose just one from the above it would probably be the YAMAHA Motif. The new KURZWEIL synths are also of high quality.

Old 19th January 2013
Oh MY god, you replied direct...absolute Legend

Hi Vince

I just want to say thank you so much for replying directly im still in a state of shock as you're a legend to my ears, I've loved your music since I was a child and The training montage still sounds as fresh today as it did back then.

It's so organic, so well created and the mix down its absolutely mind blowing.

I have many of these synths and vst's you speak of but they dont come close to that punchy bass sound, although I have a dave smith Tetra and roland integra 7, omnisphere etc id have to run them through my vulture culture or compressor to make it sound like you have.

So the B'line wasnt arpeggiated but played.... wow, right then off to the studio i go to try and recreate it.

Once again thanks for taking your time to reply.....was a nice suprise.


Old 19th January 2013
Lives for gear

GS is a pretty cool place
Old 20th January 2013

That's so amazing that you actually replied. Rocky 4 score was hugely influential to me. I've had War and Training Montage on my iPod for years. And synth or no synth, that is just some great writing - complex and intricate - would sound just as good with an orchestra.

Kind of unrelated question and no offense meant, but how come you didn't score more films? Was it a choice? I ask as someone who sees the ups and downs of this crazy business and how crazy it is to stay in the game. Something hot one week seems to be forgotten the next.

Anyway, thanks for any insight and hope to hear more music from you.

Old 6th February 2013
Gear Head
5StringAssassin's Avatar

Vince, you are AMAZING! "Megatron Must Be Stopped" is one of my absolute favorites!
Old 12th February 2013
Lives for gear

Great thread! I just love Vince's scores to Rocky IV and Transformers.

I've been corresponding with Casey Young (Vince's synth-programmer) a lot lately and thought I'd add some info.

Besides the synths listed by Vince above, Casey's E-mu Blue box 16-voice polyphonic synth (the only one ever made) was also used on these scores. And there were two Oberheim 8-voice synths (well, actually three counting the OB-X), one of which was a custom-built modular (see video below). The drum machine was a Linn 9000.

A few months before Casey worked with Vince on Rocky IV he'd done all the synth work on Michael Sembello's "Gravity" and you can see some of his synths (the E-mu modular, both oberheim 8-voice synths, jup-8, Emulator II etc.) in the video for that song:

The E-mu Blue Box (grandaddy of the Audity). There were something like 6VCO's, 6VCA's, 6 transient generators, etc., per voice in the Blue Box!

Here's an excerpt from an email I received from Pat Gleeson (the original owner of the blue box) in which he describes this machine...

"The architecture was one that I brought to Emu (at the block diagram level), and they figured out how we'd implement it--using large "computer cards,"--I think they were something like 8" by 14," one per "voice," and a slot for each of 16 of them. I programmed it by putting the card out on an extender. The card had tiny switches you worked on with a miniature screw-driver--about the size of a dental instrument! Same for the rotary pots--they were about a half-centimeter across."

"Our original idea was to have a control function that would be as extensive as the voices--a control panel I could set up by the keyboard, probably with something like 20-30 pots and a similar number of switches. Something like the control available on the M-Audio keystation Pro keyboard. But the engineer I was working with (Ed Rudnick) came to the conclusion that we were pushing the technology to the edge of reliability already and that adding more wire runs and connectors was probably going to put it over the edge. So that was a little more limited than my original idea. "

Casey Young with part of his Rocky IV setup, circa 1985. Note the Blue box below the 8-voice to the right.

The Moog system 55.
Old 5th August 2013
Here for the gear

Gear and stuff

Thanks guys,
It's nice that you are interested in what we did so long ago .
That's a nice picture of my old blue box . We called it the 4060 box .
16 voice . 6 vco's , 2 vcf's 2 vca's , 3 eg's per voice . What a pain in the
ass to tune up . But it sounded great !! and was some much fun to program
I am so glad that some of you up and coming Synthesizer Programmers are into this kind of equipment
That art is not dead ......

Cheers Casey
Old 7th August 2013
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My personal thanks to Vince and Casey for creating War and Training montage. I've also loved them since I first heard them with the movie. They are very unique compositions and I still have not heard compositions that would match them, as energetic and emotional.

I would like to wreck your War there and try do my own version of it. Would it be ok with you? I seek no money from it. It would be a child of love done with respect to the original tune and author.
Old 17th January 2014
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Fairlightcmi's Avatar
Vince and Casey straordinari!!
Hanno fatto un lavoro straordinario,innovativo nella scelta dei suoni una vera botta di novità per gli anni 80 che rimmarrà nella storia.Congratulation!

They did an amazing job, innovative in their choice of sounds a real hit of news for 80 years in that rimmarrà storia.Congratulation!

PS:if anyone had the MDI to "war" and "Training"could send them to me please!?!?!?
them I'm 'looking for a lifetime!

kind regards

Old 18th January 2016
Gear Head
djmike303's Avatar

the best version of training montage i ever heard

the best version of training montage i ever heard , sorry vince but this version is better than yours, even , your version is fantastic, this one give the audience more feeling so listen now:

i prepar a cover with real vintage synth : ob-xa, matrix 6, dmx, tr808, mc500 MKII so stay tune !!!!
Old 18th January 2016
Gear Guru
drBill's Avatar
Originally Posted by djmike303 View Post
[SIZE="6"][COLOR="Magenta"]the best version of training montage i ever heard , sorry vince but this version is better than yours, even , your version is fantastic, this one give the audience more feeling
Really? Nice piece, but nothing close to the emotional level of the original I'm afraid. Maybe because Vince played everything in by hand? Maybe because it was a tape machine and not a sequencer and a computer? Maybe because it was a different time? Who knows, but the difference is palpable.
Old 18th January 2016
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jontom's Avatar

Top topic
Old 18th January 2016
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ionian's Avatar
Originally Posted by djmike303 View Post
the best version of training montage i ever heard , sorry vince but this version is better than yours, even , your version is fantastic, this one give the audience more feeling so listen now: [/COLOR][/SIZE]

Not sure what's the point of trying to do an exact replication of the original. If someone does a cover, bring something new. I can listen to the original - I don't need a fake recreation.

Second, it's all sequenced. Vince played everything live so this sounds really stiff.

Most importantly, there's errors in the transcription. It wouldn't bother me so much if it was some kind of a new interpretation, but if someone is going to attempt to re-create something, they should nail it 100% otherwise there is no point to not listening to the original.

And yes, I've done a full band transcription of this, of every single instrument and sent it off to Vince to check it out for errors so I'm pretty good on what the exact notes are and where the errors are in this version.

I mean, if the guy who did this video, did it as a study, then that's fine - I mean I do recreations in my own time to figure out how things were done. I originally did my transcription to completely take apart Vince's writing style and note choices to learn more about how he got his sound and how he writes. But this can't be presented as a better than version of the original.
Old 18th January 2016
Gear Head
djmike303's Avatar

hi ionian, i understand that a cover must be exact the same but sometime, the cover is better than the original , it's just a free point of vue, i have a question, could you create a midifile with your transcription and i will send you the result with my ob-xa, matrix6, tr808, dmx , if you are interested please send it to my email : [email protected] , you can visit my website too here : ANALOG SYNTH MUSEUM

thanks ionian

Old 28th March 2017
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by djmike303 View Post
the best version of training montage i ever heard , sorry vince but this version is better than yours, even , your version is fantastic, this one give the audience more feeling so listen now:

i prepar a cover with real vintage synth : ob-xa, matrix 6, dmx, tr808, mc500 MKII so stay tune !!!!

LOL.. are you serious? Cheap sounding imitation with no soul or flow... sounds bland and robotic compared to Vince DiCola's incredible original... nowhere near the same level at all...

P.S It's amazing that Vince and Casey both posted in this thread... in my opinion Vince DiCola is one of the most underrated composers/musicians of the past 30 years... I absolutely love the "Thread" album too, the whole album is killer with not a single dud track, that album should have been a world famous classic on the level of Yes' - 90125 album.
Old 4 days ago
I was searching to find if Vince's synths were known. Didn't expect to find this goldmine. Cheers!

My linngering question is: are all the drums Linn? Same question for some Transformers songs / demos. I was always blown away by the bigness of the drumtrack. I assumed it was a real kit in a nice room..

Last edited by cetera; 4 days ago at 02:22 PM.. Reason: italics
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