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Synths likely to have been used on a 1987 score?
Old 5 days ago
  #1
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Synths likely to have been used on a 1987 score?

Title says it all really.

More thinking the digital side of things and more focused on pads.

Roland D50 was released that year, but I'm thinking it might have been too late.
Old 5 days ago
  #2
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Yamaha DX7, PPG Wave, Roland SH101, Roland Juno 106. etc
Old 4 days ago
  #3
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Almost certainly the Prophet V and the DX7. Possibly some Oberheim's. The Prophet is/was analog with digital control and reigned supreme - especially in LA (definitely film capitol of the world in the 80's). The DX7 is pure dig with FM style synthesis and took LA by storm around 84 or so. The mid 80's were all Yamaha DX synths in the digital end, with P5, and OBX ruling the analog world. If it's modular sounding, it's probably ARP 2600/2500 and of course there was always the Mini Moog, but honestly, at that point of time, the P5 was eating it's lunch due to it's generous 5 note polyphony.

I got to do a lot of cool Film/TV/Commercial sessions during that period because I had a P5, Jupiter 6, Super Jupiter and a couple DX7's and it was before everyone and their mother had a rack of synths. Which of course was long before every kid had VSTi's on their iPad, phone, laptop and desktop. Geez, I'm feeling old. Getting older tomorrow.......
Old 4 days ago
  #4
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If you are talking about film scores, then a CMI Farlight, NED Synclavier, EMU Emulator. On those lines if they were done professionally. I'm sure the others posted above were used also. I'm talking about film scores.
Old 4 days ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Almost certainly the Prophet V and the DX7. Possibly some Oberheim's. The Prophet is/was analog with digital control and reigned supreme - especially in LA (definitely film capitol of the world in the 80's). The DX7 is pure dig with FM style synthesis and took LA by storm around 84 or so. The mid 80's were all Yamaha DX synths in the digital end, with P5, and OBX ruling the analog world. If it's modular sounding, it's probably ARP 2600/2500 and of course there was always the Mini Moog, but honestly, at that point of time, the P5 was eating it's lunch due to it's generous 5 note polyphony.

I got to do a lot of cool Film/TV/Commercial sessions during that period because I had a P5, Jupiter 6, Super Jupiter and a couple DX7's and it was before everyone and their mother had a rack of synths. Which of course was long before every kid had VSTi's on their iPad, phone, laptop and desktop. Geez, I'm feeling old. Getting older tomorrow.......
Well that's the thing, I'm kinda trying to move away from using stuff everyone has and it's spiked my interest in older gear. Realise there's the Stranger Things stuff, but I'm thinking further from that. I don't even really play keys, but I seem to keep getting asked to do older synth based work just because of one score I did and want some hardware around to keep me inspired. Helps that I do love the sound of that era!

DX7 seems like a go to synth... cheap too! Prophet V likely way out of my price range however!
Old 4 days ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
.... Getting older tomorrow.......
Geez, nyah, that's not the metaphor to use-- it's that your universe is expanding, see, already you've lived through eras now receding into the distant past, and you/we keep pushing further and further on, into realms yet unexplored.

We're like, uh... supernovas or something, that's it....!
Old 4 days ago
  #7
Mrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
The DX7 is pure dig with FM style synthesis and took LA by storm around 84 or so. The mid 80's were all Yamaha DX synths in the digital end, with P5, and OBX ruling the analog world.
Took the whole world by storm. Remember that annoying harmonica patch that everyone used with pitch bend.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Mrx
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Don't know if Emax found it's way into film scores but remember it was one of the first samplers that people who didn't have hit records could afford.

Just found a list of scores on wiki where they used the Emulator: Terminator 2: Judgment Day score by Brad Fiedel, many of Michael Kamen's film scores, such as Lethal Weapon and Highlander and almost all of John Carpenter's films in the 1980s.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
DX7 seems like a go to synth... cheap too! Prophet V likely way out of my price range however!
Oy vie... Don't do it! DX7 is a nightmare unless you just want to use presets.

Trust me... I'm in the same boat as you and jumped into the hardware synth world last year, and frankly I LOVE IT. Scored a couple of small client pieces with hardware synths and it worked wonders.... much more fun than VSTi.

You'd be much better served buying a Deepmind 12 or the Korg Arp copies... much better than dusting off that horrible DX7 interface. That or a used Access Virus TI2 module for more "VST like" integration into the digital workflow.

Old 4 days ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson View Post
Geez, nyah, that's not the metaphor to use-- it's that your universe is expanding, see, already you've lived through eras now receding into the distant past, and you/we keep pushing further and further on, into realms yet unexplored.

We're like, uh... supernovas or something, that's it....!

hahaha!!!! Thanks Joel! I can always count on you!!!! I will remember this tomorrow...
Old 4 days ago
  #11
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrx View Post
Took the whole world by storm. Remember that annoying harmonica patch that everyone used with pitch bend.
haha!! Yes, yes I do. And the ubiquitous Rhodes sounds. And that thwacky bass sound. I remember all of em. Don't ask me how long it's been since I powered on my DX7 though......
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
Oy vie... Don't do it! DX7 is a nightmare unless you just want to use presets.

Trust me... I'm in the same boat as you and jumped into the hardware synth world last year, and frankly I LOVE IT. Scored a couple of small client pieces with hardware synths and it worked wonders.... much more fun than VSTi.

You'd be much better served buying a Deepmind 12 or the Korg Arp copies... much better than dusting off that horrible DX7 interface. That or a used Access Virus TI2 module for more "VST like" integration into the digital workflow.

Agreed. The DX7 was quite possibly the most horrible user interface, coupled with the most tweaky and advanced synthesis system ever to grace this planet. A royal PITA to make even simple changes to. There were really only a handful of guys who mastered it and who were adept at programming it.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrx View Post
Took the whole world by storm. Remember that annoying harmonica patch that everyone used with pitch bend.

Which one? In retrospect they ALL sound like harmonica patches.
Old 4 days ago
  #14
Mrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Cibley View Post
Which one? In retrospect they ALL sound like harmonica patches.
Have a listen to Tina Turner what's love got to do with it. It's still an outstanding synth IMO probably the reason why Brian Eno used it for so many years.
Old 3 days ago
  #15
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Sam Watson's Avatar
Brian Eno finds out his DX7 is broke:


Most all DX7s still have the original presets because they were hard to program. (Think of the bassline for "Take My Breath Away" for instance. Or Highway to the Dangerzone uses Bass01 I am pretty sure.) And NIN used them as controllers (but not sound) on stage on tour because they were plentiful and cheap and regularly broken in antics. And I'm pretty sure some folks have ported the DX7 to Native Instrument's FM8. Google for that and you can hear patch to patch comparisons. There is some difference in the sound.

BUT to actually program them and get cool new sounds most hard core people got one of these programmers:


There are iPad and librarian apps now that let you do it.

Most people have mentioned the classics. I still have a Roland JV-880 which wasn't until 92. But it has a lot of the waveforms from earlier. I built a programmer in Max/MSP for it a few years ago which let me program more interesting sounds quickly. But people say the newer JV series like the 1080 and 2080 have a much more flexible architecture (called Structures I think) which makes it more of a modular beast. As such you can do LOTS of vintage Roland sounds. I actually used my JV880 on something last year for fun. It has a very full lush sound and can layer 4 waveforms each with independent ADSR etc. So the "spacey" and synth sounds on it are still great. The real sounds... meh.

The biggest pain is small screen programming in most old synths - particularly the rack ones. If you have a MIDI librarian / programming app then they are actually quite powerful!

Cheers,
Sam
Old 3 days ago
  #16
Mrx
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I used to use a JV 1080 as a sort of sound bank I guess but I am sure a lot of those synths are a lot more flexible once you get into programming them.

There was a really cool synth riff on the song crazy by Seal. At the time I imagined that they had to have used a really special synth but read somewhere, Guy Sigsworth who programmed it used an old Akai S1000.
Old 2 days ago
  #17
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Well, UHE are releasing the Repro 5 soon, from what I've heard so far, the pads sound gorgeous and quite close to what I was hearing. I think if I supplement that with some hardware and maybe an old reverb rack unit, I'll get in that territory.
Old 2 days ago
  #18
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
Most all DX7s still have the original presets because they were hard to program. (Think of the bassline for "Take My Breath Away" for instance. Or Highway to the Dangerzone uses Bass01 I am pretty sure.)
Lots of presets out there including Yamaha VRC cartridges etc...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
And I'm pretty sure some folks have ported the DX7 to Native Instrument's FM8. Google for that and you can hear patch to patch comparisons. There is some difference in the sound.
FM8 can import DX7 patches. DEXED is a better option in this respect.

I prefer FM8, though, because of the user interface and added features. The "Easy" page is useful for tweaking existing or your own patches.
Old 2 days ago
  #19
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Title says it all really.

More thinking the digital side of things and more focused on pads.


You mean this sort of thing?
Old 2 days ago
  #20
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Thread Starter
No, this kinda nails it:

Old 2 days ago
  #21
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
No, this kinda nails it:

(YouTube Link to "Suite from Less Than Zero")
Hmm, not that synthetic, guitar is just heavily effected I think, for instance.
Old 2 days ago
  #22
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Guitar is maybe (weren't all guitars processed to hell back then?), but there are synths all over that suite I posted.

There's some real sounding strings on there, but there's some sort of pad throughout most of it.
Old 2 days ago
  #23
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Guitar is maybe (weren't all guitars processed to hell back then?), but there are synths all over that suite I posted.

There's some real sounding strings on there, but there's some sort of pad throughout most of it.
Well let's go through them then?

"Bell" sounds...



Re: Guitars--not to that extent! It sounds like it's being turned into a "wash" of sound at points.
Old 2 days ago
  #24
Mrx
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The first track. Difficult to say what kind of synths but I would say it's probably several layered. Could be a DX7, D50 or maybe even something like a
PPG Wave.
Would have thought it could easily be replicated with a soft synth.
Old 1 day ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
The DX7 was quite possibly the most horrible user interface, coupled with the most tweaky and advanced synthesis system ever to grace this planet.
And early on, the only synth (I think) with various oddball microtonal scales built in. When the Shah was overthrown and nearly the entirety of Iranian showbiz moved to LA all at once, pretty much every Persian record had a DX7 on it and I recorded a fair number.
Old 1 day ago
  #26
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Agreed. The DX7 was quite possibly the
most horrible user interface, coupled with the most tweaky and advanced synthesis system ever to grace this planet.
Far from the most advanced, rather, the nice thing about FM synthesis is harmonic complexity without having to do much to get there, which allows for a lot of expression via velocity control or "evolution" of the note's timbre as it's played.

The downside is that apparently small changes to parameters can yield very large differences--especially if you don't know what the parameters mean, you can quickly end up with a very dissonant and metallic sound!



Quote:
A royal PITA to make even simple changes to. There were really only a handful of guys who mastered it and who were adept at programming it.
The "Easy" page in FM8 makes quick changes much easier. e.g. The "timbre" envelope, instead of adjusting the envelopes separately for each modulator operators in a chain "connected" to a carrier operator, it becomes more like changing the filter envelope on a conventional subtractive synth.
Old 1 day ago
  #27
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrx View Post
The first track.
By "first track" you mean "The Running Man"?
Old 19 hours ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
FM8 can import DX7 patches. DEXED is a better option in this respect.
Major points for the Dexed link! I hadn't heard of that. Amber - check that out. It is free and it sound just like the DX. I like that it has several sound engine options -modern pristine 24-bit or one modeled on the DX with aliasing issues and one modeled on the chip set. Worth noting: Monophonic (not-stereo) output just the the DX7. In some ways it makes things sit in place in a mix by not sucking up all the real estate. There are some cool things in the banks. Absolute time travel - often in a bad way though. haha

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
And early on, the only synth (I think) with various oddball microtonal scales built in. When the Shah was overthrown and nearly the entirety of Iranian showbiz moved to LA all at once, pretty much every Persian record had a DX7 on it and I recorded a fair number.
Great anecdote, Brent! My Roland JV-880 will let you retune the 12 chromatic notes +/- 100 cents. That came out later though. My EMU morpheus also had several alternate tuning scales built in (just, 19 tone, etc) which was great for out there scoring moments (dream, alien, or just stretching drums across the keys without them sounding in tune.)

Amber - you originally mentioned the Roland JD50. And then posted the link to Less than Zero. You like the pads. Roland definitely does the lush pad thing VERY well. But rack units are joyless to program without an app. And it seems the point of hardware is to get away from looking at a computer screen, right? Here is a synth I have considered nabbing over the years (after the Nord Modular in full keyboard glory) because it has so many sliders for programming and tweaking: The Roland JD-800. (Think Vangelis. He is a big JD/JV guy.) Also worth noting: Eric Persing did the original programming of the stock patches. He started Spectrasonics. So you like Omnisphere then you like his work.



I'll post some examples of the best stock JV pads in my unit later and some examples of some custom ones I did. The biggest issue is that my JV has 28 voice polyphony. So with 4 tones per patch you get 7 sustained notes. Thus the later 1080/2080 are a huge leap (64 voice poly plus Structures for major patch flexibility)

The Roland SH-101 is a highly coveted unit by a lot of people as well. Boards of Canada are big fans. Particularly for bass lines. There are reissues and it is ported to their AIRA line as well I believe.


More food for thought and general nerd snort,
Sam
Old 16 hours ago
  #29
qwe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
Major points for the Dexed link! I hadn't heard of that. Amber - check that out. It is free and it sound just like the DX. I like that it has several sound engine options -modern pristine 24-bit or one modeled on the DX with aliasing issues and one modeled on the chip set.
Glad you like it. :-)

One thing to note is, AFAIK the "DX" mode isn't strictly "accurate" (as the DX7 has various "cheats" by using look-up tables, etc.) and it's not fully reverse-engineered yet.

The OPL chips have been fully reverse-engineered, but that's relevant only to recreating the oddities of the (awful) OPL chips found on old sound cards etc.

All a moot point for me though as I just keep it in 24-bit mode.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
There are some cool things in the banks. Absolute time travel - often in a bad way though. haha
LOL. There are some nice patches amongst the metallic "joke" patches and many are still usable today if layered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
My EMU morpheus also had several alternate tuning scales built in (just, 19 tone, etc) which was great for out there scoring moments (dream, alien, or just stretching drums across the keys without them sounding in tune.)
Not to mention lots of filter options. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
The Roland JD-800.
Old 16 hours ago
  #30
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Sam Watson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by qwe View Post
The OPL chips have been fully reverse-engineered, but that's relevant only to recreating the oddities of the (awful) OPL chips found on old sound cards etc.

All a moot point for me though as I just keep it in 24-bit mode.
Well I'll tell you what I think makes it interesting in the "vintage" mode: The addition of the lowpass filter with resonance. So much of FM leaves me cold in its sound exactly because it it was too bright and abrasive. But the inclusion of a bit of weird high hiss and aliasing to the patches and then TAMED via the low pass mades for some great nostalgia / BOC loveliness to my ears.

Quote:
Not to mention lots of filter options. ;-)
Re: The EMU Morpheus. Yes, it is a VERY powerful engine. Only two layers of tone (vs. four in the JV880). But there are tons of shaping options. Although to my ears the DAC is much flatter and sterile than the Roland. So it colors every Morpheus patch. Still - between the two I learned tons about synths and got my career started. (I have the orchestral expansion in the JV for early years of terrible pseudo-orchestral music.)


OK - attaching a few pad clips from my JV 880. These are the standouts. Plus two random ones I programmed. I noticed that two of my favorites are both JP-8 imitations. So that says something. And again - the real sounds are in retrospect pretty lame. We have such incredible libraries on tap now.


Best,
Sam
Attached Files

B009-SlowStrings.mp3 (943.2 KB, 73 views)

B015-JP-8-Strings.mp3 (582.0 KB, 68 views)

B018-NewAgeVox.mp3 (849.5 KB, 71 views)

B019-ArasianMorn.mp3 (615.0 KB, 77 views)

B059-JP-8Pad.mp3 (755.2 KB, 71 views)

Sam-Cloudwash.mp3 (755.2 KB, 69 views)

Sam-Vancouver.mp3 (943.2 KB, 71 views)

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