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What is used in the 80's/90's Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 2nd March 2014
  #1
Gear Head
 

What is used in the 80's/90's

I've been wondering what type of outboard gear is often used back in the 80's, early 90's and possibly early 2000's.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #2
Gear Addict
As far as the engineering side, SSL SSL SSL SSL SSL SSL...

But really... SSL. Get a good channel strip (plugin I suppose). IK Multimedia British Channel is right up this alley. IMO, SSL shaped the 80s and the 90s more than any type of gear has shaped a generation of music. The concept of "mixing" was taken to the next level, essentially giving it its modern definition.

As far as instruments, you're right; you'll get a lot of mileage with the 808/909 and other Roland machines. Most of the synths here were early PCM (Korg, Roland, Kurzweil) and remnants of the FM era.

Also, the 80s was the golden age for digital reverbs, particularly Lexicon. The 90s was a transition, at least in rock, to more natural room recorded ambience.

Remember that the late 80s into the 90s were when music production was desperately leaving all of things that have become very popular again today (tape, classic analog synths/drum machines, minimalism).
Old 2nd March 2014
  #3
Gear Head
 

Ok thank you so much for the answers. SSL.. I cant afford that. Can I just buy the pres that are similar, and instead of buying the whole console that come with the pres can I just build my own pres collection and mix with that? If so what are good ones? Don't they sell channel strip (or SSL) one by one?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #4
AlexB has some SSL Libraries for Nebula that you might want to check out. He also has some good pre's. Besides the DX7, Rhodes 88s, Juno, and Jupiter keyboards were used a lot. the Emu Drumulator was used quite a bit. TR-808 and triggers. Simmons drums. Acoustic drums were often heavily gated. Lots of SPX-90 effects, Midiverb, Lexicon PCM 70, 42, and Prime Time. And 2" tape machines of course.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #5
Gear Head
 

Post or PM one of your tracks and I will tell you. My guess is it has more to do with your harmonies and arrangement, then the choice of sounds and lastly the use of effects (snare reverb etc.).
Old 2nd March 2014
  #6
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The three biggest changes I saw in the '80s were the use of click tracks (often at the wrong tempo,) overdubbing absolutely everything individually and then bailing out the massive dynamics issues caused by overdubbing everything individually using the compression and automation on an SSL.

Studios who got paid by the hour made themselves a mint!
Old 2nd March 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Bob,

Wondering if you could elaborate on what you said about the "massive dynamics issues caused by overdubbing"??

Wondering why this occurs and more specificlally how it rears it's head? So to speak..

Also, if there is any way to minimize it??

...it's something I never really thought about when mixing..I'm usually just trudging through trying to make it sound right, pretty much.

I'm one guy making music and I'm always overdubbing.

: )

Thanks..
Old 2nd March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Here's a list of what you might need:

(1) A real engineer. Back then records were done in real studios with talented engineers with many years of experience.

(2) A vintage SSL, like the 4000. Can't afford one? No problem. Use one of the many plugins instead.

(3) A 2" tape machine. Can't afford one? No problem. Use a good tape emulation plugin that emulates a machine like the Studer A800, which is probably what was most used back then.

(4) Effects. Lexicon PCM 42. Lexicon 224/224XL, Lexicon 480. Eventide harmonizers. AMS Delay. AMS Reverb.

(5) A nice variety of compressors. LA-2A, LA-3A, DBX 160, Urei 1176.

(6) Outboard EQ's, like pultec, API, Neve, Focusrite and GML. A nice studio back then would have a decent selection of different outboard to choose from.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #9
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

When musicians play as an ensemble, they naturally adjust their dynamics to each other and even change the arrangement so they can hear themselves and each other in an acoustical balance. Headphones screw dynamics, phrasing and pitch up. Overdubbing removes the interaction between musicians.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 

K, got that. I have a good feel for my own dynamics and find it's important to listen to my primary tracks--drums-bass-rhythm guitar, many times before I add more flesh, so I have a solid memory for what's happening dynamically. I can respond a 'little bit' more appropriately....but you're right, I do have to make many considerations when Im mixing.

Right about headphones. different world in a can.. I usually try to have my instrument a back/low in the mix when Im using headphones..helps me hear and focus on the actual song and my instrument in the context of that mess. : )

Thanks for the RE..I thought that's what you meant but was wondering if it was a more technical/mechanical issue of sorts.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #11
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Yes, people can get really good at overdubbing but I've never found anybody who played as well overdubbing as they could in an ensemble. I bring it up because too many people believe overdubbing is the "pro" way to work.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #12
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
When musicians play as an ensemble, they naturally adjust their dynamics to each other and even change the arrangement so they can hear themselves and each other in an acoustical balance. Headphones screw dynamics, phrasing and pitch up. Overdubbing removes the interaction between musicians.
Do you mean adjusting dynamics for each instrument used? How do you do that? When I have multiple tracks recorded they become very sloppy. I think that is also one of my problem. What can I do to improve this?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
Do you mean adjusting dynamics for each instrument used? How do you do that? When I have multiple tracks recorded they become very sloppy. I think that is also one of my problem. What can I do to improve this?
You need to make sure that you're playing or capturing parts that will work together in a mix. Just because a synth lead or drum loop sounds good in isolation doesn't mean it will work within the context of a song (it usually won't). It can take a lot of time to learn to hear what parts of the spectrum of each sound are most important -- and what parts might be interfering with the spectrum of other parts. But study the individual sounds on the examples you have. What's the frequency of the kick? Of the bass? Of other parts? You might want to spend more time studying 70s disco/dance/funk/soul tracks since they kinda set the stage for the early 80s stuff, but are a bit easier to unpack since they use fewer tracks.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Tinderwet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
Do you mean adjusting dynamics for each instrument used? How do you do that? When I have multiple tracks recorded they become very sloppy. I think that is also one of my problem. What can I do to improve this?
He means hire/put together a band, so you guys can play together in real time.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #15
Quote:
What is used in the 80's/90's
Mostly cocaine as I recall
Old 2nd March 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
Do you mean adjusting dynamics for each instrument used? How do you do that? When I have multiple tracks recorded they become very sloppy. I think that is also one of my problem. What can I do to improve this?
Hi 2,

Are you improvising for the most part when you record?

Do you start with an arrangement of any kind..loose or tight?

How do you work?

Also, Be more clear about what you mean by "Sloppy". that could be a lot different things.

Sloppy musically?

Sloppy volume wise?

Sloppy..can't hear any separation in your different instruments in the mix? Mud?

Sloppy rhythmically?

?

What Bob O is referring to is how a bunch of good musicians play when they are playing live takes all together..They compliment each other, support each other, drop back in volume to make room for other peoples parts, slight tempo pushes on the breaks, on and on.

Dynamics is a huge part of what makes great bands--Great

..how they interact and create groove and feel and space and density.

: )
Old 2nd March 2014
  #17
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

We all respond to what we hear. Multiple people responding to each other at the same time is far better than one person adjusting to something that is frozen.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #18
Here for the gear
 

try limiting the number of overdubs to mirror the number of tracks available on a 2" machine, 16 or 24. If you listen to Electric Avenue, for instance, the magic in that track was the "air". Meaning there was maybe 4 instruments on the whole track and they were not playing all the time. The vocal takes up most of the space in the mix and the other instruments fade in and out to accent certain musical interludes complimented by the limiter/compressors. They probably "printed" the slap echo as the vocal was going down. But an analogue board is the challenge in my opinion, and is hard to replicate even with the available channel strips. They never quite measure up.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowkid View Post
try limiting the number of overdubs to mirror the number of tracks available on a 2" machine, 16 or 24. If you listen to Electric Avenue, for instance, the magic in that track was the "air". Meaning there was maybe 4 instruments on the whole track and they were not playing all the time. The vocal takes up most of the space in the mix and the other instruments fade in and out to accent certain musical interludes complimented by the limiter/compressors. They probably "printed" the slap echo as the vocal was going down. But an analogue board is the challenge in my opinion, and is hard to replicate even with the available channel strips. They never quite measure up.
I know this. But when I overdubbed, record, playback, the instruments always turn out sloppy. I don't want to mix yet. I want to get the performance to be as tight as possible but my problem is they aren't tight enough. I was told that I need to tighten up my playing.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinderwet View Post
He means hire/put together a band, so you guys can play together in real time.
Isn't overdubbing considering real-time? I don't need a band. I like to stay a one man band, and my style is way different from those I've known.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #21
The songs that you posted are all based around the kick, snare, and bass. Rhythm is the foundation. I think that if you can get that tight, the rest will fall into place. Listening to the songs again, that first song has very smooth compression and layered vocals. A lot of the keyboard parts sound DX7 to me. You can go a long ways towards getting a similar sound using a PCM 42, a PCM 70 a harmonizer and some GOOD compression. The drums are very tight. Gate/expanders were used on the kicks and toms. The reverbs are also gated. The SPX 90s had a gated reverb setting that was quite commonly used on snare. (though most don't like to admit it.)

.. anyhow, there's some great advice here. I hope you can eventually get the mix sounding the way you want.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #22
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Tinderwet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
Isn't overdubbing considering real-time?
Only in the case of certain high-end time machines.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #23
Gear Head
 

I think it's the tone of the instruments that is causing me problems. Each sound has different tone and most of the time will not fit within the rest. I try to find the closes sound that will work with all the other instruments but my ear keeps hearing that it isn't warm enough. This is why when I playback they sound so dull. I don't know how to explain it.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
I think it's the tone of the instruments that is causing me problems. Each sound has different tone and most of the time will not fit within the rest. I try to find the closes sound that will work with all the other instruments but my ear keeps hearing that it isn't warm enough. This is why when I playback they sound so dull. I don't know how to explain it.
Google "carving out a mix" and you should be able to find lots of information on dealing with that. It's a common issue. Using high-pass filters and propper eq'ing are important. Also; using parallel compression and using different compression ratios on different instruments or groups can help a lot with that issue. In general, drums, bass, low frequency stuff gets pretty heavy compression and less compression on higher frequency stuff can help them poke through the mud. And adjusting the envelopes on you low frequency stuff to tighten it up can help too.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
I've been wondering what type of outboard gear is often used back in the 80's, early 90's and possibly early 2000's. I know the tr808/909 were the mainstream drum machines then along with some other ones. I don't have a real tr808, I only use the samples from gold baby's collection, 1 cheap audio interface, and everything is produce in Pro Tools. I need to know the type of preamps, console, etc..to make my music sound like the 80's/90's. No kidding. I'm not asking for a specific type used on these videos. Just the most popular ones..

I'm trying to make some of my music like them, but they don't even come close. lol. Is there a specific type of outboard or two that can help me achieve them? These are what I'm looking to produce. I have no problem producing them - I just cant get the sound to be like that.





Man just listen to the drums on this one. Geez.. it sounds very vintage to me.



I been trying to make music like this, but because I can't get those professional result... I stopped. Until I have more knowledge and the answers to what I'm looking for. I believe it has to do more with the tracking/recording stage. If I only know what goes in and out of the drum machines or keyboards into whatever, then I can have more hope. Until then, it's a big disappointment. The way I produce things is just through a cheap interface, using samples I could find off the internet and try to get my mixed as good as possible. Still I'm not satisfy.

I have watched Tony Shepperd video last night and he says that running a keyboard or a vst plugin into a hardware, even if you do nothing to it, you still get more character added to the sound. Ok, this is probably what I'm missing in my recording. I don't have those characters and colors in it. This is why I quit.

Help me somebody. What do I need?
808/909 samples are a plus
the emu procession was cool.
same with MPC60II/MPC3000 and SP-1200 drum machines and the linn 9000.
the lm1 was popular back then.

a dx7 is cool
i thought i heard some korg pianos in the surface song.
same with some analog synths with delay maybe? (prophet5/jupiter 8?)

i'd look at the korg legacy collection.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #26
Gear Head
 

Alright thanks a lot. Another thing... why my input level are so low when I record them? I had my keyboard volume all the way up, daw fader is at 0 db but when I look at the meter they're like -9, -12.

If I want to screen capture daw and export it as an video file and upload it on youtube for tutorial purposes the sound is very low! And this is without mastering. How can I get it to where my input level is hot before mastering?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
Alright thanks a lot. Another thing... why my input level are so low when I record them? I had my keyboard volume all the way up, daw fader is at 0 db but when I look at the meter they're like -9, -12.

If I want to screen capture daw and export it as an video file and upload it on youtube for tutorial purposes the sound is very low! And this is without mastering. How can I get it to where my input level is hot before mastering?
Are you using a mixer, or a pre/interface. Does your pre have input level adjustments? Is there a pad on the pre?
If you can't get enough gain out of your keyboard for it, you may have to use a pair of good DI boxes and use the mic inputs.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #28
Gear Head
 

Keyboard stereo out into interface only. Sucks I know. :(

What's the benefit of it running through a DI box anyway?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2become1 View Post
Keyboard stereo out into interface only. Sucks I know. :(

What's the benefit of it running through a DI box anyway?
Instrument level is a lower voltage than line level. If your interface doesn't have instrument-level inputs, a DI Box will use the correct load impedance on the instrument output and transform it down to balanced mic level which should work with the mic inputs of your interface. The dual XLR/1/4" inputs on some interfaces will accept instrument-level inputs. Some other 1/4" jacks are designed for +4 line level signals. What inteface are you using?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
BillSimpkins's Avatar
Pretty much the same gear that is used now, but use vintage sources, reverb technique, song writing etc…
Don't use auto tune, instead use the recording and mixing tricks they used to mask pitch problems rather than correct them, such as doubling, chorus effects etc…

Here are a few keywords for you:
Gated reverb on drums.
Long and bright reverb tails.
Chorus on the reverb.
Doubled vocals.
SSL dynamics, TC 2290 Delay, SPX-90, H3000, Dimension D, DBX 160 VU, DBX Noise Reduction
Fender Strats, Roland Jazz Chorus Amp, JCM 800
Juno, TR808, DX-7, RY-30, Korg Electric Pianos
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