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#1317 - 08/27/05 06:28 PM where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
wesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 4
Hi - I hear lots of synthesizer sounds in music that I enjoy and, being a gear nerd, I would really like to know what types of synths and drum machines are being used - I can't spot a roland cr-78 and maybe an 808, but that's about it - where are all those flittery arpeggios in 'somebody got murdered' by the clash coming from? what's playing that bass line in 'electric avenue' ? is there some site where I could look for this type of information? my google searches aren't coming up with much - synthmuseum will tell you a few artists that have used a synth, but not anything more specific than that - any advice? thanks
-w

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#1318 - 08/29/05 11:58 AM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
freddynl Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/17/99
Posts: 1150
Loc: netherlands
Simple answer, You can't.

Even when you know the artists and know what they are using , you will most of the time not hear what they used in the studio or what the studio did with the sound along the recording process.

There are musicians sharing this info with their fans, but as far as I know that's mostly hard/progressive rock bands who didn't sell their sole to the big three.
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#1319 - 08/29/05 12:14 PM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
wesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 4
hmmm... maybe I phrased the question poorly - what I'm looking for is samples of synthesizers - and not the kind of samples that I would load into my sampler and play with, but basically a clip with, for example, something like this....

"and here is what a moog rogue sounds like" and then it has a clip of some famous (or not) moog rogue part

or "here is a simmons drum sound" and there's a clip from some reggae tunes with a little .. booo...booo...boo...booo sounds in it

I'm particuarly interested in those reggae "boooos" and "blips" - I just want to know what type of synth makes those noises, so I can make similar noises in my studio - any one have any advice? perhaps I could post some clips from songs and people could listen and tell me what they think it is? if so, is this a proper forum to do that in? let me know? -thanks
-w

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#1320 - 08/29/05 06:20 PM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
3351 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 1194
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Hi!
Put it that way. Yes you can find out how to make those sounds. It wil take time. There is no magic web page that will just explain it all. Not really. Surely you will find tons of useful stuff out there by just searching the web. Don't count on it too much though.

Best way to learn how to make sounds that you like is by experimenting. Trying to explore different ways of making sounds.

The safest way to get access to some good synth engines capable of producing cool noises, FX and percussive synth sounds is to use software synths and instruments. THis includes some fine emulations of analog synths like Oddity, ARP 2600 V, Moog Modular V, Minimoog V, Pro 53. Also some drum software instruments like Attack, Ultra Beat, Battery as well as some very flexible software FM synths like FM7, ES2, Absynth etc.
All of the above are great for making some cool Reggae Fx and synth percussion noises/sounds.

This is really the best advice that I can give you right now. Getting the actual analog synths and drum machines is also an interesting option but you wil need tons of money and space.

Hardware analog modeling and FM synths are also a cool option. However with software all you will need to worry about is your computer's CPU and RAM. If your computer is fast enough to run soft synths that i've mentioned then go for it.

samples are also an option. Spectrasonics (and other sample giants) offer CD-ROMs and soft instruments (sample based) loaded with synth FX and synth drum sounds. usually each sound comes with some information (name, origin etc(.

So here you go. lots to play with. Good luck to you.

-ED-
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A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- - - Oscar Wilde

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#1321 - 08/29/05 08:54 PM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
wesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 4
hey there 3351 - thanks for chiming in - I have reason which I think is pretty cool for the most part and this is what I've been trying to use to get most of my sounds but it seems totally lacking in what I'm looking for, which, considering everything that it does, make me think I'm using it wrong - am I barking up the wrong tree with this app? is it just not going to give me what I want? buying synths is no issue, in fact, I'm using an older PC and I'd actually like to buy a synth - I was thinking something like one of those rolands with the drum pads built-in - seems ok, but again, it doesn't (right out of the box) make the sounds I hear on these records, so I wonder if they're actually drum machines and not synths - like maybe a simmons drum or something....
-w

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#1322 - 08/30/05 06:38 AM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
3351 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 1194
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Hi!
Since you are able to run Reason on your PC you should be able to use software synths that I've mentioned. Surely some of the workstations of today (drum pads or no drum padds) will feature some of the sounds that you are after but most of today's workstations are based on sample playback. You can load samples in Reason and probably do more with them there. Likewise with analog and physical modeling. Software will deliver just as much (if not more), cost less and will be much easier to handle.
Although if you don't have a sequencing/audio software like Cubase or Cakewalk you will pretty much have to run stand alone versions of soft synths that I've mentioned. Unless of coarse there is some free VSTi hosting app that can allow you to run multiple VSTi instruments (if you will ever need to do so).

If you still wish to explore hardware side of tthings than do a search on analog drum modules and mono synths. I'm sure there are a few made today. From there you will pretty much be able to create your own FX and drum sounds, sample them into Reason and mess with them there.

Although for the life of me (I used Reason long time ago) I cannot remember just how far sample editing goes in that app. The only Propellerheads software that I really really got into using (again, long time ago(( was Unity DS-1. It was cool for the time.

Right now I've got way too many software toys to mess with. I'm currently running Logic Audio Pro 7.1 with lots of it's own soft synths. Additionally I use tons of NI, Arturia, Gmedia, Applied Acoustics, Spectrasonics, U.S.B. and Steinberg stuff (either as AU or VSTi plug-ins).

Actually doesn't Reson use VSTi and VST as well? After all it is a stand alone app. Surely there is a AU version of it but could you enlighten me on it a little? I feel bad for not knowing Reason that well. It is a very good software loved by a lot of artists.

-ED-
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A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- - - Oscar Wilde

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#1323 - 08/30/05 07:47 AM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
wesman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 4
right - I know I can use all those other synths - in fact, I might even have a pirated copy of battery somewhere, but, being a software engineer professionally, I don't steal software, so reason's all I've really got to work with and I was assuming that right out of the box it would do all these great things, but it seems it's only really for techno/house music (forgive my illiteracy in the department of accurately naming electronic music genres)

I use Nuendo, so running VSTs is no issue - Reason is actually a nice setup, it is a stand-alone app ( I don't think it runs as a plugin, if it does that's kinda cool, but I don't know how) - instead, you launch it after your sequencer starts and it connects via Rewire (which, if you're not hip to, basically means you have a connection from each of the reason "hardware" outputs directly into your DAW mixer) I like the combination of these two packages just fine (although nuendo is certainly overkill for what I do, I can't tolerate the UIs of "lesser programs" like cubase or anything cakewalk - they look like poorly written toys - ew) - I just wish that reason made those little "booo...booo...booo..booo" noises and maybe 1 or 2 other things.... I heard so many of the sounds that it makes that it seemed to me that it should have at least 1 patch that does what I'm looking for (knowing full well that I would not use the majority of patches and presets other than the pianos, strings and bloopies) - perhaps I just need to spend more time tweaking the synths, but I can't even find anything that is even remotely close as a starting point in any of the presets... it's kind of a drag......
-w

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#1324 - 08/30/05 08:47 AM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
3351 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 1194
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Well, relying on presets only wil limit you with any synth no matter how flexible and wonderful it's tone architecture and capabilities are. I don't recommend that approach to anyone who knows and expects certain kind of sounds out of their instruments. Knowing what you want is good but there is no majic device out there to do it all for you. Since you are well setup to run soft synths I suggest you mess with that option.

My favorite drum synth is waldorf Attack. It is available both as a rack and a VSTi. Waldorf are out of business so finding the rack module will be a bit tricky. However the VSTi version (that doesn't lack in anything when compared to the rack) is still sold by Steinberg who originally distributed it anyway.

Atttack is basically a very complex synth that is mostly based on analog modeling (has a couple of sampled crashes but that's it. The rest is generated by it's synth engine) with very flexible tone architecture generally needed to produce sound FX and drum sounds. The sounds that you seem to be after (at least according to your description) are most likely a result of a combination of analog drum sound modules, mono/poly analog synths and some DSP FX (like Delay, Flange, Chorus(.
Attack is all of the above. Designed specifically for percussion and sound FX. It is also possible to use it for sweeps, basses, leads etc. But it's strength is in making drums and FX.

Synthetically speaking it features an oscillator (that can generate anything from White noise to Square and saw waveforms(, very flexible modulation matrix, multiple filter types with pretty real sounding resonance and optional self oscillation, easy to control snappy Envelopes and LFOs and some DSp FX as well (some dsp like Delay and Flange is done per drum sound). So it is a little monster. Very easy to program.
While it's presets cover mostly techno-electro-house type sounds it is well capable of heavy electronic reggae sounds and sound FX.

Battery on the other hand is mostly a sample playback module so really, it isn't anywhere near as flexible as a synth. I prefer NI FM7 for drums. Of coarse this means FM programming which I dont' recommend you get into yet.

Start with Attack. Download a demo or something. If there are only audio demos then there is no crime in downloading a kracked version just to try it. As long as you don't use it for any commercial purposes you're not breaking any laws. Once you've familiarised yourself with it's tone architecture and tried it to see if it can do what you like you'll buy one.

Also, take some time to read up on synthesis and try to familiarise yourself with different types of synthesis. It always helps to know the difference between samples, FM, analog, additive, granular, wavetable and other forms of synthesis. Otherwise you can get very very very confused very quickly.

I'm pretty sure Reason is well capable of playing drum samples that you like. Of coarse without you knowing how to add your own samples into it's library (and where to get those samples as well as what to look for( it isn't going to be useful to you.

Part of using synths is knowing them. we all had to start somewhere and without that knowledge you will pretty much continue wondering around in the dark and getting nowhere.

-ED-
_________________________
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- - - Oscar Wilde

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#1325 - 08/30/05 10:22 PM Re: where can I find info on which synths are featured in certain songs?
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
I agree totally with Ed. I use and like Imposocar, Pro53, Arturia's Minimoog, CS80V, and Arp2600 emulations, Absynth, Korg Legacy, Pentagon, and the Superwave series, along with several others, including a few freeware offerings.

You can start for free and it's totally legit. There are plenty of good freeware synths to help you get started at www.kvraudio.com

Some are fairly simple and straight forward, which won't be a bad thing when you are starting out programming patches. Others are as complex as similar commercial synths. I recommend a look at the following freeware synths:

Minimogue - Excellent Minimoog emulation, almost on par with the commercial Arturia version.

Ugo Texture - Powerhouse Subtractive synth.

Ichiro Toda's Synth 1 - Very straightforward subtractive Synth ... Maybe not so pretty, but great to work with and learn patch editing. Pressts range from fair to good, but d/l some add on patches, particuarly those done by Tim Conrardy, and you'll see what it can really do. Based on the Clavia Nord

Green Oak Crystal. Semi Modular and hybrid synth that also can use wavetables ( in soundfont form ). One of the highest rated synths at KVR.

Superwave P8. My personal favorite freeware ( along with Minimogue ). Love the sounds on this one.

The entire set of softsynths from Mik Sybrandt. Some real gems here. Most are very simple to program.

RGC Triangle II - As good a mono-softsynth as I can find, commercial or otherwise. It's the sole reason I bought some of RGC Audio's commercial softwares

Cheers

AJ


[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 08-30-2005).]
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AJ

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