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Recommend Synths for this type of sound

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by TheWinterSnow, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    For years I have been trying to find out how Kevin Moore (Ex-Dream Theater) got his sounds for their first two big releases, "Images and Words" and "Awake".

    He used a long list of equipment:

    -Roland JD-800 - used for piano, distorted organ, synth pads and chimes
    -Korg DW-8000 - used for solo sounds for songs such as Take the Time and Pull Me Under
    -Korg DSS-1 - used for samples
    -Roland D-50 - used mainly for string and bell sounds
    -Kurzweil K2000 - presumably used for string sounds

    Without going out and trying to buy all the vintage keyboards that he used which are not only hard to find, but expensive, I would rather look at which modern soft synths that could recreate the pallet of patches that he used.

    I could post a long list of Youtube videos of all that sounds, but it would be almost the entire library of those two albums, maybe someone fmailiar with them can point me in the right direction.

    For the most part I am interested in sounds like:

    Under A Glass Moon: Beginning and 2:50
    Learning to Live: 2:40 (chimey thing on top and pads)
    The Mirror: 0:16, 3:20, 2:50, 5:54, 6:15
    Lifting Shadows Off A Dream: 0:16

    I am also Interested in the overall fake string synth pads and other little things going on.

    I have tried the Synths that I have, the stock Fruity Loops and Sonar plugins but no amount of tweaking comes close, and all of the free plugins from KVR sound like 8-bit Atari game synths which I am not really interested in.

    What is in the Market that could emulate those kind of sounds?

    Also, general discussion of cheesy 80's synths and how to get them.
     
  2. nezvers

    nezvers Beast

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    i'm not familiar with hardwares you mentioned, but it could be possible with good analog type synth. My recomendation free synth - Poly 2106, check presets and tweek them.
     
  3. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    The sound samples sound ok, better than what I have tried so far. Will have to give it a demo run and will report back.
     
  4. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Sounds like a couple of sounds layered there in the beginning. An "analog"-type pad in the middle and strings in at least three octaves. Maybe a bell-ish pad on the very top, hard to say, it's all mixed into a big wall of sound. The 2:50 bell sounds just like JD-800 (or D-50, both share the same basic engine / sound). All Roland synths have that kind of bell sound now, with names like D-2000, JD-bell, Bell Stack, Fantasia/Fantasy Bell, etc etc..

    The same ^

    0:16 strings? I'd guess the Kurz. 2:50 analog-type pad, pwm? 3:20 piano plus bell with delays, same at 5:54. 6:15 strings+piano+bell, effected, flangers/chorus/??, sounds like someone played around with phase.

    The "tingles"? Could be guitar harmonics? Really hard to say for sure. Some short plucky/belly sound might work as well. Strings, again I'd guess the Kurz.

    So, what do we learn from this? Layers! Sometimes a single sound works, sometimes you have to just pile sounds together to get what you're after.

    The D-50/JD-800 bell sounds are so famous, they or something like them should be in any decent soft-synth (that uses samples, at least). But I wouldn't know for sure, since I use hardware.. :p
     
  5. Sweetnothing

    Sweetnothing ¯\(º_o)/¯

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    Maybe not as detailed as vespiz ;) but keep in mind the kurz 2000/2500 had also a sampling engine. What I've learnt all over the years is that any sound could be just about anything. The bells yep, sounded like D50 to me while the strings could be jd800. Had a kurz for a while and didn't had such a strong character going on like the rolands, they are deep synths ( modulation everywhere) but they don't have those classic sounds you can spot instantly.

    Consider the Korg Wavestation as a possible contender for strings/pads.

    I would go for a sampler and soundsets from the d50 to start somewhere close. Maybe Korg Wavestation too.
     
  6. domingooo

    domingooo Member

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    Try Korg legacy digital edition
    the m1 and wavestation are just great
     
  7. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Wavestation.. hmmm.. Pads and evolving textures yes, but for strings, I found it to be too mushy and cloudy.

    As I just recently got the JD-800, I've yet to fully explore it, but the strings on it sound great, even by todays standards. Especially with the Strings card. Well, not E&W/Kontakt/Hans Zimmer great but.. you know. So maybe it was used for the strings on Awake, but .. there's something in that sound that shouts "KURZWEIL!" to me.

    Such a great synth, the sound of it surpasses my newer XV-5050, which shares the same (updated) engine! Not bad for 1991. And the JD-990 module is apparently even better (but I gotta have keys and controllers!).
     
  8. Sweetnothing

    Sweetnothing ¯\(º_o)/¯

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    The jd800 is great, had one for a brief period of time and it's such a beast. Got it when s+s synthesis wasn't the cool thing for really cheap, and it was one of those few synths that can fill a mix instantly, shame I had to sell it due to space problems ( its BIG)
    Kurz was a little bit more sterile sounding to me when I tried the 2500r, yes, sounded great but needed a lot more programming to get good sounds out of it. The pianos were so nice though.

    The Wavestation...there are 3 diff models from what I remember, the one a friend had was the Ex version, the one with resonant filters I think. I found it muddier than the std version. Some said it sounded "bigger" or "fuller". You know, opinions ;)
     
  9. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    My WS is, I believe, an original model that was later EXpanded. Four models all together: WS, EX-WS, WS A/D and WS SR. Last two rack models. I have no idea if they sound different or not, most users say they're the same and any differences might be due to some off-set calibration or worn out components etc etc yadda yadda.

    From VSE:
    Anyway. I've never been a fan of Kurzweils. Yes, they have some incredible sounds in them, but they're .. just not fun, you know? They feel like you'd have to study an inch thick manual just to find a damn organ sound! When Six Degrees.. came out, it was like a fresh breath of air, because the sounds JR was getting were so much more exciting than on previous albums. And lo and behold, he'd swapped to Korg (Karma, to be exact). People complain about the Korg sound being plastic-y, but in my mind, it's the Kurz that's boring and plain vanilla. The strings are nice, no buts about it.

    But that B3 emulation! :ill:

    The JD-800 has a snap and punch to it that I've yet to hear from any digital S+S synth. I read somewhere (GS probably) that Eric Persing did most (all?) of the presets. The same guy behind Spectrasonics.. It's just one of those synths that once you sit by it and start playing, time just flies out the window. The other being in my avatar. :p
     
  10. Sweetnothing

    Sweetnothing ¯\(º_o)/¯

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    Yes! I forgot about the SR!!! ( the one rack space one)
    I don't know, I remember feeling it different, but then again, it was ages ago ( 96 I think)

    Kurzweils and Emu have the worst os known to man IMO, the proteus series ( without a pc editor) were a pain to program with all the cryptic modulation sources and destinations, the samplers, having a bigger screen, were even worse. Yes, really deep, but oh god.

    People will always say the same about korg and yamaha. My first synth ( a yamaha w5) was plastic-y to some people, the trinity did had the same luck, or the prophecy.

    What to say about the cs80? :lol: it's just a classic. ;)
     
  11. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    I knew for the most part that the sounds were layered. How would you go about layering a hard synth like that when you have that many sounds? Or do synths like the jd-800 have multiple oscillators/envelopes/filters and other more customization routing similar to having a wall of moog/patchbay (whatever they are called) synths?

    The Proteus series, I have the VST version of the Proteus X, its a pain in the ass to work with, some decent sounds though.

    Some of the string samples that I mentioned in the OP sound like they are string wavetables and some sound like just a good blend of subjective oscillators and good filters.

    There have been some discussions on the internet and most seemed to say no, but are there any soft synths that have that "Roland" sound to them? Other than going apeshit with Omnisphere and trying to get a hold of as many samples as possible, (you can download samples to it right?). If not so, what are some good sample vsts and where do you get samples from?

    Also, since I am trying to do all the research and learn all of this, what does S+S mean?
     
  12. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Yeah, they have multiple oscs etc. that can be either a completely different sound or a part of a bigger sound. This is known as a patch (or voice, part, etc). Most digital workstation synths are also multi-timbral, ie. you can play several sounds at once in combi/perform/etc modes, that combine multiple patches.

    However, the way I do it - and I believe most players as well - is to record or edit the MIDI and then just make as many passes on different sounds (or synths) as needed with that MIDI info. All on different tracks, so you can blend, mix & effect as you see fit. Be careful with fx! I only record the synths' internal fx if they are an essential part of the patch. It really depends on the synth and its architecture on what you can do with it and if and how to use combis or patches. And playing live is of course a different matter..

    The "better" synths also have multiple routings available for making things affect other things (filter opens up when going up the keyboard, while volume goes down; sustain pedal stops one sound and lets others sustain while bringing up a massive delay/reverb-storm, etc..). Not quite a modular synth (that you were referring to), but close. Modulars offer ALL the parts as separate building blocks you connect via cables as you see fit. Not for the faint of heart (but curious minds might want to check out muffwiggler.com).

    Most of the strings are samples, but I hear some analog-type strings/pads at points. Nothing too extraordinary soundwise, just good playing and arrangements.

    S+S = Sample and synthesis. I have no idea about Omnisphere. But really, it doesn't have to be Roland sounds.. they might not even fit your music/style/mix! The best I've found is to use different brands blended together.
     
  13. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    I am going to bump this again because after looking around at synths and keyboards, I decided that I may be interested in an actual keyboard. Went to Guitar Center and played the new Roland Gaia SH-01 and really like the idea of real virtual analog synths with control knobs as it seems much easier to dial and tweak stuff than mess around with a screen/mouse.

    One issue I have with the Gaia is that it is simply a synth, it doesn't do samples. Upon looking around the only thing Roland has in the S+S area is the Jupiter which is not only expensive but touch screens kind of ruin the whole point of going to an actual keyboard. I tried looking around at other stuff but couldn't really find anything. ]

    Are there any currently in production simple S+S keyboards that don't have all the recording DAW and I/O plus other expensive crap that doesn't have a touch screen or even worse have all its features in a screen that is controlled by scroll buttons. Seems everything I find is based around screens and not physical knobs. Am I just going to have to go old school and get a JD-800?
     
  14. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Fact: knobs cost.

    Take a look at the new KingKorg :)lol:) VA-synth. Or the Nord Wave, if you feel adventurous. Don't know if these are even remotely close what you're looking for.

    Others that came to my mind are the Roland Juno-Di/Gi/Stage series.. Stage has a good keyboard, but other than that, they're "just ok". The old JD still sounds better than these!!

    The new Jupiters are more geared towards players, as I see it, with all that SuperNatural expressive-thingamajigs. Basic VA-engine is basically the same as Gaia (only x3 per voice, iirc.).

    But.. here's the thing. The way I see it, no one keyboard does it all. Last I counted I had... 18 or so different synths/modules/drummachines and they all do things differently. So a knobby VA plus a used XV-module might be worth thinking about!
     
  15. TheWinterSnow

    TheWinterSnow Den Mørke Natt

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    The Juno series aren't s+s synths, they are basic keyboards with untweakable sounds that are stored and other than layering two patches at once, you really can't make your own sounds and the sounds that it comes with are really not that impressive, especially for the price.

    The Nords are cool, but for their price, the fact that they can only have two oscillators that can be either sample or synth is pretty lame, considering when the JD was brand new it was still cheaper than the Nord Stage and Wave and was capable of three oscillators per tone and up to 4 tones per patch (12 oscillators) and any one of those oscillators could be a sample and every oscillator/sound had its own filter and amp settings. The Nords can only do two? Really, really weak if you ask me. The kingkorg is an alternative to the Gaia, as it doesn't do samples outside the onboard piano and organ samples it has.

    Really, no S+S VA keyboards that aren't touch screen based? Maybe I will just have to suck it up and get a JD-800.
     
  16. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Yes you can actually, there's an editor for those. But I agree on the sounds as-is.

    OK, didn't look too deep into the Korg, just saw it had some samples on board.

    To clarify, to me, S+S has always ment basic romplers (internal samples that are manipulated with the synth engine), they're only samplers (able to load/record external samples) if it's mentioned in particular, like workstations. Nord Wave to me is a VA with an added sampler. JD-800/990 are "pure" S+S synths. Different approach. Also note that JD loses polyphony (max 24) as you add tones, same as with every Roland using that same type of engine, so a big 4-tone patch uses only 6 notes of polyphony. Nord has full 18 notes going all the time.

    XV-5050/3080/5080 can load JD patches, but they are modules.. I haven't seen any knobby/slide-y S+S synths made since JD-800. At least not on that scale, a couple of "soft knobs" under a screen don't count! :yell: But if you find a nice JD for a decent price (500$-ish?) snap it up! You can always unload it, they are sought after.
     

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