Sound of the 80s

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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vurt
addled muppet weed
50348 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:57 am

the 80s for me started well, then 86 i died so not my favourite year.
shortly after that i discovered hashish, magick and girls who would.
the music was mostly 70s psyche, but it was around this time tg, psychik tv and coil came on to my radar.(basically i was nicking my two uncles records, one a hippy and one a sort of new romantic punk (i never even borrowed a record from the third, a bloody elvis (las vegas period) impersonator.).

so the sounds of the 80s where teachers, a car horn and windscreen smash, coughing, orgasms and some music.

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excuse me please
KVRist
210 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:24 pm

So true, the 80s were completely overrun by the DX7.
Because people did not really know how to program synths in an appropriate sense of fashion.
Otherwise they had used Korgs!

noiseboyuk
KVRAF
2727 posts since 25 Jan, 2007

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:51 pm

[apologies for a brief ramble]

Think of the difference between (UK-centric) 1980 - Gary Numan, Abba, The Police, The Jam - with 1989 - Black Box, Soul II Soul, Stock Aitken & Waterman, Technotronic.

As others have said, synth pop really came from cheaper synths from the late 70s and early 80s. I'm particularly fond of the breaking of that wave in 1979 - 1981, often using real drums, guitars or bass along with the synths - bands like Japan, New Musik, early Simple Minds (Mick McNeil making definitive use of the Jupiter 4, 8 and OBXa). For me this was the really golden era before the DX7 kinda ruined everything. Not that I hate all FM, but there was something about that subtractive era that I think has lasted a lot better than what came in its wake. The PPG Wave was just a posh DX7 I reckon. Of course its how you use 'em... with early sampling, most of the Fairlight sounds seem horrendous to me now, but in the hands of Trevor Horn, Jean Michel Jarre or JJ Jaczelik it was a thing of beauty that still stands up today.

The gap between 1970 - Let It Be, Bridge Over Troubled Water and 1979 - The Skids, Chic was of course incredibly wide too, ditto 50s and 60s. You could sort of make a case for 1990 vs 1999, but when its Adamski and Madonna's Vogue vs Britney Spears and TLC I think we're seeing a creative contraction here, the pace of innovation slowing considerably, til at this point in 2019 its slowed to a crawl, an ever-decreasing descent into sub-sub-sub genres, anonymous autotuned pop and retro mashups, millions of creatives swamped with cheap amazing tools that somehow tend towards conformity. I've always said that new technology drives music trends from the pipe organ to the electric guitar to the MPC, and its' all been a law of diminishing returns since the 80s really on that score, hasn't it?

Oh well.

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KVRist
210 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:18 pm

What comes to mind is 'A Forest' by Cure. Lately, although I haven't listened to Seventeen Seconds in decades, I hear this song in my head. Just listened to 'Play For Today' and it still sounds like no other band. Or even the same band.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... e-a-forest

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hmbOLTWggXI

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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:03 pm

Born in 1959 I spent my teenage years in the 70s, with the early years of Genesis (for me Genesis ceased to exist in 1978 after the publication of what I consider to be their last true good album, "And then there were three"), but also with the extraordinary first albums of bands and musicians: Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Camel, Caravan, Soft Machine, Art Zoyd, Gentle Giant, Magma, Ange, Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Dire Straits, Electric Light Orchestra, Yes, Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons Project, Gong, Steve Hackett, ELP, Ironbridge, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Kraftwerk, Karl Bartos.. Some (not all) of whom will continue to make real good Prog-rock music, Krautrock or "Cosmic Rock" or "Symphonic Rock" in the 80s.
There had also been wonderful musicians of other styles since the early 70s or since the mid-70s (Magna Carta, Iain Matthews, Santana, Chicago, David Bowie, Eddie Jobson, Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, Queen, The Who, Larry Fast (Synergy), Rick Wakeman, Ash Ra Tempel (Manuel Göttsching), Steve Hillage, Mike Oldfield, Jean-Michel Jarre, Christopher Franke, Peter Baumann, Joël Fajerman, Francis Rimbert, Suzanne Ciani, Vangelis, Wolfgang Riechmann, Stomu Yamashta, Stan Getz, Brian Eno, Woolly Wolstenholme, Barclay James Harvest, Manfred Mann, Jan Hammer, Eloy, Herbie Hancock, Styx, Rush, John Carpenter, Joe Zawinul, Gary Numan, Stevie Wonder, Vince Clarke, Goblin, etc.), many of which successfully crossed the border between the two decades and extended (or even intensified for some) their careers throughout the 1980s and even for some to this day.

Prog-rock, Krautrock and all the quality music didn't actually stop with the end of the 70s. Other musicians took over and added or replaced the first ones, even if they did not have the chance to be part of the legend of the golden years of the 70s: Ain Soph, IQ, Halloween, Muse, Marillion, Satellite, Steve Rothery, The Enid, The Watch, Tomas Bodin, John Powell, Robert Schroeder, Spandau Ballet, Pendragon, Pallas, Iona, Dream Theater, Depeche Mode... And some were excellent keyboardists in the newly created "New Wave" genre (but this latter has never been really my cup of tea).

In the 80s and 90s also appeared new musicians, very talented synthesizer players/composers in different styles and often in magnificent styles of a genre "romantic" or even "Ambient" (I hate the term "New Age", it has nothing to do with the music of these real artists), such as Kitaro, Yanni, Hans Zimmer, Alba Ecstasy, Ariell, Constance Demby, Heavenchord, Medwyn Goodall, Terry Oldfield, Steven Halpern....

I don't think the DX7 killed the creativity. Many legendary synthesizers were released at about the same time (or even a little earlier but with intense use throughout the 1980s) and also allowed great keyboard players to exploit all their talent throughout the 1980s, synthesizers such as the Elka Synthex, the Ensoniq ESQ-1, the Kawai K5m, the Kawai SX-240, all the Korg devices of the time (Polysix, Mono/Poly, DW-8000, Trident, Delta, MS-20, Poly-800), the Kurzweil K150/K250, all the Moog devices of the time (Minimoog still, but also Memorymoog, Opus-3 (I still have mine), Polymoog, Prodigy, Sonic Six), the New England Digital Synclavier, all the Oberheim devices of the time (Eight Voice, Four Voice, Matrix 12, OB-8, OB-X, OB-Xa), the OSC OSCar, the PPG Wave 2, all the Roland devices of the time (Alpha Juno, Juno-6, Juno-60, Juno-106, Jupiter-6, Jupiter-8, JX-10, JX-3P, JX-8P, SH-101, VP-330, SVC-350), all the SCI devices of the time (Pro One, Prophet 5/10/600/T8/VS)...

No, honestly, the DX7 didn't kill the music production of the 1980s neither the creativity at all. Almost all the musicians of the 80s that I list above even never use the DX7 nor one of its variants. The DX7 offered a new method of synthesis and some musicians were wrong to abuse of it, but many of them then came back later from it and found again the great diversity they had lost by missing all the synthesizers I quote above and which made the happiness of many other keyboardists who intelligently took advantage of the opportunity to take a deserved seat for themselves in the history of the 20th Century music.
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Szasza1988
KVRer
6 posts since 7 Sep, 2019

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:05 pm

sy77?

Music Bird
KVRist
208 posts since 23 Apr, 2017 from Eastern US

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:12 pm

Let’s see my suggestions
Free: Synth1, Dexed, Charlatan, OBXD, PG8X, any of the Full Bucket or Elektrostudio plugins, SQ8L, any of the GTG plugins, MinimogueVA for early 80s, Prophanity for early 80’s, and other synths. As well as TAL stuff and Tyrell N6.
Paid: Korg M1 VST, Korg Wavestation VST, Korg Legacy in General basically. Also the following which I haven’t used: Diva, Oddity, Bazille, OP-X II Pro, and FM8. Massive and Kontakt should also have you covered too.
Synth1, PG8X, Dexed, Sound Canvas VA, FB-3x00 series, blooo, scrooo, qyooo, SQ8L, GTG FM4, DSK Asian and Indian DreamZ, and much more VSTs. Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Alesis HW.

biscuitdough
KVRist
42 posts since 8 Jun, 2019

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:54 pm

When I think stereotypical 80s sounds I think of Synclavier and Fairlight in the big studios, Emax for the people, and Yamaha FM layered with other stuff, like Janet Jackson's producers using a JX8P and DX7 layered.

FM is definitely important, but I think really obvious sampling is even more essential for that vibe.

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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:56 pm

Szasza1988 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:05 pm
sy77?
Yes (and TG99 too)... but I don't know any software emulation (good one, hey, and not sample based of course). If you know one... feel free to tell us. Except VX7 which is already in the list of course.
:tu:
Last edited by BlackWinny on Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:06 pm

Music Bird wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:12 pm
Let’s see my suggestions
Free: Synth1, Dexed, Charlatan, OBXD, PG8X, any of the Full Bucket or Elektrostudio plugins, SQ8L, any of the GTG plugins, MinimogueVA for early 80s, Prophanity for early 80’s, and other synths. As well as TAL stuff and Tyrell N6.
Paid: Korg M1 VST, Korg Wavestation VST, Korg Legacy in General basically. Also the following which I haven’t used: Diva, Oddity, Bazille, OP-X II Pro, and FM8. Massive and Kontakt should also have you covered too.
I'll check again but I think that they almost all are already in the list.

Not the GTG plugins. They are rather good sounding but they all are extremely limited (and it's been more than ten years now that they haven't been updated). I would say the same for another collection that you missed in your list : the KBPlugs. They have wonderful GUIs... but sounding and as emulations they are totally humdrum.

Prophanity... I don't remember thins plugin. Do you have a link?

I haven't put Bazille in the list because I think that it is too generalist to be included in a list focused on the 80s decade. But Diva, yes, you're right, I have perhaps forgotten it. I'll check.

The others that you listed are already in the list.

About the samplebased plugins I prefer to not put them in the list, to be focused on real synthesis techniques. I had added the UVI collection but I feel it as a weird presence among all that huge list of true synthesis-based plugins.

So:
1. I'm going to verify the presence of Diva.
2. Do you have a link to Prophanity that I can't remember of ?
:)
Last edited by BlackWinny on Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:11 pm

Just added Diva!
:dog:

Thanks!
:tu:
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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:37 pm

biscuitdough wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:54 pm
When I think stereotypical 80s sounds I think of Synclavier and Fairlight in the big studios, Emax for the people, and Yamaha FM layered with other stuff, like Janet Jackson's producers using a JX8P and DX7 layered.

FM is definitely important, but I think really obvious sampling is even more essential for that vibe.
I know only one good emulation of the Synclavier, it is from Arturia and it is already in the list.
:)

About the Fairlight CMI, it is the same thing, I know only the two excellent emulations made by Arturia and by Superwave, and also the big Fairlight set of presets in Corona. Do you know another one ? (very good, hey)
:)

The most famous E-MU devices (the Emulator I made in 1981, the Emulator II made in 1984, the Emulator III made in 1987, and the Emax made in 1986) all deserve to be added, you're right. But I don't know any software emulation (except some SF2 soundfonts from Digital Sounds Factory). There was of course the Proteus but made in 1989 it was much more used in the 90's. I would have added it though... but the very old emulation Proteus VX made by Creative and by E-MU themselves seems to be now totally discontinued.
:(
Build your life everyday as if you would live for a thousand years. Marvel at the Life everyday as if you would die tomorrow.
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Examigan
KVRAF
4902 posts since 15 Sep, 2005 from East Coast of the USA

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:43 pm

Not sure if it was mentioned already, but the D-50 was around in the late 80s. The only plugin available is from Roland themselves and is subscription only through the Roland Cloud.

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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:03 pm

I just found Prophanity and I have checked it (and listened to it... for the moment, where I am i can't install it). Gulp! There are Synthedit-based plugins that I absolutely love... but this one is all but a thing recalling the Prophet 5. Compared to U-He Repro (of course very expensive in comparison) or to Gunar Ekornas' Messiah (awesome too but much less expensive, almost offered) Prophanity seems to be a toy with just a GUI recalling a bit the Prophet 5.

In the freeware market, you will make very good "Prophet" presets (very close and with also a quite close behavior of the filters) with for example Synth1 or Alpha-Ray (and this one, wonderful, is also Synthedit-based!) or with TAL-NoiseMaker or with The Blooo or with Xhip.
:)
Build your life everyday as if you would live for a thousand years. Marvel at the Life everyday as if you would die tomorrow.
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BlackWinny
KVRAF
3781 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:15 pm

Examigan wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:43 pm
Not sure if it was mentioned already, but the D-50 was around in the late 80s. The only plugin available is from Roland themselves and is subscription only through the Roland Cloud.
Yes. And in fact it was even not at the end of the 80's but even sooner, in the middle of the second half, in 1987. And as "emulation" (I would rather say "as excellent simulation" because the ROM of its waveforms is totally forbidden to reproduce) there is also Vintager, from TAL. It is in the list. This plugin spent almost all its life under the radar while a very good "simulation" of the D-50.
:)
Build your life everyday as if you would live for a thousand years. Marvel at the Life everyday as if you would die tomorrow.
I'm now severely diseased since September 2018.

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