Sound of the 80s

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
biscuitdough
KVRist
42 posts since 8 Jun, 2019

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:32 pm

TX16Wx might help for the classic samplers. UVI Emulation II maybe? I've not messed with their stuff although it appears high quality.

Cobalt for the hybrid single-cycle sample into analog filter stuff, which I don't think was on too many hits, but sounds very 80s and very good.

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sfd
KVRian
1383 posts since 14 Jul, 2013 from Sweden

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:08 pm

I wouldn't place KORG M1 and Wavestation in the "early 80's " section for obvious reasons.

Nieihter would I place Karl Bartos among the artists of the 70s. Other as one of 3 other members in the band he was in then. As an artist under his own name he has been active since the 90s until present days.

While Vince Clark did had some success with the first Depeche Mode album and , later, Yazoo - It's truthful to say that he and his partner Andy Bell in Erasure where big , not in the 80's, but in the 90's.


The, so called, "synth-pop" era was a very short period in the 1980's. Synth based music then rapidly became a norm in mainstream popular music.

Artists like Kim Wilde, Nick Kershaw, A-ha, Pet Shop Boys, Modern Talking and, later, Madonna where not specifically "synth-pop#" artists. In the same way as Spice Girls are not "synth-pop" artists just because their producers use synths.


Up to around mid 80's a lot of bands where considered as a "syhnth" band if they just got one keyboard in the band.

A funny example of that was the French band with the, then, controversial name "Indochine". We could read about them in pop magazines like Bravo as a "synth rock band".


There was of course many sounds of the 1980's. But if one absolutely want to try to spot the "sound of the 80's" it would be in the mainstream music where sonic trends are more obvious.

But it isn't so much, or at least not entirely, a mater of the sounds of the synthesizers as it is a mater of production trend.

For example the heavy and , often, extensive use of reverb. Double vocal tracking, fat and heavy snare drums (think Purple Rain, Color My Love, I want To Know What Love Is, Voyage Voyage etc...))

But also, when samplers came along, repetitions of sampled vocals. And then, later, of whole sampled sections in loops. Sade's album "Paradise" contains of her voacals on top of one or two bar sampled sections. Madonnas "Material Girl" is another example. Pet Shop Boys are know for their notorious use of sampled loop sections in the 80ä's.

There was also trends in arrangement styles, orchestration and composition.

Such things contributes much more to what we recognize as the "sounds of the 80's" then the synthesizers used.

Making lists of software emulations of the syntths that where at hand back then and installing those plug-ins won't get anyone near the "sounds of the 840's".

Most of those synths where also heavily used in the 1990's dance music. That sounds very different from what we could hear in the early 80's. Same synths - still being used today for the sounds of the 2010's.

And so, if you want, to recreate, the sound of any era you'll need much more then an instrument that where at hand at that time.


IMHO, this list is for hamsters.
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noiseboyuk
KVRAF
2727 posts since 25 Jan, 2007

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:17 pm

Good post that, sfd.

And to add / repeat - the sound of 1980 was totally different to 1989, and 1985 was totally different to both. Stock Aitken and Waterman from 1987-1988 changed the game for pop music, for better or worse. Their music was full-o-synths, but no-one calls it synth pop, and indeed the models are relatively unimportant. It was other production techniques that became their sound, and even more that marketing techniques that became ubiquitous. Remember when pop bands wrote their own music and played their own instruments? Yes, manufactured artists existed long before 1987, but never on this industrial scale that essentially killed off the traditional pop band completely.
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Examigan
KVRAF
4908 posts since 15 Sep, 2005 from East Coast of the USA

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:50 am

BlackWinny wrote:
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.
:)
I think you meant Vintage by TubeOhm, not Vintager.
https://www.kvraudio.com/product/vintage-by-tubeohm

I forgot about that one until just now.

8)

Should this be in the list?
https://www.rolandcloud.com/catalog/legendary/d-50

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sfd
KVRian
1383 posts since 14 Jul, 2013 from Sweden

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:18 am

noiseboyuk wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:17 pm
Good post that, sfd.

And to add / repeat - the sound of 1980 was totally different to 1989, and 1985 was totally different to both. Stock Aitken and Waterman from 1987-1988 changed the game for pop music, for better or worse. Their music was full-o-synths, but no-one calls it synth pop, and indeed the models are relatively unimportant. It was other production techniques that became their sound, and even more that marketing techniques that became ubiquitous. Remember when pop bands wrote their own music and played their own instruments? Yes, manufactured artists existed long before 1987, but never on this industrial scale that essentially killed off the traditional pop band completely.
Ah, yes absolutely!
Glad you mentioned Stock Aitken and Waterman. They really changed the music scene at that time.

I often got the feeling people refer to , something like. the early Human League when they talk about the 80s.

But indeed the 80's music and sound is also the Detroit scene, House, Acid House, Lisa Carl Craig, Cold Cut, Lisa Stansfield and Tim Simenon.

And early rappers and their break-dance and electric boogie music is also often forgotten. Acts like Rap Attack and Break Machine. Tunes like "(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew".

If there's anything unifying in the sound and music of the 80's it would be the big and fast changes in sonic and musical trends in a way we haven't really heard since then.
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Music Bird
KVRist
213 posts since 23 Apr, 2017 from Eastern US

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:02 am

Well for 80’s sounds I think of FM, analog and early samplers. Arturia has some good ones, but I’m pretty sure they are already on the list.
Also, some other 80’s are phase distortion (Phadiz and Digits come to mind) and spectrum dynamic (Casio HT series, I don’t know any VSTs for that). Also something for the DWGS Korg.
And yeah, I don’t see M1 and Wavestation being 80’s. Moreso 90’s because they were heavily used in the 90’s. Same with SY-77 because that is 90’s. DX7 was still being used in the 90’s in some music (in Indonesia, and other parts of SE Asia FM sounds were big until about the 2000’s) too.
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noiseboyuk
KVRAF
2727 posts since 25 Jan, 2007

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:09 am

sfd wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:18 am
If there's anything unifying in the sound and music of the 80's it would be the big and fast changes in sonic and musical trends in a way we haven't really heard since then.
Strongly agree...
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wagtunes
KVRAF
16937 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:35 am

There were a gazillion sounds of the 80s which translates to there was no "sound" of the 80s.

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telecode
KVRian
1038 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:36 am

noiseboyuk wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:17 pm
Good post that, sfd.

And to add / repeat - the sound of 1980 was totally different to 1989, and 1985 was totally different to both. Stock Aitken and Waterman from 1987-1988 changed the game for pop music, for better or worse. Their music was full-o-synths, but no-one calls it synth pop, and indeed the models are relatively unimportant. It was other production techniques that became their sound, and even more that marketing techniques that became ubiquitous. Remember when pop bands wrote their own music and played their own instruments? Yes, manufactured artists existed long before 1987, but never on this industrial scale that essentially killed off the traditional pop band completely.
+1

Actually the synth sounds in pop music of 1982/83 was already very different than 1980/81.

FWIW.. I disagree Vince Clark and Erasure were a 90s band. They were *huge* in 1986 with Sometimes and .. their first three records were 86, 87 and 88 and all three had chart topping singles.


I think the genres played a big part on who the synths changed. Heavy metal/hair spray rock sort of remained the same when in comes to synth use. Pop music from black artists changed a lot. The sound (and look!) changed a lot in a very short period of time. A huge difference between the synth sounds on early Shalamar or The Gap Band records and what was heard on Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones productions and later on.

Examples of Shalamar releases with 2 year gap between them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_lx5GAiUDc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZmHu1t_5X0

As was said, late 80s pop synth sounds were really really different. Examples of some of the more synth extreme pop. Synth wise, it sounds nothing like what was released in 82/83.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGtf9QfITQw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs7Jy2y-33A
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

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telecode
KVRian
1038 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:45 am

I think you also need to look at some of the genre specific stuff to search out how synths were used. Some of the pop heavy metal/hard rock released like Def Leopard/Mutt Lange productions. They have a distinctive sound to them.

Also look at how synths were used in quasi alternative darker music of the 80s such as Echo and Bunnymen, Psychadelic Furs, e.t.c. I think those records wound up influencing who bands in 90s used synths. (Not posting any more vids i promise)
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

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excuse me please
KVRist
212 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:07 am

Yeah, there were some alternative bands like ABBA. They scored hits til '83. But obviously we mean Trevor Horn c.s. when we speak of the sounds of the 80s. The overproduction.

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sfd
KVRian
1383 posts since 14 Jul, 2013 from Sweden

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:19 am

Regarding Vince Clarke / Erasue. Daniel Miller, head of Mute Records, said that their [Erasure] two first albums (Wonderland an Circus) was no commercial success. That changed with the Innocent album in, was it 87 or 88 ?. Then they had their major commercial success in the 90s with Wild, Chorus etc...

However in some circles their first albums where widely played.


If there's anything really notable in the development of the music of the 1980's it lays more in the development of recording technology. Better tape machines, MIDI, sequencers and samplers.

It is, for example, very notable how songs from the era's early days contains way less tracks then at the end of the decade.
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noiseboyuk
KVRAF
2727 posts since 25 Jan, 2007

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:42 am

telecode wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:45 am
Also look at how synths were used in quasi alternative darker music of the 80s such as Echo and Bunnymen, Psychadelic Furs, e.t.c. I think those records wound up influencing who bands in 90s used synths. (Not posting any more vids i promise)
Indeed - Joy Division perhaps being the big one here in 1979. People (rightly) think of them as a guitar band, but Atmosphere and Love Will Tear Us Apart in particular both rely on synths heavily. This was only a couple of years after the Sex Pistols where I think it was assumed any keyboard player of any kind should get bottled off stage and count themselves lucky to not get their face kicked in.

Shalamar vids - whoa, there goes the volume and bigness of the snare. This is where it got to in 1987:

https://youtu.be/YQL-B3PNkeI

(A friend and I agreed that 1987 was Peak Snare)
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telecode
KVRian
1038 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:44 am

sfd wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:19 am
Regarding Vince Clarke / Erasue. Daniel Miller, head of Mute Records, said that their [Erasure] two first albums (Wonderland an Circus) was no commercial success. That changed with the Innocent album in, was it 87 or 88 ?. Then they had their major commercial success in the 90s with Wild, Chorus etc...

However in some circles their first albums where widely played.


If there's anything really notable in the development of the music of the 1980's it lays more in the development of recording technology. Better tape machines, MIDI, sequencers and samplers.

It is, for example, very notable how songs from the era's early days contains way less tracks then at the end of the decade.
Well. I was in Europe and I was (cough, cough) a teenager and I distinctly remember the Sometimes song being played on constant rotation on radio and the music video channels.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

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vurt
addled muppet weed
50411 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Sound of the 80s

Post Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:54 am

yeah erasure where fairly big towards the end of the 80s here, i know because it was the era of the school disco for me.

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