How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

How to make that sound...
tmelram
KVRist
56 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Post Tue Feb 18, 2020 1:07 pm

aciddose wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:49 pm
There are two versions of the MS-20 (actually five revisions?) based upon two different filters that sound radically different with high res. The "KORG-35" filter is a Sallen-Key with resistors replaced by NPN transistors, making the circuit highly asymmetric. Later revisions use a standard OTA Sallen-Key filter which is far more common and easier to model in software.

The only other distinctive element of the MS- series is the triangle waveshaper which generally ages and produces a sharp narrow pulse at lower frequencies. This can be partially cured by replacing the electrolytic capacitors with larger fresh ones, but the circuit is flawed due to using RC high-pass filters rather than being DC-accurate so can never produce a perfect triangle shape.

In other words while specific versions of the MS-20 are distinctive sounding, generally they'll blend right in and be impossible to identify.

A third possibility for identification is the single NPN used in the VCA which tends to "snip" the tail off long releases. This would only be possible to identify easily if you had recordings of solo sounds with a long release.

The MS-20 is not capable out-of-the-box of sync, so it's impossible that the sync sound in your linked clip is a MS-20. The ressy bass sound is most likely not a KORG-35 but rather any synth (possibly a MS-20, possibly not) passed through an overdrive pedal or VST.

The main identifying characteristic of the KORG-35 is the asymmetric clipping causing oscillation to be focused on one polarity (positive vs. negative) of the waveform, along with cutoff frequency modulation by the input signal: http://xhip.net/temp/mp3/ms10vcfselfosc.mp3
Thanks again.

tmelram
KVRist
56 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:12 pm

aciddose wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:51 pm
I don't know any details about it, but this is a good example track using that "chaos self-oscillation" sound you get when you use PWM into a low-pass with the cutoff slightly detuned:
https://youtu.be/0DH365BZYYM
https://youtu.be/sHkdH294UAc

This is quite minimal style stuff and vaguely in the genres I'd guess you're aiming for.

I see what you mean about thinking about costs. I imagine mixng consoles were very expensive back then to own- probably even more than a few synthesizers/samplers combined!

I saw a video on how (relatively) broke people used to use 4 track recorders to record stuff on to cassette instead of the more expensive 16 track reel to reel tapes, with some transfer between tapes.

But I don't understand why you wouldn't just use two cassete players to listen to 12 tracks at once? (3 x 4 track cassettes = 12 tracks) so that they could be mixed together later for the final song? It seems like a good idea. Has anyone ever thought of this before or have done this before in the past??
Also, did musicicians use to basically rent professional studios or pay for use of their mixing consoles? If you have, what did you do and what was it like?

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27425 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:54 pm

How would you synchronize 3 four track cassette recorders?

I bought my first mixer in 94. It was a secondhand Seck 12-8-2 ... I used it to mix down to my Tascam 244 cassette recorder. I had an Atari running Pro-12 back then. I used to hire a DAT recorder for mastering duties.

tmelram
KVRist
56 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:43 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:54 pm
How would you synchronize 3 four track cassette recorders?

I bought my first mixer in 94. It was a secondhand Seck 12-8-2 ... I used it to mix down to my Tascam 244 cassette recorder. I had an Atari running Pro-12 back then. I used to hire a DAT recorder for mastering duties.
Press the play buttons on the two cassette players at the same time?? For three this might be hard; people only have two arms- generally speaking.

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27425 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:50 pm

tmelram wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:43 pm
thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:54 pm
How would you synchronize 3 four track cassette recorders?

I bought my first mixer in 94. It was a secondhand Seck 12-8-2 ... I used it to mix down to my Tascam 244 cassette recorder. I had an Atari running Pro-12 back then. I used to hire a DAT recorder for mastering duties.
Press the play buttons on the two cassette players at the same time?? For three this might be hard; people only have two arms- generally speaking.
That wouldn't work. :hihi: Even if you could line the start points up (unlikely), the machines would soon drift out of sync.

deastman
KVRAF
7402 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:14 pm

tmelram wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:43 pm
thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:54 pm
How would you synchronize 3 four track cassette recorders?

I bought my first mixer in 94. It was a secondhand Seck 12-8-2 ... I used it to mix down to my Tascam 244 cassette recorder. I had an Atari running Pro-12 back then. I used to hire a DAT recorder for mastering duties.
Press the play buttons on the two cassette players at the same time?? For three this might be hard; people only have two arms- generally speaking.
These were budget machines built for a budget recording format, with lots of moving parts. Have you ever heard a cassette 4-track? You know how the pitch wobbles all over the place? That variation in tape tension and in motor speed is going to make consistent synchronization between machines impossible. Really the only way this could work would be to put timing-critical elements such as drums on one deck, and elements such as drones and pads with more “slop” on another. Even so, the timing might get pretty far off before too long.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27425 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:24 pm

IIRC there were some higher end machines that allowed syncing by "striping" the tape on the master machine. This meant that you lost one tape track but gained four. There were some 8 track cassette machines around later in the 90's, but the audio quality was very poor.

dark water
KVRian
1480 posts since 2 Jun, 2016

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:44 pm

@OP, in addition to the music production values, see if you can pick up some squidgy black as well.
Avoid the Special-K and Mitzies if you're doing ambientish music.

Ps, a great 1990s ambient synth/electronic album is this:

www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gl ... tion+76+14

Winstontaneous
KVRAF
1822 posts since 15 Feb, 2006 from Berkeley, CA

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:26 pm

aciddose - some great suggestions here especially around track/gear limitations and workflow!

I remember recording in the '90s as either:
- paying lots of $$$ for time in real studios
- DIY-ing on 4 track cassette
- SMPTE-ing your MIDI gear to an 8-track reel-to-reel, or
- wondering why Mackie mixer > Alesis Microverb/cheap dbx compressor/DOD 31-band graphic EQ/BBE or Aphex Exciter > Alesis ADAT has such sh!tty high end and doesn't sound nearly as good as the 4 track. :party:

deastman
KVRAF
7402 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:20 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:24 pm
IIRC there were some higher end machines that allowed syncing by "striping" the tape on the master machine. This meant that you lost one tape track but gained four. There were some 8 track cassette machines around later in the 90's, but the audio quality was very poor.
It was somewhat possible to record FSK onto one track and have a drum machine or sequencer clocked to it. You’d often end up with the sync bleeding into the next track though, and with one three tracks to begin with, you couldn’t really spare one as a guard track. I never found cassette stable enough to use SMPTE. And anyway, none of that applies to syncing two or more cassette 4-tracks.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

tmelram
KVRist
56 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:41 am

deastman wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:14 pm
tmelram wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:43 pm
thecontrolcentre wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:54 pm
How would you synchronize 3 four track cassette recorders?

I bought my first mixer in 94. It was a secondhand Seck 12-8-2 ... I used it to mix down to my Tascam 244 cassette recorder. I had an Atari running Pro-12 back then. I used to hire a DAT recorder for mastering duties.
Press the play buttons on the two cassette players at the same time?? For three this might be hard; people only have two arms- generally speaking.
These were budget machines built for a budget recording format, with lots of moving parts. Have you ever heard a cassette 4-track? You know how the pitch wobbles all over the place? That variation in tape tension and in motor speed is going to make consistent synchronization between machines impossible. Really the only way this could work would be to put timing-critical elements such as drums on one deck, and elements such as drones and pads with more “slop” on another. Even so, the timing might get pretty far off before too long.
Were there any synch issues with the individual tracks of 4 track cassette? I've read there could be only 6 tracks for max on 4 track standard cassette, which doesn't seem like much. I keep thinking there's supposed to be 16 since that's how many were allowed for sound modules like the Sound Canvas.

And about the hypothetical budget, from your experience would $3500 (equivalent to about $6300 today) be... a lot, very little, or about average for budget musicians for in the early-mid 90s?

All the equipment I have is worth about $2000 (in today's money) worth for a point of reference.

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27425 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:26 am

4 tracks used the same cassettes as a normal cassette player. Those have 2x stereo tracks making 4 as you don't change sides using 4 tracks. You cant put 6 tracks on a 4 track tape.

Studios back then had 16 or 32 tracks running on big tape players (reel to reel).

Gear prices have dropped since then. I paid £450 for a second hand 12 channel desk in 1994. You can get a new one with more channels for less money 25 years later.

tmelram
KVRist
56 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:03 am

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:26 am
4 tracks used the same cassettes as a normal cassette player. Those have 2x stereo tracks making 4 as you don't change sides using 4 tracks. You cant put 6 tracks on a 4 track tape.

Studios back then had 16 or 32 tracks running on big tape players (reel to reel).

Gear prices have dropped since then. I paid £450 for a second hand 12 channel desk in 1994. You can get a new one with more channels for less money 25 years later.
I'm aware of used/old gear is cheap these days.(The Sound Canvas was about the equivalent to $1000 new, but the VST was only $125.)

I just wanted know if $3500 ($6300 today with inflation) would be a lot or not for a budget musician back then.

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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
27425 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:33 am

Yes ... just like $6300 is a lot for most folks now. Most people had no access to credit back then, and interest rates were much higher if you could get credit. Wages were considerably lower in the early 90s too.

tmelram
KVRist
56 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:50 am

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:33 am
Wages were considerably lower in the early 90s too.
Proportionally you mean?

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