Need some suggestions for good 80s sounds. (Also good discussion on 80s music too)

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KVRist
60 posts since 19 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:13 pm

( Edited the original title because synthwave isn't really the right genre I'm trying to recreate. )

Hey guys/gals/others Please help me find good quick solutions for mixing tools. I'd like the CPU and latency to be as low as possible while still having a very good sound quality.

I saw Wavesfactory trackspacer can do a sort of side chain effect, and I really want that big obvious side chain sound that you hear in stuff like Powerglove. I'm also pretty sold on their Cassette plugin, so those might be future purchases.

I'm on a Mac M1 and use Bitwig 3 mainly for producing stuff.

I already own the following.

Zebra2, Hive2
Breeze2, Kaleidoscope
Reaktor6, Raum, Abbey Road Drummer Pack
Pigments 3 (Just bought recently! :D)
Abbey Road Collection (I like this stuff but it's not exactly a fast workflow)


I'm definitely going to pick up Tal-sampler for those warm crunchy drum sounds.
(update! Purchased it)

I'm not really looking for any more 1:1 emulations of anything. I'm also trying to keep my selection small so the Swiss army knife plugins are kind of what I'm looking for.

TIA :D


(Edit: Multiple edits because I get logged out during my posting)
Last edited by Peraqsha on Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:55 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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KVRAF
2201 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:37 pm

What's your goal, to sound like your music is ripped off from old VHS or ...?

Dunno, seems like you are asking about low CPU one button magic plugins, try Gullfoss, slap OTT on your stereo buss (~20% would be enough), all those iZotope and the likes AI stuff probably, Waves got One Knob series of plugins too, than CLA and other artist series, probably I'm forgetting tons of stuff, others will chime in...

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KVRist

Topic Starter

60 posts since 19 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:53 pm

Passing Bye wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:37 pm
What's your goal, to sound like your music is ripped off from old VHS or ...?

Dunno, seems like you are asking about low CPU one button magic plugins, try Gullfoss, slap OTT on your stereo buss (~20% would be enough), all those iZotope and the likes AI stuff probably, Waves got One Knob series of plugins too, than CLA and other artist series, probably I'm forgetting tons of stuff, others will chime in...
My goal is pretty much to make my music sound warm with plenty of drift but not so much that it ruins the melodies.

OTT is a multiband compressor right? I'll go look at it. I'm kind of leaning away from Izotope because I've seen some people think they might go subscription only in the future and I'm not really on board for that.

Waves One knob might be a good idea too.

Thanks again.


I also might do a topic search, I'm sure there are lots of good resources for me to dig my nose into.
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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:17 pm

duplicate
Last edited by jamcat on Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:51 pm

If you want it to sound like the '80s, you need to be in the mindset of the '80s and have the same process as they had in the '80s.

Listen to a lot of music from the era and watch a bunch of low-budget '80s sci-fi and campy horror films to get in the headspace.

Then you need to think about how they made music, and why they did it that way.

Even though they were using electronics and arpeggiators, they were still writing traditional pop songs, and a catchy hook melody and chorus were still the most important elements of the music. The stuff that we think of as defining the genre was really just a byproduct of the tools they were using. Also, understanding the dominant post-punk ethic of the day will help a lot.

But for the most part, they weren't trying to create a new genre. They were just working with the gear of the day. Synth voices were mostly trying (and failing) to emulate real instruments. Parts were played by hand, or they were sequenced with tape loops or hardware sequencers.

Drums were quite often played by real drummers using electronic kits.

Everything was recorded to tape, and the musicians making synth-driven music were typically not in the big studios, so they had limited tracks available (sometimes as few as 4), and lesser quality, especially when they had to bounce tracks, which was pretty typical on a small reel-to-reel.

Try imposing some of these same limitations to how you work.
Don't just put a tape plugin on your track and call it done. Do a mixdown of a mixdown of a mixdown, with a tape plugin on each generation. Also, make sure your reverb isn't too good.

While you said you're not looking for any more 1:1 emulations, I would recommend getting some faithful reproductions of classics like the Prophet 5, Juno 6, Jupiter 8 or 6, and OB-X which include the original factory banks, because 90% of the sounds were from those preset banks and used the synths' built-in arpeggiators, so you'll need that to truly be period authentic.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

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KVRAF
3917 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:56 pm

Last edited by arkmabat on Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRAF
3917 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:58 pm

"low-budget '80s sci-fi and campy horror films"
Yes. Watch some John Carpenter stuff. Even Big Trouble in Little China has some neat synth work. :tu:

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KVRist
100 posts since 2 Jul, 2014 from Finland

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:12 pm

Sprinkle some RC-20 on everything :love: It even has a preset called VHS that's a nice starting point for warm drifting.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

60 posts since 19 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:33 pm

jamcat wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:51 pm
If you want it to sound like the '80s, you need to be in the mindset of the '80s and have the same process as they had in the '80s.

Listen to a lot of music from the era and watch a bunch of low-budget '80s sci-fi and campy horror films to get in the headspace.

Then you need to think about how they made music, and why they did it that way.

Even though they were using electronics and arpeggiators, they were still writing traditional pop songs, and a catchy hook melody and chorus were still the most important elements of the music. The stuff that we think of as defining the genre was really just a byproduct of the tools they were using. Also, understanding the dominant post-punk ethic of the day will help a lot.

But for the most part, they weren't trying to create a new genre. They were just working with the gear of the day. Synth voices were mostly trying (and failing) to emulate real instruments. Parts were played by hand, or they were sequenced with tape loops or hardware sequencers.

Drums were quite often played by real drummers using electronic kits.

Everything was recorded to tape, and the musicians making synth-driven music were typically not in the big studios, so they had limited tracks available (sometimes as few as 4), and lesser quality, especially when they had to bounce tracks, which was pretty typical on a small reel-to-reel.

Try imposing some of these same limitations to how you work.
Don't just put a tape plugin on your track and call it done. Do a mixdown of a mixdown of a mixdown, with a tape plugin on each generation. Also, make sure your reverb isn't too good.

While you said you're not looking for any more 1:1 emulations, I would recommend getting some faithful reproductions of classics like the Prophet 5, Juno 6, Jupiter 8 or 6, and OB-X which include the original factory banks, because 90% of the sounds were from those preset banks and used the synths' built-in arpeggiators, so you'll need that to truly be period authentic.
You bring up a lot of good points, I’ll definitely check this stuff out. I’m a bit of a movie buff and I know lots of the crap quality associated with some of them were due to budget restrictions.

I will definitely try to approach this with these limitation in mind. I’ll give myself a 1980s low budget, so I guess that means I can’t use my Abbeyroad bundle :lol:

As for the faithful emulations, I’m kind of trying to stay away from them just because I already have quite a few synthesizers right now. I just picked up Pigments which can do some very nice analog style tones so maybe I’ll try that out. I also picked up Tal-sampler which has a great sound to it, so maybe I’ll look for some good samples of those synthesizers you suggested.

Thanks for the advice.

arkmabat wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:56 pm
Obligatory Dexed mention, plus this the huge pack found over here:
http://bobbyblues.recup.ch/yamaha_dx7/dx7_examples.html
http://bobbyblues.recup.ch/yamaha_dx7/dx7_patches.html
Great stuff :tu: looks interesting I’ll check it out.

arkmabat wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:58 pm
"low-budget '80s sci-fi and campy horror films"
Yes. Watch some John Carpenter stuff. Even Big Trouble in Little China has some neat synth work. :tu:
Ah yes John Carpenters stuff is great. From what I recall I think he mainly used a Prophet-5.

J. Smith wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:12 pm
Sprinkle some RC-20 on everything :love: It even has a preset called VHS that's a nice starting point for warm drifting.
Yes I’m very tempted to give it a go, but I think it almost sounds a little too lo-fi for the master track, but it might be nice on a single track. Also that echo cat delay sounds so nice





Thanks for the great suggestions so far. Here's a little track I'm working on, it's not really synthwave but more of a funk like groove or something.

https://soundcloud.com/user-817167937/demo01

I'll go try some of the suggested plugins and give them a good go.
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GRRRRRRR!
11408 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:00 pm

This doesn't sound like any version of the 80s I remember. And John Carpenter's stuff is like the absolute worst of the 80s. Go and listen to Yello, Depeche Mode, Ultravox or John Foxx, that's the good stuff from the 80s.
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KVRist

Topic Starter

60 posts since 19 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:05 pm

BONES wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:00 pm
This doesn't sound like any version of the 80s I remember. And John Carpenter's stuff is like the absolute worst of the 80s. Go and listen to Yello, Depeche Mode, Ultravox or John Foxx, that's the good stuff from the 80s.
:lol: fair enough, I think I got my work cut out for me. I'll have to listen to a bunch of the 80s sounds and see what I can try to imitate.

Now that I listen to that I hear more of 90s video game influences I grew up with instead of 80s music. I should probably go listen to some Duran Duran or New wave stuff instead.

I'm not exactly a trained musician, just a guy who taught himself this stuff.
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KVRian
1303 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:45 pm

I get the idea, but your arpeggio is too busy to start with.

KVRist
66 posts since 23 May, 2020

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:56 pm

Peraqsha wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:05 pm

I'm not exactly a trained musician, just a guy who taught himself this stuff.
That's already got that post-punk attitude covered :-)

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KVRian
1303 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:59 pm

PS your arp now goes (in bars) AA/BC, but it would sound far better when the arp goes AA/AA/BB/CC.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

60 posts since 19 Apr, 2021

Post Fri Apr 23, 2021 12:08 am

RugerioDelStereo wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:56 pm
Peraqsha wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:05 pm

I'm not exactly a trained musician, just a guy who taught himself this stuff.
That's already got that post-punk attitude covered :-)
:tu: I want to at least give this a good go, I've got a bit of experience in the sound design and mixing stuff but want to have a proper go at making some of my own melodies. If need be I'll go hit up my local music teacher.

excuse me please wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:59 pm
PS your arp now goes (in bars) AA/BC, but it would sound far better when the arp goes AA/AA/BB/CC.
I get what you're saying and I agree about the arp being a bit busy. It's definitely not a finished track, more of a skeleton laid out with a bunch of the parts all there. I gotta admit I wrote it until 5am on a Sunday so I was a little tired.

I'll give your ARP suggestion a try (If I understand it right) 8)
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