That mid/late 80's bell synth sound

How to make that sound...
Wayne253
KVRer
7 posts since 15 Sep, 2009 from Tacoma, WA

Post Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:33 pm

I've heard this sound for awhile and wonder if any you guys can tell me what this is. My first guess is the Fantasia preset on the D50.

Example

Elton John: The Camera Never Lies (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYt6NB4C83c

Eric Carmen: Hungry Eyes (1988)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI4fzajz3Ok

Am I right in the preset or is this a DX7 thing.

C00kie
KVRAF
6939 posts since 4 Jun, 2004 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:58 pm

Likely a DX7. Although a long time ago I managed to make a sound very like that one on a Prophet 600 by using filter resonance as a sort-of extra oscillator.
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We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. :borg:

Wayne253
KVRer
7 posts since 15 Sep, 2009 from Tacoma, WA

Post Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:26 pm

I swear that was the sound of 1988, glassy and belly. Heard it in several other songs like Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl and Don't Shed a Tear by Paul Carnack.

I was going through my DX7 library, no luck, my friend has a D550 and I played the Fantasia preset, still not quite there. Must be a custom patch on one of those.

For some crazy reason, I always liked that sound and have been wanting to incorporate it in a couple song ideas.

User avatar
jobromedia
KVRAF
4830 posts since 10 Feb, 2006 from Stockholm, Sweden

Post Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:10 am

I've had very big luck creating 80's bellish sounds with ZynAddSubFx.
Best regards from Johan Brodd.
JoBroMedia since 1996.

Happy Frog
KVRist
447 posts since 13 Aug, 2008

Post Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:54 am

I have always loved the 80's bell sound, I thought it would be a DX7 or FM synth, also. I have seen The Beloved use a Korg M1 and their songs have a lot of bouncing bell sounds. When demoing presets on my Albino their were some bell sounds, not sure witch ones. Probable my favorite bell sound an almost chime like sound was from Echo & The Bunnymen's, Bring on the Dancing Horses, I do not have a clip, sorry. Good luck in your search, definitely a sound worth finding and working with, very beautiful.

red_muze
KVRer
8 posts since 26 Mar, 2005

Post Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:20 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl8PFbT6iv0

This tutorial video has such FM bells. its a step by step tutorial on a modular synthesizer, so you can easily convert this to any fm synthesizer you wish. check it out!
http://www.synthschool.com
check out our free VSTs!

bstageboss
KVRist
289 posts since 11 Sep, 2004 from just a little to the left

Post Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:05 am

The Eric Carmen bell sounds like the DX7 tubular bell preset layered with something like a sine wave an octave below, then played in a high register. Same envelope on both parts to blend them together.
The 'TUB. BELLS' recipe is fairly simple: Modulator frequency at 3.5 times the carrier frequency; modulator level and envelopes to taste (maybe longer decay and release on the modulator). Add a sine wave or low-filtered saw an octave below and you should be close enough to the "Hungry Eyes" bell to tweak it from there.

(I actually did enough of these kinds of sounds on my trusty old DX7II that I remember the basic recipe pretty well. This sound can easily be done on Albino, Zebra, FM8 or most decent multi-osc synths with FM capability.)

Ahhhh, those 80's...

[Solstice]
KVRist
131 posts since 18 Feb, 2004

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:03 am

Happy Frog wrote:I have seen The Beloved use a Korg M1 and their songs have a lot of bouncing bell sounds
I thought it was a Korg 01/W !

maxmace
KVRist
163 posts since 1 Feb, 2006

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:29 am

If you guys have the SQ8L VST, download the free "greatest hits" bank at Score for Sale and try the following patches. I'll bet you're looking for "D BELL" or "BOTTLS", but also try GLDBEL and SLOBEL.

That previous post where someone compared it to the DX7 Tube bell, but with a little extra modulated sine content made me zero in on these patches.

Also look for WAVBEL (not in this download bank), which, I think is the bell in "Waiting for a Star to Fall". I'm pretty sure its available in one of the download SQ8L banks here on KVR. It has a similar character to the previous sounds, but is more "watery".

If you need higher register bells, I'm convinced that either ORCBEL or MUSCBX (included in the free bank) punctuated dozens of 80's dance tracks by doubling the synth line. They're not just simple high register chimes. They each have a distinct character that many of you will recognize.

--Mark

[Solstice]
KVRist
131 posts since 18 Feb, 2004

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:01 am

maxmace wrote:If you guys have the SQ8L VST, download the free "greatest hits" bank at Score for Sale and try the following patches. I'll bet you're looking for "D BELL" or "BOTTLS", but also try GLDBEL and SLOBEL.

That previous post where someone compared it to the DX7 Tube bell, but with a little extra modulated sine content made me zero in on these patches.

Also look for WAVBEL (not in this download bank), which, I think is the bell in "Waiting for a Star to Fall". I'm pretty sure its available in one of the download SQ8L banks here on KVR. It has a similar character to the previous sounds, but is more "watery".

If you need higher register bells, I'm convinced that either ORCBEL or MUSCBX (included in the free bank) punctuated dozens of 80's dance tracks by doubling the synth line. They're not just simple high register chimes. They each have a distinct character that many of you will recognize.

--Mark
Thank you for this tip ! 8)

maxmace
KVRist
163 posts since 1 Feb, 2006

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:02 pm

In the spirit of "friendly competition" I'd like someone to prove me wrong (or right), as near as possible. I'm convinced that a couple of these songs used an ESQ/SQ80 bell patch from this thread. Or at least that they sound identical enough that it's tough to disprove. Some of you are bound to have better ears than me, so listen to the patches and tell me what you think.

The sounds in question had a touch more character than most DX7 patches of that era, but they weren't as slavishly realistic as the longer samples afforded by the M1 or even D50. These patches all shipped in the pack-in catridge and internal bank, so they would have been easy for record producers to get at.

Over lunch a friend reminded me that you can hear a sample of WAVBEL at http://www.synthmania.com/esq-1.htm. While you're there, also listen to 4xFADE on that site. The Synthmania guy plays it like a harpsichord, so it sounds muddy at first, but later you can hear some detail in single notes. It has a great complex release effect. So 4xFADE may also be a contender.

WAVBEL and 4xFADE are already available on KVR by downloading the PD files that 1-2-Manyorganized from the web. Download them here:

http://www.kvraudio.com/banks.php?s=dl&id=606

Un-RAR the archive with Stuffit or Winzip or whatever. The patches are in the file "Int v3.2 Orig.8XL" (which is the internal ESQ-1 preset bank for Software OS 3.2). You will find WAVBEL and 4xFADE right next to each other.

If you've got SQ8L and can't figure out how to import the SYSEX file from Score for Sale, or load the .8XL banks from KVR, drop a note in this thread and we will guide you. It's pretty straightforward.
--Mark

Sleep Distance
KVRist
50 posts since 3 May, 2005

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:25 pm

I was wondering if someone was going to mention the ESQ1 or SQ80. I still have my old ESQ1, used those bell tones in songs I composed on it back in the late 80's, and still use it every now and then.
I should also mention the PPG. While most of us had to use more affordable synths, the pro's used PPG's in the 80's. Many of those 80's Ensoniq sounds are remeniscient of PPG sounds, including those bells. My PPG2.V plugin has a few bell type presets that sounds very much like sounds heard in 80's pop and new age tunes.
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Nighthawk77
KVRist
279 posts since 8 Sep, 2010 from Earth (most of the time)

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:30 pm

C00kie wrote:Likely a DX7. Although a long time ago I managed to make a sound very like that one on a Prophet 600 by using filter resonance as a sort-of extra oscillator.
DX7 was known for this type of sound for years.

cjomuk
KVRist
105 posts since 17 May, 2003 from Texas, USA

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:43 pm

To my ears that's a D50.
I remember the first time I heard it in a music store and it blew me away.
The DX7 had loads of bell and tine type sounds but it was the D50 that brought the 'breathy/whispy/reverby' bell signature sound to the table and it was used in loads of pop songs in the late eighties.

It makes me smile now when I think of how exciting I thought that sound was, but the D50 was a game changer when it came out. :)

maxmace
KVRist
163 posts since 1 Feb, 2006

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:55 pm

Nighthawk77:
No argument that the DX7 bell was all over, but the sound in question (to my ears) would require layering, chorusing and heavy chorus modulation to get something like it from the DX7.

Think about the common DX7 "Enya" style tubular bell or "rhodes piano" and contrast it with the sound in these songs. FM programmers eventually coaxed some 21sc century timbres from those operators, but FM sounds circa 1986 were mostly cut from the same cloth (which is not an insult--its a very good cloth!). Mid-80's FM leaves an audio thumbprint that I think is easy to detect.

I could see one or two producers going through that FX rigmarole. But the sound shows up often enough that I bet its a synth preset, not the result of an FX chain recipie. Producers want quick results, and time is money.

Ambassador Kosh:
I agree on the PPG and would also add a Prophet VS. --But who am I to argue with a *Vorlon*? I wonder if they named those plasma guns PPGs because of the synth?....

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