How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

How to make that sound...
tmelram
KVRer
27 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Post Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:46 am

Hi, I'm going to begin working on a sound track that's supposed to sound very much like 1990s music and wanted to know how to go about doing this and your opinions on the instruments I plan on using.

Main Instruments I plan on using:
-The Korg MS-20 Mini
-Roland Sound Canvas VA

Drum Machines (or their samples anyway):
-Roland TR-909
-Roland R-8

As far style I'm going for, I'll post some examples.

Mostly simple drum and bass and ambient electronic music:

https://sndup.net/8tkn/beach.mp3

https://sndup.net/789c/Hyperc.mp3

https://sndup.net/36s3/Bazu1.mp3

https://sndup.net/8jmx/Bazu.mp3




For the more happy/upbeat tracks- closer to cheesy 1990s video game style music:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8pYJkTwQ_4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSnzCWA_JWI


I think that would be shifts between the tones would be kind of jarring and humorous to people not expecting it.

Please let me know what else can be done (besides the choice of instruments) stylistically. As in what specific motifs/conventions that were popular/distinctive in 1990s music?
Also, let me know you have any other (additional) synths/keyboards you'd recommend I use, to more or less recreate the style I'm going for?

Edit: As an aside do you know of any other 1990s ambient albums that are in the same vein as ones I posted earlier?

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

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:32 am

For the cheesy 90’s stuff, I listen to a kind of music from the 90’s that is sort of like that. I’ve noticed the following.
- lots of Korg M1 and Wavestation. You may need Korg M1 and Wavestation Collection.
- FM synthesizers like DX7 and SY77. Dexed is software that should work for this.
- some sort of synth with a squeaky syrupy sounding filter is common, but I’m not sure which one, probably a Roland and has a noticeable wah on the filter envelope. I think you could use the SCVA SC-55 Accordion Fr. or Harmonica and maximize the resonance for that, or make a synth patch like that on your MS-20 Mini which would be a sawtooth wave or narrow (like 10-15%) pulse wave with high resonance but not high enough that it gets too screechy, but you have to make the filter envelope with a medium attack, long decay, mid low sustain, and no release and an organ style amp envelope with a slightly above 0 Attack.
- sampled ROMpler horns. Again, Sound Canvas should work for this.
What gear I’d recommend is an analog or VA polysynth, the Minilogue is good (I have the original one, not the XD) or maybe if you don’t mind VA synths, an Ultranova or Mininova, in HS I played a Mininova and Sub Phatty and loved the programmability, if I remember to save patches in the Mininova I had to overwrite a certain function. Also maybe you might need an FM synth for some sounds, like a DX7 or DX9? Also maybe SY85 or SY77?
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.

tmelram
KVRer
27 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:29 am

Music Bird wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:32 am
For the cheesy 90’s stuff, I listen to a kind of music from the 90’s that is sort of like that. I’ve noticed the following.
- lots of Korg M1 and Wavestation. You may need Korg M1 and Wavestation Collection.
- FM synthesizers like DX7 and SY77. Dexed is software that should work for this.
- some sort of synth with a squeaky syrupy sounding filter is common, but I’m not sure which one, probably a Roland and has a noticeable wah on the filter envelope. I think you could use the SCVA SC-55 Accordion Fr. or Harmonica and maximize the resonance for that, or make a synth patch like that on your MS-20 Mini which would be a sawtooth wave or narrow (like 10-15%) pulse wave with high resonance but not high enough that it gets too screechy, but you have to make the filter envelope with a medium attack, long decay, mid low sustain, and no release and an organ style amp envelope with a slightly above 0 Attack.
- sampled ROMpler horns. Again, Sound Canvas should work for this.
What gear I’d recommend is an analog or VA polysynth, the Minilogue is good (I have the original one, not the XD) or maybe if you don’t mind VA synths, an Ultranova or Mininova, in HS I played a Mininova and Sub Phatty and loved the programmability, if I remember to save patches in the Mininova I had to overwrite a certain function. Also maybe you might need an FM synth for some sounds, like a DX7 or DX9? Also maybe SY85 or SY77?
Do know how I could recreate the more ambient style tracks I posted??

Also, thanks for the reply.

V0RT3X
KVRAF
7934 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Alesia

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:27 pm

Get a sub to roland cloud. It has all the sounds you could ever want.

tmelram
KVRer
27 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:54 pm

V0RT3X wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:27 pm
Get a sub to roland cloud. It has all the sounds you could ever want.
I don't think that would work, as I go without internet access for long periods of time. The reason being, the internet is very distracting (for me and a lot of other people- YouTube especially) and I avoid it at all costs just to actually get more work done (I just use libraries/coffee shops every now and then).
Thanks anyway, though.

User avatar
thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
25728 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:18 pm

I remember the BOSS DR660 was really popular back then (I had DR550 which wasn't so great). The Roland R8 is more 80's sounding imho. For ambient stuff my 90's bands were using a Korg Poly 61, Oscar, Crumar Spirit, Juno 60 and Jupiter 6 with some basic reverb and delay pedals. I used to record 20 min synth jams onto 4 track cassette and remix the best bits later ...

larm
KVRian
841 posts since 28 Oct, 2004

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:35 pm

Check out Autechre and FSOL -'s early 90s releases, some ambient/experimental stuff that could go for soundtracks for artsy 90s stuff. I just see shaky VHS footage of black and white concrete walls, torn posters and urban cityscapes ...

Also Korg M1 / Wavestation and Akai/Ensoniq samplers and the Roland stuff. RAM was heavily limited back then so it was the same sample loops played 1000x times. Also IIRC mixing wasn't that automated so the channels and FX were more fixed/set per channel strip. Usually volume was automated and if stuff was automated it often had MIDI resolution (127 steps) and (compared to today when you can automate everything with sub ms timing) not that great/quick to update. And you had about 3-4 FX sends per channel strip so stuff went to the same reverb, chorus unit. And no multi band compressors... The finalizer was later...

Eventide Harmonizer H3000 and DSP4000 could be things to check out

User avatar
thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
25728 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm

larm wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:35 pm
Check out Autechre and FSOL -'s early 90s releases
Yeah. There's also Pete Namlook (and all the bands on his label), The Orb, Biosphere, Banco De Gaia ... :)

tmelram
KVRer
27 posts since 26 Oct, 2019

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:43 pm

thecontrolcentre wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:18 pm
I remember the BOSS DR660 was really popular back then (I had DR550 which wasn't so great). The Roland R8 is more 80's sounding imho. For ambient stuff my 90's bands were using a Korg Poly 61, Oscar, Crumar Spirit, Juno 60 and Jupiter 6 with some basic reverb and delay pedals. I used to record 20 min synth jams onto 4 track cassette and remix the best bits later ...
Thanks. I downloaded a bunch of DR 660 samples already, before.

I remember hearing the R-8 in a lot of 90s video games, so that why I assumed it sounded 90s
.
Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBtjmniwqRY

Mr Arkadin
KVRAF
1577 posts since 11 Mar, 2003

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:48 pm

tmelram wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:43 pm

I remember hearing the R-8 in a lot of 90s video games, so that why I assumed it sounded 90s
It is, the other guy is wrong. The R-8 was 1989, so was not commonly heard until the 1990s. When we were doing stuff through the '90s we had a mixture of old (because it was cheap) and the odd digital thing. So in our band we had Ensoniq ESQ-1, Roland JD-800, JD-990, MC-202, MT-32, R-8M, SH-09, Moog Rogue, OSCar. Sampling was a Casio FZ-10M with 12-bit sampling at 32kHz (I think), which gave us around 20 seconds of sampling time.

Effects were Midiverb II, very common as it was cheap for a digital reverb at the time, Yamaha R100 reverb, Boss SE-70, guitar pedals into a Mackie CR1604 desk.

I'm not sure the Korg MS synths were particularly common or popular. People like LFO had Kawai K1s on the digital side. Obviously TB-303s were popular but got expensive (hence we had an MC-202 instead).

Our working method was to sequence on Atari with Pro24 (later on PC with Cubase), record either straight to DAT or to 4-track cassette to add overdubs then DAT. I believe Orbital's Chime was recorded to cassette, so maybe add a plug-in to give that effect.

Obviously it was all about 909 sounds (and 808), so cover those bases. Other common effects were Alesis 3630 compressor and Aphex Aurel exciter 104 (we didn't have those though).

The thing to remember is if you had a compressor, you probably just had the one, so none of this compressor on every channel that you can do in your DAW nowadays. Likewise reverb tended to be the one effect, so you would just use the sends to alter the amount of each instrument going to the one reverb, rather than having a plethora of reverbs to choose from.

If you wanted more effects you would use guitar pedals, Line 6 POD 2 or cheap things like those old Boss half racks.

yellowmix
KVRian
1458 posts since 11 Aug, 2012 from omfr morf form romf frmo

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:49 pm

Gregorian chants and shakuhachis.

Roland D-50 Pizzagogo

"Ethnic" vocal samples plundered from people in developing countries who do not have the resources to sue you.

GRUMP
KVRist
134 posts since 11 Jun, 2019 from Darmstadt, Germany

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:08 am

Resampling. And Resample Resampling. Mono. Layering! Just be creative. We used every of the few Possibilities we had these Days.

And Imperfection. "We´ll fix it in the Mix".

SCDS: Extatic Goldmine!
Sound Design - VOX, Airy, Choir

deastman
KVRAF
7310 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:17 am

From your example tracks, it kind of sounds like you should just listen to early Warp artists and imitate that style. Check out the Artificial Intelligence 1 and 2 compilations. The specific gear won’t be as important as getting the aesthetic right.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

NKF
KVRist
69 posts since 6 Jun, 2012 from USA

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:02 pm

The 90s soundtrack aesthetic was well, a lot of things but the whole jazz tinged film noire over an electronic landscape was rather overdone. Grisham comes to mind.

Other than that you start to get more of the what we now consider Hollywood but essentially Hans zimmer doing marricone style scenes capes that are over bearing , very crude using very obvious and almost painful to hear chord progressions that yell at you to feel. much like the films. And you had the John Williams styles action / comedy blend.

It definitely wasn’t synth based. Hanz simmers thé rock was probably the film that started the whole mainstream hybrid thing,

I think you have the wrong decade,

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Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
5457 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: How to make 1990s style music soundtrack?

Post Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:28 pm

V0RT3X wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:27 pm
Get a sub to roland cloud. It has all the sounds you could ever want.
Anyone even considering it should at the threads about Roland’s cloud stuff first...
- dysamoria.com
my music @ SoundCloud

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