Tutorial 4: Sound of the 80s
by Staffan Öhman & Lauri Turjansalo
From the interviews on this website we have got information about what music equipment composers used back in the 80s. This tutorial will give some help for those that are interested to get the sound of the 80s without the need to buy all that hardware stuff.
This bellsound has a bright character with high frequencies and gives a dreamy feeling. The sound that Laserdance used was made with the Ensoniq ESQ1 and can be achieved with the free VSTi SQ8L that emulates the Ensoniq SQ80 in a good way.
The VSTi SQ8L can be downloaded here: SQ8L
There exist a huge soundlibrary for this VSTi which can be downloaded here: SQ8L_banks.rar
The bellsound can be found in bank "Int v2.0 Orig.8XL" and the patch is called "5: WAVBEL".
One sound that has been frequently used both in the spacesynth and italo genres is the grungy trumpet sound. The sound originates from an E-MU Emax library and originally this sound was meant to sound like a real acoustic instrument but fails miserably at that. Instead, it becomes a new unique instrument that works brilliantly in the spacesynth concept.
The trumpet sound came from the Emax factory library which is now available on CDROMs at a couple of stores. It is also possible to download the sound from Digital Soundfactory's website through their free soundfont collection: Digital Soundfactory's free soundfont
The trumpet sound is called Horny Hits in the soundfont and is located on the high notes on the keyboard.
Soundsample: drum sequence.mp3
We became familiar with the sound of the Linndrum after Laserdance began to include long percussion-sequences in the intros. Sounds like the handclap and the cowbell feel now like trademarks for the Linndrum and were frequently used back in the 80s.
Here are samples of the Linndrum: Linndrum samples.
Effects like EQ and compressor are needed to make the best out of these sounds.
Soundsample 1: orchestra_hit.mp3
A sound that gives a effective response is the Orchestra Hit sound which can be heard in many of the Laserdance songs. It has not been revealed what synth that was used back in the 80s to make this sound but a similar sound can be achieved with a sample from the Fairlight library.
Here is a sample: orchestrahit_fairlight.wav
Soundsample 2: orchestra_hit.mp3
Some of the songs from the 80s include a orchestra hit that sounds very low in frequency and almost reminds of an explosion. Many sample based synths have an orchestra hit in their sample memory.
Here are samples from a Korg X5: orchestrahit_korg_x5.rar
Who hasn't been touched by the beautiful melodies that Laserdance played with their synclead sound, like for example in the song Around the Planet. The sound has a nice falling pitch that doesn't require to use the pitchwheel and it gives a feeling that the sound is alive.
One synth that was used frequently on the Laserdance and Proxyon albums is the Ensoniq ESQ1 which has been emulated in a good way with the free VSTi SQ8L. The Ensoniq synth has a synclead preset that sounds very close to the sound that Laserdance used, eventhough it hasn't been revealed what synth they used for this particular sound.
The VSTi SQ8L can be downloaded here: SQ8L
There exists a huge soundlibrary for this VSTi which can be downloaded here: SQ8L_banks.rar
A good synclead can be found in bank "AIX97011" and the patch is called "017 EOWW".
Soundsample 1: junobass_sequence.mp3
What would a spacesynth-tutorial be without the classic junobass?
Laserdance among others used the Roland Juno-106 to create the bassline. Its crispy and raw sound works very good with 16th note pattern and add a lot of energy to the song.
Here are wave files recorded from a Juno-106. You can use them to create a multisample for your preferred format: junobass.zip
Soundsample 2: juno60_bass.mp3
An alternative to the Juno-106 bass can be achieved with the free VSTi U-NO-60 that emulates the Roland Juno-60 in a good way. The Juno-60 sounds a little bit different compared to the Juno-106 but can still be useful for the bassline. The VSTi can be downloaded from Togu Audio Line's website.
Here is a bassline patch for the VSTi: juno60_bass.fxp
We will continue to update this tutorial with more sounds, so check out the website for more news.
Discuss more this article in the forum
2007-08-29 21:21:56Written by Staffan Öhman & Lauri Turjansalo