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#2267378 - 01/27/11 10:29 AM Good VSTs for 80's synth pop?
konaboy Offline
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Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 823
Hi

I'm toying with the idea of making some tracks entirely using virtual instruments on the PC. THey will be in the style of 80's synth pop and my main influence is Howard Jones.

I think he used a Jupiter 8 but maybe that's not important. Just need some VST that produces a good variety of warm synth pads, analog brass, synth bass etc.

I'll also need to emulate the drum machines that were in use at that time.

Any suggestions how to get that sound and feel?

THanks


Edited by konaboy (01/27/11 10:30 AM)

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#2267383 - 01/27/11 10:49 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: konaboy]
Boney Mounds Offline
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Registered: 08/11/05
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Loc: Albuquerque, NM


Edited by tonysounds (01/27/11 10:51 AM)
Edit Reason: cutnpastehell
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#2267409 - 01/27/11 12:12 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Boney Mounds]
konaboy Offline
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Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 823
thanks! the arturia hardware/software bundle looks attractive, especially as I don't own a controller.

was also thinking about the Korg M1 & Wavestation Legacy VSTs for $50 each. Ok that was late 80's but it might be a good complement to the analog stuff.

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#2267412 - 01/27/11 12:17 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: konaboy]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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You can do no better than Waldorf Attack for getting those 70's and 80's drum machine and synth drum sounds. It is sold as part of a package with an analog filter plug-in and PPG Wave (this has just been updated and there is an upgrade price available). $79! It even comes for free with many purchases from Nova Musik.
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#2267414 - 01/27/11 12:20 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Tony's rec is probably the best for pads and brass. I switched from VST's to Real Analog a few years ago, so have trouble recommending any VST's anymore for that sort of thing, but the Analog factory that Tony linked to is probably your most practical and affordable "starter kit".

The other option is Novation's Bass Station and/or V-Station plug-ins, which also are frequently bundled at Nova Musik and just as often are on sale for $59 or less (sometimes even in a $20 No-Brainer deal at audiomidi.com).

The Bass Station is quite nice for 80's synth bass and TB303 type sounds. The V-Station takes some programming to bring out its best, but there are free (and cheap) sound banks on the web.
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#2267424 - 01/27/11 12:45 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Seannn Offline
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Registered: 11/27/10
Posts: 788
Loc: Montreal, Canada
You may be interested in some free ones by TAL.

http://kunz.corrupt.ch/?Products:VST_TAL-U-No-62
http://kunz.corrupt.ch/?Products:VST_TAL-BassLine (my favourite)
http://kunz.corrupt.ch/?Products:VST_TAL-NoiseMaker

BassLine and NoiseMaker are my favourites. Enjoy!
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Juno-60, Juno-G, MicroBrute, MS-20 Mini, PX-5S, R3, etc.

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#2267439 - 01/27/11 01:47 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Seannn]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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TAL also has a Roland Jupiter/Juno Chorus effect plug-in to go along with the Juno emulation.

I tried all the TAL plugs a couple of years ago, and they're definitely amongst some of the better freebies out there (including the Vocoder).

I deleted all of them though as I found better substitutes for all of them. But they're a good starting point -- especially as they have good documentation and support, and intuitive GUI's.

Also, the developer releases updates frequently. Many commercial VI's never get updated, or charge near to 2/3 of full price once they do.
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#2267595 - 01/27/11 09:19 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Right now, there's a 3-for-1 deal going on with Arturia soft synths:

http://www.audiomidi.com/The-ONE-P13788.aspx
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#2267602 - 01/27/11 10:10 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: konaboy]
Bobadeath Offline
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Originally Posted By: konaboy

was also thinking about the Korg M1


That is not the droid you're looking for. Nothing synth poppy about it and you want to go for stuff from the first 2/3rds of the decade, not the last 3rd.

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#2267603 - 01/27/11 10:13 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Bobadeath]
Griffinator Global Moderator Offline
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Hard to turn down the NI FM7 for 80's synth sounds. What band didn't have a DX7 in their arsenal in the 80's?
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I would also watch [the Super Bowl halftime show] if applDeApp and Tabu were doused in hot oil, covered in feathers, and then set on fire while will.I.am was trepanned live.... and I would leave the sound on.

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#2267612 - 01/27/11 11:23 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Griffinator]
Analogaddict Offline
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AAS Ultra Analog and Sonicprojects OP-X/OP-X Pro are great!

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#2267617 - 01/28/11 12:31 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Analogaddict]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Yep, three more good ones listed, but not so much all-rounders for someone starting from scratch and needing to cover a lot of material easily and cheaply.

Although I love FM for odd sounds and sine wave bass sounds, and use FM8 a lot myself, I wouldn't identify it with early 80's synth-pop acts so much as Top 40 acts who were looking for cheap substitutes for Rhodes etc. In other words, I doubt it would meet the OP's criteria as well as some other choices.

AAS Ultra Analog is only now getting the buzz it deserves, but again, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for bread & butter synth duties vs. sound scapes, evolving pads, etc. As flawed as they are, the Arturia VI's will get closer to finding emulative patches more quickly, along with the TAL freebies.

Sonicprojects OP-X, however, is well-rounded and can fill out most of the synth brass and pad needs, as well as doing a mean synth bass (and lead). For Windows users (vs. Mac or Linux users), there is the added benefit of being eligible for the new Pro upgrade mentioned by Analogaddict. OP-X is one of the four best soft synths on the market, in terms of avoiding anti-aliasing and really sounding analog vs. digital. It also has great, plentiful, presets, and is cheap.


Edited by Mark Schmieder (01/28/11 12:32 AM)
Edit Reason: case correction
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#2267618 - 01/28/11 12:36 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Back to the Waldorf package, the PPG Wave VI gets used a lot here for 80's sounds -- especially the new upgrade that just came out. I haven't yet decided if it is an all-rounder or as good substitute for some of the others listed, as I primarily use my hardware synths these days, but PPG Wave is one of the early hybrids and was used in way more recordings than a lot of people realize.

But that package IS essential due to Attack, which would probably be way better known if it was de-bundled from the D-Pole filter and PPG Wave. I am unable to distinguish my Attack recordings from the original CR-78, TR-808, TR-909, Simmonds SDS-5, or Linndrum originals -- nor is anyone who hears the recordings I've made with Attack. It is the only synth-based emulation of those drum machines and synth drums; all others are sample-based AFAIK. This means you can maintain realism when tuning the oscillators to the key of the song, just as the originals had many capabilities such as tuning each sound.
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#2267626 - 01/28/11 01:30 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Ian Sharrock Offline
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Loc: Coppull, home of Barry Mason


Edited by Ian Sharrock (01/28/11 01:35 AM)
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#2267698 - 01/28/11 07:19 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Griffinator]
matted stump Offline
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Originally Posted By: Griffinator
Hard to turn down the NI FM7 for 80's synth sounds. What band didn't have a DX7 in their arsenal in the 80's?


Every band that I was in! grin
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#2267751 - 01/28/11 09:05 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: matted stump]
konaboy Offline
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Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 823
you guys are great! Thanks for ALL the suggestions. Evaluating those will keep me busy for ages!

Another of my aims is to keep it simple. I don't want to spend energy learning lots of tools. I'd rather master one or two plugins and see how far I can take it.

Anyway I'm a quick mover. On my desk I have the Arturia package and bundled controller. I bought it at lunch time from my local dealer. That'll give me the Prophet, Moog and Jupiter sounds that I need. I don't think I need to do any deep editing so that should be fine.

The Waldorf Wave and Attack bundle is available for purchase as a download. I'll grab that tonight smile

OK, I'll wait with the late 80's digital emulations. Although I always did fancy an M1 at the time but was just a kid. I was just 12 in 1982 so there was no way I could own Jupiters and Prophets. I'm greatful that we have the technology now to emulate all these great synths that I thought I would never own!

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#2267764 - 01/28/11 09:18 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: konaboy]
Bobadeath Offline
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Registered: 12/25/06
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Originally Posted By: konaboy

OK, I'll wait with the late 80's digital emulations. Although I always did fancy an M1 at the time but was just a kid. I was just 12 in 1982 so there was no way I could own Jupiters and Prophets. I'm greatful that we have the technology now to emulate all these great synths that I thought I would never own!


Nothing wrong with having the sounds of the M1 at your disposal! It's just not = synthpop. If you were writing TECHNO though.......

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#2267872 - 01/28/11 12:45 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Bobadeath]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Word up on Attack, as I think a lot of people miss the fact that it has two entirely different preset menus and use the more "obvious" one, which is more techno-oriented. :-)

Above the slots on the left that define which instrument is at each note in the scale, there are a few buttons, starting with the Red "Solo" button. To the right of this, click the "Preset" button, then drag your mouse across the top row which says "ROM", and there you will find first a list of individual drums and below the separator bar the REAL meat of this VI, which are the emulative kits from the 80's.

I usually edit the stock sounds in order to tune the drums to the song (or at least critical kit pieces), but other than that, I find this preset library of CR-78, TR-808, TR-909, Simmonds SDS-5, and Linndrum 9000 kits to be eminently usable out of the box.

For PPG-Wave, the Factories library is a good place to start (I think it's labeled "1984 Libraries", but I deleted my copy after installing and verifying the new PPG Wave V.3 version that just came out in December 2010). The first patch is the one I use the most, for stuff like Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, etc. It's the best dry sound I've found yet when I want a blippy sound (super short note length, like Duran Duran's Jupiter arpeggios, or Harold Faltermeyer's "Axel F").


Edited by Mark Schmieder (01/28/11 12:47 PM)
Edit Reason: typos
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#2267923 - 01/28/11 02:27 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: matted stump]
Griffinator Global Moderator Offline
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Originally Posted By: mate_stubb
Originally Posted By: Griffinator
Hard to turn down the NI FM7 for 80's synth sounds. What band didn't have a DX7 in their arsenal in the 80's?


Every band that I was in! grin


Which is why you're here, instead of being on some VH1 "Who's Who" list somewhere, relaxing on a beach and enjoying your fat royalty checks. grin

(I KID, I KID!)
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Originally Posted By: tonysounds
I would also watch [the Super Bowl halftime show] if applDeApp and Tabu were doused in hot oil, covered in feathers, and then set on fire while will.I.am was trepanned live.... and I would leave the sound on.

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#2267983 - 01/28/11 06:23 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Griffinator]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Hah, good one!

Just to reiterate, the DX7 was an EXCELLENT synth, but unfortunately is remembered for how it was abused via its presets, which attempted to cover everything modern ROMplers cover.

FM technology is good for some things but not others... and really the DX7 didn't get used much by synth-pop acts until the mid to late 80's. I in fact attribute the diminishing quality of synth-pop in later years to this essential gear change away from home-brew analog synth patches.

FM is behind a lot of other technologies, such as Yamaha's VL wind-and-breath-oriented synths, and has some relation to additive synthesis and physical modeling, due to the flexibility of the operators and routing and how they can be used as a stand-in or low-level support for those other synthesis techniques.

As such, we have only barely touched the surface of what FM can do: it is still "new technology" in that sense, and can produce some wonderful sounds, if one is primarily thinking of it as a sound design tool.

In terms of more bread and butter sounds, due to the ability to realistically model attack envelopes of instruments with extreme attack/decay ratios, FM is also great for most chromatic percussion (steel drum, marimba, vibraphone), electric pianos (especially Rhodes), and certain sound effects.

Due to the sine wave basis of most early FM synths, FM is also great for fat synth bass lines and certain aggressive leads. Also evolving pads, but not so much synth brass, synth strings, and other traditional analog strengths.
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#2277279 - 02/26/11 12:09 AM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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For those interested in the full Waldorf Edition suite, from which you can upgrade to PPG Wave 3.V, it is currently on sale for $59 at Nova Musik during one of their frequent "spring cleaning" sales:

http://www.novamusik.com/search.aspx?type=Manufacturer&keyword=357&mid=357

I'm not sure if the upgrade window is still in effect, but even so, this collection is worth it for Attack, which is still by far the best synth drum plug-in and one of the few that isn't sample-based and allows as much programmability as the originals (CR-78, TR-808, DMX, etc.).
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#2277424 - 02/26/11 12:59 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
konaboy Offline
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Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 823
Seeing as this got bumped up I'll give you an update.

The arturia was in my possession no more than 7 days. It wasn't for me for a number of reasons which I won't go into here.

I decided to go with the free Synth1 instead. Then I remembered that I have pro tools and fired it up. Now you can't easily run VSTs from PT so I checked out the bundled Pro Tools plugins. There is a monosynth called Vacuum which sounds great, and the Xpand workstation is also very good. Digidesign also include a vintage drum machine emulation, Boom, which covers the 808, 909 and various other retro beatboxes very well.

So, after all this, I'll end up using that. I have recorded 4 or 5 songs now, allbeit very rough around the edges. I think I successed with the 80's vibe.

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#2277490 - 02/26/11 05:28 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: konaboy]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Oh, I forgot about Synth1, as that is Windows-only. But my partner in Moonlife runs Windows and used Synth1 on most of the last album. I am very impressed overall, even if it costs $200 or more and wasn't free.

Another freebie to look at, which is dual-platform, is Green Oak Crystal. As with Synth1, it is also meant to be a "learner" synth that exposes most of the basic concepts of analog synthesis. Synth1 is modeled after the Prophet V, if I'm not mistaken.
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#2277784 - 02/27/11 07:06 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Mark Schmieder]
Al Coda Offline
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Registered: 08/31/08
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Originally Posted By: Mark Schmieder

Synth1 is modeled after the Prophet V, if I'm not mistaken.


Nord Lead ...

Hereīs a s**tload of patches for download
http://www.mediafire.com/?5olf8uriplxkd90
Included is an advice how to install the banks on a PC.
Synth 1 latest version is capable of holding 100 banks ā 128 patches and access these directly from itīs GUI.
Itīs also able to read/load zipfiles.

The default soundbank in Synth 1 is "crap".
Crap because itīs some GM replacement or such.
In fact it can sound very good and is extremely low on CPU.

Latest Synth 1 version here
http://www.geocities.jp/daichi1969/softsynth/

operation manual
http://www.geocities.jp/daichi1969/synmanu/readmeeng.html

A.C.
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#2278060 - 02/28/11 02:51 PM Re: Good VSTs for 80's synth pop? [Re: Al Coda]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Ah, yes, but wasn't the Nord Lead modeled after the Prophet? Or maybe I'm thinking of the Nord Lead 2, which goes beyond the original Nord Lead. And of course Nord Lead 3 was entirely different, but there is also a VI of that (or maybe two). I can't keep track of all the Nord emus out there, as they keep cropping up!
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