NIN Pretty Hate Machine Crunchy Digital synths?

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NIN Pretty Hate Machine Crunchy Digital synths?

Post by stikygum » Mon Aug 13, 2007 1:42 am

OK, well I know an Xpander (which I think was used the most), Prophet VS, I think a Minimoog, and an Emu sampler were used on this album. Now everyone might be reading this post and see I say 'think a Minimoog' because I have not used one. Now you might also say that I said a Prophet VS was used. That's because I've owned a VS and found some very Nin patches on there. I know he is said to have used Turbosynth also.

I'm curious about the really crunchy digital synths, that seem to have analog components. I'm wondering what some of those are

For example, on the song 'That's what I get' at the beginning 0:17, a really crunchy digital sound comes in. I don't think this is a Prophet VS, although it might be. I was wondering if this could be an Ensoniq synth like the ESQ or maybe SQ or VFX.

On 'Sin' there is a synth line played a lot (before the chorus and sometimes in it). This sounds like it could be an ESQ or or Prophet VS.

On 'Terrible Lie' there is a digital synth that starts at 3:30 and plays to the end. This sounds like either a VS or ESQ to me.

Anyone have any ideas, or better yet, know what synths each of these are. These sounds I pointed out couldn't be Turbosynth could they. Turbosynth was a software synth, and these sounds have much more raw analog/crunchy digital bite, I would think only a hardware synt hcould deliver.

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Post by mistercooper » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:22 am

TR used the extensive FM modulation capabilities of the Xpander for a lot of the stranger sounds on PHM. I get the feeling that the Thats What I Get patch is just run through a bit reducer of some kind.

Certainly some interesting polyphonies.
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Post by stikygum » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:57 am

To me, that would just be incredible if the Xpander can sound like that (as on 'That's what I get'), because that sound sounds completely digital run through some analog components. But FM through a bit reducer is a good logic sound idea that it could be. Maybe a VS run through a bit reducer?

Can the Xpander do vocal like stuff? Because the sound in 'Terrible Lie' has a lot of breath and depth like a voice, but with added digital crunch. I gotta get me an Xpander if it can do that.

What are the Osc. like on the Xpander? I wonder if they have any digital waveforms. The 'Sin' sound seems to have digital Osc., which is why I say it's a ESQ or VS.

I will say that the 'Sin' patch and 'That's what I get patch' I pointed out sounds like they could be from the same synth. The 'Terrible Lie' patch is just in another world. That is such an interesting sound that I've never heard before and one that I haven't heard since this album. No one's made one similar.

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Post by wiss » Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:09 am

didnt he run all his gear thru an Arp 2600 in the early years..
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Post by mistercooper » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:30 am

He ran a lot of stuff through the 2600 when he first got access to flood's during the recording of TDS. There has been one in the background of a pic at nothing stufios post TF pre WT, but no indications otherwise that he's used it since then.
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Post by xpander » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:54 am

i just bought a Prophet VS, i should have it in a week so i can give a pretty accurate break-down, plus i have a Prodigy which was used before he had a mini for the early PHM stuff.

the vector-controlled stuff is a dead giveaway on PHM for Prophet VS lines, listen to which synth leads evolve. the Xpander is ultra-flexible and capable of pretty much any type of analog synth sound; its all VCO waves, btw. that said, the Xpander is capable of a particular MASSIVE sounding 6 voice unisyn (12 VCOs) that is unquestionable heard throughout Terrible Lie (its the heavy synth played along with "hey god") and is also showcased in the NIN version of suck that is a bonus to the broken album. the Xpander is pretty extraordinary, you should get one.

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Post by ryryoftokyo » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:09 am

he used a lot of the early 90s digital stuff along with a little bit of analog. Digital was kind of the thing to use, plus it was new and different, so he used it.

I'm guessing a lot of Ensoniq stuff.

But yeah, pretty much anything late 80s-early 90s will give you that crisp Pretty Hate Machine sound you're after.
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Post by stikygum » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:18 am

I'm not really after the sound (although the Terrible Lie sound - at the end is awesome). I just want to know what the heck he used, because I've never heard that sound played by anyone else.

I know Terrible lie has the Xpander in it in the verse and I also think in the chorus.. But that crunchy sound that comes in at 3:30 is unique and I'm not sure that's an Xpander.

I wonder if he sampled a synth of someones. It sounds like it could somehow be an ESQ1 that is processed a bit. Same with the other 2 examples I gave, those seem like they could've been the ESQ1.

Oh to bring up another song, 'Kinda I want to' has the Xpander all over it (in the chorus and verse), I'm pretty sure. It's tweaked out at the end of the song which sounds really good.

Out of the 3 songs I mentioned earlier, I think 'Sin' sounds more like a Prophet VS was used. But it's still confusing if it is, because I won't rule out the Xpander, although I've never heard an Xpander sound like that. Could be an ESQ because I've never used it either.

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Post by carbon111 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:30 am

PHM was made on a shoestring before Trent had a lot of gear. His Emax, an early version of Turbosynth and the recording studio's Mini were about all he used. TMC did some cool vocal samples for one song on PHM as well.

The VS and other (expensive) synths came later.

I think the Terrible Lie sound people are talking about is an Emax time-stretched woodblock put through distortion...
Emax was a great sample mangler with decent filters, its all over PHM...
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Post by celebutante » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:47 am

there's an interview in Keyboard from way back where Trent details a lot of the PHM sounds. Most of the it is Emax, VS and Minimoog.

The off-kilter riff at the end of "Terrible Lie" is an Emax playing a woodblock sample, most likely with the sample rate as low as it goes... they made really cool grungey aliasing noise when you did that... that sound is ALL over the PHM (and also the first Chem Lab record if you can dig that up). I suspect the riff in "The Only Time" is the same trick. Trent used Turbosynth back in those days too to mangle Emax samples (I used it a lot too!).

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Post by tallowwaters » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:29 pm

Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

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Post by matamoris » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:18 am

dudes, don't forget that flood produced this record, and he typically uses a lot of his gear on other peoples' albums. DM violator is another good example of this, and i'm sure PHM is no exception.
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Post by stikygum » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:39 am

celebutante wrote:there's an interview in Keyboard from way back where Trent details a lot of the PHM sounds. Most of the it is Emax, VS and Minimoog.

The off-kilter riff at the end of "Terrible Lie" is an Emax playing a woodblock sample, most likely with the sample rate as low as it goes... they made really cool grungey aliasing noise when you did that... that sound is ALL over the PHM (and also the first Chem Lab record if you can dig that up). I suspect the riff in "The Only Time" is the same trick. Trent used Turbosynth back in those days too to mangle Emax samples (I used it a lot too!).

mitchell
You're 100% sure? You actually read that? I just wanted to confrim.

Wow, I can't believe that Terrible Lie sound is a sampled Woodblock. Are you guys mistaking that woodblock sound for the odd percussion in Head like a Hole? I have a remix cd of the Head like a Hole, Down in it, and Terrible Lie and noticed Head like Hole has a odd percussion, that might fit the description of woodblock. Or maybe that's a different sample.

So you mean, the EMAX colors the sound that much? Or does the raw Woodblock sample sound similar? I'm trying to fugure out if it's the woodblock sample or the EMAX that is doing most of the work.

So did Trent use samples for that Sin riff, Terrible Lie riff (looks like you said that), and the That's what I Get riff? Those are really unique sounds and don't sound like a synth.

And Celebutante, you said he used that Woodblock sample often on PHM? Could that be the other sounds I'm talking about too, just processed differently?

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Post by cowbell » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:57 pm

Future Music interview with Trent Reznor
FM: So, what was in your studio by the time you came to record Pretty Hate Machine?

TR: The Linn, the Prophet, the Moog, an Oberheim Expander and an EMAX sampler, all running from a Mac Plus- one of those little self-contained models - with Performer for a sequencer. Looking back now, that was the last time I really had a limited set-up, but that meant I was forced to learn every Trick in the book. Sampling things an octave higher so you could maximize sample space .. things like that.

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Post by tallowwaters » Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:33 pm

stikygum wrote:
celebutante wrote:there's an interview in Keyboard from way back where Trent details a lot of the PHM sounds. Most of the it is Emax, VS and Minimoog.

The off-kilter riff at the end of "Terrible Lie" is an Emax playing a woodblock sample, most likely with the sample rate as low as it goes... they made really cool grungey aliasing noise when you did that... that sound is ALL over the PHM (and also the first Chem Lab record if you can dig that up). I suspect the riff in "The Only Time" is the same trick. Trent used Turbosynth back in those days too to mangle Emax samples (I used it a lot too!).

mitchell
You're 100% sure? You actually read that? I just wanted to confrim.

Wow, I can't believe that Terrible Lie sound is a sampled Woodblock. Are you guys mistaking that woodblock sound for the odd percussion in Head like a Hole? I have a remix cd of the Head like a Hole, Down in it, and Terrible Lie and noticed Head like Hole has a odd percussion, that might fit the description of woodblock. Or maybe that's a different sample.

So you mean, the EMAX colors the sound that much? Or does the raw Woodblock sample sound similar? I'm trying to fugure out if it's the woodblock sample or the EMAX that is doing most of the work.

So did Trent use samples for that Sin riff, Terrible Lie riff (looks like you said that), and the That's what I Get riff? Those are really unique sounds and don't sound like a synth.

And Celebutante, you said he used that Woodblock sample often on PHM? Could that be the other sounds I'm talking about too, just processed differently?
2 links to articles have been posted here, read them and you will find your answers.

he put the woodblock through turbosynth and time stretched it first....
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

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