The Who - Baba O'Riley (synth programming)

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The Who - Baba O'Riley (synth programming)

Post by vanitypolice » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:45 pm

I'm wondering if anyone knows how Pete Townshend programmed the synth in Baba O'Riley. I know Won't Get Fooled Again is a home organ going through a Synthi with a S+H filter but on the making of Who's Next video, it doesn't discuss the programming for Baba O'Riley at all.

I'm guessing that it's the ARP 2600 (I know he got the 2500 only later during album production) but I'm not sure how he set up the sequence whether it was a sequencer (did they have those then) or just LFOs. The wikipedia entry says it used a Lowrey organ but I think that's not true and that it's getting that info confused with the info for Won't Get Fooled Again.

I just found this link: http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/equip-baba.htm
Can anyone confirm this?
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Post by stillearning » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:49 pm

Isn't that the intro using a Lowrey home organ with the "marimba repeat" setting?
As always, kindly allow for the possibility I have no idea what I'm talking about.

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Post by vanitypolice » Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:57 pm

well that's what I read but I wanted to know if anyone had ever tried actually emulating that using one of those organs.

I want that sound for a song I'm working on right now and I figured instead of sampling it, it made more sense just to re-play it.
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Post by stillearning » Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:12 pm

Well, I don't know anyone with that model Lowrey organ, but I've heard from multiple sources that that's what Townsend used..
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Post by crow » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:09 pm

Even if you had the organ, Pete Townsends only come around once in a lifetime.
One of THE greatest composers of the latter half of the 20th century.

Much, much more interesting is his work on Quadrophenia. Forget the powerful story. Just have a listen and remember the year.

Oh and there are patches out there for many modern synths that recreate the baba intro with varying success. have a search and you shall find. Then find yer inner Townsend.

We are the mods. 8)
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Post by vanitypolice » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:21 pm

well i agree with you on the quadrophenia tip. it's my favorite album of all time, hands down!

In fact that's what initially got me interested in synths. That and early Peter Gabriel solo work.

But I'm still going to look for that organ!
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Post by Jack Spider » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:28 pm

The Alesis Ion features a preset that sounds close enough. It's about 18 seconds in on this demo that used to be up on the Alesis website.

http://media.putfile.com/Alesis-Ion-Demo-20
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Post by vanitypolice » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:34 pm

to me that alesis demo just sounds like the same notes and not at all the sound of the original.
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Post by Synthaholic » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:42 pm

Someone on Motifator created a pretty good patch for the Motif, based on the Clav waveform. I'll have to download it and pull it apart.
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Post by Micke » Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:08 am

Yes, it was a Lowrey Berkshire Deluxe TBO-1 home organ (1968 model) that was used for the "synth" sound on "Baba O Riley". Pete was using a setting called “marimba repeat.”

You can read more about it here:
http://wwww.quadrophenia.net/whotabs/equip-baba.htm

EDIT: whoops..I just noticed you'd linked to that site already.

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Post by Panurge8 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:56 am

Jack Spider wrote: The Alesis Ion features a preset that sounds close enough.
While that preset is fairly close, I found that it sounds better if you change the filter(s) to moog or arp and switch the LFO modulating the amplifier to a triangle wave. (I found that when I switched the filter to moog or arp there was a bit of a clicking noise at the start of each repeat, and the triangle wave LFO smoothed it out very nicely.) I'm not sure if those were the exact settings, I'll have to check.

I suppose the use of the organ on that track explains why the sound is polyphonic. I had always assumed it was layered arp 2600s, it is such a huge sound!
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Post by crow » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:10 am

Aye well. Sometimes we win against technology with human ingenuity.
Once the Electricity runs out we'll be back to drums and things. REAL Vintage Analogue.
:? :shock:
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Post by meatballfulton » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:19 am

stillearning wrote:Well, I don't know anyone with that model Lowrey organ
My mom had one and yes, it made that sound.
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Post by Diametro » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:59 pm

crow wrote:Aye well. Sometimes we win against technology with human ingenuity.
Once the Electricity runs out we'll be back to drums and things. REAL Vintage Analogue.
:? :shock:
If the electricity ever permanently goes out, I doubt anybody will be worrying about music too much ...

... the only drums we'd be hearing, unfortunately, would be drums of war
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