Could I do dark, ambient music with this synth setup?

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drummy
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Could I do dark, ambient music with this synth setup?

Post by drummy » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:23 am

Hey guys. This is my potential setup that I want to do for dark ambient sounds, with industrial fused in, but it can change. I'm only interested in vintage analogs and plug-ins (don't ask), not interested in new stuff that can do sounds better such as the Virus. I like the Virus, but I won't buy it. If you want to make me recommendations, please make sure they were made before 1987 and are analog (I know there are new stuff that can do more, but I am utterly infatuated with vintage analog synths, and that's what I want to keep my synths as). However, I am up for recommendations on plug-ins, because I use those as well. Check out stuff I kind of want to sound like this, but with more ambient elements:

http://myspace.com/sebastiencasino (listen to Misalindex and June 21th)
http://myspace.com/cavern2 (listen to DARDA and Glimmer)

Here is what I plan on getting/have:

-E-mu SP-12
-Miroslav Philharmonik
-Roland Jupiter-8 (also thinking about Oberheim OB-Xa, Moog Memorymoog+, or SCI P5)
-Roland Jupiter-4
-Sequential Circuits Pro-One
-Spectrasonics Atmosphere
-Spectrasonics Stylus RMX
-Spectrasonics Trilogy
-Univox K-2 Mini-Korg 2 (Korg Minikorg 700s)

Should I need more monos or polys? Any recommendations (as long as they are vintage analog and plug-ins) are welcome. Sorry if I come off as an a*s, that is not my intention.
Last edited by drummy on Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sensorium » Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:33 am

You can make dark ambient with a Casio SK-1 and an Eventide H3000 if you wanted (and it would probably be pretty sweet!)

It's not about what you have, but how you use it...Although I don't practice what I preach. I pretty much have 1 of everything. It's a sickness!

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Post by i_watch_stars » Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:36 am

A lot of dark ambient doesn't have any synth sounds.... :?
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Post by portland » Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:02 am

i_watch_stars wrote:A lot of dark ambient doesn't have any synth sounds.... :?
The effect unit is what is important.

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Post by clusterchord » Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:25 am

for starters id walk away from spectrasonics atmosphere. its really uninspiring and unflexible. second, u sound like everyone else who has it. not what u wanna do if going into dark ambinet or whatever.. u want to add your singature to sounds. RMX can be useful, especially if mangled later by plugs or some nice outboard.. which brings me to the main point;

for ambient, u should direct a third or even half of your synth money to really great digital and analog outboard. without it u can have all synths in the world, you wont get the soundscape youre after. id get a higher end Eventide like 7000, or Orville. then a space echo, few dist/fuzz/analog bbd delay pedals.. perhaps a PCM81 lexicon etc.


of the polysynths u named, a regular Rev3 P5 wont do u much good there, unless its a rev1 or rev2. its the best polyanalog ive ever played for ambient/illbient, check my demos here: http://www.babic.com/SYN/p5r2.htm OB-Xa can do some stuff, like drooney voxy fem pads with strong resonance in 12dB, but its kinda limited. overall, i fell its predecessor OBX has character and warmth MADE for ambient beds. JP8 can do fantastic filter sweeps, PWM, and especially pulsations, arpeggiating basslines etc..

SP-12 is a great choice , i have it and it works equally great in ambient, experimmental as in mainstream. instead of mono synths like Pro One etc, id make a small modular system, for infinite flexibility and sound desing.

and to round it off, imho there is no ambient without good, character digital synth like a Waldorf microwave or XT or WS etc. and a sampler that has embedded lofi-ness like emax, EIII etc.. where u can sample results form the modular or some audio form the DAW, to add it lofi character n "darkness", and mangle it further.

so, all together, this is my variant on yr list: P5 Rev2 (or OBX), JP8, Modular a la Blacet/Livewire/PlanB etc, Waldorf microwave, emax, SP-12, spectrasonics RMX, Eventide 7000 or better, Space Echo 201, BBD delay/fuzz/dist pedals.. and analog filter unit like Frostwave Resonator. for plugs, somthing unavailable in hw - additive Chameleon (sounds awesome esp if processed thru analog fx).

cheers
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Post by drummy » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:19 am

clusterchord wrote:for starters id walk away from spectrasonics atmosphere. its really uninspiring and unflexible. second, u sound like everyone else who has it. not what u wanna do if going into dark ambinet or whatever.. u want to add your singature to sounds. RMX can be useful, especially if mangled later by plugs or some nice outboard.. which brings me to the main point;

for ambient, u should direct a third or even half of your synth money to really great digital and analog outboard. without it u can have all synths in the world, you wont get the soundscape youre after. id get a higher end Eventide like 7000, or Orville. then a space echo, few dist/fuzz/analog bbd delay pedals.. perhaps a PCM81 lexicon etc.


of the polysynths u named, a regular Rev3 P5 wont do u much good there, unless its a rev1 or rev2. its the best polyanalog ive ever played for ambient/illbient, check my demos here: http://www.babic.com/SYN/p5r2.htm OB-Xa can do some stuff, like drooney voxy fem pads with strong resonance in 12dB, but its kinda limited. overall, i fell its predecessor OBX has character and warmth MADE for ambient beds. JP8 can do fantastic filter sweeps, PWM, and especially pulsations, arpeggiating basslines etc..

SP-12 is a great choice , i have it and it works equally great in ambient, experimmental as in mainstream. instead of mono synths like Pro One etc, id make a small modular system, for infinite flexibility and sound desing.

and to round it off, imho there is no ambient without good, character digital synth like a Waldorf microwave or XT or WS etc. and a sampler that has embedded lofi-ness like emax, EIII etc.. where u can sample results form the modular or some audio form the DAW, to add it lofi character n "darkness", and mangle it further.

so, all together, this is my variant on yr list: P5 Rev2 (or OBX), JP8, Modular a la Blacet/Livewire/PlanB etc, Waldorf microwave, emax, SP-12, spectrasonics RMX, Eventide 7000 or better, Space Echo 201, BBD delay/fuzz/dist pedals.. and analog filter unit like Frostwave Resonator. for plugs, somthing unavailable in hw - additive Chameleon (sounds awesome esp if processed thru analog fx).

cheers
Thanks for the great reply. What do you think of the Jupiter-4? I can't have two massive polysynths because I simply do not have the money. As for outboard, I was thinking of the Lexicon PCM70 for reverb, a Chandler Stereo Digital Echo (I like how it sounds, and it can get pretty close to a tape delay), and a Sherman Filterbank. I think I'm going to go with the Jupiter-8 or the Prophet-5 Rev 2 for the main polysynth though. I also dunno if I want to get a modular instead of a Pro-One (I like how it sounds as well). We shall see.

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Post by seamonkey » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:45 pm

clusterchord wrote:for starters id walk away from spectrasonics atmosphere. its really uninspiring and unflexible. second, u sound like everyone else who has it. not what u wanna do if going into dark ambinet or whatever.. u want to add your singature to sounds.
cheers
I have to disagree that Atmosphere is uninspiring, I find it's sounds quite beautiful. There is flexibility as far as editing sounds by using Lfo's, envelopes and filters as well as thousands of new sounds can be created by combining different samples.
Another thing I don't think a lot of people utilize are the raw samples that are also provided.

I'm not quite sure what you meant about just getting Atmosphere so one can add it to one's signature, I think that's a bit of a broad statement and not necessarily true of all musicians who own Atmosphere.
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Post by clusterchord » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:56 pm

well let me put it the other way - it sounds like c**p. i have many of the synths sampled for this lib, and this lib is highly unrepresentative of their sound. overall it just sounds plastic and thin. real synth just behaves so differently than set of fixed multisamples triggered from a kbd. aint organic at all.

as for lack of "signature sound" what i meant is - if u use Atmosphere u do sound like everyone else using it. hard to get away from this. and the quality of onboard filters n synhtesis is very low and limited. i'd never dare call it a *synthesizer*. fwiw i use it as quik pad fix, for cheapo radio/tv jingles that "need to be done yesterday".

so we can agree to disagree. :wink:


@drummy: yes, a Rev2* and a Jupiter4, instead of Jupiter8 would be a great cost effective combo. for starters it features the same arpeggiator, and is equally great in snappy arp type sounds. u wont get the same sweep pads but..

*its really hard to find a Rev2 today. if it turns out u cannot, id really recommend u OBX. equally great. there were several on Bay just recently. be prepared to pay 2k+ for a nice 8-voice model plus service. but its worth every penny.

PCM70 is nice, i use it mainly for drums/loops. but id rather recommend u get at least a used Eventide H3000SE or DSE or DSX. dunno about chandler, but if u cannot go for tape echo, just get a nice BBD analog delay p0edal like MemoryMan Deluxe. or two..
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Post by i_watch_stars » Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:29 am

portland wrote:
i_watch_stars wrote:A lot of dark ambient doesn't have any synth sounds.... :?
The effect unit is what is important.
Yes, absolutely true.
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Post by Sir Ruff » Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:49 am

I have to add, sort of philosophically, that it looks like a chicken an egg scenario here....

you already have a few decent synths (which, with the right processing, could make the music you want in their own right), but you also have a huge list of other potential purchases.. From your post, it seems like you feel these will automatically allow you to make "dark, ambient" music once you have them...

...almost like you've tried to make this music, haven't been satisfied, and so think buying a whole slew of new gear will change this...

Not trying to unfloat your gear buying boat, but I wonder if maybe what you need is not new gear, but a new approach... (like people have said, it's the technique and not the gear that counts)
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Post by toad » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:35 am

I don't claim to be an authority on ambient music, but the myspace examples don't sound very "ambient" to me, but i guess we have different definitions...

anyway, instead of boring rompler plugins, i would recommend a sampler, like the now free shortcircuit http://vemberaudio.se/shortcircuit.php

and maybe a modular host, like Plogue Bidule or something similar.
there are also tons of freeware vst effects and synths that sound much more interesting than your commercial examples. search on kvraudio.com, or ask here...

like others have said, you don't need a bunch of synths to make ambient music, you can also make interesting sounds using just a mixer and some outboard effects, creating feedback loops etc.

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Post by 9mm » Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:04 am

well you listed a pseudo industrial sound, but what is your definition of "dark ambient"? In Slaughter Natives type stuff, or just a darker version of Aphex Twin type of a sound?
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Re: Could I do dark, ambient music with this synth setup?

Post by alfadawg01 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:24 pm

drummy wrote:Should I need more monos or polys? Any recommendations (as long as they are vintage analog and plug-ins) are welcome. Sorry if I come off as an a*s, that is not my intention.
You can make dark ambient, whatever that is, with an out-of-tune upright Steinway if you have the imagination, chops and vision to pull it off. If you want to sound just like some other artist, you will only find disappointment. The only musician you should sound like is you. The only vision you should follow is yours. New gear won't give you vision....new gear might help realize that vision, however, but you'd better be sure that what you have won't cut it before you clutter up your studio and your mind with more equipment to fit it and learn how to use. You will make a much more lasting impression if you pin down your vision and tell us how you used your gear to realize that vision.

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Post by Doc Tonewheel » Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:55 pm

A very nice dark ambient combo can be achieved with a Roland MKS-70 and a D-50. These 2 were used together for the dark strings in Twin Peaks. The MKS-70 is a great pad machine, and the D-50 compliments it fantastically.
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Post by shaft9000 » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:47 am

i_watch_stars wrote:
portland wrote:
i_watch_stars wrote:A lot of dark ambient doesn't have any synth sounds.... :?
The effect unit is what is important.
Yes, absolutely true.
another +1 there.

You can make a kazoo sound evil and intimidating w/ the right outboard.
(almost) all synths have a filter to make them sound 'darker', so it's not the synth so much that does it.
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