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Re: Let's Dissect Geddy Lee's Use of Synthesizers; '82 - 84'

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:32 am
by tim gueguen
And here's the bass synth/bass guitar track.

Re: Let's Dissect Geddy Lee's Use of Synthesizers; '82 - 84'

Posted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:57 pm
by OB-XaMinimoog
tim gueguen wrote:This should be of interest.

Yeah theres definitely a bit of Choir layered in there from about 0:27 to 0:44 and then 4:52 till the end of the song. Other than that at times it I wanna say I hear a faint bit of Choir, but for the most part it sounds like Brass/Pad.

I tell ya, this is the song that makes me want an OB-X. And that Minimoog sounds just awesome, too. :D
tim gueguen wrote:And here's the bass synth/bass guitar track.
Yep, Taurus pedals. You can hear him playing the low notes on the Oberheim in the beginning, and after the first Minimoog solo, too.

That Rickenbacker sounds lovely, too. :D

Re: Let's Dissect Geddy Lee's Use of Synthesizers; '82 - 84'

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:44 am
by LeChuck
I've read this thread off and on for years, but finally signed up to comment now that I've taken the plunge and bought an OB-X with 8 voices in fantastic shape - hurrah! Some buddies want to jam on Signals next month, so I've started the journey into figuring out some of the patches Geddy used.

In the Subdivisions video, Geddy does octave F# bass notes, so I always assumed that was how he got those booming opening notes. But in reality that only gives you two voices, so it ends up sounding pretty wimpy. Turning on Unison mode is what does the trick - with all 8 voices firing it immediately booms like that opening (I also set Osc 2 up an octave, since it sounds like there are indeed two octaves playing). No Taurus pedal bass or anything else needed.

That does bring up the question of how it was recorded .. I'm guessing either multi-tracked, or possibly playing the chord patch on the OB-X and the Unison patch from the OB-Xa via Taurus pedals. Who knows?

Anyway, the two biggest mysteries to me now (both discussed in this thread already) are ..
  • What is doing that weird layered effect in the Subdivisions intro once it hits the first big Bm chord? I always assumed this was the same choir sound as Analog Kid until I heard the isolated track. Another synth? External effect?
  • What is doing the choir sound on Analog Kid? This one sounds pretty passable as a choir patch, and he does play it live on the OB-Xa as mentioned before. This is the patch I'm currently working on.
Any comments would be great! If anyone is interested in the specific OB-X patches, I can post them as I find them.


Re: Let's Dissect Geddy Lee's Use of Synthesizers; '82 - 84'

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:26 pm
by ronP

Additional commentary on this topic from me:

There was a brief time, 1978-1986, when one line of pop experimentation consisted of performing live on polysynths played like pianos.

The Oberheim Eight-Voice was perhaps the first such player's dream - two minor seventh block chords sustained at the same time . . . WoW!

Geddy Lee quoted this music school of thought. He had also added an OB-X and an OB-Xa by Signals.

Here is perhaps a more unique perspective:

One night, when in high school, I was studying chemistry (really!) with the FM radio on and on came a Rockline-style radio sound check stage interview with Geddy Lee in which in part he described his live synthesizer set up.That wavering choral sound of "The Analog Kid" (variations of heard also on Grace Under Pressure) came from the hand or pedal of the OB-Xa as the sawtooth OB-X chord progression filled the space carried slightly more forward and bottomed in the mix.

Geddy Lee also used the Roland Jupiter 8 for the angry diminished two-chord progression heard on "Between the Wheels" (in that radio interview).

Live, now, it is all one-fingered samples but, then, hands and arms crossed like patch cords o a modular rack!



Re: Let's Dissect Geddy Lee's Use of Synthesizers; '82 - 84'

Posted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 12:32 am
by LeChuck
Howdy ronP,

Thanks for the info, the more the better! Out of curiosity, which sounds on P/G are you referring to as similar to the Analog Kid choir?

Some updates since my last post ..
  • For awhile I was wondering why he plays the choir sound on the OB-Xa. After re-watching the video, it seems obvious now - there are two patches required for that song, and the OB-X has the other loaded. This got me re-motivated to find this patch on the OB-X ..
  • Digging back through the OB-X factory patches, there is a sound that is actually fairly choir-like - although it has much heavier modulation going on. I started tinkering with this patch to tone down the modulation and get the closest 'AHH' sound possible. If you listen to the Analog Kid 'no guitar' video on YouTube, the very end removes the 'helicopter' sound and lets you hear one voice doing the choir sound pretty clearly.
  • The above knob-twiddling got very close. The final touch that (to my ears) makes it sound like the record is running it through a tape echo, so the voices soften out and interact a little. At this point, I'm considering this case closed .. if I can figure out how to upload a clip, and anyone's interested, I'll do so.
  • Another Analog Kid finding - the 'helicopter' sound is also the OB-X(a). These things excel at making certain kinds of sounds, and it was very easy to dial this one up to match the record spot-on. Again, if anyone's interested in a clip I can look into it.
  • Remaining question - what exactly is that effect or other synth layer in Subdivisions? A guitar buddy of mine suggested it's a phase shift effect. When I did this on my OB-X, I admit it does sound very close to the record. Who knows?