Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

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Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:30 am

Any one knows which synth creates this distinctive metallic clavi sound in Something about you song:



I came fairly close with the Prophet 5 but couldn't 100% nail it so I wonder if this could be sample from the Emulator? I'm also pretty sure it's not a DX7.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by bluedad » Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:37 am

I was reading something about that a few days ago, that it was indeed a DX7
http://bobbyblues.recup.ch/yamaha_dx7/dx7_examples.html

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by elsongs » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:29 am

Technically, it's probably a TX-816 sound. Mike Lindup also had a TX-816 as well. It's a little more robust than a regular DX7 sound, and I've tried to program the same clav sound to no avail.

The polysynth sounds and pad sounds are definitely Prophet 5 though.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:14 pm

Many thanks for theinfo. The reason I didn't think it was the DX7 was that at the Wembley live video he had the TX816 and I didn't see those lights flashing when you hear the sequence and he used the DX7 for another sound.
Second in one of the live performances he played that sound on his Prophet 5 (but can't remember if it really sounded similar).

That said I certainly think the DX7 would be capable of that sound so will see if I can program that (earlier attemps I didn't quite get close to it but with DX7 you have huge # of parameters).

I wonder how reliable the DX7 famous examples page is?

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:09 pm

I went through the DX7 library and certainly find clav sounds that sounds the same (with just 3 operators) except for the attack itself. If I slow the original sound it sounds pretty typical though still hard to reproduce:

Last edited by Lucien on Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:18 pm

I went through huge # of DX7 sounds but just couldn't quite get the attack sound correctly (although I think it still may be possible since it's definitely cross modulation).

Then I went back to Prophet 5 and notice with the polymod you actually get very close to that attack sound (perhaps only needed is to add right effect):

Edit: updated dead link (original recording and playing over it repeatedly for comparison):



I checked again sustain sound and I kind of expect that's Prophet as well but not sure.
Last edited by Lucien on Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:16 pm

Ok I think I got it figured out: I'm fairly sure it's all Prophet 5. The short attack sound has a low cutoff while the long sustained sound uses high cutoff. I couldn't quite get this right in the envelope though it might be possible.
But instead I could repro it assigning the filter to the modulation wheel. When you play the long sound you increase the modulation wheel all the way up.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by elsongs » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:07 am

Lucien wrote:Ok I think I got it figured out: I'm fairly sure it's all Prophet 5. The short attack sound has a low cutoff while the long sustained sound uses high cutoff. I couldn't quite get this right in the envelope though it might be possible.
But instead I could repro it assigning the filter to the modulation wheel. When you play the long sound you increase the modulation wheel all the way up.
No way you can get those harmonics on a Prophet-5. It's got to be FM...But they could be layered.

Wally Badarou said in interviews that whenever he would record synth sounds with Level 42 as their producer, multiple synths would be layered with one another; the attack of one sound would be layered with the reverb of another.

That clav playing is actually characteristic of Badarou's style, so it's safe to assume he played the clav line himself. Ditto for the occasional lead synth sounds. Lindup played the Rhodes and the polysynth sounds.

Also, the same (or at least very similar) clav sound also appears in their song "Lessons In Love" (and also in their song "To Be With You Again"), both from their 1987 Running In The Family album.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by iProg » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:42 am

It's a FM clav sound played on the DX-7 via the TX-816 rack. No P5.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:36 pm

I wouldn't believe it until I was able to reproduce the sound. I think it might be possible to do this on DX/TX but you need to reproduce the waveforms that are used to modulate (it's using poly-mod using 2 waveforms on 2 waveforms).

If you have Pro-53 or a Prophet 5 go to the ArpegKotoish preset which uses cross modulation.
Here is a recording without effects and it's pretty close especialy the attack phase:

Last edited by Lucien on Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Lucien » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:49 pm

elsongs wrote:...Also, the same (or at least very similar) clav sound also appears in their song "Lessons In Love" (and also in their song "To Be With You Again"), both from their 1987 Running In The Family album.
I checked clavi sound on Lessons in love and that's DX7 but it sounds different. It doesn't have the metallic characteristics. The clavi sound on "To be with you again" sounds layered and more like a harpsichord.

Check the live Wembley concert: check the TX816 lights: they don't light up when sequence is playing for something about you. They do light up later in the song after the bridge. So sound had to come from emulator (since he used dx7/ppg/prophet 5 for other sounds). So why go all the trouble and not use the TX816?

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by bigman2005 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:29 pm

Are we talking about the 12" version, or the single version that was played on the radio?

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by bigman2005 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:11 pm

From the Level 42 digest website, the following synths were used for the World Machine album where "Something About You" came from.

WM

Prophet 5 (Front Top)
Rhodes (Front Bottom)
Wave 2.2 (Side Top)
DX7 (Side Middle)
Emulator II (Side Bottom)

This is both live and studio.

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Micke » Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:17 am

If I'm not mistaken Wally Badarou also used his Synclavier on "World Machine".
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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Re: Level 42 Something about you Clavi sound?

Post by Micke » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:29 pm

Update:

The Clavinet on "Something About You" was a DX-7 played by Wally Badarou. He used the Synclavier for portamento counter-melodies and bells.
"The (Yamaha) CS-80 is a step ahead in keyboard control, and a generation behind in digital control" -- Dan Wyman, Jan 1979

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