Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

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Neer
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Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by Neer » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:44 am

Hello all. I'm a lap steel guitarist who loves the sound of analog synths more than anything. One of my favorite artists is Billy Preston and I'm wondering if anyone can tell me how Billy gets that oscillation sound that you can hear in the following tune, Space Race. I know he played an Arp Pro-Soloist. What I'm wondering is if this an effect which I might be able to duplicate with an effects pedal or whether that circuit can be built into a pedal?

Here is the video link--you can hear the effect, which is a rapid oscillation, almost like a vibrato, really clearly at 1:50 and it occurs several times throughout. My thoughts are that I'd build the circuit, put it in a box and use a CV pedal to control it.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by Zamise » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:55 am

No vid linked??? Is it this one?



I'd say you need a keyboard to play that, it sounds like a pretty dry square oscillator. It may be saw but def not a sine oscillator. None or little effects put on it, there is some portamento on it so it bends between notes but not too much. Could be a little pitch wheel or knob action with vibrato but not a major characteristic it sounds like to me. If you are looking for just a similar vibrato effect to ad to your guitar playing then I'd say it probably is possible with an effect pedal, just need one that has an LFO to modulate volume/amp, bonus if it can modulate an included filter as well.

I could be totally off base though, sure someone here will correct me if so, whatever it is it does have a pretty ARPy sound to it.
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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by Neer » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:18 pm

I'm terribly sorry for not providing the link. Yes, that is the tune. That is a pretty standard fare for Billy. I was figuring that it was an LFO, I just wasn't sure. I was trying to remember from my days of building PAIA synth kits. I've got all the other bases covered in terms of filtering, it's just that I would like to have a device, like an LFO, to give me that sound and enable me to control it with an expression pedal.

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by LWG » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:56 pm

Hello,

One of the touch sensor effects on the Pro-Soloist was an lfo
being applied to the lowpass filter at about 35Hz.


Regards,

-L

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:50 am

Neer wrote:I'm terribly sorry for not providing the link. Yes, that is the tune. That is a pretty standard fare for Billy. I was figuring that it was an LFO, I just wasn't sure. I was trying to remember from my days of building PAIA synth kits. I've got all the other bases covered in terms of filtering, it's just that I would like to have a device, like an LFO, to give me that sound and enable me to control it with an expression pedal.
Are you trying to get that effect on lap steel? You can get that effect with a tremolo pedal that offers a really fast rate. The only ones that have an expression pedal that come to mind are the gig-FX and the EHX Holy Stain. (Not sure if those get as fast as the LFO in that clip though.) But here's a project trem that you could tweak for use with expression pedal: http://fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com/tremulus.php

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by Neer » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:51 am

Thanks for your reply. I slowed down an mp3 of the track with Transcribe and listened to the sound. One thing I noticed is that the original wave stayed at the same volume and the oscillation happens on top of it. It's an upper mid frequency that is oscillating. I don't think that tremolo is the answer; however, slowing it down and really listening to it has got me thinking in the right direction. Whatever I use will have to have a mix pot on it to allow the dry signal through, as well.

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by nvining » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:58 am

Yeah, that's the Pro Soloist alright. It's very distinctive - damn, do I regret selling mine. Most of the joy comes from the touch sensor on that thing, which is incredibly expressive (when it works.)

You can hear the same thing over a lot of Bernie Worrell's work for Parliament-Funkadelic. Once you know what to listen to, it's drizzled all over it. Most people just think it's a Moog, but noooo...

EDIT: To try to lend something useful to the discussion: the Wikipedia entry for the Pro Soloist notes that the filter is "24db plus resonators." The filter has always had a certain thin, reedy magic - perhaps the mysterious resonators are the culprit?
"We have to remember that Moogs, ARPs and all of the first synths had been created by raging madmen." - Jean-Michael Jarre

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by Neer » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:06 pm

I've surmised that the best way for me to get this effect is to pick up the Moogerfooger MF-102 Ring Mod (with LFO) and hook it up to my MF-101 (Low Pass Env. Filter). I can use the LFO Out from the Ring Mod to trigger the filter. Seems like the most reasonable way to do it.

Thanks all for chiming in! I will probably stick around here--much of what I am trying to accomplish with the lap steel is based on my love of the synth (Jan Hammer, George Duke, Preston, Barry Miles, etc.).

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Re: Can someone help me identify this Billy Preston sound?

Post by LWG » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:47 am

nvining wrote:You can hear the same thing over a lot of Bernie Worrell's work for Parliament-Funkadelic. Once you know what to listen to, it's drizzled all over it. Most people just think it's a Moog, but noooo...
Hello,

Bernie Worrell is well-known for his Minimoog playing, but his work on the Pro-Soloist goes largely unacknowledged.
The PS is all over Parliament/Funkadelic albums, as he used the Mini and PS in the same rig.

Funkadelic - "Adolescent Funk" (1976)





Parliament - "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication" (1975)





He still uses both Mini and PS.

Bernie Worrell Orchestra - "Burnin Down The House" (LIVE)( 2011)




EDIT: To try to lend something useful to the discussion: the Wikipedia entry for the Pro Soloist notes that the filter is "24db plus resonators." The filter has always had a certain thin, reedy magic - perhaps the mysterious resonators are the culprit?
The PS's main filter was ARP's version of Moog's -24db/oct ladder design. The sound of the Pro Soloist was based
on a bunch of combined routing combinations of fixed formant filters (which defined the harmonic content of the
presets) with the main ladder filter.


Regards,


-L

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