Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

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meatballfulton
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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:27 pm

I used an MSQ-100 for a while, imagine editing one event at a time, ah those were the days :ugeek:

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A lot of early MIDI sequencers (like the MSQ) had only one or two tracks but each track could drive all 16 MIDI channels, a concept still used in SMF type 0 format.

When I got Master Tracks Pro running on an Atari ST, I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Piano roll, cut and paste, draw in CCs...amazingly, things haven't changed much in 20 years.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by cgren72 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:51 pm

lol what were the "goodies"
that does look very similar to today's daw sequencers. it almost looks like its a new program with a "retro" layout and appearance.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by nathanscribe » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:07 pm

Ah, the ST graced many a studio in its day. The PC wasn't as common back in the 80s as it is now, and home users would typically have had an 8-bit micro instead, and later a 16-bit like the ST. MIDI sequencing on 8-bit was a bit hit and miss.

If you did have an IBM-compatible, there was always Voyetra SPG:



I've had this working on an AMD 450 with 512MB of RAM (which I keep for DOS duties), and a home-made MIDI interface plugged into the gameport... fun times.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:37 am

read up on DIN sync also here: http://folk.uio.no/hanst/Manchester/ChicagoHouse.htm

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In the production of the early tracks of Chicago house MIDI was not fully utilized. The TR-808 and the TB-303 did not have MIDI. But Roland had a discrete system for synchronization called DIN-sync. The first two Roland MIDI-sequencers Roland MSQ 700 and 100 could run both MIDI and DIN-sync simultaneously. So using these sequencers one could synchronize the TR-808 and the TB-303 with samplers, like the Ensoniq Mirage and synthesizers triggered from a MIDI-sequencer.

And when external MIDI-sequencers and samplers were being used both synth parts and vocal parts could be programmed. In this excerpt from Steve Hurley's "Jack Your Body" the vocal part is programmed in this manner.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by Audity » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:34 am

Well before MIDI, all of the sequencers were CV/Gate, some of which could be synced or locked together using very rudimentary clocking methods.

Most of the sequenced material was likely multi-tracked in the same pass as well, since syncing things like start/stop messages between sequencers and recording devices in those days would have been excruciatingly difficult if not impossible.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by Arpnutt » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:42 am

A big thing after MIDI came out was stacking synths together for a huge sound. I remember MIDIing my OB-8 with a Mirage, DX-7 and a CZ-101 for just one sound. That was a big deal back then.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by gcoudert » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:54 pm

In the late 80s, I used to sequence stuff on my Atari 1040 running Cubase. We would record an FSK sync track on track 16 of the multitrack Fostex recorder from a Roland TR-707 drum machine and play that back to control the sequencer via the TR-707. We would then record every line track by track for easier individual processing and mixing.
At some point, I used to trigger the arpeggiator on my Roland Juno-60 with the rim shot output of the Korg DDM-110 drum machine. Later on, simple MIDI sequences could be programmed by assigning MIDI notes to unused instruments on the Roland TR-505. I once used the JX-3P's sequencer for the intro to a song before we came on stage. It was started with a hidden DP2 pedal.
Before that, I played everything by hand or used the arpeggiator on the Juno-60. I couldn't afford a sequencer then.
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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by gcoudert » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:59 pm

Arpnutt wrote:A big thing after MIDI came out was stacking synths together for a huge sound. I remember MIDIing my OB-8 with a Mirage, DX-7 and a CZ-101 for just one sound. That was a big deal back then.
Yes, I occasionally did that too (DX7 and JX-8P). I miss the 80s...
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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by mharris80 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:37 pm

meatballfulton wrote: Piano roll, cut and paste, draw in CCs...amazingly, things haven't changed much in 20 years.
This. My go-to sequencer is Seq24. Basic as can be and gets the job done (for me, anyway) better than anything else I've tried.
http://www.filter24.org/seq24/

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by Steve Jones » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:30 am

As much as syncing to tape via SMTPE was tricky, I used to have an absolute ball locking up machines in the studio. We used to have wires running everywhere and it was sometimes a lottery as to whether everything would sync when we hit play. Best times of my life. I find working with DAW's so boring that I gave up engineering a couple of years ago. I still love syncing gear together with MIDI and clock pulses.
Synthesizer service tech since 1982.
Synth parts and service, Sydney Australia.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by analogsynthmuseum » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:54 pm

As everybody know, in the 80s there was no computer software like daw logic, ableton cubase, so the producers used some hardware computers like ROLAND mc8 mc4 msq700 mc500 dsx , i could control my vintage synths with My Logic pro X but the must is to control them with a vintage sequencer like msq700 & MC-500 , i have a big pleasure to control my machines with another machine !!!!

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Last edited by analogsynthmuseum on Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:13 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:24 am

You're three years late to the party old chap.

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Re: Drum Machines and Synths in 80's music production

Post by KBD_TRACKER » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:36 pm

TR 626. Issued in 1987 with full MIDI implementation.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov98/a ... dtr626.htm

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