That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

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That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by bendragon » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:35 pm

80s cheesy sounds are just that, cheesy - but that HUGE digi-brass sound you hear in loads of mid-80s songs always puts a smile on my face; though I have never been able to figure out what on earth it is. I'm leaning towards a DX7 with lots of processing (mostly chorus and 'verb, by the sounds of it) since a lot of tracks from around that time were smothered in the DX7 like so much butter on toast.

I search for 80s brass and it always comes up with early 80s analogue poly-brass - not what I'm looking for. Maybe someone here can help shed some light on this sound's origins?

Example of what I'm talking about:

(Two slices from Crush on You by The Jets)

Any ideas? :)
Thanks!

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by ApolloBoy » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:32 pm

Sounds sampled to me.
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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by bendragon » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:40 am

ApolloBoy wrote:Sounds sampled to me.
Awesome! Got any idea what sample? That's kinda what I want to know...

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by Alex E » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:49 am

I know The Jets used an Emulator II, so it's possible that's where it originated from. You can actually see one in the video for Crush on You. They also used an Oberheim OB8 (also in the video I think), which could also very well be the source for that sound. People used the OBXa/OB8 quite a bit for that 80's classic stabby brass sound you're talking about.
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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by bendragon » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:19 am

Alex E wrote:I know The Jets used an Emulator II, so it's possible that's where it originated from. You can actually see one in the video for Crush on You. They also used an Oberheim OB8 (also in the video I think), which could also very well be the source for that sound. People used the OBXa/OB8 quite a bit for that 80's classic stabby brass sound you're talking about.
I'll see if I can find a collection of Emulator II samples and see what I can make of it. Failing that, I'll give it a stab (no pun intended) with my Blofeld. Lots of PWM is in order me thinks.

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by adamstan » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:02 am

It sounds very similar to the brass sample from Yamaha RX5, which was supposedly taken from DX7.
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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by elmosexwhistle » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:57 pm

i dunno it sounds a little too "good" to be one of those awful 80's sampled brass patches.

I'm gonna guess it was the oberheim, you could get this sound with a VA or an 80's analogue/digital hybrid too, my matrix 6 has a very similar patch :) anyhow, the good news is that you could get that sound on alot of instruments! Definately not DX7 though :)

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by bendragon » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:02 pm

elmosexwhistle wrote:i dunno it sounds a little too "good" to be one of those awful 80's sampled brass patches.

I'm gonna guess it was the oberheim, you could get this sound with a VA or an 80's analogue/digital hybrid too, my matrix 6 has a very similar patch :) anyhow, the good news is that you could get that sound on alot of instruments! Definately not DX7 though :)
My safest bet would probably be my blofeld. I might give it a whirl with my esq1 as well.

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by StepLogik » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:23 pm

That sounds heavily layered to me. There is definitely a sample or two layered in, particularly for the transient. I highly doubt it was purely synthesized.



In the video you can see the Emulator and OB-8 fairly clearly. Also in the A-frame is a DX-7 (or some DX model) in the middle tier. Not sure what the top synth is, possibly a Korg Poly-61?

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by Bitexion » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:01 pm

Gear in videos is often just for show also. I've seen guys rock out chords on SH-101 as a keytar.

Also, top of the pops in England is only playback, so they'd just pile as much gear as possible into the studio and pretend to play it. Multiple CS-80's for a mid-80's pop band? Naaah don't think so. But it looks cool on TV :)
A common band joke was to "play" eachother's instruments on TOTP because everyone knew it was playback anyway.

Could be sampled, could be a very bright synth brass pad with loads of reverb.

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by Micke » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:28 pm

Bitexion wrote:Gear in videos is often just for show also. I've seen guys rock out chords on SH-101 as a keytar.
.
Right, but in this case it does seem like they used the same gear live as in the official video of this song (aside from the P5):


The bright brassy sound appears to be absent in this live version from 1985 though.
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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by elmosexwhistle » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:41 pm

i like these guessing games :)

The transient could indeed be sampled, however, it might just be a quick pitch envelope, anyhow, that sound shouldn't be too hard to do either way :)

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by bendragon » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:05 pm

Was watching some nostalgia critic, the saved by the bell episode, and you know what I found? A music video made by the cast that has a brass sound that is very close to the Digi brass used by The Jets and similar mid 80s songs. Some bigger chords and/or a chorus is all it needs, I think, to polish it all off.


Bitexion wrote:Gear in videos is often just for show also. I've seen guys rock out chords on SH-101 as a keytar.

Also, top of the pops in England is only playback, so they'd just pile as much gear as possible into the studio and pretend to play it. Multiple CS-80's for a mid-80's pop band? Naaah don't think so. But it looks cool on TV :)
A common band joke was to "play" eachother's instruments on TOTP because everyone knew it was playback anyway.

Could be sampled, could be a very bright synth brass pad with loads of reverb.
The best one was the TOTP video for Don't Go by Yazoo. Vince playing the bass and lead on a Pro One with only one wire, the power cable, running off of it. :lol:
At least they actually had the synth he used to make the Yazoo tracks on stage, that's something, right? :b

The thing that annoys me the most in 80s vids is the bass and the drums. Drums are clearly some kind of machine and the bass is a DX7. It makes it even worse when they aren't processed that much (or at all) and the Linn/DMX/DX7 combo sticks out like a sore thumb.
StepLogik wrote:That sounds heavily layered to me. There is definitely a sample or two layered in, particularly for the transient. I highly doubt it was purely synthesized.



In the video you can see the Emulator and OB-8 fairly clearly. Also in the A-frame is a DX-7 (or some DX model) in the middle tier. Not sure what the top synth is, possibly a Korg Poly-61?
Definitely a Poly-61. I have one and those silver side panels stick out like a sore thumb. :D
I'm starting to lean towards sample + synth as well. Its too good to be an 80s brass sample, but that brass sound is too thick and "real" (meant as loosely as possible) to be a pure 80s synth.

Maybe a Brass Section patch or some kind of horn patch with a PWM pad layered on top?
elmosexwhistle wrote:i like these guessing games :)

The transient could indeed be sampled, however, it might just be a quick pitch envelope, anyhow, that sound shouldn't be too hard to do either way :)
Pitch envelopes are common in brass patches. I think that is the most likely if its not going to be a sample.

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by StepLogik » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:15 pm

Micke wrote:
Bitexion wrote:Gear in videos is often just for show also. I've seen guys rock out chords on SH-101 as a keytar.
.
Right, but in this case it does seem like they used the same gear live as in the official video of this song (aside from the P5):


The bright brassy sound appears to be absent in this live version from 1985 though.
Oh yeah, I generally don't consider a music video the definitive reference but Micke has made my case for why I referenced it :D

Wow @ that guy playing that sequenced line live. He bungles the first bar but his playing situation doesn't exactly seem optimal with the drummer all up in his top two octaves on the P5 :lol:

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Re: That 80s Digi-Brass. DX7? Sample? Analogue?

Post by Bitexion » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:35 pm

Iron Maiden did a similar thing on TOTP in 1988, they all switched instruments and "played" with no chords hanging out of the guitars and microphone.

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