Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

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AnalogKid
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Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by AnalogKid » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:44 pm

I'm fairly certain that the synth used to create the clanky bass sound in this early 80s Ultravox song was the PPG Wave 2. Ultravox were early users of this synth. The bass kicks in at 0:19:



I have two questions:

1) Was the PPG used to create this bass sound (I can't find anything online indicating which synth was used)?
2) If so, can any of the PPGs later descendants (Waldorf Q, Blofeld, Sledge, etc.) create bass sounds like this?

I like the clanky bass sound, and I'd like to know how to best recreate it or something close to it (without having to pay big bucks for a vintage PPG Wave 2 to do it).

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:45 pm

Answer 1): I can´t tell.

Answer 2): No, not really. They tend to be a lot more polite and do not have that much of that sonic squawk of the early Waves.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by philip » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:40 am

1) I don't hear anything special in that bass sound, so who cares.
2) Yes, I'm absolutely sure, any of those synths could produce that bass sound, but you shouldn't really do that, cause that bass-is s**t.
Last edited by philip on Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by Jabberwalky » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:52 am

Probably.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:19 pm

Each time I hear Midge Ure talk, he makes me want to leap at a bottle of Bruichladdich or Ardbeg.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by Micke » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:20 pm

Afaik that bass was played on a PPG wave 2.2.
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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by AnalogKid » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:39 pm

philip wrote:1) I don't hear anything special in that bass sound, so who cares.
2) Yes, I'm absolutely sure, any of those synths could produce that bass sound, but you shouldn't really do that, cause that bass-is s**t.
Jabberwalky, thanks for the clip.

Hey Philip, didn't your mom teach you to respect the opinions of others? :P

Usually, what one considers to be good or bad sounding is very subjective. There are untold numbers of songs that use synth bass sounds which often sound very similar to one another. I thought that this particular Ultravox song made use of a synth bass sound that was a bit out of the ordinary, and I was curious as to how such a bass sound was created and if it could be closely approximated using modern synths.

I'd be interested in hearing some examples of what others of you out there may consider to be interesting and unusual synth bass sounds used in a song.




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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by philip » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:54 pm

AnalogKid wrote:
philip wrote:1) I don't hear anything special in that bass sound, so who cares.
2) Yes, I'm absolutely sure, any of those synths could produce that bass sound, but you shouldn't really do that, cause that bass-is s**t.
Jabberwalky, thanks for the clip.
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Hey Philip, didn't your mom teach you to respect the opinions of others? :P
Mom always tought me to be straight and say what I think. And btw, the fact that I don't like that bass doesn't mean I don't respect your opinion. I just don't think you should dig that deep, bass it's more EQing in the end. If you like that tone, you can make it with almost every f**k synth you named.

all the best

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by AnalogKid » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:28 pm

philip wrote: Mom always tought me to be straight and say what I think. And btw, the fact that I don't like that bass doesn't mean I don't respect your opinion. I just don't think you should dig that deep, bass it's more EQing in the end. If you like that tone, you can make it with almost every f**k synth you named. all the best
Point taken. However, calling a synth bass sound that one likes "sh*t" that is not worthy of trying to recreate would likely be considered by most to be dissing one's opinion.

Over the last few days, I have listened to numerous Blofeld demos. I think that ppg_wavecomputer is correct in his/her post above. I think that, all by itself, the Blofeld is not capable of recreating that type of bass sound regardless of how it is EQd.

I'd still be interested in hearing what others consider to be interesting, unusual synth bass sounds used in songs. As I mentioned in a previous post, to me, most of the synth bass sounds out there often sound the same (and repeated sameness usually equates with boring and uninteresting).

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:53 pm

AnalogKid wrote:[...] I think that ppg_wavecomputer is correct in his/her post above. [...]
Thanks.

I´ve just double-checked that I am male :).

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by synthroom » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:30 am

Thanks for sharing that! ;^}
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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:14 am

AnalogKid wrote:
Over the last few days, I have listened to numerous Blofeld demos. I think that ppg_wavecomputer is correct in his/her post above. I think that, all by itself, the Blofeld is not capable of recreating that type of bass sound regardless of how it is EQd.
And I disagree, i don't see why a Blofeld couldn't make that bass sound.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by madtheory » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:42 am

Hey, what's that digital shizzle on the Minimoog in the Midge Ure clip? I think I saw a frequency counter by the envelope, but there's an LCD on the far left, what's that?

Edit: Wikipedia mentions that Chris Cross modified it, there's a simple sequencer in there apparently.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:45 pm

Ashe37 wrote:And I disagree, i don't see why a Blofeld couldn't make that bass sound.
Perhaps. However, in the many Blofeld demos that I listened to, the bass always sounded thin and digital, with no beefiness to it. As ppg_wavecomputer put it in his post above, the sound is more "polite." If someone out there has a Blofeld, I'd like to hear them attempt to recreate that PPG bass sound with just a Blofeld.

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Re: Ultravox Bass Synth and Its Descendants

Post by vicd » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:47 pm

AnalogKid wrote: Perhaps. However, in the many Blofeld demos that I listened to, the bass always sounded thin and digital, with no beefiness to it. As ppg_wavecomputer put it in his post above, the sound is more "polite." If someone out there has a Blofeld, I'd like to hear them attempt to recreate that PPG bass sound with just a Blofeld.
Not to say I'm willing to take the challenge, just some points:
- as to "politeness/no squawk": you have a global overdrive in the effects section, and also separate drive controls on each filter - with some of the drive curves giving results similar to bitcrushers/decimators;
- (quickcheat) with the SL expansion, you just load a best-fitting sample and do some minor fine-tuning. Not fair, I know :P .

To me, the bassline sounded rather "basic FM-ish" than "purely PPG-ish" (no matter how it was actually created). Blofeld is able of doing some FM, but not to a great extent...

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