Synths used on Bar Kays songs

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Music Bird
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Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by Music Bird » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:50 pm

What synths were used on the Bar-Kay's songs in the 80's
I hear some HPF/BPF on some sounds. And they sure use some nice synth tones
Do It
She Talks To Me With Her Body
Trippin Out
Traffic Jammer
Propositions
Freaky Behavior
Anyone who can help identify synths would be a big help.
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Re: Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by Music Bird » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:24 am

I need some help identifying please. If anyone can help, it would be a plus. These tracks are all around from 1981-1982ish, so Oberheim could be a good guess to the HPF sounds because the OB-X/OB-Xa have high pass and band pass filters, right? And the synth sounds have that CEM sound to them, and some sound Minimoogish. Also, wasn't Memorymoog popular with the funk crowd too? I especially want to find out the synth sounds on Do It, especially the organ like synth and high pass quack bass clav sound.
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Re: Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by Z » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:12 am

Music Bird wrote:I need some help identifying please. If anyone can help, it would be a plus. These tracks are all around from 1981-1982ish, so Oberheim could be a good guess to the HPF sounds because the OB-X/OB-Xa have high pass and band pass filters, right? And the synth sounds have that CEM sound to them, and some sound Minimoogish. Also, wasn't Memorymoog popular with the funk crowd too? I especially want to find out the synth sounds on Do It, especially the organ like synth and high pass quack bass clav sound.
OB-X & OB-XA do not have High Pass or Band Pass filters. They only have 12dB/oct Low Pass filter. Only polysynth I can think of from that era that has multi-mode filter would be Elka Synthex, but not many were made and not common in the US.
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Re: Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by Music Bird » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:46 pm

Also could be MS-20 or one of the pre 101 SH series. Early in the 80's, multitracked monosynths were used. I think most sounds are Minimoog or Prophet 5 (the HPF sounds are all 70's sounding, so I was actually going to say OB 2vce/4vce/8vce or OB-1). Those brassy hyper LFO stabs are all OB/Prophet sounding, but could also be say for instance Juno 60 or Jupiter 8. The JP-8 also had a variety of filters and Juno series has HPF too, so could be those.
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Re: Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by MeneerJansen » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:12 pm

I like The early Bar Kays very much (Isaac Hayes etc.), but their 80's Disco stuff... Not so much I'm afraid. Anyway, I believe that they had a Minimoog. They must have had one because it was almost the only "usable" and "affordable" synth in the early seventies.I think they still used the Minimoog on the tracks you mentioned for the low bass like synth parts. But what that "George Clinton like" high pitched typical 80's synth is.... Sounds pretty cheap to me. Could it be one of those popular 80's ones like the DX7?

Their track "Holy Ghost" is a master piece. They used it in "Pump up the volume".


(P.S. For the tracks you posted they obviously ditched their (masterful) drummer and percussionist for something like an 808.)
Name one good song without a Minimoog.

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Re: Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by mmp » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:42 pm

There's a couple of 80's videos where it looks like one player with two MiniMoogs and another with a Prophet 5 & Rhodes.
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Re: Synths used on Bar Kays songs

Post by logix » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:01 am

MeneerJansen wrote:Their track "Holy Ghost" is a master piece. They used it in "Pump up the volume"
I agree :D
That awesome "bass drone" sound which I'm guessing is a Minimoog and is clearly heard of "Pump up the volume" by MARRS as you already mentioned is really funky!
I had a Minimoog a while back, but although an awesome synth I sold it and bought a Studio Electronics SE-1 which is very similar (I compared them side by side before deciding to sell the Minimoog) but has the added advantage of patch memories, properly working MIDI (I never got to properly MIDI-interface my Minimoog -keyboard tracking was never successful) and of course a more compact rack along with other features the original never had. Mine's modified for a faster attack rate (a common complaint against the SE-1) and an added external filter input jack (just as with the Minimoog).

The first track I heard from the Bar Kays was "Freakshow on the dance floor" (from the "Breakdance" (1984) movie):
"Freakshow on the dance floor" -The Bar Kays. There's also an extended version which has some cool sound effects.

Sounds like a Linndrum, a vocoder of some kind (the Roland SVC-350 was very popular among the 80's "electro" funk crowd as far as I know) but I can only take a guess at the synths: Prophet 5, Oberheim OB-X/OB-Xa were probably the most common funky sounding 80s polysynths at the time, as has already been suggested here. But if someone has more specific info, please chime in (the video above shows a Prophet-5 and Moog MemoryMoog -I have neither, so I can't compare, but could those have been used?)

I've heard a version without the drum machine, vocoder and with a different synth arrangement, so it might actually have been released earlier (sounds like a late-70s song) and redone in 1984 but I really can't say as a quick Youtube search only resulted in the '84 version.... In any case I prefer the one with the drum machine ;)

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