100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
Naive Teen Idol
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:14 am
Gear: Roland Jupiter 6, Studio Electronics MIDIMini, DSI Evolver, Linn LM-2 Linndrum, Roland TR-77, Roland GR-300, Novation Remote SL 25

100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by Naive Teen Idol » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:40 pm

98% of threads on this board are dedicated to making tracks have "warmth" and sound "more analog." And three-quarters of the responses to those threads is "You should buy..." As a result, you have threads like this one where the user doesn't really know what to ask and the mods don't want to waste time answering.

That said, having searched the forum as tallowwaters suggests, there's obviously a need -- while many of us on this board admire vintage music made with vintage synths, analog hardware is expensive leaving users to increasingly operate in the digital realm using computers by necessity.

So, in these times of shrinking revenues and budgets, rather than suggesting users buy X piece of gear for their studio, let's share tips for how we can use the ones we already own a little more effectively. Let's offer up suggestions to use common computer music tools and effects -- EQ's, phasers, etc. -- in ways to make our newest music sound a little older.

Naive Teen Idol
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:14 am
Gear: Roland Jupiter 6, Studio Electronics MIDIMini, DSI Evolver, Linn LM-2 Linndrum, Roland TR-77, Roland GR-300, Novation Remote SL 25

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by Naive Teen Idol » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:44 pm

And I'll start things off with the first suggestion:

1. Narrow the stereo field.
A lot of vintage synth records sound different because they deploy mono instruments and effects in the stereo field. Today, most digital reverbs and delays are stereo. So use a module/VST/etc. (in my case I use Ableton's "Utility" plug) to narrow the stereo field on my fx or mono-fy it entirely. Then, I pan the sounds where I want them. Voila, a less digital mix that also sounds a lot less muddy.

User avatar
tallowwaters
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4998
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 4:11 am
Gear: LC-MS/MS
Location: snake's belly in a wagon rut

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:30 am

My best advice is to quit worrying about bullshit marketing tags like warmth, fat, or whatever and make music. Any type of music that requires a particular instrument is a ripe piece of s**t needing to be blown out of the water. Rules in art are for people that not just need spoonfed answers, but are foolish enough to look for answers in the first place. Make as much music while you can whenever you can and quit worrying about technique, which you will learn as keep going. You live in a world of information overload and still keep asking the same f**k questions, so what is that telling you? Getting this s**t out of your mind and out in the air (doesn't always have to be documented/recorded, keep that in mind) is far more cathartic than leaning forward into the screen and f**k twiddling away until you forgot whatever muse you had to begin with...
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

GeneralBigbag
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 852
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: Grad school

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by GeneralBigbag » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:22 am

Learn how to use eq properly, and the 'digital' problem will go away.
virb.com/ookpikk

User avatar
divineaudio
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:32 pm
Gear: far too much.
Band: metria
Location: detroit
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by divineaudio » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:41 am

record with amps and microphones instead of line inputs. it doesn't get any more "analog" than a bunch of air moving around.

also - record your music, burn a master cd, and throw it in the closet for ten years. when you dig it out and listen, it will sound more "vintage". \:D/

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:54 am

In most of the gear pics I see people are running their Jupiter 8s and CS-80s and Andromedas through cheap Behringer mixers, so maybe that's why they sound so analogue and vintage. ;)

GeneralBigbag
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 852
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:16 pm
Location: Grad school

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by GeneralBigbag » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:02 am

Am I the only person in the world who only uses their Behringer to allow them to listen to multiple instruments at once, but has never recorded through one?
virb.com/ookpikk

User avatar
nathanscribe
VSE Review Contributor
VSE Review Contributor
Posts: 2889
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:03 pm
Location: The right side of the Pennines
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:36 pm

To inject some movement into a sterile-sounding patch, use tiny amounts of modulation. Real analogue oscs set to the same frequency will beat and phase, which can sound gorgeous - but it's not something present on at least the digital stuff I've tried. You can emulate it though with very subtle pitch modulation of, say , osc 2, with a slow sine/tri LFO. You might also add fractional amounts of randomness to pitch or cutoff in the same way - add enough to be obvious, then roll it back a notch or two so you can barely tell. There's a point where the modulation is just subtle enough to make a difference to the 'organic' feel of the sound.

I was playing with this idea last night on the Nord 2x, inspired by the hate thread. I started with a pretty bland and lifeless brassy lead, and ended with something much richer.

It's still not a real analogue though - and that's where Tallow speaks the truth - don't waste too much time trying to turn your PC into a Minimoog, your TX81Z into an Oberheim, your Casio RZ-1 into an 808. It isn't and never will be. Use what you have for what it is and does. Finance will impose compromises but we all have to live with that... and you can turn compromise into a strength, with imagination and effort.

ned-ryarson
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 899
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:51 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by ned-ryarson » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:05 pm

nathanscribe wrote:To inject some movement into a sterile-sounding patch, use tiny amounts of modulation. Real analogue oscs set to the same frequency will beat and phase, which can sound gorgeous - but it's not something present on at least the digital stuff I've tried. You can emulate it though with very subtle pitch modulation of, say , osc 2, with a slow sine/tri LFO. You might also add fractional amounts of randomness to pitch or cutoff in the same way - add enough to be obvious, then roll it back a notch or two so you can barely tell. There's a point where the modulation is just subtle enough to make a difference to the 'organic' feel of the sound.
yeah like that boards of canada slightly out of key or something sound.

tycho does it brilliantly too in 'adrift'

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu ... ID=3801572

must be real analogue and subtle enough pitch lfo on 1 or 2 oscs?

User avatar
novielo
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1221
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:37 pm
Gear: in order of appearence:
sh2000 s612 nord modular mpc1000 kp3 ms-something cp-251 gameboy s6000 and other crappy stuff
Band: one-man band
Location: by the river, st-jerome, quebec, canada, north america
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by novielo » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:34 pm

GeneralBigbag wrote:Am I the only person in the world who only uses their Behringer to allow them to listen to multiple instruments at once, but has never recorded through one?
i'm doing the same thing. i did have one of those alesis multimix usb and used it only for that purpose. i was recording without it one/two track at the time. i got a modest set-up, no live or big band recording. so it's basicaly what's the best i can get from it. i think jsr is also doing it with is duet.

as for warmth on my recording, i play "this record sound warm and vintage" backward. it works everytime ;-)
-Save yourself the time and have a conversation with a plastic chair. -RobotHeroes

Naive Teen Idol
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:14 am
Gear: Roland Jupiter 6, Studio Electronics MIDIMini, DSI Evolver, Linn LM-2 Linndrum, Roland TR-77, Roland GR-300, Novation Remote SL 25

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by Naive Teen Idol » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:50 pm

Do folks have any suggestions for reverbs and delays? I find that running delays through phasers go a long way toward gooping things up and making it all less crispy...

User avatar
nathanscribe
VSE Review Contributor
VSE Review Contributor
Posts: 2889
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:03 pm
Location: The right side of the Pennines
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:15 pm

I know the source is analogue, but I'm currently messing with a Rogue through the following chain: Biyang AD-7 delay, Boss CS-3 compressor, EHX Small Stone phaser, Boss RCE-10 chorus, Boss RDD-20 delay (with a slow LFO on the time). The Small Stone's great for swirliness.

User avatar
space6oy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5401
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:29 am
Gear: vimpat, citalopram & vitamin D.
Location: stuck in ohio.
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by space6oy » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:31 pm

GeneralBigbag wrote:Am I the only person in the world who only uses their Behringer to allow them to listen to multiple instruments at once, but has never recorded through one?
i have one i've just used for live shows. running a bunch of gear to whatever PA manned by whoever, might as well stick w/ the cheap solution to boil things down to two direct lines. i'd like to switch to one w/ built in reverb eventually, another sacrifice but i'll probably stick w/ another behringer.

i'd still like to land a roland M-24e to run through for recording. individual sends to keep things split but faders & mutes in front of me to cut things in & out on live takes... it'd be nice.

User avatar
Yoozer
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1390
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:31 pm

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by Yoozer » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:38 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:In most of the gear pics I see people are running their Jupiter 8s and CS-80s and Andromedas through cheap Behringer mixers, so maybe that's why they sound so analogue and vintage. ;)
Ugh. You'd almost kick these people.

Thousands of dollars for the best, fattest, most beautiful vintage modular known to man, and not a dime is spent on recording gear, or it is ignored for purity reasons (no computers in my studio, raaargh!).

It boggles the mind; even using the inputs of a very basic and cheap (non on-board) soundcard like an M-Audio 2496 or something would make it a zillion times better; after all, you're going to upload it somewhere anyway.

To add insult to injury, cellphone recordings of their rig on Youtube with the shittiest sound quality known to man, and of course there's going to be that git in the comments who says this is true fatness, screw everything else. What good is all that greatness if nobody can enjoy it?

Anyway, to offer actual advice: tube simulation to warm up the sound a bit may help (don't overdo it) and using the EQ to roll off high frequency content. Don't be afraid to attack that sound with your sonic tools; it's not like they refused to do this in the 70's either.

Keep the structure simple - 2 or 3 oscillators at most (none of that unison), and single filters. Not much in the way of exotic modulation.

Tycho's the greatest BoC-ish artist out there - but that's not something that sounds vintage.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

User avatar
divineaudio
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 301
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:32 pm
Gear: far too much.
Band: metria
Location: detroit
Contact:

Re: 100 Ways to Make Vintage Sounds on a Computer

Post by divineaudio » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:56 pm

nathanscribe wrote:I was playing with this idea last night on the Nord 2x, inspired by the hate thread. I started with a pretty bland and lifeless brassy lead, and ended with something much richer.
Naive Teen Idol wrote:Do folks have any suggestions for reverbs and delays? I find that running delays through phasers go a long way toward gooping things up and making it all less crispy...
i just did this last night with my nord and dx9.

started out playing a generic brassy patch on the nord, adjusted the pwm, osc balance and a little fm modulation to the patch until it devolved into a complex pad sound with the oscillators drifting in and out of sync. i added in some fm pads and ran both through a phase 90 and boss reverb pedal via an aux send on the mixer and found myself in a beautifully complex ambient drone netherworld. :D

although the sound still had a very digital quality to it, everything was thick and mucky, but still delicious, like oatmeal with brown sugar in it. stupid me forgetting to push record until the very end, but at least i got some of it. #-o

Post Reply