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Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:52 pm
by Rumbler101
Hi,

I was reading about the "French Touch" scene and in-particular the song "Music Sounds Better With You" by Stardust and I noticed the sequencing was done on the ASR-X:
Tell us about the making of Stardust Music Sounds Better With You.
"The track was built by sampling the 1981 Chaka Khan record Fate and was recorded in Thomas Bangalter's studio The E-mu SP 1200 was full withthe Chaka Khan sample, so the drums were from a Roland 909 drum machine and the bassline from a Korg Trident. There's also a Rhodes piano in there but you can barely hear it."

"Then we used the Ensoniq ASR-10 as a sort of computer and put the different sections of the track on different keys, triggering it to make the arrangement for the instrumental. Benjamin Diamond recorded the vocals which were compressed with an Alesis 3630, plus we used another 3630 compressor on the master buss of the entire track. And that was it."

Does anyone know what this may mean? Did they put the samples of the SP-1200 in the Ensoniq ASR-X? That wouldn't make much sense to me so I'm trying to figure out how they used the sequencer on this machine to make the song.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:03 pm
by Ashe37
split the loops up onto different keys? sorry, haven't seen an ASR in 20 years....

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:29 am
by Hyde
Sounds to me like they used the ASR10 as the computer/sequencer. They midi'd the sp1200,ASRx & Trident. It's pretty vague but, I'd guess the 909 & Rhodes were probably samples that were in the ASRX or ASR.
The air has 8 channels that can run Simultaneously so, It makes a pretty decent controller/sequencer.

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:24 pm
by Rasputin
I interpreted that as the ASR10 was being used to record major segments (from a mixer 2-bus) such as verse, chorus, etc. and then they just played the verse section 4x, chorus 8x, or whatever for the entire arrangement. Similar to the concept of flying in the choruses on a DAW.

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:23 pm
by Ashe37
like i said, split the loops up...

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 pm
by Rasputin
Ashe37 wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:23 pm
like i said, split the loops up...
Your answer was vague and non-committal, in my eyes, so I was giving a firmer explanation as to (what I'm assuming to be) the process.

"Split the loops up" could mean that they used each 909, Trident, Rhodes, and SP1200 section independently and then layered them. But I think they were using full sections of the song which already were layered, such as the 909, Trident, Rhodes, and SP1200 were all playing simultaneously and were inseparable within the ASR. The manipulation would have been simple repetition by chaining and not stacking/unstacking per layer.

Depending on the complexity of the song and the amount of RAM, it may not have been possible to record in each loop variation of each instrument individually, so instead they resorted to just a couple measures of the entire mix to juggle.

That's totally just my speculation based on the phrasing of the article, of course.

Seems a really silly approach though, considering a sequencer could have eliminated the need for doing that at all. The ASR could have been used as an FX processor, regardless, and they could have used the ASR sampling for a whole lot more. I suppose maybe that's a logical viewpoint and not an artistic viewpoint.

If that happens to be exactly what you meant too by "split the loops" then... forgive me for agreeing with you... I guess? :lol: :?

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:20 pm
by meatballfulton
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:33 pm
Seems a really silly approach though, considering a sequencer could have eliminated the need for doing that at all.
Except they couldn't sequence the Trident and Rhodes (no MIDI).

Sounds they were using the ASR-X more like Ableton Live...create a bunch of audio sections, put each into the ASR memory and assign to keys, them jam away until they came up with an arrangement they liked.

I did something similar with the sampler in a Motif ES years ago. The ES could store samples as long as 6 minutes 20 seconds which made it pretty easy to assemble a song from sections. At the time I wasn't using a computer and the ES was my sequencer.

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:27 pm
by Ashe37
I'd have to listen to the song. It could be measures of the song with all instruments, or it could be the drums on one split the bass on the next split the leads on the next etc. ASRs maxxed out at what, 16 mb?

...

Ok, i went and listened to it, it sounds like they had the guitar loop, and the drum loop, and the drum fill. When the guitar loop first plays they band passed it , then turned off the band pass when the drums came on. (you can easily set that up using the 'patch buttons' on an Ensoniq).

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:15 pm
by Rumbler101
So are you guys saying that they took all of the instruments they had and slammed it in as one sample on each note and then used the internal sequencer on the ASR-X to do the song?

Is that right?

EDIT: I mean really, they could have had multiple parts of the song assigned as one thing on one note, and trigger it and sequence it on the ASR-X, or they could have had one part of the song, such as the guitar on one note and then use the band-pass on the ASR-X to use the ASR-X as an effect.

I guess there could be lots of ways to do it really... but considering the memory limitations, what do you think is most likely?

One thing that sounded strange to me was the SP-1200 has a sound of its own, so by putting the sound of an SP-1200 into an ASR-X, wouldn't that sort of get the SP-1200 to lose its sound?

Re: Ensoniq ASR-X Sequencing Question

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:14 pm
by Ashe37
a sample of an SP-1200 still relatively captures the sound of an sp-1200.