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PostPosted: 2014-03-19, 21:44:10 

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Hi guys. Just wanted to tell this story. It seems there is a new wave of 80's synth pop inspired music coming along, such as Lazerhawk and Com Truise. I quite like it. So, inspired by these, I made a song. I got feedback from two places: the first was a soundcloud comment, which you can see for yourself ("I could totally see this song in one of those old amiga games :)"), and the other was from some friends I played it for IRL. It was something along the lines of "Reminds me of old synth music" or something like that.

Later, I was listening to Lazerhawk, and I realized why I got those two comments - I never added reverb to any of the MIDI tracks in the song. Then I realized that reverb and other post-processing sound filters separate retro sound from a more immersed modern sound. And that is because old sound synths, such as the Yamaha FM chips and the other retro sound chips, don't have reverb or echo or anyhting. Some songs could simulate echo by doubling the notes, playing one note on one channel, then a few ms later, the same note on another channel, so it sounds like there's an echo. That would be good for a bit of immersion, but the sound would still be metallic because there's no lowpass filter cutoff.

So my conclusions are - if you want to get a retro sound, avoid reverb and other effects, just use plain FM synthesis or even square wave, and if you want to get a full, immersed and expressive sound, start adding reverb, lowpass filters and other effects. Also, if you're designing some sort of sound generator, maybe a MIDI synth, be sure to include some effects in it, at least a lowpass.

What do you guys think?


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PostPosted: 2016-02-25, 19:18:00 
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yes, i enjoyed some parts of it (and yes, inspiration helps, and transpiration even more! ;) )

btw, as you mentioned Com Truise, i don’t know if you know the playlists from http://blog.iso50.com/playlist-archive/ (it’s where from i heard Com Truise for the first time, as i can remember - quite amazing stuff there actually)


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PostPosted: 2016-02-25, 19:44:41 

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I'm really not sure that the lack of reverb is the signature of authentic retro sound.

If you're talking about computer/console/arcade sound chips, you may have a point. But since it seems we're talking about vintage synths in general, you'll find truckloads of classic albums and soundtracks which definitely used various amounts of reverb -- either generated by the synth itself or as a post-process effect. Think about JMJ, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Jan Hammer...

Also, Mitch Murders says hi!

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