You are here

Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kolakube » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:32 pm

Hi,

Anyone know what synth and fx made the haunting synth sound from the end of the tune that comes in at 3:53?

Guessing a good deal of a quality reverb but what synth? Prophet 5?

Anyone know how to recreate it? IE synth settings I can apply to my own kit.

I think this is such a fantastic piece of music.
User avatar
Kolakube
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Geordieland

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:53 pm

Easiest sound on the planet

There are two sounds actually there from what I can hear, one is the mono legato lead and beneath that is a jupiter like string chord to accompany it and only comes in a few times very quietly beneath the main lead.

The main lead is a simple mono lead, one oscillator, a saw wave with vibrato from a LFO and the filter fairly open with a low'ish resonance setting, a soft attack and long'ish release, a big load of portamento and reverb.

String sound sounds like a JP-4 or Solina String Machine...either way key to that is a quality chorus/ensemble effect which Logic all has, use the ESE synth, it's a preset on there called soft solina.
If not square wave with PWM, soft filter, maybe mix it up a little with two osc's if you are so inclined, long attack and mid to long release
vinyl_junkie
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1593
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kolakube » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:07 pm

Easiest sound on the planet


Really?

The main lead is a simple mono lead, one oscillator, a saw wave with vibrato from a LFO and the filter fairly open with a low'ish resonance setting, a soft attack and long'ish release, a big load of portamento and reverb.


Tried what you said and got no where near the sound I want.

Its actually been rumoured to have been a guitar triggering a guitar effect synth peddle thingy but im not so sure.

I havent got Logic mate. Never bothered eventually. Decided to get to know Live inside out.

I agree it sounds very J4. I hadn't considered the J4. I have to get one of them when I win the Lotto. Perhaps what charms me which the sound is the JP4s (or whatever synths) character and not so much how it was made.
User avatar
Kolakube
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Geordieland

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:29 pm

There was a JP4 video on the net and the strings sounded beautiful but at a guess a lot of VA's could mimic it very well if you program them.

I'll try and re-create that sound later on tonight and let you know the settings, I'm in 80's mood hahaha

Check out my latest synth...I call it the poor man's 101 HAHAHAH

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABMUTCT1MOI
vinyl_junkie
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1593
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kolakube » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:24 pm

I duno mate. as you know i went totally VSTi only a few months ago.

I think VSTs are great when used as an extremely editable digital synth. But one thing they cannot do IMO is analogue. There is something about analogue that VAs and VSTs just cant nail. Id guess thats the same for saturation plugs and good valve comps etc.

I think the sound I have pointed out in this thread highlights that.

I remember the Basstation well mate. First easy t program synth is yonks back in the mid 90s. Was a revolution.
User avatar
Kolakube
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Geordieland

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:53 pm

I got the saw lead made on my bass station in a few about 2 minutes, i'll record something when I get time and let you hear it.
The VST of it also sounds the same imo as I also tried it but I like stuff to tweek, the BS keyboard was the first synth that I actually paid for with my own money in 2003 saying that cos my DX-100 was free hahah
vinyl_junkie
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1593
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Richie Royale » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:49 pm

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashes_to_Ashes_(David_Bowie_song)

Wiki says a Roland GR500 was used on the track and doesn't mention any other synths.
User avatar
Richie Royale
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4600
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, England.

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby vinyl_junkie » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:59 pm

Here u go mate, couldn't be arsed uploading it to youtube but here are the sounds give or take some

http://www.zshare.net/video/774392838bfe0fd3/

Did it real quick so no pointing out the crap playing hahah but I should of been out the door here ages ago..although synth is more fun than pub :crazy:
vinyl_junkie
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1593
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Kent, UK

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kolakube » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:56 pm

Hi mate,

I think you got close but there is something about the original that sounds so much better. I cant put my finger on it. The character of the original sound blows me away.

Also I cant hear the strings you play on your poly synth on the original at all. Are you sure there even on there?

All round good effort though.
User avatar
Kolakube
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Geordieland

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby zenguitar » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:06 am

Not bothered what Wiki says, but Ritchie has rung some bells. I recall reading in the dim and distant past that Robert Fripp used the GR for the synth parts. But I am getting old and senile.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 10603
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Devon
The more I understand Music, the less good I get at it.

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kolakube » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:07 am

Ritchie and Zen (Sorry rich missed your reply)

Yeah I heard the guitar syth roumer. I acctually mentioned it in one of my earlier posts.

Its actually been rumoured to have been a guitar triggering a guitar effect synth peddle thingy but im not so sure.


Thing is there are no decent videos or sound clips anywhere of the GR500 that I could find to cross reference. Seems to have vanished into obscurity which is a shame as I feel whatever the instrument is its one of the most expressive instruments ever.

I think expressive is a good word. Vinyl Junkie has got his bass stations as close as possible to the sound im after but like all my attempts on VSTs previously the programming is there but the sound lacks that dimension of emotion.
User avatar
Kolakube
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Geordieland

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:40 am

http://www.cedricwillems.com/gr500.htm He apparently has some audio clips; I've not checked them though.
User avatar
Richie Royale
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4600
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, England.

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kolakube » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:59 am

Thanks rich.

Still inconclusive after listening to the file.
User avatar
Kolakube
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1420
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Geordieland

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby Kwaidan » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:44 pm

There is Mellotron (in the background during the chorus and for the string parts) on Ashes To Ashes, sorta keeping in line with Space Oddity which Rick Wakeman played Mellotron on it.
User avatar
Kwaidan
Regular
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK

Re: Bowie - Ashes to Ashes - What synth?

Postby ramthelinefeed » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:03 am

It's a lovely synth bit at the end, although surely most decent monosynths will sound like that if played properly with a decent amount of tape echo, reverb, portamento and a sensitive filter setting?

Although a few years ago, I saw Bowie do it on Jools Holland, and the synth player did it with a horrible blash open-filter miniMoog patch (on some 'analogue modelling' synth) that sounded bloody naff.
ramthelinefeed
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2619
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK
A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen as you are tossed with!
 

Next