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Then and Now

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

Then and Now

Postby nickle15 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:21 pm

I've been learning a lot about synthesizers over the last year and have really been enjoying the education. Now it's more fun to see some older concerts where I can identify a lot of the boards in a rig. Got me to wondering...

If you saw a band in the early 80's using a Prophet of some sort, maybe a Moog, and a Roland Juno or similar - what modern keyboards would you substitute in their place now? In other words, what modern keyboards would be the equivalents of the boards found in the rigs of the early 80's? That may not make any sense but I thought it was a fun thing to think over...
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Re: Then and Now

Postby desmond » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:28 pm

nickle15 wrote:Now it's more fun to see some older concerts where I can identify a lot of the boards in a rig.

I feel like that was a big part of my youth! I reckon I can identify 95% of classic synths from just a quick shot of the side/end plate shape. That was pretty much all I did watching Top of the Pops for years... :crazy: :lol:

nickle15 wrote:If you saw a band in the early 80's using a Prophet of some sort, maybe a Moog, and a Roland Juno or similar - what modern keyboards would you substitute in their place now? In other words, what modern keyboards would be the equivalents of the boards found in the rigs of the early 80's? That may not make any sense but I thought it was a fun thing to think over...

Well there are usually modern versions of many of these things - Sequential still do Prophets, including the just re-released 5, there's all the Behringer stuff, Moog still do Minimoogs, Roland have the boutiques and the digital stuff that has emulations of their classic synths - plus of course you can use software plugins in rigs like Mainstage - in many ways it's never been easier or cheaper to "have" those sounds...
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Re: Then and Now

Postby nickle15 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:36 pm

Yeah that's all very true. I suppose it's not really an option to compare apples to apples with all the oranges that are out there now. It's kind of hard to envision a modern rig that doesn't have a laptop in it, or modules, etc. - even if they also continue to bring the Prophets, Moogs, etc. Different ballgame!
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Re: Then and Now

Postby The Elf » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:11 pm

For the larger gigs you'll still find me surrounded by Moogs and Mellotrons. Some of us still know the thrill of it!
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Re: Then and Now

Postby MOF » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:31 pm

I reckon I can identify 95% of classic synths from just a quick shot of the side/end plate shape. That was pretty much all I did watching Top of the Pops for years... :crazy: :lol:
I hope you didn’t buy any of them thinking “so that’s what they used on the record”, I’m pretty sure that gear was hired without any consultation with the artists, many a time I’ve heard grand pianos coming out of electric pianos etc. :lol:
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Re: Then and Now

Postby desmond » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:43 pm

MOF wrote:I hope you didn’t buy any of them thinking “so that’s what they used on the record”, I’m pretty sure that gear was hired without any consultation with the artists, many a time I’ve heard grand pianos coming out of electric pianos etc. :lol:

No, of course not. At age 13 I was savvy enough to spot people playing chords on Minimoogs, and call shenanigans... I know my synths, even then..! :lol:

It was mostly hired gear, although in some cases it was the arists' own, eg Howard Jones in the early days used to take his rig (you can see them on TOTP on youTube)... (although it's still amusing to me and probably about 100 other people watching him play that Moog Prodigy sync solo in "What Is Love" on a DX7...)
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Re: Then and Now

Postby BillB » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:16 pm

The Elf wrote:For the larger gigs you'll still find me surrounded by Moogs and Mellotrons. Some of us still know the thrill of it!
...either not working or not being in tune...
is that the thrill to which you refer? ;) :headbang:
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Re: Then and Now

Postby desmond » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:20 pm

It's mostly the standing around in capes, I think... :lol:
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Re: Then and Now

Postby MOF » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:10 am

It was mostly hired gear, although in some cases it was the arists' own, eg Howard Jones in the early days used to take his rig (you can see them on TOTP on youTube)... (although it's still amusing to me and probably about 100 other people watching him play that Moog Prodigy sync solo in "What Is Love" on a DX7...)

Yes it came out in 1984 and the DX7 a year earlier, so he was probably showing off his new acquisition. :lol:
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Re: Then and Now

Postby Arpangel » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:53 am

nickle15 wrote:Yeah that's all very true. I suppose it's not really an option to compare apples to apples with all the oranges that are out there now. It's kind of hard to envision a modern rig that doesn't have a laptop in it, or modules, etc. - even if they also continue to bring the Prophets, Moogs, etc. Different ballgame!

I have never played a gig with a computer, of any kind, not even a tablet.
Even though I have a few computers at home, and I use them in my studio, playing a gig with them has never entered my mind, I don’t want to sit in an "office" on stage, it’s not what that’s all about, and I’ve got nothing to do with, or anything to say about people that use them live, that’s a whole other "business"
I love old keyboards, and hardware, part of the thrill, going to see artists I like, is seeing the equipment, the instruments, somehow it ads to the musical enjoyment, as for substitutes, more or less anything that was around back then is available now too, given the "replica revolution"
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Re: Then and Now

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:21 am

Arpangel wrote:
nickle15 wrote:Yeah that's all very true. I suppose it's not really an option to compare apples to apples with all the oranges that are out there now. It's kind of hard to envision a modern rig that doesn't have a laptop in it, or modules, etc. - even if they also continue to bring the Prophets, Moogs, etc. Different ballgame!
I have never played a gig with a computer, of any kind, not even a tablet.
Even though I have a few computers at home, and I use them in my studio, playing a gig with them has never entered my mind, I don’t want to sit in an "office" on stage, it’s not what that’s all about
And that's not what it's about, either! You don't use a laptop on stage to sit at it like at an office! It just helps to run the show, needing no attention from me.

What can be achieved with the combination of old gear and a computer to take care of it all is little short of miraculous, inspiring and just downright fun!
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Re: Then and Now

Postby jjlonbass » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:53 am

MOF wrote:
I reckon I can identify 95% of classic synths from just a quick shot of the side/end plate shape. That was pretty much all I did watching Top of the Pops for years... :crazy: :lol:
I hope you didn’t buy any of them thinking “so that’s what they used on the record”, I’m pretty sure that gear was hired without any consultation with the artists, many a time I’ve heard grand pianos coming out of electric pianos etc. :lol:

Having recently re-watched various Top of the Pops episodes from 1979 and 1980, I noticed that many acts were apparently playing Yamaha CS-80s with the name of the hire company on prominent display. Usually, the sounds on the song were not very CS-80 like.
Ones that spring to mind are Rupert Hine with Quantum Jump playing "The Lone Ranger", Ron Mael with Sparks playing "The Number One Song In Heaven" and John Foxx's "Underpass" featuring no less than three CS-80s.

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Re: Then and Now

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:55 am

The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
nickle15 wrote:Yeah that's all very true. I suppose it's not really an option to compare apples to apples with all the oranges that are out there now. It's kind of hard to envision a modern rig that doesn't have a laptop in it, or modules, etc. - even if they also continue to bring the Prophets, Moogs, etc. Different ballgame!
I have never played a gig with a computer, of any kind, not even a tablet.
Even though I have a few computers at home, and I use them in my studio, playing a gig with them has never entered my mind, I don’t want to sit in an "office" on stage, it’s not what that’s all about
And that's not what it's about, either! You don't use a laptop on stage to sit at it like at an office! It just helps to run the show, needing no attention from me.

What can be achieved with the combination of old gear and a computer to take care of it all is little short of miraculous, inspiring and just downright fun!

Elf, as a I said, it’s nothing to do with me, computers? fun? I can’t use those two words in the same sentence.
OK, you’re willing to put in the time and enthusiasm, it’s your thing, and it sounds like it works for you, I've just about got the enthusiasm to do what I do, that’s enough, but the whole computers live thing doesn’t attract me enough to want to even explore it.
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Re: Then and Now

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:22 am

Arpangel wrote:Elf, as a I said, it’s nothing to do with me, computers? fun? I can’t use those two words in the same sentence.
OK, you’re willing to put in the time and enthusiasm, it’s your thing, and it sounds like it works for you, I've just about got the enthusiasm to do what I do, that’s enough, but the whole computers live thing doesn’t attract me enough to want to even explore it.
If it took much of either time or enthusiasm I wouldn't do it. I'm just open minded to any benefits *any* approach can give. If it made my life difficult I wouldn't use it! I just want to make music.

But no, it's clearly not for you.

But for anyone else reading... 'then and now' technology can make a great partnership - best of both worlds. Performance software is very liberating, for example - being able to just hit the keys while the software takes care of routing, patch changes, mix, effects, layering, control mapping, (even lighting), etc., while the old gear takes care of those wonderful sounds. It makes performing with some of this old kit very liberating.
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Re: Then and Now

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:26 pm

I'm with The Elf on this, it's plainly not something that works for everyone but the potential for creativity and expression is huge.
I firmly believe that there has never been a better time when it comes to your creative options as a musician.
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