whats a good synthesiser for Pink Floyd songs like Shine on you crazy diamond intro?

Messages
16
Well I am more a guitar player, and thought about creating strings or sweeps using my pedals and a volume control, but what is an affordable synth for around 1500 bucks that could do the trick, for songs like Shine on you crazy diamond. Also one that would be good for other songs from Pink Floyd 70's era?
 
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stevel

Member
Messages
15,780
Here's a funny thing - I have an older Roland Sound Canvas from the 90s that had a lot of those "VCS" style sounds in it.

I have a new Roland FA06 that doesn't - it has more of the hip, ultra-modern, EDM styled sounds in it.

Now, you can create sounds from scratch in the FA06, but you have to know how to do that. Because if you don't, your other option is to use a sound that's there and modify it, or hopefully find a sound that's close.

The more preset sounds a synth has, the better your odds at finding a sound that does what you need.

But let's just say that using presets, I got the sweep synth thing much easier with the old Sound Canvas than with the FA06.

$1500 is a good price point to get you into something decent.

Since you were going to do it with guitar, *anything* might be better, so you may not have the prejudices I had going into it - since I was used to my older sounds and the new ones weren't the same - but you won't be making that kind of comparison so that could work in your favor.

But you know, Yamaha, Roland, or Korg is going to be fine at getting those sounds or sounds that are "close enough". Again, if you get a synth that simply has more presets in it, the more you'll have to choose from - and if anyone knows how to modify the sounds to get them closer, bonus.

Most new synths in that price range are also going to have organ, piano, strings, etc. sounds so you can cover all of what PF was doing pretty well.

The bigger question is if any of you are good enough players that you want a "real" piano action, and need 88 keys.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MOXF8

or if you want to go down the the 61 key version, there's that.

Here's what I bought:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FA06

The big advantage there was the sample pads - I actually sampled the audio intro to "Time" - press a button and have it play back (we came in with the "clock ticks" on bass, and the kick drum, then the guitar part etc.)

If you could find a used Fantom (Roland) workstation that has sampling, that could really help out (and the sounds were a little more "traditional" IMHO - not so "modern dance" oriented).

But you could certainly find presets in both the MX61 and FA 06 that would work OK. Even my Sound Canvas ones weren't "exact" but anything could be better than trying to "fake it" on guitar.

BTW, TGP moment in history when someone says "affordable" and says $1500 - usually it's more like $500!
 

Fezziwig

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,592
This is always tricky. I've researched this quite a bit, and my best solution was to use samples that specifically emulate the Pink Floyd early synth sounds. From the source:

On the opening track, "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Part One)," Wright uses an EMS VSC3 Synthesizer Model AKS (KS stands for Keyboard Sequencer) to create a slow-building sonic tension. The Gm7 that opens the album was reportedly created using four separate VCS3 parts. Added to that are string part played on an ARP Solina String Ensemble, the horn-like Minimoog melodic lines, a low bass drone using Moog Taurus II pedals [Ed. See comment below at *]. Wrights Hammond B3 with a 122 Leslie takes a prominent role once the song really kicks in, all deftly supported by Gilmour's epic guitar soloing.

There is a free plugin called "Crazy Diamonds" that you can find on the Web which emulates it quite well. You can also use some software like Omnisphere to imitate it quite well, or layer synths from Arturia V Collection or NI Komplete.

Otherwise, if you go the hardware route, you need to find a keyboard that can split into the Hammond and Solina sides, at the very least, and then find something to emulate the VCS3 parts. You'd probably need multiple keyboards. That's why I'd advocate going the plugin route.

* I'll also note that the bass notes were likely just bass tones off the Minimoog and not Taurus pedals, which weren't released until after the album came out. They likely switched to the Taurus pedals for some live performances later.
 
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Messages
16
Well thanks for the info, and bringing me up to speed on this. I have done a little research, and have seen a few examples on You Tube. The best example I have seen is units with the slider, or wheel to adjust your sway on some of the strings. I wasn't sure to buy a new unit, or find an older analog board like the Kurzwell k2600, but then again I'm stuck on an older one or buying something new that is compatible with recording software.
Here's a funny thing - I have an older Roland Sound Canvas from the 90s that had a lot of those "VCS" style sounds in it.

I have a new Roland FA06 that doesn't - it has more of the hip, ultra-modern, EDM styled sounds in it.

Now, you can create sounds from scratch in the FA06, but you have to know how to do that. Because if you don't, your other option is to use a sound that's there and modify it, or hopefully find a sound that's close.

The more preset sounds a synth has, the better your odds at finding a sound that does what you need.

But let's just say that using presets, I got the sweep synth thing much easier with the old Sound Canvas than with the FA06.

$1500 is a good price point to get you into something decent.

Since you were going to do it with guitar, *anything* might be better, so you may not have the prejudices I had going into it - since I was used to my older sounds and the new ones weren't the same - but you won't be making that kind of comparison so that could work in your favor.

But you know, Yamaha, Roland, or Korg is going to be fine at getting those sounds or sounds that are "close enough". Again, if you get a synth that simply has more presets in it, the more you'll have to choose from - and if anyone knows how to modify the sounds to get them closer, bonus.

Most new synths in that price range are also going to have organ, piano, strings, etc. sounds so you can cover all of what PF was doing pretty well.

The bigger question is if any of you are good enough players that you want a "real" piano action, and need 88 keys.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MOXF8

or if you want to go down the the 61 key version, there's that.

Here's what I bought:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FA06

The big advantage there was the sample pads - I actually sampled the audio intro to "Time" - press a button and have it play back (we came in with the "clock ticks" on bass, and the kick drum, then the guitar part etc.)

If you could find a used Fantom (Roland) workstation that has sampling, that could really help out (and the sounds were a little more "traditional" IMHO - not so "modern dance" oriented).

But you could certainly find presets in both the MX61 and FA 06 that would work OK. Even my Sound Canvas ones weren't "exact" but anything could be better than trying to "fake it" on guitar.

BTW, TGP moment in history when someone says "affordable" and says $1500 - usually it's more like $500!
 

Whitecat

Member
Messages
1,903
This is always tricky. I've researched this quite a bit, and my best solution was to use samples that specifically emulate the Pink Floyd early synth sounds. From the source:

On the opening track, "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Part One)," Wright uses an EMS VSC3 Synthesizer Model AKS (KS stands for Keyboard Sequencer) to create a slow-building sonic tension. The Gm7 that opens the album was reportedly created using four separate VCS3 parts. Added to that are string part played on an ARP Solina String Ensemble, the horn-like Minimoog melodic lines, a low bass drone using Moog Taurus II pedals [Ed. See comment below at *]. Wrights Hammond B3 with a 122 Leslie takes a prominent role once the song really kicks in, all deftly supported by Gilmour's epic guitar soloing.

It's more than just synths... there are 'wine glasses' underneath that Gm chord as well, recycled from the abortive 'Household Objects' project.
 

megatonic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,900
The best one I heard do that was a Korg M50 that I had. I bought the Pink Floyd soundset from someone online. Here's a couple samples on YT.
The M50 had great sounds but was built like crap. Not travel worthy at all. Plastic. Good sounds, though.
Some other Korg probably has the same sounds, now.



 

Stokely

Member
Messages
2,100
I'd have to think a lot of boards could get you close. The m50 wasn't anything too special (IMO) and as mentioned it's build quality wasn't good, yet that was a great video posted above. I think I could put together something on my pc3, and could have on my old Motif. The Virus I had would have killed it, if all you need is synth I can't recommend one of those enough. I had the "b" version and got it used for $600. A used TI2 would be what I'd go after, either the module or the whole keyboard. They have fantastic build quality to go with the awesome sounds.

I'd think with Pink Floyd though you'd be wanting organ and electric piano, piano as well. My pc3 has had reliability issues or I'd recommend it. The Kronos would be a top choice but at 1500 it would have to be an older model and used.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,780
Just to throw something else out there to think about - The Roland FA I bought lets you layer and split up to 15 sound!

This is phenomenal. Most workstations will usually limit you to a layer of 4 sounds.

So you could theoretically go through and find a "wine glasses" patch, a VSC patch, and so on, and put everything you need in there.

But you know, how many of us get stuck in a band who wants to play "Hotel California" with 1 guitar player in the band? How do you cover the 7 or 8 guitar parts? You don't. You figure out how to play it the best you can. There are plenty of pop records where the guitar tone is actually 2 or 3 subtly different tones double or triple tracked. Are you going to run 3 amps in tandem? Can you even pick out the tone each one is using?

So my advice would be that any modern synth is going to have enough sounds to choose from to get you close. Worst case, you might have to layer 2.

That Dante Pizarro video above - he's got the opening sound great, but the rest after that are merely close to pretty far off.

In a live band gig situation, there are so many variables to contend with that really, getting the stuff as close as you can is all that's going to be really practical. It needs to capture the "vibe" of the song rather than be exact. Again, I doubt the singer is going to sound close, nor will the drums, or bass tone, etc.

If I was in a band that paid me 6 figures a year, I'd absolutely be trying to nail every single nuance of every single thing as exactly as I could (since it would have to be a Floyd Tribute band at that level).

But for $100 to $150 a gig in a crappy bar for a bunch of drunkards? Well, my work ethic is such that I'll get them as close as I can with what I have, but I'm not going to go out and invest in too much, and I'm not going to kill myself over getting the sounds perfect. Use sounds that *work*. That's what's important at that level.
 

scottkahn

Member
Messages
204
You should look at various virtual analog polysynths. If we're talking brand new for that price, you have three decent contenders for those sounds and more:
Roland System-8 ($1,500)
Behringer DeepMind ($1,000)
StudioLogic Sledge 2.0 ($1,000)
and if you spend just a few hundred more than the System-8, the Roland JD-Xa has real 4-voice analog and 8-voice digital.
Here are a few reviews we've done:
Studiologic Sledge 2.0
Roland JD-Xa Synthesizer
 




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