Friday, November 26, 2010

Hardware Reviews Part 4

Yamaha EZ-200 - $180 (5/10)
Now, keep in mind, this is by no means a professional keyboard. It comes with light-up keys, and no customization options. I got it for free because it was purchased for an ungrateful child who never played it. It comes with all of your standard practice-keyboard sounds including XGlite. It uses its light-up keys to teach you how to play songs, but I'm not going to waste my time with that. It seems like the sounds it comes with would be more useful if I was playing jazz or making the soundtrack to an 80's movie.

-Can sound like a piano.
-Stereo Sound
-MIDI out
-Can play songs for you, in case you give up playing.

-Kind of a shitty sound-bank for making rave music.
-All the beats are too damn busy, no simple quarter notes on a kick.
-The "synth leads" selection.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bob Moog and the Fairlight CMI

This was a big moment in the history of sampling when Bob Moog released the Fairlight CMI, which played back samples at different pitches to imitate an instrument (which was a big fucking deal back then). The main sounds that this thing made can be heard in tons of songs (I feel nostalgic just hearing some of these samples by themselves). The video where he demos it is 6 parts long, but definitely worth watching.

You have to wonder if they had any idea how huge this kind of thing would be. Imagine recording one second of sound and reusing it again and again (everybody does this now).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Video Reviews

I'm considering doing a video review of Alchemy by Camel Audio, because I don't feel like a simple text review can really do it justice. While I'm at it, are there any other programs you would like me to do video reviews for (possibly ones you've seen in earlier posts)?


My newest guitar. I got it for $15 from a friend of mine, and it's a total piece of shit. Bonus points if you identify it. It's perfect if I ever want to smash a guitar on stage though.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classic Synth Lesson - Axel F

As requested by my comrade over at Rorschach Redemption I have created a tutorial showing you how to recreate the synth lead from Axel F.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Axel F Lead

I've been listening to Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer off the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack and trying to mimic the lead synth they used.

My latest attempt at recreating the lead from Axel F
Good, bad, close? I'm trying to simplify it for the sake of a tutorial, because right now it's horribly complex.

I'm glad I managed to get my hands on a vinyl copy of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.
Also, extra points for noticing the other record in the shot.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Software Reviews Part 5

Immitating the synth sounds from Axel F has turned out to be quite a challenge, but I'm not giving up on it yet.
In the mean time, I have another software review for you.

Zebra - $200 (8.5/10)
Zebra (which is now on version 2.5) is a pretty solid choice for your all-purpose synthesizer. It has all the filters and effects that you would expect, as well as the ability to customize and morph your waveforms. You can work with up to 4 oscillators, each of which can be made to have more voices. It's different to work with compared to most VST's on the market (look at the picture for an idea of what I'm talking about), but it still has enough power to keep up with it's competitors. A good choice once you get used to working with it.
-Lots of options for filters and oscillators.
-Wide range in general

-Takes some getting used to.
-Just a bit hard on your CPU. Not too bad though.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


On my quest to recreate classic synth sounds using plugins on my computer, I have come across several challenges. It appears that a lot of 80's sounds that I always thought were synthesizers were actually just samples, making them very difficult to reproduce. I have managed to (for the most part) recreate the synth lead from "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics, but the process I used was painfully complex and creating a tutorial for it would be difficult and not particularly helpful.

Let's hear some of your favorite synthy songs. If the synth sounds are not incredibly complex to recreate I just might teach you how to make them.