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Visage "Fade to grey" synths
Old 11th June 2010
  #1
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Visage "Fade to grey" synths

Does anybody have any info on what instrument was used for the (gorgeous) analog strings in "Fade to grey"? You know, the high-vibrato analog string pad that start at 0:18 in the video below?

I've been doing some research at Welcome to the Ultravox Forum: Equipment (Micke, is that you there? ) and I've gathered they used CR-78 for the analog drums under the real drums, Odyssey for the rhythmic synth bass and the solo, prototype Simmons for some drum hits , but what is that (polyphonic?) synth/string machine? It always sounded so great to my ears.

And at 1:54 (and a bit before), there are some bits of synth with delay which also sound nice - not sure what those are either

Also, what version of Odyssey did Bill Currie use? The second (black/gold panel) version?

Old 11th June 2010
  #2
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Space Station's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
dont forget dave formula of magazine was a major synth player in visage too..his staples were the arp oddysey, the yamaha ss-30 string synth and the hammond.
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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L-feld's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Very well may have been a Fairlight CMI. Richard James Burgess programmed a good portion of the synths on that song and as well as a good chunk of the first Visage album. I used to work for him and he mentioned that the Visage album was the second Fairlight record (the Kate Bush album that came out that year being the first).
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilienfeld ➑️
Very well may have been a Fairlight CMI.



its a string machine. analog. sound of fairlight samples and this, is like apples and brontosaurus.


anyway, i havent played the Yam SS-30, but comparing to some Ultravox recordings where there was one played by BC, i'd say its a good probability. does not sound like Solina, Crumar or some usual suspects i have/had arround. yeah, the sparkly synth line with delay is gorgeous. sounds a bit like P5, but could be anything analog polyphonic at the time. Micke ???
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord ➑️


its a string machine. analog. sound of fairlight samples and this, is like apples and brontosaurus.

anyway, i havent played the Yam SS-30, but comparing to some Ultravox recordings where there was one played by BC, i'd say its a good probability. does not sound like Solina, Crumar or some usual suspects i have/had arround. yeah, the sparkly synth line with delay is gorgeous. sounds a bit like P5, but could be anything analog polyphonic at the time. Micke ???

To Lilienfeld's point, Tomislav, in theory it could have been the Fairlight using an analog synth string patch, no?

If I look at the original Factory Patch document of the Fairlight, there are a few analog disks in there...

There is a demo of the Yamaha SS-30 on YouTube, but the sound doesn't strike me as being the one - although to my ears it could be the one with the delay added - see video below


Micke? You there? heh

Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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L-feld's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sorry, I was really taking a stab in the dark. There's nothing on Fade to Grey that sounds (to my ears, at least) especially like a sample, so who knows. I've never met a Fairlight in person, I just remember Burgess saying that song was one of the first times he used his.

I will try to get in touch with him. Maybe he even remembers the entire set up from that session.
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
An oberheim obx - xa...jp4....p5.....no problem.....add DDL and verbs with nice pre-delay.

A prophet 08 or tetra could nail those tones with some editing
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carlheinz ➑️
An oberheim obx - xa...jp4....p5.....no problem.....add DDL and verbs with nice pre-delay.

A prophet 08 or tetra could nail those tones with some editing
Yeah, thanks, a freeby like SuperWave P8 could also. We are not looking for a synth to emulate that sound. The point of my thread is to try to find out what instrument was used in the original recording.
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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flat's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've always loved that youtube vid by Gazdatronik. He makes a Korg DW8000 sound very close.

Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #11
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Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo ➑️
If I look at the original Factory Patch document of the Fairlight, there are a few analog disks in there...
I have the Fairlight Library on a CD ROM, all the original samples. As far as i can remember there are no such string machine sounds. But i can check it once again. In fact, i think he sampled it.
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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synthdood's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
This guys does a nice version of fade to gey. Also check out his other vids. Lots of great 80's synth pop

Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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White Falcon's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Off topic but:

The Swedish band Kent have made a song that's a nice "cover" of Fade To Grey, just wait for the chorus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw4EdN9B4sA
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Hi guys,

The Fairlight was only used in the intro to Fade to Gray and for the little interlude things between tracks. Richard Burgess also did alot of the electronic percussion: "I'm pretty sure I used some claptrap, SDS5 (prototype triggered by the MC-8) and possibly SDS3s. There was most likely CR-78 as well."

According to Dave Formula, Billy's Odyssey was used for the bassline and Billy has mentioned in an interview that he played the soft solo on his Odyssey (afaik it was a mk II). Neither Burgess, Formula nor Rusty Egan remember what keyboard was used for them lovely sounding synth strings, but if I'd make a guess I'd say it's either the Yamaha SS-30 or CS-80 or possibly both of 'em layered? I'm pretty sure Billy Currie has the answer but unfortunately the guy doesn't reply to any synth-related emails whatsoever.

Formula does however mention in an old Keyboard magazine that he and Billy shared a CS-80 for the polyphonic synthesizer parts. As you probably know, Formula was also very into the Odyssey, a white-face mk I, but I don't know if he used it on the recording sessions. I doubt there's any Prophet 5 on there though because he didn't aquire his Rev 3 until later and none of the others had a Prophet to my knowledge.

That's about all I know at the moment.

cheers,
Micke
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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Space Station's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You could ask Dave direct on his myspace...he does reply sometimes.
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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OurDarkness's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If I guess right will I have a cookie?



Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks Micke. Anybody here with a CS-80 who can try to replicate those strings and show if it's the one?

(I still don't think it's the SS-30 based on that youtube video, but effects could have changed that sound, so I guess it's also possible)
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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clusterchord's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo ➑️
To Lilienfeld's point, Tomislav, in theory it could have been the Fairlight using an analog synth string patch, no?
im afraid that aint possible for too many reasons to name here. but just to point out a few.. first, fairlights memory was miniscule,, no.. microscopic. there is no way you could get that ensemble motion sampled/looped to be convincing. additionaly, you loose the effect's in-phase relation when playing polyphonic, as what happens when a freq divide machine like stringer is played (summed) thru a single-end analog process such as BBD ensemble.

second, any time an analog is sampled into a vintage sampler, or even a new sampler, it gets a new character, very different and sometimes interesting in its own right. bandwith is seriously changed. looping takes a toll on the sound too. you just cannot get the smoooooth thing going that comes out of a nice string machine, or a nice (vintage) polyanalog. the relation btwn individual notes is different, and it doesn't breathe. theoretically, if you had a note per note sample of solina, for example, sampled with the ensemble bypassed, in a huge RAM sampler, and then added a separate analog effect later when playing, that was a faithful BBD clone, you would get close to a string machine behaviour. maybe.




back to topic, yeah CS-80 sounds like one of the contenders. the string on fade to grey sounds extremely lush and alive. and CS-80, besides being a true polyphonic with 16 vcos, also has a traditional ensemble effect on top. cholesterole overdose
Old 11th June 2010 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by L-feld ➑️
Very well may have been a Fairlight CMI. Richard James Burgess programmed a good portion of the synths on that song and as well as a good chunk of the first Visage album. I used to work for him and he mentioned that the Visage album was the second Fairlight record (the Kate Bush album that came out that year being the first).
To my knowledge, Peter Gabriel's third album "Melt" was the first Fairlight record, it came out in May 1980 about four months prior to Kate Bush's "Never For Ever". The Fairlight parts on PG3 were recorded as early as Aug/Sep '79 with the prototype which Peter Vogel had brought with him from Australia.

According to Larrt Fast, they did their own samples in the studio on both PG3 and PG4. They also used some "factory" sounds like the looped string (like "The Start") and blown sounds that had been prepared in Australia. Percussive and subtle sounds are throughout the entire album. You probably didn't realize that they were there.
Old 12th June 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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L-feld's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikael488 ➑️
To my knowledge, Peter Gabriel's third album "Melt" was the first Fairlight record, it came out in May 1980 about four months prior to Kate Bush's "Never For Ever". The Fairlight parts on PG3 were recorded as early as Aug/Sep '79 with the prototype which Peter Vogel had brought with him from Australia.

According to Larrt Fast, they did their own samples in the studio on both PG3 and PG4. They also used some "factory" sounds like the looped string (like "The Start") and blown sounds that had been prepared in Australia. Percussive and subtle sounds are throughout the entire album. You probably didn't realize that they were there.
Definitely knew about the Fairlight stuff on PG4. I remember seeing a hilarious video on the making of that album of Gabriel in a junkyard, smashing the windows of cars and tv screens, trying to get the perfect sample of glass breaking.

But yeah, I never noticed the Fairlight parts on PG3. I will keep an ear out for them.
Old 12th June 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord ➑️
im afraid that aint possible for too many reasons to name here. but just to point out a few.. first, fairlights memory was miniscule,, no.. microscopic. there is no way you could get that ensemble motion sampled/looped to be convincing. additionaly, you loose the effect's in-phase relation when playing polyphonic, as what happens when a freq divide machine like stringer is played (summed) thru a single-end analog process such as BBD ensemble.

second, any time an analog is sampled into a vintage sampler, or even a new sampler, it gets a new character, very different and sometimes interesting in its own right. bandwith is seriously changed. looping takes a toll on the sound too. you just cannot get the smoooooth thing going that comes out of a nice string machine, or a nice (vintage) polyanalog. the relation btwn individual notes is different, and it doesn't breathe. theoretically, if you had a note per note sample of solina, for example, sampled with the ensemble bypassed, in a huge RAM sampler, and then added a separate analog effect later when playing, that was a faithful BBD clone, you would get close to a string machine behaviour. maybe.

back to topic, yeah CS-80 sounds like one of the contenders. the string on fade to grey sounds extremely lush and alive. and CS-80, besides being a true polyphonic with 16 vcos, also has a traditional ensemble effect on top. cholesterole overdose
I agree with this. I was giving the benefit of the doubt, since reportedly the Fairlight was used in the record. Also, the loop points given by the small fairlight memory could be hidden by the heavy vibrato used in that particular sound.

Additionally, if I put myself in the musicians' shoes in 1980, and the Fairlight had just come out, I would never use it for an analog string-pad sound that could easily be obtained by an existing, analog technology synthesizer/string machine: I would use the Fairlight for the sampled, looped bits that are in the record like it has been said - since we all know sampling was new back then.

So, between the SS-30 and the CS-80, I would also think - like you - more toward the CS-80 giving the analog character of that sound - but we can't be sure I guess. Thanks all for your input.
Old 13th June 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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Meriphew's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I remember reading an old interview with BC where he said that he used an EHX Electric Mistress pedal quite a bit on synths.
Old 3rd July 2010 | Show parent
  #23
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carlheinz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have nothing to back this up but I'm putting all my money on the table that the string sound you are loving is the Roland Jupiter 4.(jp-4).My ears just tell me.I can spot that lfo and tone a mile away.dfegad on me if I am wrong about this!
Old 21st July 2010
  #24
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Gazdatronik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo ➑️
Does anybody have any info on what instrument was used for the (gorgeous) analog strings in "Fade to grey"? You know, the high-vibrato analog string pad that start at 0:18 in the video below?

I've been doing some research at Welcome to the Ultravox Forum: Equipment (Micke, is that you there? ) and I've gathered they used CR-78 for the analog drums under the real drums, Odyssey for the rhythmic synth bass and the solo, prototype Simmons for some drum hits , but what is that (polyphonic?) synth/string machine? It always sounded so great to my ears.

And at 1:54 (and a bit before), there are some bits of synth with delay which also sound nice - not sure what those are either

Also, what version of Odyssey did Bill Currie use? The second (black/gold panel) version?

It was Gary Numan's Polymoog. They knew each other, I think.
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Guys - I appreciate the input but you can't just say "it's a Jupiter-4" or "it's a Polymoog" without actually providing any documentation... an interview, a book, a valid source....
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #26
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flat's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazdatronik ➑️
...
Aha! The famous Mr Gazdatronik!

Really enjoyed all your youtube vids. thumbsup

Welcome to GS!
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Don Solaris's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo ➑️
Guys - I appreciate the input but you can't just say "it's a Jupiter-4" or "it's a Polymoog" without actually providing any documentation... an interview, a book, a valid source....
+1


Else we'll soon end up in: "it was Nord!"
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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danielb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthdood ➑️
This guys does a nice version of fade to gey. Also check out his other vids. Lots of great 80's synth pop


I love his videos. He has exactly the same taste as me, both in music and synthesizers.

Among other things, he really shows off the Roland JX-8P.
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Since my last post I've found out that "Fade To Gray" (the song) was recorded by Billy Currie and Chris Payne (Gary Numan's keyboardist) in the latter half of '79. Chris Payne did indeed use a Polymoog at the time so I'd say it's very likely it's responsible for the strings. I don't think that Billy had aquired the CS-80 by the time the backing tracks were recorded but it could of course have been added at a later date when Midge Ure's vocal was added.

Quote from Billy Currie:
"The backing track for the Visage single "Fade to Grey" was written, while on tour with Gary, by me and Chris Pain (keyboards) during the sound checks. I took Chris and Ced Sharpley (Drum Machine and Drums) into Martin Rushents Studio (where the first tracks of the Visage album were being recorded) and put down the master backing track for "Fade To Grey". I suggested using it when Visage, at mix stage, realised that we were short of tracks for the first album. Midge put the vocal part on top. After the tour I continued making the album with Visage and later invited Midge Ure into Ultravox so at the beginning of 1980 I was in the amazingly productive position of finishing off two albums!"
Old 4th August 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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Gazdatronik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
And so, if anybody has ever wondered why the rest of the Visage album sounds different from Fade to Grey, that's why.
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