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Ways to get 80s sounding production?
Old 15th April 2011
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Ways to get 80s sounding production?

Hello everyone,
I'm curious what are the techniques to get my sounds to sound like old The Cure/ Human League/ Phil Collins/ New Order style stuff. Purely on the production level, as I have a ton of 80s samples and stuff so the instruments should be good for the most part. What are the best ways to use reverb and such to get nice 80s sounding stuff? I'm using Logic and I have wavves if that matters...
thanks!
Old 15th April 2011
  #2
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
use what they used in the 80's. Theres no magic 80's plugin.

Use the instruments and production techniques that trended in that era
Old 15th April 2011
  #3
Moderator
 
Reptil's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Kind of a broad question. Busy decade, many different types of music.

Production?
well, there's the gated reverb. heh
compression was used a lot less then. (SSL Buscompression)
also mixing took place on big desks. but now we have the luxury of plugins that mimic the behaviour of parts of a mixing desk. (add some distortion etc.) a lot of electronic drumpads, drumcomputers, synths.. many synths.
I think a combination of techniques, pop arrangement and specific instruments (or clones) will do the trick.

here's a nice docu (again) about early eightties english bands
part 1

YouTube - Synth Britannia Part 2
YouTube - Synth Britannia Part 3
YouTube - Synth Britannia part 4
YouTube - Synth Britannia Part 5
YouTube - Synth Britannia Part 6
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #4
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I recommend running your samples through something like a Yamaha REV or SPX 90 for the hall reverb and gated reverb on drums. Dosen't have to be a Yamaha unit can also try a Lexicon unit popular during that decade.
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Mix on an SSL and use lots of gated reverb :P
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I love the SSL responses. You could also pick up a Jupiter 8, a Pro-5, and maybe a vintage fairlight while you are at it :P
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #7
msl
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msl's Avatar
You just need to use the same sounds is all. If you have Reason try the Fairlight CMI Legacy Refill.



.
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
for me , the huge difference between 90s and 80s is the drums. more echo delay in the 80s. can't get wrong with DX7 (for bells and synth bass)+ D50 for others. avoid strings like in goo goo dolls iris.
90s arrangement is wayyyyyyyyyy simpler (i dislike)
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #9
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
sure part of sound are synths .... vintage ones... nothing made after D50 is interesting for 80 sound...

but

get multitrack tape machine like Studer or MCI JH series, consoles like MCI, API , STUDER, SSL, NEVE, TRIDNT, AMEK , early soundcraft ... all will work

analog delays like D1500, publison, lexican, AMS, reverbs, lex 224, 200, RMX 16, SPX 90, REV 5-7....

and for sure ... NO PLUGINS !!! heh
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #10
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
I just picked up an alesis midiverb mkII thanks to gearslutz, and it definitely brings out the D5 and the TX81z. They sound like they belong.

Another thing is the actual compositions. I cut my teeth on 80's synth pop and the valerie crew, so I can't HELP writing something that sounds like it's from the 80's. It's a problem!
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #11
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
i'm not really made of money but i'm gonna probably get the Fairlight iphone app eventually, and i have FM8 for my DX sounds and a juno 106. i suppose my real question should have been what effects help the 80s sound go down, but you've kinda answered that... is there anything special besides less compression as well? any special way to equalize?
thanks for all the help so far!
Old 15th April 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
8-12 bit Samples/Samplers
Record to Tape
Old 15th April 2011 | Show parent
  #13
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Lots of krell in the studio! hehhehheh
Old 15th April 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidney05 ➑️
What are the best ways to use reverb and such to get nice 80s sounding stuff? I'm using Logic and I have wavves if that matters...
thanks!

Reverb - an AMS RMX16 is the 1980s sound. Hardware is expensive but you can use Altiverb (IR software) and get a decent approximation.

Delay - Various Lexicon boxes (PCM41 for example) and of course the AMS DMX 16.
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #15
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Theres an article on computermusic magazines webiste w tips for 80s production. also audiotuts has one called mixing for the 80s that shows some simple things that were coommon to 80s songs. listen to your favorites and hear each part individually and sort of mimic the styles. notice what the drums are doing all the way through the track, the guitars, the vocals (harmonies and such). soundtoys has a microshhift plugin that i use often. also ik multimedias classic studio reverb bundle has a great inverse one for great reverse and gated drum sounds. check out the band Ice Choir and Roman a' Clef. a lot of stuff to learn from that era im still learning myself. i just started realizing how many of the drum machines have delayed snare, perc, or clap hits and how layered they are from a youtube channel called harlemnights where he re-makes 80s drum beats on a stand alone drum machine w just reverb and delay. always new stuff to try if you listen for it in the production of the tracks you love.
Old 21st July 2015
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Jinsai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidney05 ➑️
Hello everyone,
I'm curious what are the techniques to get my sounds to sound like old The Cure/ Human League/ Phil Collins/ New Order style stuff.
I think it's less about "record to tape" and "use vintage gear" and more about using the limitations of the early gear and associated methods:

Vintage SOUNDS are good. The drum machines of the day were much simpler. You already know what they are: 808, 909, Linn, CR-78, etc.

Vintage synths were also simpler: 2 oscs, one LPF, fewer modulation options. VST emulations of vintage synths are totally adequate

The tape machines of the day were generally 8, 16, or 32 tracks (if you were really fancy and slaved 2 together). Most of the artists you cited were 8 or 16. So you get by with fewer parts overall, and generally none of those parts are stereo (except drums)

Many effects like reverb, chorus, and delay were applied via effects bus rather than as individual inserts for tracks. So try setting up a handful of those and using them for everything.

It was harder to make everything sound "perfect". Don't use pitch correction (listen to some of those records -- those vocals would never go out like that today).

Finally, arrangement and composition. The 80s sound is just as much a result of what kinds of parts people wrote and how they played them as it is the sound of those records.
Old 21st July 2015
  #17
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DJRAZZ's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Lot's of reverb on the vocals and drums, oh heck on everything. Guitar reverb was big as well. Chorus on the acoustic. Make sure the synths are obnoxiously in front of the mix.
Old 21st July 2015
  #18
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javd007's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
80s sounding production.

Hey brother. I strictly make 1980s music full time. I have spend the past 5 years perfecting the sound I like. I try to get my mixes to sound like Peter Browns album SNAP. It is my reference quite often. I love how it sounds and its very 80s. I ONLY use gear from the period of 1980-1986 I have learned a few things along the way. Here is what i use, in no particular order to achieve the sound you are looking for:


1. Reverb- Lexicon 224, or EMT 250.
2. Compression: 1176 or la 2a.
3. Pultec EQP 1A
4. UADs Harrison EQ (LOVE THIS AND ITS MY MAIN EQ)
5. Various Boss Guitar pedals from the early 80s, mainly BF-2
6. Yamaha MV 802 Mixer for consolidating a few synths into TWO OUTPUTS and also warms up the sound a bit
7. My drums are linndrum, DMX, LM-1 etc.. but this is only if you want 80s electronic music
8.Synths I use are the obvious, Juno 60, prophet 5, Ob8, Polysix, dx7 etc...

Mixing:

1. I start with blending the bass and the kick drum. They are usually around the same volume. The 80s didn't have the huge compressed kick
2. The 80s DID have the huge compressed snare. Snare and claps are up front and boosted in the 8k frequency. Apply 224 to your liking here
3. Synths, again 224, I don't Eq 0my synths, i simply mix with volume only. Having a variety of different synths gives each one its own frequency range, and I find they don't need much eq. There is no EQ on the synths during the track I posted here!
4. Guitars-study Nile Rodgers 11
5. EQP 1A on the master and 1176 twin version
7. cut the 450-500k frequency on the master EQ. Boost 8k a tiny bit.(these are very basic guidelines) I use Auratones for this. (Yea thats right i use crappy Auratones to mix)
8. I check AND EVEN MIX on NS10S and Auratones strictly.
9. I playback and check the low end on HR 824s.

This gives me authentic 80s sounding mixes. Here is a track that was mixed this week (sorry for mp3): BTW Crank it up , it hits hard, in an authentic period correct 80s way!!!
Attached Files

NEED YOU MP3.mp3 (4.55 MB, 18793 views)


Last edited by javd007; 21st July 2015 at 04:15 AM..
Old 21st July 2015
  #19
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
^ awesome post is awesome.
Old 21st July 2015
  #20
Lives for gear
 
javd007's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks Bendayho ! Nice name lol ! If anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to share more. I live for 80s music.
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #21
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by javd007 ➑️
Hey brother. I strictly make 1980s music full time. I have spend the past 5 years perfecting the sound I like. I try to get my mixes to sound like Peter Browns album SNAP. It is my reference quite often. I love how it sounds and its very 80s. I ONLY use gear from the period of 1980-1986 I have learned a few things along the way. Here is what i use, in no particular order to achieve the sound you are looking for:


1. Reverb- Lexicon 224, or EMT 250.
2. Compression: 1176 or la 2a.
3. Pultec EQP 1A
4. UADs Harrison EQ (LOVE THIS AND ITS MY MAIN EQ)
5. Various Boss Guitar pedals from the early 80s, mainly BF-2
6. Yamaha MV 802 Mixer for consolidating a few synths into TWO OUTPUTS and also warms up the sound a bit
7. My drums are linndrum, DMX, LM-1 etc.. but this is only if you want 80s electronic music
8.Synths I use are the obvious, Juno 60, prophet 5, Ob8, Polysix, dx7 etc...

Mixing:

1. I start with blending the bass and the kick drum. They are usually around the same volume. The 80s didn't have the huge compressed kick
2. The 80s DID have the huge compressed snare. Snare and claps are up front and boosted in the 8k frequency. Apply 224 to your liking here
3. Synths, again 224, I don't Eq 0my synths, i simply mix with volume only. Having a variety of different synths gives each one its own frequency range, and I find they don't need much eq. There is no EQ on the synths during the track I posted here!
4. Guitars-study Nile Rodgers 11
5. EQP 1A on the master and 1176 twin version
7. cut the 450-500k frequency on the master EQ. Boost 8k a tiny bit.(these are very basic guidelines) I use Auratones for this. (Yea thats right i use crappy Auratones to mix)
8. I check AND EVEN MIX on NS10S and Auratones strictly.
9. I playback and check the low end on HR 824s.

This gives me authentic 80s sounding mixes. Here is a track that was mixed this week (sorry for mp3): BTW Crank it up , it hits hard, in an authentic period correct 80s way!!!

awesomest post is awesomest.
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinsai ➑️

The tape machines of the day were generally 8, 16, or 32 tracks (if you were really fancy and slaved 2 together). Most of the artists you cited were 8 or 16. So you get by with fewer parts overall, and generally none of those parts are stereo (except drums)
Nooooo.
The most common machine was a Studer 24 track. And it was common for major label signed artists to use 48 track (two 24 machines slaved).
Lot's of stuff was done in stereo.

------
Less compression? Maybe compared to today, but the 80's saw widespread use of compression via the SSL console channel. Actually many part of the mix became very compressed with that signature SSL sound.
A big part of the real drum sound (as opposed to machines) was a big room sound. Again, heavily compressed.
Lot's of AMS reverb and delay. UAD do an AMS reverb plug-in.
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Herr Weiss's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by apres garde ➑️
Another thing is the actual compositions. I cut my teeth on 80's synth pop and the valerie crew, so I can't HELP writing something that sounds like it's from the 80's. It's a problem!
No Problem!!

The composition should always be the nucleus; not an afterthought!!
(The whole production thing can be achieved by modern replacements.)

The composition side of the equation can and should evolve nicely with innovative ideas without distancing from its roots.

A musical natural selection of sorts.


HW
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
Nooooo.
The most common machine was a Studer 24 track. And it was common for major label signed artists to use 48 track (two 24 machines slaved).
Lot's of stuff was done in stereo.

------
Less compression? Maybe compared to today, but the 80's saw widespread use of compression via the SSL console channel. Actually many part of the mix became very compressed with that signature SSL sound.
A big part of the real drum sound (as opposed to machines) was a big room sound. Again, heavily compressed.
Lot's of AMS reverb and delay. UAD do an AMS reverb plug-in.
^
This is correct. a Studer 24 or two 24's..a Neve console or equivalent, a second engineer riding a half track for two channel mixdown, and every session the machines would be biased. Lot's of tangible benefits working with that kind of gear, but also working with that level of engineering skill, not only for effects, but microphones (placement and room acoustics, etc.), that would be a factor with vocals, drum, kits, percussion, grand piano, etc. None of this was going to be a new learning curve for most engineers recording sessions all day long in a studio equipped with Studer grade recording hardware. So that was kind of a filtering process in some respects. But also, it was very common and almost the norm to have a "producer" almost a laison between you the talent and the engineering team.
Old 21st July 2015
  #25
Deleted b598644
Guest
get rid of software and use hardware synths and recorders
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by javd007 ➑️
This gives me authentic 80s sounding mixes. Here is a track that was mixed this week (sorry for mp3): BTW Crank it up , it hits hard, in an authentic period correct 80s way!!!
Nice track. Very eighties indeed!

It reminds me of this song from 1987:


Last edited by Synthio; 21st July 2015 at 11:54 AM..
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
javd007's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthio ➑️
Nice track. Very eighties indeed!

It reminds me of this song from 1987:

GTFO. That song was my inspiration and reference track! Golden hears you have. Im impressed.
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #28
Deleted b598644
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by javd007 ➑️
Hey brother. I strictly make 1980s music full time. I have spend the past 5 years perfecting the sound I like. I try to get my mixes to sound like Peter Browns album SNAP. It is my reference quite often. I love how it sounds and its very 80s. I ONLY use gear from the period of 1980-1986 I have learned a few things along the way. Here is what i use, in no particular order to achieve the sound you are looking for:


1. Reverb- Lexicon 224, or EMT 250.
2. Compression: 1176 or la 2a.
3. Pultec EQP 1A
4. UADs Harrison EQ (LOVE THIS AND ITS MY MAIN EQ)
5. Various Boss Guitar pedals from the early 80s, mainly BF-2
6. Yamaha MV 802 Mixer for consolidating a few synths into TWO OUTPUTS and also warms up the sound a bit
7. My drums are linndrum, DMX, LM-1 etc.. but this is only if you want 80s electronic music
8.Synths I use are the obvious, Juno 60, prophet 5, Ob8, Polysix, dx7 etc...

Mixing:

1. I start with blending the bass and the kick drum. They are usually around the same volume. The 80s didn't have the huge compressed kick
2. The 80s DID have the huge compressed snare. Snare and claps are up front and boosted in the 8k frequency. Apply 224 to your liking here
3. Synths, again 224, I don't Eq 0my synths, i simply mix with volume only. Having a variety of different synths gives each one its own frequency range, and I find they don't need much eq. There is no EQ on the synths during the track I posted here!
4. Guitars-study Nile Rodgers 11
5. EQP 1A on the master and 1176 twin version
7. cut the 450-500k frequency on the master EQ. Boost 8k a tiny bit.(these are very basic guidelines) I use Auratones for this. (Yea thats right i use crappy Auratones to mix)
8. I check AND EVEN MIX on NS10S and Auratones strictly.
9. I playback and check the low end on HR 824s.

This gives me authentic 80s sounding mixes. Here is a track that was mixed this week (sorry for mp3): BTW Crank it up , it hits hard, in an authentic period correct 80s way!!!
nice track but i expected a lot more after that whole explanation
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Herr Weiss's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted b598644 ➑️
nice track but i expected a lot more after that whole explanation
Run-of-the-mill composition that no production wizardly can fix
Old 21st July 2015 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by javd007 ➑️
GTFO. That song was my inspiration and reference track! Golden hears you have. Im impressed.
Yeah, I grew up in the 80's and I still love the music from that era. Especially the early 80's (analog) synthpop, but the late 80's have their moments too.

Similar tracks from around that time:





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