Effectology Episode 13: Pink Floyd Synth Effects
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Posted: 24 February 2010 11:17 AM

Effectology
Episode 13: Pink Floyd Synth Effects

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPZrAPfOwn0

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Posted: 24 February 2010 11:19 AM | Link to this reply (#1)

Effectology
Episode 13: Pink Floyd Synth Effects

In this episode we explore how to produce synthesizer sounds and effects from the classic Pink Floyd recording “Welcome To The Machine.” The original recording from the 1975 album “Wish You Were Here” used an EMS VCS 3, ARP String Ensemble and Mini-Moog synthesizers.

“It’s very much a made-up-in-the-studio thing which was all built up from a basic throbbing made on a VCS 3, with a one repeat echo used so that each ‘boom’ is followed by an echo repeat to give the throb. With a number like that, you don’t start off with a regular concept of group structure or anything, and there’s no backing track either. Really it is just a studio proposition where we’re using tape for its own ends—a form of collage using sound.”
-David Gilmour, 1975, WYWH Songbook

We started by creating an atmospheric drone using the Cathedral reverb in the infinite mode. The guitar’s low E string was tuned very low and picked. After the initial attack had faded, the sound was frozen. The end result was a low, airy humming sound.

Buzzing motor sounds were created by holding a cordless Norelco electric shaver next to the guitar pickups. The sound was picked up and processed by a Big Muff fuzz and a Octave Multiplexer. The resulting sound was recorded into a Stereo Memory Man in the loop mode. The delay knob was used in playback to change the pitches.

 

The throbbing bass was done using a Big Muff fuzz and a POG2 set for the octave below. The filter was set in the high resonance position and the filter was played in rhythm manually.

 

The steam sounds and the pulsing rhythm was produced by using the noise from a Big Muff fuzz cranked up to 10. With nothing connected to the unit, all we hear is circuit noise or what’s called “thermal noise.” This noise is very close to the sound of a synthesizer’s white noise.

To operate the Big Muff without a chord plugged in I used a dummy plug. This turns the Big Muff on and allows you just to hear its internal noise at the output.

For the pulsing rhythm I boosted the noise even higher by using a LPB1 after the fuzz.

 


The solo sound was produced by the chain below.


Using 1/4 to XLR adapters I was able to plug the guitar into the V256 Vocorder which normally uses XLR microphone cable connectors.



In the transposition mode I found a glide effect I have never heard before in a guitar pedal.  It glides the pitches of the guitar smoothly from one to another, just like the portamento effect on a Moog synthesizer. It was perfect for this sound as Pink Floyd used a Mini Moog synthesizer for the solo sound.

The V256 was connected to a MicroSynth set for a multi-octave sound.

Next in line was the Clone Theory set for a classic synth vibrato effect and switched on at the end of phrases.


Last in the chain was a Stereo Memory Man set for a single delay. Using a single delay gave the sound a big echo without clouding up the performance with multiple repeats.

 


The final sound in the video emulated the sound of a generator slowing down, or vari-speed tape recorder. I found a similar sound by holding a telephone receiver next to the guitar pickup.

A Soul Preacher compressor was used to boost the telephone signal. (An LPB-1 booster would work as well.)

The telephone dial tone was picked up and recorded into a Stereo Memory Man where on playback I changed the pitch using the delay knob.



I recorded this clip using a clean amp simulator direct into the computer. No guitar amps were used. If you are using a guitar amp, set it for a very clean, flat or neutral sound when using the settings above.

Thanks for listening!
Bill Ruppert
=

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Posted: 24 February 2010 12:13 PM | Link to this reply (#2)

Wow
They just get better and better.
Well done Bill

Les Paul/Gretsch g5120/Strat/Tele
TC Polytune
EHX Micro QTron
EHX Screaming Bird
EHX LPB 1
EHX Satisfaction Fuzz
EHX Soul Food
EHX OD Glove
EHX Freeze
EHX Switchblade +
EHX Germanium OD
EHX POG 2
EHX Bass Big Muff
EHX Stereo Electric Mistress
EHX Stereo Pulsar
EHX Memory Man w/Hazarai
EHX Holy Stain
VOX AC15 C1

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Posted: 24 February 2010 02:54 PM | Link to this reply (#3)

Sounds awesome Bill!

If you could spare some time, could you do a clip of just the portamento effect on guitar with some single note parts and then maybe play some chords as well (I’m aware the latter will probably glitch, but regardless, I’m interested to hear how it sounds)

- Julian

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Posted: 24 February 2010 04:17 PM | Link to this reply (#4)

as much has i love Pink Floyd… well there’s no other way than astonishment smile Cool

(but seriously… i’d kill for some flute sounds!)

Yamaha 302S -> Crybaby -> Electronic Orange Moon Face -> EHX Stereo Polyphase -> Catalinbread DLS -> F5 Tap Tremolo -> Carl Martin Red Repeat -> EHX SMMH -> George Dennis Mighty Mouse 1x12
http://www.soundclick.com/apisanteportas
I’m not really sure what the hell is going on

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Posted: 24 February 2010 06:36 PM | Link to this reply (#5)

Seriously awesome. Keep ‘em coming!

:love:

Gibson SG
EHX LPB1
EHX Big Muff Pi w/ Tone Wicker
Marshall DSL50 Half Stack

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Posted: 25 February 2010 03:55 AM | Link to this reply (#6)

Pedals I wouldn’t of bought if it wasn’t for Bill:
Micro Synth

Pedals I’m thinking of buying that I wouldn’t of if it wasn’t for Bill:
V256
Pog2

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Posted: 25 February 2010 06:00 AM | Link to this reply (#7)

My mind has been officially blown!

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Posted: 25 February 2010 10:07 AM | Link to this reply (#8)

Thanks everybody!!!
Bill Ruppert

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Posted: 25 February 2010 10:33 PM | Link to this reply (#9)

Bill, that’s just great!  Smiling from ear to ear here like a big dummy since I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan and seeing you pull out the electric razor and watching you go to town, just great!  I love it.

I think David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Nick Mason (remaining living members of the band) should see the video just to see what you can do.

The portamento parts - beautiful. 

I keep thinking “what is he going to do NEXT?”

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Posted: 26 February 2010 03:37 PM | Link to this reply (#10)

I always think that you will soon run out of little tricks, but that electric shaver idea is incredible. You’re the Houdini of effect pedals.

Music for grocery stores.

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Posted: 26 February 2010 05:32 PM | Link to this reply (#11)

Fan-bloddy-tastic!
Bill, you’re a genius, the telephone trick is fantastic!

My Band: The Q
My Blog: This Charming Saucepan

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Posted: 26 February 2010 05:57 PM | Link to this reply (#12)

Thanks Julian!
Right now I am low on time so I cant put any samples up.
The V256 is mono when it does the portamento effect and stops at chords as it needs to see the pitch its working with.
As for glithy stuff I would have to go back and see if the scrambling was cool or not.
Bill

julian - 24 February 2010 08:54 PM

Sounds awesome Bill!

If you could spare some time, could you do a clip of just the portamento effect on guitar with some single note parts and then maybe play some chords as well (I’m aware the latter will probably glitch, but regardless, I’m interested to hear how it sounds)

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Posted: 26 February 2010 09:23 PM | Link to this reply (#13)

the shaver near the pickups has been done many times before, just differently, there was a band in the 70’s or80’s that used a hand drill to do the same thing, i think they actualy used a chainsaw once too!

its just the rotating electro magnetic motor that the pickups are picking up. ive done it before with devises and accidentally as well, being to close to other equipment.

sum one online, i think Beavis Audio even shows you how to do it with a tiny modified cell phone or pager vibrating motor

current pedalboard setup (changes frequently!)

Dunlop CAE wah
T.C. Electronics Polytune Mini
MXR M87 bass compressor
EH Stereo Talking Machine
Phosphene Audio 976-KVLT
Mesa Boogie Throttle Box
El Ray Lucha Fuzz
Wren & Cuff Box of War
Gig-FX Chopper
Source Audio Programmable EQ
Blackout Effectors Whetstone Phaser
EH Polychorus (XO)
Zoom MS-50G
EH Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai

MXR MS403 CAE power system

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Posted: 26 February 2010 09:39 PM | Link to this reply (#14)

Unreal. Great stuff!  :metal:

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Posted: 27 February 2010 03:43 PM | Link to this reply (#15)

Well man. This has been you’re 13th effectology contribution. But it
didn’t bring you bad luck. Contribution? I mean this little piece of
art in Audio. Just Amazing, Whe often forget all the incredible, psychedelic
things pink floys did back then. And we honor them with this fine work.

Until nxt time.
:D

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