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    French Brass/Horn Stab Synth

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    To begin with, I haven't found any threads, in this subforum, relating to this particular sound. So, I thought I'd start my own.

    It's a commonly used synthesizer preset/instrument in the french electronic scene, which I suspect originated in the 70's disco/synth-pop and funk genres. It is usually only used for chords. Some varying examples of more recent use can be found here:

    Youtube Links:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABx4oqeYiIw (Club Soda by Thomas Bangalter)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owD3d1S0LFg (Long Distance Call by Phoenix)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ZfORfm_2Y (Short Circuit by Daft Punk)

    And, of course, my own attempts at recreating this synth,
    https://soundcloud.com/smokazzi/oslo-by-night
    https://soundcloud.com/smokazzi/salmons-upstream

    which should give a pretty good idea of what sound I'm talking about.

    It's a bit difficult to describe in words, but it has that kind of wah-wah, flanged phasy feel, but with a much sharper sound, and with strong emphasis on either low/high frequency cutoff as the amplitude fades in or out. In my opinion, it has a very distinct french house/ lounge feel in today's music, and is more often that not, used together with block chords or in circle (never-ending) chord progressions. It is almost always played off-beat as well.

    As for the oscillator basis, i suspect it is closest to the saw wave, but in presets such as for the CS-80v synthesizer or Sylenth1 it is commonly found under either Brass/Horn instruments or stab synths. Nevertheless, these presets usually fall short of the real crisp funky sound.

    Does anyone have any experience in recreating this sound? In particular, I'm looking for something close to what is heard in Club Soda or in Long Distance Call, perhaps you know what equipment was used?

    Please share your experience, your resources and how-to's with me

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    Re: French Brass/Horn Stab Synth

    1) you just gained yourself another soundcloud follow (me)
    2)I'm really happy you started this thread as I've been after this sound for ahwile too.

    I can't speak much on the exact how-to's of the sound but I know that alot of the "bangalter" sound comes from simple synths and samples and drum machines ran through old samplers that gave it a certain "grit" sound (actually because of the low quality and sample rates)

    For club soda in particular I feel like you could get that sound by just adjusting the attack. I messed around w syltenth one like you suggested, and i got a bit of the desired effect by simply making sure the attack on both chanels was set around 8.

    Not much of a how to but it may help!

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    Re: French Brass/Horn Stab Synth

    This is one of the many versions of the famous/common synth brass sound.

    A little history: The sound was made famous by synths such as the Yamaha CS-80, the Roland Jupiter 6, it's big brother the Jupiter 8, and it's rival the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. The Prophet is more associated with the type of brass sounds you guys are describing. A good example of Jupiter Brass are the hits from "Thriller", which were combined with real brass played live. You can't hear it too well at first, but after the first brass hit comes in, you can hear the synth's filter fade out.


    As for the Prophet, here's an example of the sound you're looking for:



    (first patch around 0:16)


    Here's how to make such a sound:

    You'll need two oscillators, both saw, both detuned so one is higher and one is lower, but not by too much (maybe 5-7 each, depending on how wide you want the sound). Now put a low-pass filter on them, let the filter have a sweeping attack (usually by bringing the "attack" parameter up) and an equally as long/short decay. You can mess with these parameters as well as the sustain and release if you need to.


    Some tips for such sounds:

    If I have two oscillators, I keep them both detuned, but bring one of them down a whole octave/12 semitones to add some depth to the sound.


    CHORUS. That's the ultimate key to brass width. Rarely do you hear brass synth sounds without a chorus widening it up.

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    Re: French Brass/Horn Stab Synth

    Can't add something to what StrangerThanFiction already has said. The attack on the enveloppe is a key element to the way that sounds feel. Also listen to 'J'ai Claque la porte' by Chromeo. Thats a nice example of how it should sound

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