How did DnB get produced pre 'in the box era' ?

Production | Jan 10, 2017

  1. zeroec likes this.

    VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    27 posts
    Since Sep 26, 2011
    Morning all,

    This is something I'd really like to know as I'm hoping to replicate it to get that 'vintage sound' . I've always been an 'in the box' producer I don't own any hardware apart from my midi keyboard.

    Just wondering if anyone here could briefly explain how DnB was made before it was possible for the PC to do everything?

    Some of the things that bother me are more around processing, pretty sure nowadays stuff is processed considerably more than say 15 years ago, especially bass noises, were they splitting it into three frequency bands of low, mids and highs and putting different FX on each or was it as simple as say seperating the sub part of the bass and just distorting the mids and highs with say a guitar pedal or similar ? Was group processing even available back then or is that something that only modern DAW's were capable of ?

    Drums ?

    Sequencing ?

    Mixing ?


    I appreciate any input, apologies if I've come across a bit vague I just didn't want to make a 5000 word essay as I could bang on about this all day!!
    zeroec likes this.
  2. luthatron \o/

    luthatron

    luthatron \o/

    53,674 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
    A powerful sampler will do most of it tbh.

    It's a real ballache though.
  3. sicduk likes this.

    Tesse_9 A Place in the Sun

    Tesse_9

    Tesse_9 A Place in the Sun

    296 posts
    Since Jan 3, 2017





    Drum circles ...
    sicduk likes this.
  4. VACANT MIND likes this.

    Noise-Signal Diphallic Dude

    Noise-Signal

    Noise-Signal Diphallic Dude

    2,642 posts
    Since Apr 2, 2014
    If you had a decent computer you did the midi sequencing on it. Good samplers had very similar tool seets for editing audio, I bought an emu 6400 and you can chop and slice breaks and drums in it. Often in dnb you recorded from a synth for basslines and mangled it in the sampler. Mixing often occurred on an outboard mixer. Besides the physicality of hardware, many of the techniques where the same. Often you worked with less channels though because you where limited to what your mixer and synths could output.
    VACANT MIND likes this.
  5. ChewyJetpack Dancefloor geometry innovator

    ChewyJetpack

    ChewyJetpack Dancefloor geometry innovator

    2,558 posts
    Since Feb 18, 2014
    hardware synths, samplers, basic sequencers and analogue mixing desks. much easier to emulate this sound now just by using the same techniques inside the box. just get a basic analogue emulated synth plugin (OBXD or something), basic sampler plugin (grace vst is good), then some decent analogue style saturation/distortion/verbs etc.
  6. luthatron likes this.

    Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    Roachie

    Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    6,097 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2008
    Usually a sampler, mixing desk and a sequencer of some sort (atari st/alesis or sutin).

    Of course you also had people making whole tunes on old tracker programmes on the amiga etc.

    I'm putting together an oldskool set up atm for fun/almost mid life crisis project. Check this thread about it, some interesting bits in there... :twothumbs:

    https://www.dogsonacid.com/threads/am-i-crazy-going-oldskool.782544/
    luthatron likes this.
  7. MrBaldwig, snakepiece and luthatron like this.

    mundos In forest.

    mundos

    mundos In forest.

    8,540 posts
    Since Aug 31, 2006
    In more, smaller boxes.
    MrBaldwig, snakepiece and luthatron like this.
  8. VACANT MIND and luthatron like this.

    mundos In forest.

    mundos

    mundos In forest.

    8,540 posts
    Since Aug 31, 2006
    Seriously though, if you use one of those old emu samplers the sound from it is remarkably 'old dnb' without even doing much to it. However if you can be fucked with using one you're a lot more patient than me.
    VACANT MIND and luthatron like this.
  9. luthatron \o/

    luthatron

    luthatron \o/

    53,674 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
    yeah they do just sound amazing.
  10. VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    27 posts
    Since Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks for the replies.

    Right, so a lot of you are edging towards the EMU 6400 Ultra or similar being the key to that sound. I'm off to the EMU mega thread to see how I'd wire it up.

    Guessing I need to set up an audio loop if that makes sense

    PC DAW > into a mixing desk > mixing desk channel fed into input of sampler > do 'magic stuff' in sampler and output that back into mixing desk > mixing desk output sent to external soundcard which is then sent back into PC DAW.
  11. VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    27 posts
    Since Sep 26, 2011
    One more question but it's more about mixing. Do you think EQ'ing was simply a case of notches and boosts back then rather then say frequency sidechaining which in my head seems only possible with software?

    Guessing they had multiband hardware compressors and hardware limiters?
  12. VACANT MIND likes this.

    Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    Roachie

    Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    6,097 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2008
    They did... but I'm thinking most 'bedroom' producers had an incredibly basic setup. Eqs on the desk, maybe a multifx unit or guitar pedals. Cheap behringer units etc... Hardware was real expensive back then.
    VACANT MIND likes this.
  13. VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    VACANT MIND

    27 posts
    Since Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks Roachie

    Would love to know how say Cause4Concern made their music back then I'm talking tunes like Eurotrash, Blindside, Peepshow, Bermuda etc
  14. freeradical8 likes this.

    Venkmon GAK 4

    Venkmon

    Venkmon GAK 4

    8,449 posts
    Since Jan 9, 2007

    Decent software was around when those tunes were made tbh
    freeradical8 likes this.
  15. alkor

    alkor

    alkor

    834 posts
    Since Mar 3, 2002
    DATs

    lol
  16. mistabishi INACTIVE ACCOUNT

    mistabishi

    mistabishi INACTIVE ACCOUNT

    9,930 posts
    Since Feb 10, 2002
    There is nothing you can do today with audio that you couldn't do 30 years ago.
    The only difference is that it's available to everyone instead of a handful of people.
  17. luthatron likes this.

    Alfred Henchcock (.)(.)

    Alfred Henchcock

    Alfred Henchcock (.)(.)

    1,247 posts
    Since Oct 14, 2009
    While I loved the sound of my Emu, the thought of all the wires, dodgy ZIP drives, crashes, SCSI HELL and the horrific expense of everything (I'm, pretty sure even Zip disks themselves were fifty quid each at one point) makes me feel bad and funny when I think about it.

    But yeah, OP: Cakewalk/Cubase, Emu sampler, Zoom FX Unit, maybe one or two external synths (I had a Novation Super Bass Station) and some shitty hiss riddled Behringer mixer. Oh yeah, and 90s drum and bass was objectively "less complicated" than it is now.
    luthatron likes this.
  18. Rob NCR

    Rob NCR

    Rob NCR

    469 posts
    Since Nov 5, 2015
    old Skool setup

    Spirit Folio analogue desk
    Spirit absolute zero studio monitors
    Samson solid state amp
    Emu ESI 4000 sampler
    Amiga 1200
    8 bit sampler
    Korg X5D
    Roland jv 1080
    Roland jv-1010 with expansion boards. Dance, Vintage and Techno
    Boss DR-505 drum machine
    Novation super bass station
    Phillips cd recorder external

    then went to logic audio pc
    Now Reaper

    Lots of midi cables
  19. Claude601

    Claude601

    Claude601

    19,438 posts
    Since Jun 27, 2006
    Mostly with talent that a 14 year old Slovak using a cracked copy of reason can't
  20. R0llin

    R0llin

    R0llin

    741 posts
    Since Mar 6, 2016
    I don't think I could go back to floppy, scsi or zip - being able to retro fit sd cards, looks like it could ease the pain.

    I liked all the wires though!
  21. luthatron \o/

    luthatron

    luthatron \o/

    53,674 posts
    Since Feb 3, 2004
    Did anyone use cubase when VSTs weren't really a thing and it had a couple of synths? Amazing how hard it was

    yeah after using hardware i swore off it for a while.

    Now I do use hardware, but only as a sound source so it's not all linked up, just play things into computer and that's it.
  22. Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    Roachie

    Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    6,097 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2008
    That old setup sounds dope!! I'm looking at getting a jv 1080, they're pretty cheap on ebay atm but the expansions are hard to come by. Would you recommend one? Are the stock presets all cool or are the expansions a necessity?
  23. Roachie likes this.

    Rob NCR

    Rob NCR

    Rob NCR

    469 posts
    Since Nov 5, 2015
    Thanks

    The Vintage board is good, the techno board is better. The dance board was discontinued for copyright reasons.

    The Jv-1010 is nice. it has the session`s board installed.
    i wanted a jd 990. you can use the jv boards in them

    pop over to http://www.synthmania.com/sr-jv80-04.htm
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
    Roachie likes this.
  24. luthatron likes this.

    Claude601

    Claude601

    Claude601

    19,438 posts
    Since Jun 27, 2006
    Yeah and they sounded awful!
    luthatron likes this.
  25. R0llin

    R0llin

    R0llin

    741 posts
    Since Mar 6, 2016
    I had a jv1080 for a few months bitd, and the expansions made a difference. Some expansions had just a few usable oldskool sounds and some had a lot.

    I forget which cards we (studio was joint investment with a friend and the 1080 was his) had, sorry.
  26. Rob NCR

    Rob NCR

    Rob NCR

    469 posts
    Since Nov 5, 2015
    great pads with the jv series.

    Vintage card has the "Bells of dawn" patch
    lots of old skool pads and some deep bass sounds.

    Techno has a set of 909 kits and more. Hip hop leads and acid sounds. Some great pads.
    Dance board has rap vocals, rap breakbeats and some rave sounds.

    I now record the output of everything external straight into my sound card.
    The DAC is better on my card than the JV 1010

    Don't use the amiga anymore.
    Just the pc with Reaper on xp
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  27. Alfred Henchcock (.)(.)

    Alfred Henchcock

    Alfred Henchcock (.)(.)

    1,247 posts
    Since Oct 14, 2009
    I think I binned Cubase in favour of Cakewalk. Weirdly, when I had all that hardware I was still doing stuff in Fasttracker sometimes as well. That makes no logical sense at all. I do remember not being very productive with the Emu etc. Just spent ages smoking big zoots and doing mad reverby filter sweeps, then sticking more delay on it. Every single day of my life.
  28. alien_brain and milleborne like this.

    Ray Dalio

    Ray Dalio

    Ray Dalio

    2,996 posts
    Since Aug 1, 2016
    EMU e6400 Classic (the old ones anyway).

    If I was going to make music like 90s Dillinja, Photek, Ed Rush and Optical, it would be way easier on an old Emu + desk than in a computer, just because the sound is already there.

    The big difference with the right hardware is that you never needed more than desk EQ and a reverb .. If I want half-way passable distortion in Ableton, I probably need to use about 10 plugins .. Other big difference is the way you work .. Cos you've got more flexibility today, people are less critical about the sounds they use .. So 50% of what made h/w sound good was that you knew you needed to get the sounds right at the source.
    alien_brain and milleborne like this.
  29. milleborne likes this.

    Dreaddd Echo machine operator

    Dreaddd

    Dreaddd Echo machine operator

    121 posts
    Since Apr 9, 2007
    my setup while i was doing some tracks that ended up on a self released CD EP (around 98-99) was basically Akai S950, Alpha Juno 1 , Bass Station Rack and Roland D110, all controlled via MIDI by a prehistoric Pentium with -i think- a whopping 64 Mega RAM, with Cubase GS running on it (less than one mega for the whole program in a folder,,)..all routed through a Mackie 16 channel mixer and a couple of multi FX to eventually rerecord the stuff on DAT, importing it on the sampler and adding it to the main sample as variation in the arrangement...and when i had to mixdown i had to do it live of course , putting echoes and reverb on the fly, while recording on DAT...several takes and then (if really really needed since it was a pain in the arse in terms of HOURS ) slice sections of audio from the takes to put together the final master
    milleborne likes this.
  30. VACANT MIND likes this.

    misterforensics

    misterforensics

    misterforensics

    592 posts
    Since Aug 13, 2003
    Don't think much got side chained. Bass was bass and drums sat on top.
    VACANT MIND likes this.
Production