Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Synths- Love 'em or Hate 'em?

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good_old_fashioned_loverboy1986 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 May 05, 09:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I am sure that I am not the only Queen Fan to say that if it was a choice between listening to their work from the 70's and from the 80's I would go 70's every time!

The thing that spoils later work for me is the use of synths in the songs. I much prefer the piano, bass, drums, guitar, vocals set as i feel that the use of synths can make musicians lazy because it is too easy to rely on them. Would the vocal parts of Bo Rhap been aas impressive if they were done by a synthesiser?

Plus as a sort of pianist who can't sing there wouldn't be a part for me! (somewhat selfish motive i know)

rachael mae. user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 30 May 05, 09:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well, they don't bug me that much, but I much prefer non-synthesizer music...

Fenderek user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 May 05, 09:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

hate'em, with few exeptions- Dream Theater, Faith No More, prog rock in general... But in pop... sorry... Hate'em...

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Posted: 30 May 05, 10:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Fenderek-

Dream Theater??
C'mon, I thought you liked good music??

Seriously though, I did a guitar clinic with Petrucci, the guys technical ability is astounding, but his playing bores me to death.

He asked me if I wanted him to sign one of his latest cds for me.... I told him, "No, I'll take one of your Rock disipline instructionals instead" (which he signed).

He then said "I bet you already have the cd huh?"

I said ..."uhh, yeah".

Cool, nice guy... I wouldn't walk across the street to see his band play though.




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Posted: 30 May 05, 11:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't care to much for synthies, synthies can't buy me love.

Mellotron's are ok in my book *SFF*


...this kettle is boiling over...

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...one prawn...one shrimp...one clam...one chicken!
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Posted: 30 May 05, 12:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

> the use of synths can make musicians lazy because it is too easy to rely on them

Depends on the situation

> Would the vocal parts of Bo Rhap been aas impressive if they were done by a synthesiser?

They would be way more impressive. Let me tell you why: in 1975 synth technology was still in embryos. To program one of those primitive moogs and make it say "ah" sounding like a human would be an Everest for any semi-pro sound engineer, let alone people like Fred, John, Brian or Rog who clearly don't know very much about synths.

Hence, to produce a word would be much a bigger achievement. Now, instead of a word, many words ... an entire section... forget about it.


John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
good_old_fashioned_loverboy1986 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 May 05, 13:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hence, to produce a word would be much a bigger achievement. Now, instead of a word, many words ... an entire section... forget about it

Yes i see your point that as far as technological advancement but freddie's harmonizing had to be so tight to produce those cascading 'magnifico's that took so much work to produce. As contrary to popular belief singers cannot just harmonise with themselves you've still got to hit the right note whereas to do it on a keyboard synth for example would only have taken five note glissandos.

That's the point i'm trying to make.

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Posted: 30 May 05, 13:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Depends on thwe music. Synths are a musical instrument dependant on the music and the musician playing them. I like Queen 1 and Innuendo the same. One with Synths and one without but both utilizing excellent composition and musicianship.
Queen had some synth moments that didn't work for me but most of their material holds up based on songwriting and musical skill.

Adam Baboolal user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 30 May 05, 15:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

good_old_fashioned_loverboy1986 wrote:

Hence, to produce a word would be much a bigger achievement. Now, instead of a word, many words ... an entire section... forget about it

Yes i see your point that as far as technological advancement but freddie's harmonizing had to be so tight to produce those cascading 'magnifico's that took so much work to produce. As contrary to popular belief singers cannot just harmonise with themselves you've still got to hit the right note whereas to do it on a keyboard synth for example would only have taken five note glissandos.

That's the point i'm trying to make.


Sorry, but Queen and pretty much any respectable musician wouldn't do that. If they (musicians in general) have the vocal chops and the musical ideas, they'll always try and make it happen with their own vocal abilities. And yes, if it fails they'll want to make it happen, somehow.

Now, because I'm not fully versed in creating the correct harmonies with my voice, my recent ideas could be mapped out with a vocal program on my computer. I could even use some of those to further enhance my vocal sound, too. Is that wrong? I certainly don't think so.

My thoughts are, if it sounds good and works, what's the problem? Synths are hugely underated because of stereotypical sounds. Just listen to all the hip-hop/dance/pop music at the moment!

Peace,
Adam.

EDIT: Teleman hits it on the head with his post. I can enjoy the synthier stuff in the same way as the no synths period. Was It All Worth It...

Fenderek user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 30 May 05, 15:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You know what's the pronblem with synths, especially in 80s? There was everyday something new, something that needed to be (?) used- forgetting one thing. The new technoilogy was so quickly developed that something new the very next week sounded dated and pretty shitty... That's exactly why those who were using the synths without specific idea- failed. That's why those dated so badly- they werE like the dress in a waredrobe; once a beutiful creation- the very next day unfashionable outfit... The albums from 80s dated terribly- why is it that some stuff from 70s still sounds so fresh and vibrant, whereas 80s sound is just pure palstic...? There was simply too many "new" things to try, something trendy but... What's better than a guitar, bass, drums and vocals? Add a piano if you want and you can have a great sound, almost timeless... Take the piano, put guitar lower in the mix, layer it with synths and you'll get maybe aquick hit but... it's not gonna sound so imressive in 10 years... That's MHO anyway...

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Posted: 30 May 05, 15:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

If was in a position to remove all synths from any Queen record I'd be happy to do so! And I bet they all would sound much better without those crappy keyboard noises. They didn't need them in the 70s (and hardly any of their early songs sound dated)- they could have easily done without them in later years. To be honest, I can hardly bear listening to some of my favourite band's songs because of those sounds! (So guys, give me a chance ...)

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Posted: 30 May 05, 16:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Very true Fenderek. It's why synths have never stood the test of time. They're all flavour of the moment type of things. I mean really, what did the Oberheim OB-8 or whatever it was add musically to The Game? Nothing. A bit of sound effects here and there. My favourite synth sound is the Yes sound from Owner of a Lonely Heart. 10,000 people used (Roger on 'Klling Time', Van Halen on 'Outside' to name a few) that 'orchestral hit' sound and it became yesterday's sound. Plus as Brian said in an article I recently read, he did orchestrations instead of having someone playing a keyboard as you have to make the notes you want on a guitar, not having someone make a chord that can't approximate the feel and emotion that a guitar can.

Finally, save for early Genesis, Yes and a few others, no band has a real keyboard sound. The Human League, Scritti Politti, the Scorpions and Johnny Cash could all use the same machine, and it'll invariably sound the same. Those people couldn't approximate Brian's guitar sound in a million years. They're decision to become a keyboard dominant band helped Queen stay together creatively, but it marked the end of their best songwriting period.


You know, good times are now.
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Posted: 30 May 05, 16:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The problem with synths on Queen was that they put an end to Freddie's piano sound, one of the band's trademarks during the 70s.

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Posted: 30 May 05, 16:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As far as not liking the 80's stuff aint really true because with A Kind Of Magic we have a orchestra. But in general I prefer the 70's stuff. I think that using synths as appose to instuments in crap, however as a comparison when I listen to say The Killers they use allot of synths to make non-human sounds which I think is different.


James

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Posted: 30 May 05, 17:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Seems like so many people have forgotten that some of the greatest bands in the world have used synths, and in some of them like Pink Floyd and Genesis it was so common that it was a trademark.

Whether it's progressive rock from the 70s, or new wave from the 80s, the use of synths on those were sounds that became milestones of an era. Both have well stood the test of time, and both are respectable in their own terms. It's all a matter of taste.

When Queen decided to use synths they were new to it, and weren't exactly sure on how to do it properly. Most people would agree that the use on synths on "Play The Game" nearly ruined the song (IMO thanks to Mack), but it worked wonderfully on the intro for "The Show Must Go On".


[QUOTE][QUOTENAME]Brandon wrote: [/QUOTENAME]... and now the "best you can offer is Mr. Jingles? HA! He's... just pathetic.[/QUOTE]
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Posted: 30 May 05, 17:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree that when they're used right, they sound great! The synths on One Vision, Who Wants To Live Forever and The Show Must Go On fit perfectly, but Play The Game didn't have as good a sound, even if it was one of their earlier tries.


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Posted: 30 May 05, 17:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Synths werent a great fit for Queen in my opinion. I dont know if I should blame Mack, but I do. Prince is a master of synth riffs in my opinion. They work for him, back in the day with Dr. Finkon the keyboards on the odd song here and there (like Head and Dirty Mind) are great. Now that's funky music I dont know what the hell the first side of Hot Space is compared to that real funk/rock.

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Posted: 30 May 05, 22:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hate them for Queen
Love them for Rush


Well here's my counter-offer... do I have to kill you? What if I were just to kick the ever loving shit out of you?
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Posted: 31 May 05, 03:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

can see where the liking synth side is coming from but i do agree that earlier songs like keep yourself alive just sound so fresh in comparison with later ones like invisible man. unfair comparison maybe but it does. for those 'i'm the invisible man (dumph)' i'd much prefer to have heard Freddie's 'super little grand'.

It's not that i'm anti synth rather that they should not be used in replacement to more conventional instruments rather as little tasters to the song.

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Posted: 31 May 05, 04:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I like the old analog synths, like the ARP 2600 and the Minimoog. They have a warmth about them.

Let's also not forget the world's first sampler:
The Melotron.

I'm down with those.