If you were an early-MTV generation teen, you probably have the image of singer Patty Smyth’s stockinged leg etched into your brain, thanks to Scandal’s giddy “Goodbye to You” video. You probably also remember the groovy organ-esque synth solo. Though the video shows keyboardist Benjy King rockin’ on a rare Digital Keyboards Synergy synth, in reality it’s Paul Shaffer (see our March 2010 cover story or click here) manning an Oberheim OB-Xa. Paul has always been a big combo organ fan (he was often photographed playing a Vox Continental), so it’s no surprise that he used his Oberheim to cop a cheesy ’60s organ feel for “Goodbye To You.”
Getting into the Oberheim spirit of things, let’s take Sonic Projects OP-X virtual polysynth for a spin this month — check it out at sonicprojects.ch. You’ll need Native Instruments Reaktor to use it on a Mac, but it’s a standard VST plug-in for PC users. Otherwise, you can create this patch on most twooscillator virtual analog instruments.
- Set both oscillators to sawtooth waves. I’d usually use square waves for transistor organ tones, but saws sounded closer in this instance.
- Set oscillator 2’s pitch interval two octaves above oscillator 1. Detune the oscillators a tiny bit. The detune knob is on the left in OP-X’s Control section.
- Open the filter cutoff frequency all the way.
- Set the filter resonance to about 25% — just enough to thin the tone a bit and make it less “synthy.”
- If you’re using OP-X, turn on the Half and Full buttons for oscillator 2 (but not for noise), located in the Filter section — these emulate an original Oberheim’s primitive mixer. On other synths, set the volumes of each oscillator equally in the mixer section.
- Leave the filter envelope amount at zero.
- Set the Loudness Envelope to a simple on/off organ shape: everything at zero except for sustain, which is full up.
- We’ll need some ’60s vibrato, so set the LFO to a sine wave and the rate relatively fast. In OP-X, make sure the Osc1 and Osc2 buttons in the Modulation section are lit. Now set the depth around a quarter-step (in musical pitch terms) either up or down. The secret is to make the vibrato fast and deep without going so far that it sounds like a synthesizer.
- In OP-X, make sure the Osc button in the Tuner section is clicked; otherwise, pitch will be a little sketchy.
- Dial all the voice pan knobs on the right of the panel to center.
Now, just add a little stereo chorus and reverb in your DAW’s mixer to sweeten the signal. And so I say “Goodbye to You” — until next month!
Online Extras - Audio Examples Now Posted
Here are some notes on my Scandal "Goodbye To You" patch, created with Sonic Projects OP-X Pro virtual analog synth.
"goodbye_one_osc.mp3" One saw wave.
"goodbye_two_osc.mp3" Two saw waves- note that the second oscillator is tuned up two octaves.
"goodbye_two_osc_vib.mp3" Same as above with vibrato added.
"goodbye_two_osc_vib_fx.mp3" Now with some chorus and verb from Audio Damage's Fluid and Waves' Renaissance Verb, respectively.
"goodbye_solo_all.mp3" This is a file of me rocking out on the solo.
"OP-X_goodbye.ssf"is a bank containing the snapshot (i.e. the patch) of the "Goodbye To You" organ patch. Get it at my mirror site here.
IMPORTANT: This bank for use with the Sonic Projects OP-X ensemble running within Native Instruments Reaktor. If you don't have both, it will not work.
Now that we have that out of the way, here's how to load the ensemble.
1) With OP-X running inside Reaktor, click the camera snapshot icon on the left in Reaktor (directly beneath the folder and disk icons). Now select OP-X from the "select instrument" pop-up menu.
2) Gets a little tricky here... OP-X comes loaded with sixteen banks by default; this is the max number of banks that a Reaktor ensemble will hold, so you'll need to delete a bank first (you won't permanently lose anything).
3) Click the pop-up "banks" menu, scroll all the way down and click delete. This will make space for another bank which we'll now create...
4) Click the pop-up "banks" menu again and select "new bank".
4) Click the pop-up "banks" menu again and select load- it'll say the name of the currently loaded bank next to load. When the load dialog comes up, point it to where you downloaded the "OP-X_goodbye.ssf" file, and select it. Now click on the patch name in the list and you'll be in business.
Mitchell Sigman/Keyboard Magazine