Video: S U R V I V E Explores Four Vintage Synths

Few would have predicted that a synth band with no vocals would achieve national prominence and see two of its members secure a Grammy nomination in this day and age, but the Austin, Texas synth quartet S U R V I V E has taken up that mantle.

The longtime underground favorite and Holodeck Records stalwart made waves last year when its members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein composed the score for the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things.

Using vintage synths and modern sensibilities to update the style of horror movie composers like John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi, the band turned a lot of viewers on to even eighth-note arpeggiator work and subtle filter fiddling.

We caught up with S U R V I V E shortly before Netflix announced the second season of Stranger Things. Lucky for us, we got to watch them jam on some vintage synthesizers and talk about the features they tweak to achieve a throwback sound that continues to haunt. These synths include:

Sequential Circuits Prophet–5

The first synthesizer that Dave Smith designed also became the the first mass–produced poly synth. With its ability to save presets and famous Curtis filter, the Prophet 5 became a standby in ‘80s studios.

Korg Mono/Poly

This has long been an insider favorite poly synth, thanks in part to its distinctive arpeggiator. As vintage analog synths have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, this once underloved synth has found many a fan for its easy tweakability and flexible sounds.

Roland Juno-6

Roland created one of the most wildly popular poly synths with its Juno 6. The Japanese company’s keyboards have driven this century’s vintage synth craze thanks to their simple programmability and powerful arpeggiators.

Roland TR-707

This keyboard–free synthesizer is most famous for its bass tones squelchy resonant filter. The 707 is an essential tool for a variety of disparate genres, from acid house to UK rave to synthwave.

Minimoog Model D

You will also notice a Minimoog Model D in the background, a newly reissued monosynth by the keyboard synth innovator, Moog. The new Model D subtlety updates the design of the original by way of velocity sensitivity and MIDI connectivity while eschewing digital integration that allows the Minimoog Voyager to store presets.

A few months back we broke the various synth sounds that Dixon and Stein used while composing the Stranger Things soundtrack.


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