It’s the future – this time, for real. Yes, today, the 21st of October 2015, is the destination “future” in the Back to the Future movies. (Photoshopping created some false alarms on other dates.)

And that’s time to look back. Ha, remember 1985? An arcane format called “MIDI” was king. (Kids, ask your parents.) The big synthesizers came from Roland, KORG, Moog, and Yamaha. The most sought-after computer was from a company called Apple. People made electro and dance music hits using mono, analog synthesizers and and digital pads and samples and deep basslines, sought after the creations of the likes of Roger Linn and Dave Smith. You could buy a drum machine like the 808, or a bass synth like the 303, and dance in colorful Nike and Adidas outfits, and …

Okay, that was weird. Uh. Yeah. So, uh, anyway, I guess it’s actually “2015” that hasn’t aged well, not 1985 – but I digress. (Though we do kinda sorta have those hoverboards now.)

Anyway, one thing 2015 does have that would impress 1985 kids of course is Ableton Live and Live plug-ins. And that means some clever person – intrepid Max for Live developer Yehezkel Raz – has taken advantage of 10/21/15 to build a genuinely useful plug-in.

b2fm4l

No, this isn’t just a DeLorean dashboard time machine mock-up that shouts Doc Brown quotes at you. It’s an actual effect.

Set it to 1985, and you get analog VHS-style warble and hiss, like you recorded your Ableton session over some recordings of Knight Rider and Fraggle Rock.

Set it to 1955, and you get that essential warm vinyl sound.

Check the video for more; I’m still waiting on the finished plug-in.

You can pre-order it for any “fair” price. If you’re Marty, that will hopefully be a few bucks to support the developer and make future timelines nice and rosy. If you’re Biff, of course, you’ll just specify “$0” and then threaten to beat me up if I don’t talk to my friends at Ableton about getting you a free NFR license of Live 9 Suite. Nerds.

Enjoy:

http://4live.me/post/131609012488/time-machine

  • trash80

    Pfft. Apple wasn’t MIDI king soon after 1985, with the addition of the Atari ST with it’s dedicated ports, not to mention the Amiga. 1985 was a good year. 🙂

    • I didn’t mean to make the connection between MIDI and Apple. What most people were doing with MIDI in 1985 was presumably connecting hardware to hardware. It was a good year, but it’d be a little further into the 80s before computer MIDI was a widespread application. (so otherwise what you say here, I absolutely agree with)

      I don’t think it was just the Atari’s dedicated MIDI ports that made a difference, however. There were MIDI adapters on other platforms (Roland’s MPU-401 on the PC, which notably helped launch Cakewalk)… I think Atari had the superior OS and apps (echoes of today’s iOS, OS X, and Windows).

      • trash80

        I was only kidding around. Obviously people were using MIDI enabled VCRs controlled by Keytars for music composition in ’85. 😉

        Wait, new project idea. BRB.

        • Kris Keyser

          VCRDuinoboy?

  • trash80

    Pfft. Apple wasn’t MIDI king soon after 1985, with the addition of the Atari ST with it’s dedicated ports, not to mention the Amiga. 1985 was a good year. 🙂

    • I didn’t mean to make the connection between MIDI and Apple. What most people were doing with MIDI in 1985 was presumably connecting hardware to hardware. It was a good year, but it’d be a little further into the 80s before computer MIDI was a widespread application. (so otherwise what you say here, I absolutely agree with)

      I don’t think it was just the Atari’s dedicated MIDI ports that made a difference, however. There were MIDI adapters on other platforms (Roland’s MPU-401 on the PC, which notably helped launch Cakewalk)… I think Atari had the superior OS and apps (echoes of today’s iOS, OS X, and Windows).

      • trash80

        I was only kidding around. Obviously people were using MIDI enabled VCRs controlled by Keytars for music composition in ’85. 😉

        Wait, new project idea. BRB.

        • Kris Keyser

          VCRDuinoboy?

  • trash80

    Pfft. Apple wasn’t MIDI king soon after 1985, with the addition of the Atari ST with it’s dedicated ports, not to mention the Amiga. 1985 was a good year. 🙂

    • I didn’t mean to make the connection between MIDI and Apple. What most people were doing with MIDI in 1985 was presumably connecting hardware to hardware. It was a good year, but it’d be a little further into the 80s before computer MIDI was a widespread application. (so otherwise what you say here, I absolutely agree with)

      I don’t think it was just the Atari’s dedicated MIDI ports that made a difference, however. There were MIDI adapters on other platforms (Roland’s MPU-401 on the PC, which notably helped launch Cakewalk)… I think Atari had the superior OS and apps (echoes of today’s iOS, OS X, and Windows).

      • trash80

        I was only kidding around. Obviously people were using MIDI enabled VCRs controlled by Keytars for music composition in ’85. 😉

        Wait, new project idea. BRB.

        • Kris Keyser

          VCRDuinoboy?

  • wetterberg

    This looks so great… Wait, we’re not doing copyrights anymore? I mean, this one seems blatantly “iffy”, don’t it?

  • wetterberg

    This looks so great… Wait, we’re not doing copyrights anymore? I mean, this one seems blatantly “iffy”, don’t it?

  • wetterberg

    This looks so great… Wait, we’re not doing copyrights anymore? I mean, this one seems blatantly “iffy”, don’t it?

  • synapticflow

    You didn’t mention New Wave. Shame on you.

    • Good point. Heh, and to the point above, does that mean it’s now Old Wave? 😉

      • NRGuest

        There is a certain irony to that the rise of “synthwave” coincides with all this. Although it may be more self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • synapticflow

    You didn’t mention New Wave. Shame on you.

    • Good point. Heh, and to the point above, does that mean it’s now Old Wave? 😉

      • NRGuest

        There is a certain irony to that the rise of “synthwave” coincides with all this. Although it may be more self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • synapticflow

    You didn’t mention New Wave. Shame on you.

    • Good point. Heh, and to the point above, does that mean it’s now Old Wave? 😉

      • NRGuest

        There is a certain irony to that the rise of “synthwave” coincides with all this. Although it may be more self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Richard Ellicott

    “an arcane format called midi” that just still happens to be used all the time, does this guy actually make music?

    obviously he didn’t mention the amiga either, or the Atari, as we’re usually told by these guys it’s all thanks to Apple

    • Folks, chill… in 1985, Apple was still the market leader by revenue – at the time, because of the Apple II (still). Heh, PCs were still called “IBM PC compatibles” well through the 80s. MIDI sequencer use wasn’t really widespread until later, while, yes, the Atari did launch that year, it took some time before studio use would catch on.

      There were only 35,000 (that’s *thousand*) units of the AMIGA. Ha, I was actually joking last week on Twitter that we’d reignite the Amiga platform arguments; I didn’t expect it to actually happen. AMIGA was barely relevant in 1985.

      Anyway, if you really want to talk about Apple, you’ll recall that the sequencers that would define the 80s certainly included Emagic’s – now Logic. I stand by any assertion.

      By the way, in Back to the Future 2 – made in 1989 – a 1985 Macintosh is the only “vintage” computer visible in October 2015.

    • “arcane format called midi”

      Yep, make music, also have a sense of irony and humor, though… sometimes it’s lost in comments.

    • Cesar Pantoja

      you should get your sense of humour checked.

      • Cesar Pantoja

        Out of curiosity, could please anyone who didn’t get the joke reply to this comment? I want to see if it was really that hard to get. For science!

      • Richard Ellicott

        the jokes do this all day long, but only you find them funny

        • Richard Ellicott

          i stand by my opinion that people like you fill the internet up with shit

  • Richard Ellicott

    “an arcane format called midi” that just still happens to be used all the time, does this guy actually make music?

    obviously he didn’t mention the amiga either, or the Atari, as we’re usually told by these guys it’s all thanks to Apple

    • Folks, chill… in 1985, Apple was still the market leader by revenue – at the time, because of the Apple II (still). Heh, PCs were still called “IBM PC compatibles” well through the 80s. MIDI sequencer use wasn’t really widespread until later, while, yes, the Atari did launch that year, it took some time before studio use would catch on.

      There were only 35,000 (that’s *thousand*) units of the AMIGA. Ha, I was actually joking last week on Twitter that we’d reignite the Amiga platform arguments; I didn’t expect it to actually happen. AMIGA was barely relevant in 1985.

      Anyway, if you really want to talk about Apple, you’ll recall that the sequencers that would define the 80s certainly included Emagic’s – now Logic. I stand by any assertion.

      By the way, in Back to the Future 2 – made in 1989 – a 1985 Macintosh is the only “vintage” computer visible in October 2015.

    • “arcane format called midi”

      Yep, make music, also have a sense of irony and humor, though… sometimes it’s lost in comments.

    • Cesar Pantoja

      you should get your sense of humour checked.

      • Cesar Pantoja

        Out of curiosity, could please anyone who didn’t get the joke reply to this comment? I want to see if it was really that hard to get. For science!

      • Richard Ellicott

        the jokes do this all day long, but only you find them funny

        • Richard Ellicott

          i stand by my opinion that people like you fill the internet up with shit

  • Richard Ellicott

    “an arcane format called midi” that just still happens to be used all the time, does this guy actually make music?

    obviously he didn’t mention the amiga either, or the Atari, as we’re usually told by these guys it’s all thanks to Apple

    • Folks, chill… in 1985, Apple was still the market leader by revenue – at the time, because of the Apple II (still). Heh, PCs were still called “IBM PC compatibles” well through the 80s. MIDI sequencer use wasn’t really widespread until later, while, yes, the Atari did launch that year, it took some time before studio use would catch on.

      There were only 35,000 (that’s *thousand*) units of the AMIGA. Ha, I was actually joking last week on Twitter that we’d reignite the Amiga platform arguments; I didn’t expect it to actually happen. AMIGA was barely relevant in 1985.

      Anyway, if you really want to talk about Apple, you’ll recall that the sequencers that would define the 80s certainly included Emagic’s – now Logic. I stand by any assertion.

      By the way, in Back to the Future 2 – made in 1989 – a 1985 Macintosh is the only “vintage” computer visible in October 2015.

    • “arcane format called midi”

      Yep, make music, also have a sense of irony and humor, though… sometimes it’s lost in comments.

    • Cesar Pantoja

      you should get your sense of humour checked.

      • Cesar Pantoja

        Out of curiosity, could please anyone who didn’t get the joke reply to this comment? I want to see if it was really that hard to get. For science!

      • Richard Ellicott

        the jokes do this all day long, but only you find them funny

        • Richard Ellicott

          i stand by my opinion that people like you fill the internet up with shit

  • Freeks

    That plugin does not sound like VHS at all. Probably done by someone who has never used one 😀

    This is how VHS and generation loss really sounds:
    https://youtu.be/mES3CHEnVyI

    • Well, the best way to do VHS generation loss is to actually record your music onto VHS 🙂 I’ve never heard a convincing emulation, have you?

    • Martin Wheeler

      that is quite beautiful

  • Freeks

    That plugin does not sound like VHS at all. Probably done by someone who has never used one 😀

    This is how VHS and generation loss really sounds:
    https://youtu.be/mES3CHEnVyI

    • Well, the best way to do VHS generation loss is to actually record your music onto VHS 🙂 I’ve never heard a convincing emulation, have you?

    • Martin Wheeler

      that is quite beautiful

  • Freeks

    That plugin does not sound like VHS at all. Probably done by someone who has never used one 😀

    This is how VHS and generation loss really sounds:
    https://youtu.be/mES3CHEnVyI

    • Well, the best way to do VHS generation loss is to actually record your music onto VHS 🙂 I’ve never heard a convincing emulation, have you?

    • Martin Wheeler

      that is quite beautiful