Attic 2: THAT Radiohead keyboard sound.

By Soniccouture  |  12.06.2019

Blog-DP80

You often find threads in forums asking about the EP type sound in the Radiohead track ‘Everything in its right place’.
I’ve also always loved this sound, I think a lot of people do, it’s a bit of a classic.

The general consensus seems to be that it’s a Crumar DP-50 – a very rare Italian electric piano analogue synth from the early 80s. A friend who knows Jonny Greenwood tells me he is always looking for spare DP50s, so that seems to clinch it. But there is the small matter of the wide stereo image, and the very clicky sound that can also be heard in the track. Is that part of the EP sound? or a layer?

We couldn’t find a DP-50  – they are like rocking horse shit – but we did find its’ bigger brother, the DP-80. As far as we can tell, it’s the same thing with a bigger keyboard. But information is so scarce on these units.. it’s like they hardly existed.

the DP80 in The Attic2

After lugging the 40kg brute into my studio, making it sound just like Radiohead was not the easiest thing. It really doesn’t make that attacky click. But the filters are really cool, and when you sweep them, it really is just like the part in ‘Everything’ where the filters all open up.

So, I followed the internet wisdom and added another synth – Minitmoog, also in the Attic2, for the clicky attack. With some fine tuning of envelopes and resonance that worked pretty well. But EP part still doesn’t sound quite right – I realised that the whole Radiohead track is tuned down from a conventional 440hz to 437hz – so tuning like the track it certainly gets it closer.

There is also a layered single drone note on the Radiohead track. It kind of sounds like it’s part of the EP sound, but them you realise it’s not, it’s just floating there behind it, glueing it together. It’s a fairly generic sounding filtered sawtooth type synth wave, so I use the ARP omni2, which sounds close.

But the EP still does not sound as ..flat and sustained as the original. So, I think, lets try throwing compression at it ..also maybe that could make a bit more click on the attack. So, I end up with an NI VC160, running into an SSL X-Comp into a UAD Distressor, which seems to flatten and fatten in good measure.

Finally it seems that the harmonics are a little more pronounced and forward on the Radiohead track, so I add SoundToys Decapitator and this embiggens the sound in just the right direction.

Compressors used on the EP sound

Compressors used on the EP sound

 

 

That’s how we ended up with the sound you hear in the demo video. It’s not exactly 100% the same, but I think it’s a close as I can get without an exact list of everything used in the Radiohead track. I appreciate that extra production is needed over and above what is possible in The Attic, but it seems clear that Radiohead and Nigel Godrich must have done quite a bit of processing to the ingredients of the original track too!