What instruments and samples did MJ use in his songs?

SRT99

Proud Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
23
Points
3
I've always tried to wonder and figure out what types of synthesizers, drum machines, non-digital instruments, and samples were used on all of MJ's albums. We seem to have little information on this already, and would like to see what knowledge you guys have on what he used.

Of course, we know that he used stuff like a Minimoog and Linn drums on the Thriller album, the Yamaha DX7 on the Bad album, and many different types of drums samples and whatnot on the Dangerous, History, BOTDF, and Invincible albums. But I would like to know exactly what he used so to get a better knowledge and maybe make some tracks with these sounds.

Much help would be appreciated. (y)
 

mj_frenzy

Proud Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
2,317
Points
83
Location
Greece
Country
Greece
Teddy Riley provided some more information regarding instruments they used for the ‘Dangerous’ album, for example:

For the ‘Black Or White’ song, they used the Emulator III drum machine (also known as EIII), which was E-mu's biggest and most professional sampler/synthesizer at the time.

For the ‘Dangerous’ song, they used the Akai MPC-60 drum machine.

About the ‘BAD’ album, among others they also used the Roland D-50 digital synthesizer, which was an instrument that became very popular when it came out in April (1987).

About the ‘BAD’ album, they also used the Roland JX-10 Super JX (on the ‘I Just Can't Stop Loving You’ song, for example), which is an analog synthesizer.
 

Maxym

Proud Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Donations
$6.00
Messages
770
Points
43
No instrument *, Michael didn't play instruments so he didn't use them.
(* I'm too sure about piano though as I it varies according to sources.)


To reply more seriously I found this video rather interesting about the importance of microphones and studio techniques that make the synthesizers sound "better":

Also the intro for Off The Wall uses a theremin I think.

(I'm not a musician or so so my input here may be limited.)
 

analogue

Proud Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
8,027
Points
113
Roland D50 synthesizer was used to create the intro for Dirty Diana.
Yamaha DX7 synth bass was used in Another Part Of Me


I'm surprised that Michael never used a Roland Juno 60/106 synthesizer. That synth has some fantastic string sounds. Or did he use it and I just don't know about it?
 

Thriller_MJ

Proud Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
4,834
Points
63
I always wondered what the synth sound was at the start of Earth Song, that whirring sound before the harps come in.
 

AlwaysThere

Proud Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
4,854
Points
113
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" uses the Univox SR-55 drum machine.

The classic intro gong in "Beat It" is a stock preset from a Synclavier -- the PSMT, if I'm not mistaken.

Among the many synths used for the chords in "Billie Jean" are the Yamaha CS-80, E-mu Emulator, and the Synergy synthesizer.

Most of the synth bass lines on Thriller (chiefly "Billie Jean" and "P.Y.T.") are the Minimoog.

The drums on "Man in the Mirror" are from a Linn 9000 drum machine. (Bruce Swedien also recorded some pieces of wood hitting each other and layered them with the snare.)

On "Black or White," Bill Bottrell used E-mu Emulator III drum samples, a Kramer American electric guitar, and a 1940s Gibson LG2 acoustic guitar; Tim Pierce used unidentified Les Paul and Marshall guitars; and Michael Boddicker and Kevin Gilbert used unidentified Roland sequencers (for the rapid-pace synth part leading into the bridge).
 

MJJacksonizer

Proud Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
356
Points
43
Brad Buxer used the Emulator EIII quite a lot as well as the Roland MKS-20 module as well as a bunch of Roland modules.
Remember the Time uses the D70 and D50. Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis and Rodney Jerkins uses the S760/S770 samplers for the songs on Dangerous, HIStory and Invincible (Dangerous, Jam, ITC, 2 Bad, Escape, etc.)
BAD uses a lot of custom sounds made on the Synclavier [John Barnes and Eric Persing] made on a prototype of the D-50, that's the reason why you can find some sounds on the D-50 (Afterthought, Future Pad, DigitalNativeDance, etc.)
Teddy also used all bunch of Korg keyboards and CD samplers (SampleCell, Roland S-series, Korg Wavestation, M1).
Rodney used a lot of Roland modules and Kurzweil on his tracks (mostly JV and XV series - XV-5080, XV-3050, XV-5050, JV-2080).
 
Top