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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 17: Kraftwerk - Computer World

Computer World was the third single from the Kraftwerk album of the same name, a lively, jaunty concoction of bleeps, whirs, hisses and pops. ‘Pop’ all around, really; unlikely given the lyrics’ concern with business, authority, and a suggestion that we are all dominated by the omniscient computer.

But delicious pop! Percolating sequences, tinkling leads, and that ever-present, snappy backbeat, from the mighty Minimoog.

Eventually used to death by industrial musicians, this resonant percussion would become all-too familiar. Here, however, Kraftwerk use it to inject their song with a relentless purpose.

Kraftwerk Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: u-he’s ZebraCM can recreate the classic zap. Start with the default patch, mix the volume of both oscillators, activate Noise, bringing its Volume up. Choose the LP Vintage Filter mode, crank the Cutoff fully and Key Follow down. Resonance and Env2 will be fully cranked.

Kraftwerk Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Kill the velocity of both envelopes, reduce the Sustain of Env1 to nil. Env1’s Decay should be set to 30, and its Release to 15, Attack is 0. Env2’s Attack and Sustain will likewise be 0. Its Decay will be set to about 23. Release will be 33. These give us the classic zap. Tweak to taste.

Kraftwerk Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Beneath the display, we’ll Pan our sound fully right. Go to lower-left of the Mix & FX section and activate the Delay1 effect. In the Delay section, choose 1/32 delay times and reduce Feedback and X-Back to nil. Pan controls will be set to the right. Layer it with a clap for best effect.