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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 21: The Prodigy - Voodoo People

Voodoo People is a classic slice of '90s rave, constructed by Liam Howlett mostly from samples, including a guitar based on the riff from Very Ape by Nirvana. However, we’re more interested in the iconic, piercing acid inspired lead synth. 

This lead sound has a strong TB-303 flavour, but was actually taken from Roland’s JD-800 keyboard synth, which featured on a number of classic Prodigy tracks from the era including Poison and Their Law. 

To recreate the sound from the CM plugin suite, we’ll be using Dmitry Sches’ fantastic ThornCM, which is ideal for creating the kind of distorted, resonant tone we’re after, as well as packing some effects heat that’ll help to embellish the sound for a more convincing overall finish.

The Prodigy Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Dial in some distortion. Open the Effects tab in ThornCM, and enable the Distortion, with the Acid Drive preset loaded. This’ll help give the texture we need. Then, set Osc 1 to a sawtooth wave, with the Sub Amount at around 50%, for the harmonic richness and depth we need.

The Prodigy Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Use the Filter to shape our sound’s tone. Select the Fat LP24 filter, then push the Drive up to 100% for aggression. Pull the Cutoff down to 200Hz, then increase the Res to 70%. Now, we’ll use Env 1 to modulate the filter, so it opens out. Push the Mod Amount to 40% as a start. 

The Prodigy Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Set Env 1’s Attack and Sustain to 0%, then push up Decay to 70% to open the filter up. We’ll reduce the Release to 10% to give a tighter sound, before increasing the filter’s Keytrack to 60%, so that the filter changes as the riff plays up and down. ThornCM’s plate Reverb adds space.

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