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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 29: Tangerine Dream - Phaedra

The title track from Tangerine Dream’s fifth studio album was recorded in late 1973, and was heavily based around the Moog Modular synth the trio purchased with their advance from then-fledgling Virgin Records. 

Moog Modular System 55

(Image credit: Moog Music)

Year: 1974
Original Synth:
Moog Modular
CM Plugin:
ThornCM, HY-SeqCollection2 CM

Legend has it the band spent hours before each day’s recording tuning the Moog; early analogue synths were incredibly sensitive to temperature and humidity.

The record was a surprise top 20 hit in the UK, but didn’t fare so well in Tangerine Dream’s home country of Germany, with fewer than 6,000 units sold. 

The 18 best synthesizers: top keyboards, modules and semi-modular synths

Phaedra was the first TG record that featured their sequencer-based sound, with an external sequencer driving the Moog as a substitute for bass guitar. 

We’ll use ThornCM, alongside the HY-SeqCollection2 CM, both of which are included free with every issue of Computer Music, to make our own spin on the legendary Phaedra bass. 

40 Greatest Synth Sounds Phaedra Tangerine Dream

(Image credit: Audio Thing)

Step 1: Open ThornCM and shape the sound itself. Set the Filter Type to Fat LP24, and bring Cutoff down to 2kHz, Resonance at 25%. Push Drive to around 16dB to make the gain up. Finally, assign a slow 8/1 LFO to ThornCM’s fine tuning, stimulating the natural pitch drift of an analogue synth.

40 Greatest Synth Sounds Phaedra Tangerine Dream

(Image credit: Audio Thing)

Step 2: Open the sequencer, then set root note to D, with root shift enabled – this’ll match the key of the sequence to the original track (D minor). Set the sequencer clock to 1/8th notes to match the tempo, then program in a pattern similar to the original by setting pitch value for each step.

40 Greatest Synth Sounds Phaedra Tangerine Dream

(Image credit: Audio Thing)

Step 3: Open ThornCM and shape the sound itself. Set the Filter Type to Fat LP24, and bring Cutoff down to 2kHz, Resonance at 25%. Push Drive to around 16dB to make the gain up. Finally, assign a slow 8/1 LFO to ThornCM’s fine tuning, stimulating the natural pitch drift of an analogue synth.

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