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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 39: OMD - Enola Gay

Named after the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb to be used in anger at the end of WWII, Enola Gay’s cheery synth lines were in contrast to the sombre lyrics, which questioned the validity of the decision to drop a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

OMD drew inspiration for their music from early synth pioneers such as Kraftwerk, but had a relatively humble selection of synths and drum machines at their disposal when they wrote the album Organisation, released in 1980, from which Enola Gay was taken. 

As with many of their early tracks, there was no vocal chorus as such, with the main lead, played using a then bargain basement Korg Micro-Preset, being the hook.

Now, let’s see how to make our own version of this main lead, using the brilliant ThornCM.

The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 39: OMD - Enola Gay

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Let’s set Osc 1’s waveform to a square wave, then pitch it up by one octave. Next, we’ll switch on Osc 2, and set the waveform to Organ 02. Setting Osc 2’s Unison to three voices, with the Detuning at 21, gives the sound a thicker feel, like the original. Now, adjust the amp envelope.

The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 39: OMD - Enola Gay

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Increase the Attack to 10%; this takes away the excessive sharpness. Reduce Sustain to 20% to hear the gap between notes. Increase Decay to 40%, adding some body into the sound after the initial attack. Turn up Oscillator 2’s Sub Oscillator to 10%; this adds extra depth.

The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 39: OMD - Enola Gay

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Shape the sound’s tone using ThornCM’s filter. Set it to Dirty HP, then push the Cutoff to around 100Hz to take the lowest frequencies away. Then add effects. Choose the Echo 03 delay preset, and increase the Mix to 50%. Add some reverb, courtesy of the Space 04 preset.

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