How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

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Rheingold
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How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Rheingold » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:16 pm

Hi all, I’m new to this forum and a non-native English speaker, so please be kind! The following question is plaguing me: How did Front Line Assembly create the synth line in the song “Modus Operandi” on their “Hard Wired” album? If you listen to it on the Youtube link down below, you’ll hear it starting around 0:16, ending about 0:32.

It’s probably heavily filtered (band pass?), some kind of arpeggio or a sequence with delay, and I really have no clue what the basic sound is. Any hints on how to reproduce such a sound would be great. I have an Virus A and a Blofeld, they should be flexible enough for most sounds. The Pulse and the Juno 106 I own are probably not helpful here.

Any help appreciated!


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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Rick N Boogie » Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:05 pm

Not sure what they used, but between the Virus and the Blofeld, I think it should be easy enough for you to recreate.
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Walter Ego » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:34 am

It's a little sequence that could be created on many synths. It's hard to know with FLA because they had a ton of gear, but most of it in that era was put together with the unassuming AKAI S-20 sampler. They layered several bass patches from their Pro One and MiniMoog to create their massive basslines, but I don't know about shorter riffs like that one. Seems to me it could easily have come from the Pro One.

But yes, you should be able to create that same short-decay percussive type sound with either your blofeld or Virus. I would even say it might be possible on the 106, but what do I know.

I used to listen to FLA all the time. I think Hard Wired may have been one of my favorites back in the 90's.
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Push-Pull » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:31 am

It remind me FM on the filter.

Don't know if you can do that on the Virus, but you need to modulate the cutoff from the output of an oscillator (audio, not a LFO).

Or maybe try a normal sound with a strong phaser effect...
Last edited by Push-Pull on Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by BlackGnosis » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:32 am

>Virus A
Yeah, you can pull that bass off easily with a virus A.
Sounds like a 2 oct arpeggio, going up, virus arp pattern 52 at 1/16 going with slight hf sweeps, with high resonance on it also

Try creating a Saw/PWM as your main sound

I was able to recreate it using the init patch. I fattened it up a bit to make it sound more oomph with using EQ and a little chorus.

For the sweep I used the TI's built in phaser. Set it so you can turn it off in patch, you hear it later without a phaser on and you can switch filter types too. But you can record it and play it back like they did too...

Best of luck.
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by vicd » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:08 am

I think I can hear a touch of moving "vocal"/formant (multiband) filter on that arp.
Worth a try (well, if it's not a HUGE aftereffect of the phaser).

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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Rheingold » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:23 pm

These are some fantastic hints! Especially the idea of recording it and playing it backwards! Can't wait for some time next weekend to try it out! Keep it going, if there are some other ideas!

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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:45 am

Didn't FLA have an Oberheim Four Voice/Eight Voice in their rig? The SEM is really good at those bandpass/notch-type filter things.

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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Rheingold » Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:40 pm

Thanks, PPG, this was a really good hint. Yesterday I listened to various youtube vids on the Oberheim SEM. It has those high-pass, band-pass and band-reject filter options which sound a lot like the synth line on Hard Wired. And today I found this littel excerpt of a keyboard magazine interview with Front Line Assembly:

"Bill: The nightmare story, though, was with the OB-Mx.

Rhys: Oh, man. Check this out. We used it for most of our bass sounds on Hard Wired...

Bill: ...and we'd finished programming all the songs.

Rhys: I was reading the manual to find out how to do a sys-ex dump I wanted to save all my patches. Turns out the manual was wrong, and I ended up wiping out the whole memory. I phoned the company and said, "I just did what the manual said." and they were like, "Oh yeah, the manual's wrong."

Bill: We'd been tweaking bass sounds for three months, and the day before we're ready to go into the big studio this happens. We're sitting there in a room together staring at each other. All our bass sounds are gone."

Oooh, thats a bingo!

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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Zamise » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:47 pm

HPF sweep and a control delay effect is my guess.
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by ItsMeOnly » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:18 pm

or a simple flanger with strong feedback... Seriously, noone thought about it?

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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by ColorForm2113 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:43 am

Funny side note: I was in the car yesterday with a friend of mine that knows Bill from FLA and we were listening to this album. And he asked him once what synth he used to create a particular sound and Bill's answer was "All of them."

But what ever was used used to create that sound was probably processed by some effect pedal or rack out possibly another synth. Virus and Blofeld should be able to get you close enough though
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by Hyde » Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:24 pm

ItsMeOnly wrote:or a simple flanger with strong feedback... Seriously, noone thought about it?
Was my first impression also. I have this CD. I need to pull it out & relive 8-)
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Re: How did Front Line Assembly create this sound?

Post by stickman393 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:34 am

Definitely sounds like a formant filter, to me.

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