Classic Synth Sound Design: Abacab

Since finishing my read-through of the Logic 8 instruments and effects manual I’ve thought the best way to learn some sound design was not to create something new, but to replicate the sound of something that already exists.

I have a few classic synth lines I want to try to redo in Logic (or Reason 4) and today we’ll start with something simple: the synth in Genesis’s Abacab.

I’m not sure what synthesizer was used on the track, but part of replicating the sound is to really think about what you hear when it plays. Here’s what I hear:

  • Monophonic synth
  • 2 Oscillators
  • Both of them Sawtooth waves
  • One pitched a Perfect 5th above the other

This is very easy to make in Logic’s ES2 software synth.

Logic's ES2.png

First: Start with a clean slate. Apple knew you’d need clean slates, which is why they give you the tutorial presets. Pick the Analog Init preset.


This gives you a single oscillator set to a sawtooth wave.

Initial Setting ES2.png

Second: Enable that 2nd oscillator, set it to a sawtooth wave, and bring the tuning up 7 semitones.

Step 2 - Oscilattor 2.png

Third: Change the oscillator mixing to give each oscillator 50%. Do this by dragging the point on that mixing triangle to the middle between oscillator 1 and 2.

Triangle Mixing.png

Finally: The setting isn’t set as a monophonic synth. Holding multiple keys down won’t cut off the previous note. Set the ES2 to Mono.

Abacab monophonic.png

There – now you have the Abacab sound. Adjust the glide/portamento to taste and you should be good to go. It should sound something like this (feed readers, please go to site for audio):

3 thoughts on “Classic Synth Sound Design: Abacab”

  1. Hi Dan I love Genesis. I have a Korg M3 and I’m lookung for Genesis sounds could you please tell me wich programm u used for this sound ! is it Logic’s ES2 soft ? is it the right name ? thank a lot !

  2. Michel, This example is done with Logic’s ES2, but as long as you have a synth with 2 Oscillators similar to what’s show here on the ES2 you should be able to make this patch with no problem with the same basic steps.

    I assume that the M3 can do this, but I don’t own one so I can’t help you out.

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