Positif Synth School

Positif Synth School – Kraftwerks “trans europe express” with EHX Flanger Hoax

This time we tried to recreate Kraftwerk’s super-classic “Trans Europe Express” from their album of the same name. Most of the stuff in this track comes from a Mellotron, so that’s the easy part (just fire up M-TRON or a similar Mellotron library and play some chords). But the “train” sound is particularly special on this track.

The main things you need are white noise and a flanger. But it’s in fact through zero style flanging that you hear on the track, not your run-of-the-mill regular flanging pedal. I’m not sure if this was made with tape, it’s tough to tell. Some people say Krafwerk used an Eventide Clockworks Instant Flanger (a rare 70’s rack device).

We don’t have two tape decks nor the old Eventide rack, but we managed to get a similar sound via an Electro-Harmonix Flanger Hoax pedal, wich has a very similar working principle to the Eventide. If you don’t have this kind of kit just search for a through zero flange plugin. Results will be similar, may be a bit more metallic sounding -not as sweet but cleaner-.

The synth used is an MS10, we patched white noise in to the filter and adjusted the filter+vca envelope for a short attack, and short decay/release kind of sound, so its sort of percussive. Then we just put it in to the flanger and rocked the knobs for some variety.

The original also has a bit of tape delay thrown there so if you want to make it more authentic add echo to taste -we didn’t-.

Hope you like it!