I'm studying the soundtrack to WarGames (1983) - this track in particular, History Lesson:

There's a repeating phrase throughout, here's a short clip: https://www.dropbox.com/s/u0i09zvzqyrqg7i/synth.mp3?dl=0

How would one go about making a sound like this? It sounds like it has an LFO with some kind of filter on it. I'm not sure what the synth patch underneath it is.

Based on a quick web search, I think the synths used are a Roland Jupiter-4 or 8, ARP 2600, possibly Synclavier.

Thanks in advance for your help! :)

  • 1
    I want to watch the film now. LFO is the word of the day. No idea about the patches on old synths, though.
    – n00dles
    Dec 4, 2022 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


It can be as simple as:

  • a sine wave
  • with attack, decay, sustain, release (ADSR) set as needed
  • plus some reverb, perhaps some delay
  • and intermitting L/R

If your synth allows, ovelay a second synth, say 1 or 2 octaves higher, with similar settings AND reduced volume, to emphasize the more metalic sound (mimicking overtones).

Using FM synthesis can sound similar, but I don't think you need that. I don't think you need a too specific synth-keyboard for this purpose. If you have a DAW, try using one of the simple synth-instruments provided and the audio-effects I mentioned.

Effects from LFO I don't hear here. Ok, you could switch between L and R when your synth allows that by an LFO.

If you are picky, some part at the end sound like a tweaked bandpass close to its usable edge ... but try this later, if anything else fails.

For a more generic guide to sound approximation kindly have a look here: https://sound.stackexchange.com/a/51921/36226 .

  • 1
    Thanks! I'll give that a try :)
    – GreenTea
    Dec 14, 2022 at 20:51

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