One of the catchiest '80s synth pop tunes of the time, Just Can’t Get Enough was Depeche Mode’s third single. It was first released on Mute Records as a single in 1981, then appeared on their album Speak & Spell.
With the instrumental composed entirely of synthesized instruments over a drum machine beat (opens in new tab), the song reached No 8 in the UK singles chart, and was a big part of the technology-driven approach to music-making that was prevalent at the time.
The sound from the track that is an instantly recognisable earworm is the main riff, which was originally played using the classic Roland Jupiter-4 (opens in new tab) analogue polysynth.
For our version of the sound, we’ll use Dmitry Sches’ excellent ThornCM (opens in new tab) to recreate the classic Depeche Mode tone in our DAW.
Step 1: Set Osc 1 in ThornCM to a sawtooth wave. Turn on Osc 2 and set that to a triangle, with the tuning pitched up seven semitones. This adds extra thickness and depth. Next, move Osc 1’s position dial to 10%, for much-needed high frequency harmonics on the sawtooth wave.
Step 2: Shape the sound more using the amp envelope. Pull the Attack and Sustain down to 0, with the Decay set to around 50% and Release at 35%. This’ll make the notes played sound tightly controlled, without being too staccato. Set the filter type to Fat LP12, similar to that of the Jupiter 4.
Step 3: Reduce the Filter Cutoff to 13kHz, then increase Res to 30%. This rolls off high frequencies while focusing the high mids, but reduces loudness compared to the unfiltered sound. Pushing filter Drive up to 10dB makes up the gain difference, whilst adding crunch and vibe.