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The 40 greatest synth sounds of all time, No 12: Yazoo - Don't Go

Vince Clarke knows a thing or two about crafting an electronic pop song, a fact made clear by the number of cracking tunes he composed for Depeche Mode’s 1981 debut LP, Speak & Spell.

After the success of that LP, he quit the band. After all, who wants worldwide success?

Fearing their label (Mute) would drop him, he penned Only You in order to keep them interested. He brought in an old acquaintance, Alison Moyet, to sing.

Mute hit ‘em up for a single, the b-side of which was to be Don’t Go. Clarke knew it was too strong a song to relegate to the flip side, and Situation was hurriedly slotted in.

Don’t Go would be the second (smash) single from the pair’s debut LP, Upstairs at Eric’s.

An earworm of an intro from an ARP 2600 sets the stage, carried along by an incessant bass courtesy of Clarke’s ever-present Sequential Circuits Pro-One. A thick Roland Juno-60 bass complements Moyet’s soulful voice.

Despite the low track count, the entire concoction is big, bold, and unforgettable.

Yazoo Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Set AlphaCM’s Z-Init patch. Select Square1 for both Oscs’ A wave, and a sawtooth for Osc 2’s B Wave. Set Osc 1’s Wave fully clockwise and Osc 2’s to 10 o’clock. Set the Octaves of both Osc’s A waves to -1. Crank Detune up to just past 10 o’clock. Set the Filter’s Drive to just under 2 oc.

Yazoo Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: In the Matrix, select LFO 1 as source for two slots. Set Osc 1 Symmetry as the first destination, and Osc 2 Symmetry as the second and Amounts to 0.9 and 0.66. Un-sync the LFO, and set its Freq to 3.8. In the Filter, the Cutoff is just over 9 o’clock, and Resonance just under 9.

Yazoo Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Filter envelope Depth should be full. Give the Attack knob a nudge. Set Decay to 10 o’clock, and Sustain off. Release should be set to just under 11 o’clock. A quick play tells us we’re almost there! We’ll leave it to you to figure out the riff – we don’t want to infringe on any copyrights!

Yazoo Synth Sounds

(Image credit: Future)

Step 4: On the amp, nudge the Volume up to 12 o’clock and kill the Velocity. Give the Amp Env’s Attack a nudge and crank both the Decay and Sustain clockwise. Release should be 10 o’clock. Use Acon Digital CM Verb and dial in a short reverb to mimic the 2600’s springs.

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