The Synth Sounds of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence"

Depeche Mode’s Alan Wilder, the band’s keyboardist who created many of their arrangements, had a real Guy Patterson moment upon hearing "Enjoy the Silence."

The song, with its now well-known chorus—"All I ever wanted, all I ever needed is here in my arms"—was intended by songwriter Martin Gore to be a plaintive ballad. (You can listen to his original demo here.) Wilder heard a dance beat and worked with the rest of the band to turn it into a strange, melancholic pop hit.

In this second episode of our brand-new season of The Synth Sounds Of… William Kurk dissects the tech behind the groove—that is, the Moog Minimoog Model D and ARP 2600 that created the synth bassline, as well as the early sampler used for much of the song's iconic sounds.

William uses the Arturia ARP 2600 V to emulate the "tacky, punchy, gritty sound" of the original unit, while playing the Moog bassline on a hardware Model D. (You can enter your own by signing up for the Synth Sounds Moog Model D Giveaway.) A software emulation like the Arturia Mini V3 will also get you there.

After showing off a stack of floppy disks, William turns his attention to "the keyboard of the song," the E-MU Systems Emulator II, an early sampler that takes audio files saved on floppy disks and allows you to play them across a keyboard. The choir sound Depeche Mode used on "Enjoy the Silence" is straight from a floppy disk. Added on top is a separate floppy-based stacked strings sound.

As the Emulator is pretty hard to come by these days, you can use UVI’s Emulation II soft synth instead, which William also employs to demonstrate the "bell pad" sound. For the final touch to "Enjoy the Silence," William adds the "Big Brass" sounds from yet another Emulator floppy.

Download our project sessions for Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, and Pro Tools, as well as our free presets for the software instruments involved, including the UVI Emulation II and Arturia’s ARP 2600 V, the Mini V3, and the DX7 V. For details about the ongoing Arturia sale, the Minimoog Model D Giveaway, or to hear our "Enjoy the Silence" demo track, see below.

Download Reverb Exclusive Project Sessions
Use the Provided Audio Files in These Sessions
comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.