The Synth Sounds of "Joy and Pain" by Maze feat. Frankie Beverly

Maze (1985). Photo by: Mike Cameron, Getty Images.

Welcome back to another episode of our ongoing series "The Synth Sounds Of...", in which William Kurk breaks down famous, synth-laden tracks and recreates them with gear in the studio.

Past episodes have featured massive mainstream hits, like Madonna's "Into the Groove," Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," and Van Halen's "Jump." Today, William is diving into a slightly deeper but still popular cut: "Joy and Pain" by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.

As William describes, the Roland CompuRhythm CR-78 allows users to layer preset beats on top of one another for a more dynamic drum track—a feature that Maze took advantage of with "Joy and Pain." The core of the song's drum beat is a combination of the "Disco 1" and "Mambo" presets from the CR-78, with an acoustic kit and congas added in the studio to give the track more body.

If you don't have a vintage CompuRhythm on hand, fear not. You can use the Reverb Roland CR-78 Sample Pack or the Loopmasters Synth Explorer CR-78 pack, as well as the audio files included in our "Joy and Pain" Ableton Live, Logic, and Pro Tools sessions.

The song's main melody is bell-like, mixed with the sound of synth strings—the effect of two oscillators playing together at different octaves. In recreating this melody, William gets creative with his gear guesswork.

As the song was written in the late '70s (and released on an album of the same name in 1980), we know that there weren't a ton of polysynths available at the time. William guesses that the band perhaps used a Prophet-5 or a Synclavier in the studio, so he recreated the line on both an original Prophet-5 and the Arturia Synclaviar V. (Both the Prophet-V and Snyclavier V are included in Arturia's V Collection. See below for details on a Reverb Exclusive Arturia Sale.)

Finally, the track wouldn't be complete without its classic Fender Rhodes sound, which William replicated with Logic's emulation. As he says in the video, a lot of Rhodes emulations exist in the world and most of them are very good—it just comes down to what's accessible and what vibes with you.

Be sure to check out the full episode above, and stay tuned for another "The Synth Sounds Of..." next Thursday right here on Reverb.

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Use the Provided Audio Files in These Sessions

Arturia Sale: Now through the end of our "The Synth Sounds Of..." series on May 15, U.S. customers can get a Reverb Exclusive discount on the Arturia software synths used in our videos. Use promo code REVERBSOUNDS at checkout for 33% off the Arturia Prophet V and 20% off the Arturia V Collection 6.

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