Yazoo – Only You, Recreated With Sequential Circuits Pro-One Synthesizer

This video documents the patches of Yazoo’s Only You, recreated on the Sequential Circuits Pro One synthesizer.

Here’s what creator Pea Hicks has to say about it:

Some friends needed the backing track of this song for their wedding, so I took the opportunity to geek out with it. The original is well-known by synth nerds as having been produced by Vince Clarke using only a Sequential Circuits Pro-One monophonic analog synthesizer. So, since I have a Pro-One, and there are scans of an old music magazine article online which show the settings for some of the sounds Vince used on this track, I figured I’d have a go at re-creating it.

First, I transcribed the music (sequenced with Cubase), using soft-synth sounds as temporary stand-ins for the Pro-One. Then I had to dial in all the Pro-One sounds one-by-one and record each part via a Kenton MIDI-CV interface. I found that all of the patches from the article needed adjusting to get them in the ballpark, plus I had to create the other sounds from scratch (I’ve credited each patch accordingly).

Having done so, I’m not convinced that every single sound on the original is actually a Pro-One. The “Tinkle” sound, for instance, sounds more bell-like on the original, so it could possibly have been something like a PPG. I don’t think Vince had his Fairlight yet, otherwise I’d say it was that. Also, the string line toward the end of the song sounds like it might have been played on a polysynth, ie maybe the Jupiter 4 which Vince used a lot at the time. Of course, there’s also the snare, which was an 808.

In any event, I think I got pretty close with my rendition. Of course the effects and mix are going to be different, and some of the sounds are closer than others, but whatever.

If you want to give it a shot yourself, you can download the MIDI file and the patch sheets here (.zip).  (be sure to let me know if you make your own version, and give me a shout out if you post it online!).

One tip: the cutoff of the “Wobble” sound varies a bit, getting slightly brighter during the chorus, etc. The only way to do this is manually while recording. I tried to use automation for this via the Pro-One’s filter CV input, but doing so cancels out the Keyboard Amount setting, which is crucial for this sound, so I simply adjusted the knob in real-time.

If you liked this re-creation, check out my other videos for four “Speak & Spell” tracks that I re-created using only a Yamaha CS01-II synth.

Thanks to FrankPerri.com for the blank patch sheets!

via peahix

13 thoughts on “Yazoo – Only You, Recreated With Sequential Circuits Pro-One Synthesizer

  1. Great fun, and impressive ear! Thanks for sharing, Pea! Good stuff. Only You is the Ninth of synthpop, where the top rank of melody, sounds, and arrangement were reached in the same piece. (We won’t talk about the lyrics, though 😉

  2. sounds great! I use to use a pro1 a lot 20 years or more ago. don’t have it now. What soft synth best approaches it’s sound you think?

  3. This sounds really nice, but when I saw “Only You” my first thought was The Platters, and what’s that got to do with synthesizers? There is a fence, and I know on which side I sit. The one that is receding into the dust of time.

  4. Makes me want to get a Pro One hearing this……..I’ve never owned an analogue synth but this is really good…..well done!

  5. Hey Pea – Any chance you can put the zip file back online, it seems to be gone. Would love to take a crack at this tune. Thanks!

  6. Hi, Pea. Many thanks for these fantastic resources. You mention that the original tinkle might not be a Pro-One. I think it could be. I no longer have a real Pro-One myself, but I’ve got Repro-1 and got quite close. It does need some delicate tinkering balancing modulation of Osc A and the filter by Osc B, fine tuning the filter to get the discordant harmonics in tune, and a significant amount of treble boost (I’ve added 24db at 20Khz in Cubase!) to make up for Repro-1 not having the frequency response of the hardware. I can’t see a way to add a file to this post, otherwise I’d share a screen shot of the settings with you. If you’re interested, how can I contact you?

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