DEPECHE MODE KEYBOARDS AND OTHER TECH STUFF

Compiled by Jaakko Suominen (jaakko at tuug dot fi)
Last updated: 12.3.2003

This file contains information on keyboards and other technical stuff DM used to use during their tours (and on Ultra album). Actually, I don't know anything about this stuff, so every correction and addition would be great! :)

There are also some open questions. Can you answer to them?

[Tours 1981-82 | A Broken Frame Tour | Construction Time Again Tour | Celebration Tour | Concert for the Masses Tour | World Violation Tour | Devotional Tour | Ultra Album | Singles 86>98 Tour | Exciter Tour | Open Questions]

Concerts during 1981:

1 Moog Source synth
1 PPG Wave 2.0 synth
1 TEAC A3440 Tape Machine (w/ D.B.Y. Unit)
1 REVOX A77 Tape Machine
+ some other stuff

Some shows in the beginning of 1982 (See You Tour):

Martin: PPG Wave 2.0 and a Yamaha CS-5.
Fletch: Moog Source
Alan: Roland Promars ( it's a monophonic JP-4, without the arp. and less keys. It also has CV/gate in and outs.)
In the article named "The New Sythesizer Rock" (Keyboard Magazine 1982) the following equipments were listed: ARP2600, Moog Source, Roland Promars, Roland SH-1, Roland MC-4(early digital sequencer), Korg KR55 ( preset drum machine) Roland TR808 (programmable drum machine)

A Broken Frame Tour:

Alan: Roland Jupiter 8
Martin: PPG Wave 2.0)+ a small keyboard thing (! Martin's small keyboard had "Fairlite" (compared to the 100.000 USD Fairlight CMI sampler) written on the back of it:)). The small keyboard could actually have been Yamaha thing (Yamaha 5), which guys used when they started playing synths.
Fletch: Moog source

Construction Time Again Tour:

Alan: Roland Jupiter 8 + another keyboard (don't know which one)
Martin: Emulator I, Yamaha DX7
Fletch: Oberheim OB8

Some Great Reward Tour:

Alan: Emulator II, Roland Jupiter 8
Martin: Emulator I, Yamaha DX7
Fletch: Oberheim OB8

Celebration Tour

Alan: Emu Emulator II, Korg DW 8000
Martin: Emulator II, PPG Wave 2.3
Fletch: Oberheim OB, two Prophet 2000 samplers
The triggers were traslated w/ a Roland Octapad and sent to Akai s900 samplers for the sounds.

Concert for the Masses Tour:

Alan: EmaxHD & DX7II triggering EmaxHD Rack for Spare
Mart: Same
Fletch: EmaxHD & DW800 trigering EmaxHD for spare
Percussion pads behind them played the Spare Emax Tascam 48 Tape (Main) Tascam 38 (Spare)

World Violation Tour:

Alan, Martin & Fletch: Two EmaxII turbo (Main & Spare)
All Pads and Alan's Mega Drums triggered EmaxII turbo rack (Became an Akai S1000 in Aus when the Emax died)
Two Tascam MSR16 Tapes (Main & Spare)

Devotional Tour:

This list of DM's keyboards (and other instruments) was printed in the magazine 'Musician', October 1993 issue.

Gear A La Mode

Depeche mode keeps things simple onstage: no amplifiers. Every sound, from keyboards to guitar to drums, runs through the P.A. system: a Brittania Pow Flashlight System.

David Gahan and the backup singers use Samson Synth radio microphones with EU 757 capsules.

Martin Gore plays a Roland A-50 and Alan Wilder plays an Akai MX1000, each controlling two Emulator Emax II samplers; Andrew Fletcher has another pair of Emaxes. Each pair is hooked up in parallel, so if one were to malfunction, the other is ready. But "I don't remember an instance when we had to go to a spare," says Wob Roberts, the keyboard technician. Samples come from strange and sundry sources, including old analog equipment.

The piano onstage is a Korg 01/W Pro X transplanted into a grand piano body. For downstage keyboards, Fletcher and Wilder use Philip MIDI line drivers.

Away from the keyboards, Gore plays either a Gretsch Country Gentleman or a copy of a Gretsch Anniversary guitar, strung with Gibson strings, from .010 to .046 gauge. Dick Knight copied Gore's original Gretsch for stage use, using Gretsch parts but adding more wood in the body to cut down on feedback.

Wilder's drums are mostly Yamahas: a 22" bass drum and 12", 13", 14" and 16" tomtoms. He uses Noble and Cooley piccolo and 7" snare drums and Zildjian K cymbals: a 22" ride, an 18" China, 16" and 18" crashes, a 6" splash and 13" hi-hats.

And don't forget the tapes: two Sony 3324's, one of them a spare. Of the 24 tracks, Depeche Mode only use 14, because many of the songs were dubbed from a 16-track Tascam that used 12 tracks for sound and four for sync. "As soon as anyone sees the size of the machines, they think the whole show is on tape," says Roberts. "But it's just bass and drum parts and a couple of sequences. This band does not mime."

Musical equipments used by DM on Ultra album

This list appears in the April 97 issue of Future Music (U.K. Publication) and was provided to them by Tim Simenon.

Synthesizers

ARP 2600 (x4)
Clavia Nord Lead
Korg Prophecy
Korg Trinity
MIDI Moog (x2)
Oberheim 4-Voice
Oberheim Matrix 12
Oberheim OB-8
PPG Wave 2.3
Roland JD-800 (x2)
Roland Juno-106
Roland Jupiter-8
Roland System-100M (x2)
Roland System-700
SCI Pro-One
Waldorf Wave


Modules


E-Mu Morpheus
E-mu Proteus 2XR
E-mu Vintage Keys
Korg M1R
Korg Wavestation AD
Oberheim MAtrix 1000
Roland JV-1080
Yamaha TX802

Sampling


Akai CD3000
Akai S1000 (x2)
Akai S1100
Akai S3200XL
Fujitsu 230 MO Drives
Kurzweil K2000R
Olympus 230 MO Drives

Effects


Boss pedals (various)
Eventide H3000SE
Lexicon PCM-70
Mutator Filter
Mutron Phaser
Mutron wah pedal
MXR Phaser
Roger Meyer distortion
Roland Dimension D
Sony HRMP-5
Zoom 9010

Sequencing


ARP 1615
Atari 1040 running C-lab Notator (x2)
Atari 1040 running Cubase

Hard Disk System


Apple Quadra 650 running Emagic Logic Audio
Digidesign 882 Interface
Digidesign SSD
Micropolis hard drive
Opcode Studio 4
Ricoh CD Writer

Other


Emerson UPS
Gretsch Anniversary Dobro
Resonator guitar
Groove Electronics MIDI 4 CV
Les Paul copy
Leslie Cabinet
Mackie 1604 (x4)
Mackie 3204
Roland MPU 401 MIDI/CV (x3)
Vox AC30

The Singles 86>98 Tour

Martin: Emax II, Gretch Country Gentlemen guitar (or/and Gretch 6118 AKA an Anniversary?>
Andy: Emax II
Extra keyboard player (Peter Gordeno): Roland A-90 and Roland JP-8000

The Exciter Tour

Martin:2 Yamaha CS6X, 63 Gretsch two tone Guitar (and something else? Or/and Gretch 6118 AKA an Anniversary?>
)
Andy:Yamaha CS6X & Yamaha CS2X, Roland A-90
Peter Gordeno: Roland A-80 (or A-50?) and Roland JP-8000 (the big "analog" synth riff on "I Feel Loved")

Also, 3 Akai S5000 samplers, for backup etc. perhaps.
At backstage an Apple PowerBook G4 and a PC for sequences and lightshow.

Open questions

[Early drum machines | Quitars]

A question of early drum machines

I have received the following question of drum machines from 'u-0176'. If you know the answer, please email me (in fact, I have received lots of good answers, lately, but unfortunately don't have time to update the page. Be patient :)):

Hello,

I've seen your page about depeche instruments, and I've got a question.

I always wanted to know what was the drum machine they used for speak and spell. I thought of a kr-55 wich is very close (even identical) to this sound. when I saw your page it was a kind of confirmation, but...

Actually the kr-55 was not a programmable drum machine, and it seems that speak and spell drumlines are no presets (I heard some of the preset of the kr-55). So I'm not so sure they used it.

I'm sure (my ears are sure) that the same drum machine was used for the some bizzare album recording. so they had the drum machine from 1980 at least. (I also have some live recordings from 1979/1980 and then they had a preset drum machine on stage which is definetely not the kr-55, but something like the cr-8000 ...)

the thing is surprising because the programmable version of the kr-55 (the model is called kpr-55 or kr-55b) was only produced in 1982...

The same drum machine was also used in fad gadget's under the flag (but it was in 1982).

do you have the answer?

Some answers:

  • To answer the question about early DM drum machines, I understand they used a Linn. I can try and get more info on it. (by S. K.)
  • I have been wondering about wich drum machine they used in 1979 - 1981 myself and have found the answer. It wasn`t a drum machine at all! Daniel Miller did not use the Linndrum in the begining becouse he thougt it didn`t give the early Mute bands an indentity og their own. The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer (only 500 sold worldwide...) was used later on (late 82 - 83). The drumsounds they used on speak and spell was made on synthezisers. I am not 100 % sure wich one, but i think it was made out of the first synth Daniel Miller ever bought, an Korg 700s. Other non-Mute bands have used this drumsound (ex. Elegant Machinery), but they use samples (sampled from New life or damage is done of Fad Gadget) (by Roger)
  • Hi. It was a Korg KPR77. (by protoolsengineer)
  • I´m quite sure they used the Drumulator drom EMU. A friend of mine had one and when i tried it for the first time a went aha speak and spell. The bass and´the snare are identical. (by Carl)
Here is an answer (by Roger), which is very accurate and largerly ends, IMHO, the discussion:
I have to make some corrections to some entries in the early depeche mode drumsounds debate.

A protoolsengineer wrote: "It was a Korg KPR77". How can this be true when Korg KPR77 was made in 1983 and the speak and spell album was made during 1980-1981

Another one wrote that he thougt it was the Drumulator drom EMU. The drumulator is an offspring of Emu Emulator and the Drumulator was also made in 1983. It also have a totaly different sound.

(Once again) The machine they used was Daniel Millers Minikorg 700s. This was made in 1974 and is a 2 oscillator monosynth. I read an interview with Daniel Miller stating that this was the machine they used. Its great for "thud and thump sounds". You can recreate the drumsound by creating a "Lazerhit" sound, adding a bassy suboscillator, and running the suboscillator trough a eq for different timbres.

And something more from Jan:

High, friend. Thanks for you beautiful and useful page about DM. Great informations! Just two notes. I was very intersted in question of the Speak & Spell drummachine from the first time I heard it. Now I learn of your friend Roger. I got a bibliografic book from a german author and there are two photos in 1980/81 (with Clarke) and the boys used NO drummachine but a tape recorder! It`s clear they used recorded loops. And i think the same sound from Korg used Visage in 1982 in their song Move up. Another question: Vince Clarke on this photos plays a Roland synthesier. Which one it can be? On vintegesynth.com I found Roland SH1 that was used by Clarke and DM. By the sound I think it`s that one. Am I right?

And something more from Dael:

I SPOKE TO VINCE CLARKE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AND HE TOLD ME THE DRUM MACHINE USED ON SPEAK AND SPELL WAS A KORG KR55 PRESET MACHINE .THE BAND USED JUST THE SNARE AND HIGH HATS SOUNDS FROM. THE BASS DRUM WAS GENERATED FROM AN ARP 2600 SYNTH WHICH WAS SYNCHED TO THE MACHINE AND AN OLD ROLAND MC4 MICROCOMPOSER SEQUENCER. SO THERE THE ANSWER IS!THE SAME MACHINE WAS USED ON MOST OF THE EARLY DANIEL MILLER PRODUCED TRACKS INCLUDING THE FAD GADGET STUFF LIKE 'RICKYS HAND AND THE FABULOUS MEMORABILIA BY SOFT CELL!! PS .BOBBY ORLANDO ALSO USED ONE ON THOSE FANTASTIC TRASHY NY DISCO RECORDS BY DIVINE AND THE FLIRTS (PASSION ' NATIVE LOVE SHAKE IT UP ETC..)

Martin's quitars

'Alex' asked the following questions. If you know answers, please contact me:

I've always been interested in the subject of what guitars Martin plays live, but unfortunately there has been little or no information (most people just copy and paste the info from your dm page). Recently looking at different dm live photos and some different guitar webpages, this is what I could come up with and I would greatly appreciate any ideas/additions/corrections on these subjects:

Gretsch Anniversary - light green
Most common guitar. Used on all tours 1987-2001.
Two copies were made before 1993 tour by Dick Knight for live use. One of them
is now owned by Alan Wilder. The other is still used live.

Gretsch Country Club - brown/yellow-ish with white pickguard
First used on 1998 tour and then on 2001 tour.

I'm really confused about the 'red' guitar - my guess is that there were two:

  1. one was Gretsch Country Gentlemen as stated in the Musician magazine article, and it was only used on the 1993-94 tour. (see "Behind the Wheel" from "Devotional")
  2. the other is either Gretsch Tenessee Rose or Gibson ES-335 and it was used live since ultra parties (1997-2001). (see JD Fanger's LA Ultra Party Photos)

Special Thanks to:

Alex
Micke Askernäs 
Dr Bakterius 
Constantin
Dael
Rafael G
Roger Grønberg
Giuseppe
Peter J
Rafi K 
Stefan Keller
Stefan Moernaut 
depechemode@mindspring
Eric Oehler 
Carl O
pelo 
protoolsengineer
Mattias Pettersson 
Jan Reznicek
Christopher Rynne 
Chris Smith 
Don Thomson
Fredric Tirheden 
Visions In Blue 
Rob Whittington 
Wob
Johan Östberg 
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© Jaakko Suominen 1996-2003 (except quotes)