"The transmitter has a Shure SM58-type capsule, but we've had problems gettin... more
"The transmitter has a Shure SM58-type capsule, but we've had problems getting the particular high frequencies and transparency required, so this isn't the regular capsule. Even now, we have to choose between being loud (and my vocal sounding horrible) or being quiet (and my vocal sounding like it should). The problem is not feedback onstage - it's feedback between the microphone and the main PA speakers when the high end is boosted sufficiently to convey the nuance and intended perceived pitch of the vocal. At the moment we're pursuing the quieter-but-better policy. I was getting too tired of having a boomy and muddy vocal which I couldn't hear above the guitars anyway. The overall live experience might have been more powerful, but the me part of it it wasn't quite me. No offence to Big Pete the mixing engineer: it's my fault for not being able to sing as loudly as anybody else."
Can't think of much to say about this guitar. It's a Stratocaster. I don't ac... more
Can't think of much to say about this guitar. It's a Stratocaster. I don't actually play this one myself; it's just part of the band arsenal.
Gets used a lot on stage: not prone to feeding back. Easy to play, very thin ... more
Gets used a lot on stage: not prone to feeding back. Easy to play, very thin and very light. Nice guitar.
This is the guitar of choice for general purpose coil work. Nice thin neck (t... more
This is the guitar of choice for general purpose coil work. Nice thin neck (thinner than a regular Strat), flexible sound and a conducive colour.
"Girls love Rickenbackers and so do I. They are easier to run your fingers ov... more
"Girls love Rickenbackers and so do I. They are easier to run your fingers over than anything else. The necks are a joy. I'm talking about the guitars here. Probably. Rickenbackers are a bit too jangly until you put them through a fuzz box. Then they sound gorgeous, retaining more weight than a Fender and more colour than a Gibson."
"Collector's item. Very old. Shame it sounds so nasal. I've changed the picku... more
"Collector's item. Very old. Shame it sounds so nasal. I've changed the pickups twice. I don't know if I'll change them again. There's only so much you can do."
"If we can remember rightly, it had only four sounds: kick, snare, rimshot an... more
"If we can remember rightly, it had only four sounds: kick, snare, rimshot and hi-hat. One mono output, of course. For programming, it had an eight-beat stave, and sequencing was performed by switching on the fly between the few patterns it would hold in RAM. The DR55 had no non-volatile memory or offload facility for storing these patterns when the power was off. Still, reprogramming it was quick enough, as it held so little. It certainly sounded primitive, the biggest problem being the inability to separately treat the sounds of kick and snare, which lacked any kind of attack... unless one turned the volume up to excruciating levels, which of course one did. It didn't sound bad, exactly, just ... primitive. "
"The Roland TR606 came next. A few more sounds, a bit more memory, and indivi... more
"The Roland TR606 came next. A few more sounds, a bit more memory, and individual volume controls. We liked it. Eventually someone worked out that it was possible to drill holes in the back and gain individual outputs."
"In the early nineties, as acid house was developing a cult around this drum ... more
"In the early nineties, as acid house was developing a cult around this drum machine, it was suddenly very fashionable to riff along to TR808 sounds. We did that almost ten years earlier, when the cocktail drinking classes and the NME thought it was a bloody stupid idea. (One wet afternoon in the early eighties, we switched the Doktor to play the usual stuff but twice as fast. Hey presto! Drum'n'bass! This was interesting for about ten minutes. Even Cabaret Voltaire couldn't manage to make it interesting for much longer. Please don't tell us it's interesting now.)
The TR808 was really the first serious drum machine. The kick and snare still needed savage eq (and they didn't take kindly to it), the tom-toms were a complete waste of time, but otherwise it was a decent machine. Individual outputs, tunable drums, enough memory. Ben Gunn once managed to press the TR808's dangerous red button as we were about to go onstage in Brussels, so Andrew had to reprogram the whole damn machine while everybody else was tuning their guitars up (slowly). "
"Its cymbal and hi-hat noises were the only major improvements on the TR808, ... more
"Its cymbal and hi-hat noises were the only major improvements on the TR808, as far as we can remember."
"The Doktor was an Oberheim DMX by the time we made the first album. The Ober... more
"The Doktor was an Oberheim DMX by the time we made the first album. The Oberheim had a (relatively) huge memory, it would synchronise accurately to tape via FSK and the memory could be backed up reliably onto cassette. Each drum was tunable (inside), and Oberheim offered a few alternative sounds. Events could be programmed to happen around the beat, not just on it. The DMX would flam happily. We liked the Oberheim better than the LinnDrum, which was more expensive and sounded too sterile. The DMX kicks were a bit flabby, and the snare was maybe not quite tight enough; the tom-toms were good. And a new age was dawning: soon it became possible to send the DMX back to the factory and have ... midi! put on it."
Unfortunately the midi retrofit was expensive. By the time 'Floodland' was be... more
Unfortunately the midi retrofit was expensive. By the time 'Floodland' was being written, Andrew had spent all the ready cash on a computer and a sequencer, and was looking for a reasonably priced midi drum machine with a tighter snare drum. So he got a Yamaha RX5 for the snare sound (the kick was quite tight too) and wrote the album with that.
"Having already abused the sampling delay units of that era (and some very complicated chains of painstakingly-tuned Drawmer gates) to trigger captured drum sounds, the first dedicated samplers were a godsend. Until then, even the AMS delay unit had a maximum seven seconds of memory, and that cost a fortune. A rare treat. Mostly we had only had access to Bel units with a couple of seconds at 8 bit resolution. Both had to be triggered by hand or audio key."
"By the time 'Floodland' was recorded, we had an Akai S900 sampler. Like mann... more
"By the time 'Floodland' was recorded, we had an Akai S900 sampler. Like manna from heaven. Most of the drums on 'Floodland' came via the Akai. The DMX toms were resampled from the drum machine and off tape. Resampled RX5 kick, snare and hats formed the rest of the skeleton crew. We've been creating samples ever since, but we don't collect much any more; one encounters the same old samples circulating the globe under different names. Some of them sound suspiciously like they've been sampled off Sisters records. It's been a long time since we changed one of the Doktor's standard voices. We've created and collected a lot of "special effects" drum sounds, but we don't use them live because the sound would vary too wildly from song to song. It's not a practical solution unless you have everything submixed with automation - or running off a tape machine, like certain electronic bands we know (and all of the very famous ones we don't know). They might as well just play the record. We like a bit of risk, and we like to be able to tinker with things from concert to concert. The Akai S900 is still a perfectly fine drum sampler. Its grainy sound can be an advantage."
We nevertheless upgraded to the Akai S1000 sampler. This is still the core of... more
We nevertheless upgraded to the Akai S1000 sampler. This is still the core of the onstage Doktor."
"For recording we use an Akai S3200 in case we want to take a digital output." more
"For recording we use an Akai S3200 in case we want to take a digital output."
"I use the Korg A2 and Korg A3 multiple effects units on almost everything - ... more
"I use the Korg A2 and Korg A3 multiple effects units on almost everything - for livening up synths, for general raunch and increasingly as my main guitar/bass pre-amp. I've decided that these Korgs have the world's best (or at least: most useful) distortion. I've tried loads of guitar pre-amps (I've got a Marshall JMP-1, a Rocktron mAXE and an ART SGX2000 which isn't bad), but the Korgs take the biscuit. Of course, they don't make 'em any more. The A2 and the A3 are more or less the same. The A3 has a direct out which is handy; the A2 has a stereo input and a few more algorithms. Both units are attached to the Doktor when it's his turn to play the bass."
"We've got a very excellent Mackie 1604 mixer for rehearsing with." more
"We've got a very excellent Mackie 1604 mixer for rehearsing with."
"A fine amplifier in its time. We don't use it for recording any more, and no... more
"A fine amplifier in its time. We don't use it for recording any more, and nobody wants to use it for rehearsals or gigs. I suppose it's a spare. I suppose I should mend it."
"A classic sound, apparently. This is lying broken in somebody else's cellar,... more
"A classic sound, apparently. This is lying broken in somebody else's cellar, because I thought it sounded horrible even before I blew it up by spilling coffee into it."
"Standard stage furniture. Most bands play with a stack of these behind them ... more
"Standard stage furniture. Most bands play with a stack of these behind them - even when they've only got one wired up."
"A handy and cheap little controller keyboard, not good for playing notes on,... more
"A handy and cheap little controller keyboard, not good for playing notes on, but very useful for its ability to assign controllers to any controller number."
"Yes, it's more or less a children's toy, but it starred as the tinkly piano ... more
"Yes, it's more or less a children's toy, but it starred as the tinkly piano noise and half the bass on 'Never Land'. A certain Californian lady ran off with the original unit, but forgot the manual, so she won't have got far (especially with a sack of potatoes down the back of her knickers)."
"One keyboard version for working at home or in the studio, and one rackmount... more
"One keyboard version for working at home or in the studio, and one rackmounted version for live work. A long time ago, after futile holidays in various repair shops, the rack unit went back to Texas. When it came back the hard drive was just as broken as before. It still is. The Emax is great for orchestral sounds and mutations, but the Emax II file format isn't even recognised by later Emu equipment, so our Emaxes are at a dead end. When both units have gone to that great pawn shop in the sky, we'll lose access to our whole library of Emax II sounds - unless we buy more dodgy old kit. Having access via another sampler to the raw samples isn't the same as having the loops, crossfades, filters and all the rest, - even if we can get the Emaxes to talk to the Macs and persuade our translation software to translate all the raw samples (which is a long and tedious job in itself, with so many samples to load into the sampler first, one floppy at a time). This means we'll train the Nord Lead to variously replace that one Emax sound which we use for so many live songs, e.g. the motif arpeggios on 'Giving Ground', 'Temple Of Love' and 'More'. And it means we'll try to "use up" loads of groovy mutant sounds before our Emaxes give up the ghost altogether. Which sounds like a job for the Leeds Underground. "
"A fabulous toy for noodling around in an arpeggiated, ambient kind of way. G... more
"A fabulous toy for noodling around in an arpeggiated, ambient kind of way. Great aimless fun, if you can afford it."
"One keyboard version for working at home or in the studio, and one rackmount... more
"One keyboard version for working at home or in the studio, and one rackmounted version for live work. The original Nord Lead was great, but we waited for the polyphonic one, because part of its job will be to replace the ailing Emax on stage. One of the nice things about this keyboard is the fact that a noise never seems to disappear when you turn a knob right round. That's unusual in analog or analog-emulation synths."