Why did they use an Oberheim drum machine for FALAA and not the old boss and who did that?

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Did Dave Allen as the Producer of FALAA change that drum machine? Or why did the sisters do that? I suppose to make the sound of FALAA better. Does anyone here know more about that?
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There is more on the Doktor's biog
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Yeah the old Boss DR5 was used on very early songs. They went through Roland 606 and 808 before the DMX. As for why, other than ‘newer is better’ and the drums sounds getting more realistic on later models, the choices could have been down to what was available to them in the studio, what was affordable in the store. These things would have cost the equivalent of thousands of pounds back then. It’s hard to imagine the early Sisters chopping and changing drum machines for n a whim, but that’s what legend makes it sound like. They may have picked up used models as these were not very well revered machines originally. There’s a lot of grey area.

Also by Floodland I believe The Doktor had regenerated into a Yamaha RX7 or RX11 (I can’t recall which)

I wonder if Von has a vault of all his old vintage gear from back in the day or did they sell off gear to finance upgrades. It would have been just more than worthless back then, and far from the vintage legends they are today. I’d love to know. Maybe someone somewhere has the original Doktor and doesn’t even know it
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According to Wayne's book, the band bought it using their advance from WEA, and it was due to Wayne's experience of programming a DMX with Dead or Alive that they chose that specific model.
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mh wrote:
05 Jan 2021, 15:56
According to Wayne's book, the band bought it using their advance from WEA, and it was due to Wayne's experience of programming a DMX with Dead or Alive that they chose that specific model.
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I had a quick look through WFAW as well, but the only reference to the DMX I can find is on page 197 and is not relevant to the question of why they bought one. Not having an index nor an electronic copy does mean that I could have missed other references though.

It's also worth noting that perhaps the most famous use of a DMX would have been on Blue Monday. The Sisters would surely have been aware of that, and it may have influenced any decision to use one.
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In the Canadian interview from July 10, 1984 he talks quite a bit about it (the interviewer asks about using a drum machine, etc).

The deep "why" is..."it's a very sophisticated computer, it can do well nigh anything".

He wanted a more advanced, programmable drum machine. He talks about being able to program some "leeway" ie can program it so it's not always "on the beat" thereby making the sound a little less clinical and perhaps introducing a bit of "spontaneity" (though he says the clinical element has benefited the band to date). Sounds like this is just before some shows where they use it for the first time. He also mentions they can create their own sounds, send them to LA and get back a chip of those sounds to insert. The DMX costs "two thousand pounds" which was probably nine to 10 thousand dollars at the time(!). Am sure it was easier to interface with other equipment, and oh...had better drum sounds.
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From Wayne's book:
Flushed with the advance from WEA we’d gone out and bought ourselves a new Dr Avalanche, our drum machine to the uninformed, and it was on this tour we started using it in place of the less reliable cassette porta-studio that we’d used until now to run the drum tracks. The Oberheim DMX was the instrument that Dead Or Alive had purchased when we had made the move from human to machine providing rhythm for us. Because of my previous experience in programming the DMX it was thought prudent that we, the Sisters, furnish ourselves with the same so as to avoid any steep learning curves and endless hours perusing indecipherable manuals.
"this tour" was the 1984 UK/Europe spring jaunt, which took place before any association with Dave Allen.

For other drum machines, the Roland 808 at least has a very distinctive "handclap" sound that's all over their recorded output from 1983, so the Boss had definitely been long abandoned well before any association with That Guitarist, WEA or Dave Allen.

Evidence for the prosecution, m'lud:
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Electrochrome wrote:
05 Jan 2021, 19:35
In the Canadian interview from July 10, 1984 he talks quite a bit about it (the interviewer asks about using a drum machine, etc).

He wanted a more advanced, programmable drum machine. He talks about being able to program some "leeway" ie can program it so it's not always "on the beat" thereby making the sound a little less clinical

He also mentions they can create their own sounds, send them to LA and get back a chip of those sounds to insert.

The DMX costs "two thousand pounds" which was probably nine to 10 thousand dollars at the time(!)
Yeah the long and short of it was this was the second (after the Linn LM1) to use sampled drum sounds, as opposed to the analog circuitry in the 808 etc. The DMX actually sounded like drums unlike previous drum machines.

Also, unlike the 808 step sequencer that offered 16 beats on a rigid grid, the DMX could be programmed without quantising if desired, thus the less mechanical human element. Another first (or second) at the time.

And the ROM chips could be programmed with custom sounds as you quite rightly point out, a massive feature in pre-sampler electronic music history

2000 pounds in the 80s would have been $4000. In today’s money with 40 years inflation, god that’s a s**t ton of dough. Waddaya reckon 20 grand? And the Linn was $5000 at the time and only 500 were made, it was really only a studio tool. So by comparison the DMX was a bargain.

As for playing nice with others, not so much. This was still. A few years away from MIDI. The only sync on these instruments was pulse sync which was not always the best reliable. It was analog and prone to gross fluctuations.

I always imagine Von to be a gear nerd but I wonder how much so at the FALAA heyday of mid 80s

Also....they use a Tascam Portastudio cassette to run the Doktor at live shows?? WTF!, That’s crazy, can you imagine. A different tape for every song?
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DJElectricDaddy wrote:
06 Jan 2021, 02:44
Also....they use a Tascam Portastudio cassette to run the Doktor at live shows?? WTF!, That’s crazy, can you imagine. A different tape for every song?
You can hear this on some recordings - the tape hiss kicks in just before the Doktor starts. It's hilarious.
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I think Claire was also responsible for triggering the Dr from the sound booth in the early days (ie: changing the tapes :lol: )

On a slightly related note, am sure I heard that in the early days she also used to manually adjust the echo on Eldritch's voice during songs - turning it up/down according to the relevant part of each song - to allow him to howl at certain points.

I can't 100% confirm it - there's every chance it was just a fever dream :lol: - but am fairly sure someone in-the-know like Gary Marx, Choque Hosein or Hunter (Salvation's manager) has mentioned that to me at some point in the past...
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£2000 in 1984 is worth about £5500 now FYI

These bits of kit were very expensive; IIRC Martin Hannett fell out with Factory because they wouldn't buy a Fairlight CMI, rather using the money to buy/finance The Haçienda.
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DJElectricDaddy wrote:
06 Jan 2021, 02:44
Electrochrome wrote:
05 Jan 2021, 19:35
In the Canadian interview from July 10, 1984 he talks quite a bit about it (the interviewer asks about using a drum machine, etc).

He wanted a more advanced, programmable drum machine. He talks about being able to program some "leeway" ie can program it so it's not always "on the beat" thereby making the sound a little less clinical

He also mentions they can create their own sounds, send them to LA and get back a chip of those sounds to insert.

The DMX costs "two thousand pounds" which was probably nine to 10 thousand dollars at the time(!)
Yeah the long and short of it was this was the second (after the Linn LM1) to use sampled drum sounds, as opposed to the analog circuitry in the 808 etc. The DMX actually sounded like drums unlike previous drum machines.

Also, unlike the 808 step sequencer that offered 16 beats on a rigid grid, the DMX could be programmed without quantising if desired, thus the less mechanical human element. Another first (or second) at the time.

And the ROM chips could be programmed with custom sounds as you quite rightly point out, a massive feature in pre-sampler electronic music history

2000 pounds in the 80s would have been $4000. In today’s money with 40 years inflation, god that’s a s**t ton of dough. Waddaya reckon 20 grand? And the Linn was $5000 at the time and only 500 were made, it was really only a studio tool. So by comparison the DMX was a bargain.

As for playing nice with others, not so much. This was still. A few years away from MIDI. The only sync on these instruments was pulse sync which was not always the best reliable. It was analog and prone to gross fluctuations.

I always imagine Von to be a gear nerd but I wonder how much so at the FALAA heyday of mid 80s

Also....they use a Tascam Portastudio cassette to run the Doktor at live shows?? WTF!, That’s crazy, can you imagine. A different tape for every song?
Great stuff! You're right, the exchange rate was '84 or so vs today, not helpful. Four grand for a drum machine...times have changed.

Didn't realize they were using a tape per song! Was that all through FALAA and the "final tour"?
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Quiff Boy wrote:
06 Jan 2021, 10:33
I think Claire was also responsible for triggering the Dr from the sound booth in the early days (ie: changing the tapes :lol: )

On a slightly related note, am sure I heard that in the early days she also used to manually adjust the echo on Eldritch's voice during songs - turning it up/down according to the relevant part of each song - to allow him to howl at certain points.

I can't 100% confirm it - there's every chance it was just a fever dream :lol: - but am fairly sure someone in-the-know like Gary Marx, Choque Hosein or Hunter (Salvation's manager) has mentioned that to me at some point in the past...
I always wondered how they did this, had to be manually triggered from the booth or the doctor or somewhere as I assume AE didn't have anything special on stage to do so. It's a pretty important job, and if the timing is off it can get ugly.
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these days you'd do it digitally of course - the echo speed would be synced to the drums/song BPM, and triggered at specific points in the drum pattern

they could do this in the mid 80s, but in the very early days i'm thinking it would probably be very difficult to automate so would likely have been manual
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i suppose claire was performing the role of nurse to the doktor before there was an official nurse to the doktor...
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There was also the famous Ben Gunn incident, so Ben was also doing it for a time.
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