Waxtrax Synths and Samplers (and samples)

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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Waxtrax Synths and Samplers (and samples)

Post by vanitypolice » Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:41 pm

So I just got the Waxtrax Boxset - Black Box and I'm wondering what synths all the bands are using (I also thought this would be a good opportunity for us to talk about bands other than NIN, Depeche Mode, and Yaz :lol:).

Listening to the different artists (KMFDM, Acid Horse, Thrill Kill Kult, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, COIL, etc), I became intrigued by their synths and how they DIFFERED from the artists listed above (and all over the forum).

Does anyone know what gear these bands used? Did they all work out of one studio like Daniel Miller and Mute or did they all go off on their own and use different equipment. Either way, all I could recognize was a sample from Dr. Strangelove in the song - I.C. Water by Psychic TV. Oh and I heard the song from which the girl singing "cuz it's hot" in the Thrill Kill Kult song was taken on the radio the other day but I have no idea what the song was.
I have found that when it comes to gear, believe the hype.

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Post by PitchBender » Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:15 pm

Ahhh the good ol' waxtrax days!
brings back memories. I am pretty sure they all used their own gear.
sorry i dont have alot of info for you, but I sure did like all those bands from that time period.

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Post by vanitypolice » Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:26 pm

well what about Thrill Kill Kult from those days?
or acid horse or early kmfdm or early ministry? anyone know?
I have found that when it comes to gear, believe the hype.

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Post by calyx93 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:29 am

Well - there's Ministry's early years beyond "With Sympathy" - the early WaxTrax singles along with "Twitch" were done mostly with Al's Fairlight IIx - it made other appearances on Revolting Cocks material too. It's very obvious all over "Big Sexy Land" - easily identified presets on "Attack Ships on Fire". Buzz McCoy was, IIRC, a good friend of Al's and was a familiar with his IIx/did some programming- this might explain the lo-fi quality of sampling on "I See Good Spirits..." and "Confessions of a Knife" and I do believe that there's a good deal of Emax-1 on the latter.

I've often been interested in their sister label - Play It Again Sam, and what exactly some of their bands used - mainly Trisomie-21 (lots of D-50, that I know), A Split Second, Neon Judgement (Emax at one point) and Pankow.

Coil used a good amount of classic instruments/synths/samplers too - early years on "Scatology" and "Horse Rotorvator" used things like the Emulators 1 and 2, Fairlights IIx and III, something called a "Mimic" sampling keyboard (might have been Sleazy's home-brewed "sampler" with cassettes), PPG Wave and others I can't recall. Latter years saw Serge modular (I think) on "Love's Secret Domain" and soft synths more recently until Jhonn's passing - don't know much else.

EDIT - 10-20-07 - Just found out that the Mimic sampler Coil used on Scatology actually was a product by Movement Systems that made the Movement Drum Computer. You might remember it from the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" video and album. Quite a rare device and went on auction on Vemia a couple of years ago (this one seems to be Coil's machine too). Here's a link with a pic for those curious. It's the keyboard in the upper left corner:

http://musicthing.blogspot.com/2005/04/ ... o-buy.html
Last edited by calyx93 on Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by :||CHAMBER||: » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:41 am

i wish i could be more helpful as most of my roots are tied to Industrial and the many sub-genres it spawned, but, unfortunately i've never cared for most of the WaxTrax bands. sure, WaxTrax released a lot of the original Industrial Records artists: Coil, Clock DVA, Throbbing Gristle, etc.. but the rest.. eh...

so, i can't offer any specifics but as far as gear goes. there were a number of models that were popular with a good cross portion of the scene so i suppose for the most part they'd apply.
the items listed could be considered a kind of standard for synths related to Skinny Puppy, Ministry, NIN, Front 242, etc.

early E-MU and Ensoniq samplers
-Emulator II and Emaxs
-Mirage and EPS's
Akai's S-900 was another popular choice
CMI Fairlight II where Ministry is concerned

various polysynths
-Yamaha DX7 and TX81z
-Yamaha SY22 and TG33
-PPG Wave
-SCI Prophets (especially the VS)
-Oberheim Xpander and Matrix
-the occasional Roland (Jupiter and D-50, usually)
-Ensoniq ESQ-1

analog monosynths
-SCI ProOne
-Roland SH-101
-Roland System100
-Korg MS series
-Arp 2600 and Odyssey
-various sub-Mini Moogs

drum machines/percussion
-Roland TR-808 (and other x0x machines)
-Roland Octopad MIDI trigger
-E-MU Drumulator and probably SP-12
-Pearl Syncussion
-lots of live drums/various things to hit

when you start digging you find that they used almost everything and generally the lesser priced models. the majority of the "industrial" sound though is based on samplers and hybrid/digital polysynths and analog monos. i don't know if this provides any help but its something to start with.

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Post by vanitypolice » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:15 am

didn't trent apparently have 2 akai s1100s each with an s1100ex for the downward spiral?
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Post by synapsecollapse » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:35 am

also, on the coil side, pretty much any obscure noise-maker that you look at and wonder "who the eff would use that?" coil probably did.

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Post by astraeus000 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:11 am

I believe I remember Buck Ryder telling me that Buzz used an Emax for most stuff, sequencing on his Alesis MMT-8, and sampling also on Ryder's (Thomas Thorn) Ensoniq EPS, which he used religiously in the Electric Hellfire Club.

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Post by guttermonkey » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:12 pm

As far as KMFDM are concerned, in '99 their gear lists included Akai S3000 samplers, Nord2 Racks, Korg Monopoly, Roland modules (803, 808 & 809), SCI Pro1, Akai MPC2000, & Kurzweil 2000. In the past they've also used Doepfer MS404, Quasimidi Rave-O-Lution, the TR808 & TR909, TB303, SH-101, JD-800. If you dig their stuff, you might be interested in Pigface & PIG, which were both sideprojects for their members.

The Revolting Cocks and Acid Horse were a side project of Al Jourgensen (of Ministry), so their gear list was probably the same as Ministry. I'd recommend picking up Beers, Steers, & Queers even if just for the comedic value of the album. Ministry's gear list is probably kinda nuts, because Al was known to use whatever he could get his hands on.

COIL was an offshoot from Psychic TV. Their vague list of gear was modular synths, ANS photoelectronic synthesizer, a theremin, a Moog, and a shakuhachi. In a picture from the ELpH era I've seen there's definitely a MS-20 or MS-10, but I don't recognize the rest of the gear (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:ELpH ... washed.jpg).

TKK was a bit more difficult to help with though, as I found nothing about their gear list on the web.

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Post by neandrewthal » Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:13 am

guttermonkey wrote: In a picture from the ELpH era I've seen there's definitely a MS-20 or MS-10, but I don't recognize the rest of the gear (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:ELpH ... washed.jpg).

Yup, that's definitely an MS-20. Looks like a Polysix and an Oscar on the stand. No idea what the keyboard on the left is though :?
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Post by the_conversation » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:44 am

From the Coil / Scatology LP:

DX7
Emulator
Fairlight CMI
Mimic sampling keyboard

Guitar, Piano, Clarinet, Ocarina, Organ, Bass

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Post by Mpresev » Fri Oct 19, 2007 1:17 am

if you look at the BIgod 20 cd "steel works" it's say that they only use Waldorf equip.

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Post by MrHope » Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:04 am

I love this discussion. All those great bands really take me back.

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Post by Entropy Farmer » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:51 am

vanitypolice wrote:didn't trent apparently have 2 akai s1100s each with an s1100ex for the downward spiral?
I think he had a couple Kurzweil K2000s as well, and a couple K2600s on The Fragile. Don't know about recently.

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Post by synapsecollapse » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:06 am

the downward spiral used:

digidesign turbosynth
k2000
waldorf microwave
ppg
akai s1100
roland R-70
Prophet VS
oberhiem OBMX
TR 808
minimoog
oberheim expander

coil wasn't part of PTV, PTV and coil were both came from Throbbing Gristle.

its odd that this thread keeps getting revised, but i think its easy to think of the wax trax era as the "good old days" of industrial, although, im not so sure i agree.

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