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Musical Instruments

.. that moved me in some way. Hmm, I think I need to have a look at this page a bit more when I'm zonked out on coffee.

The Korg PolySix

The polysix is one of my favorites. These instruments are sturdy beasts, but the average age of is getting up there, so I don't dare taking them on the road anymore — I only use them for the studio.

The Oberheim Matrix-12

One of the greatest synthesizers ever built. Purists complain about things like the internal control signal sampling rate, and it's true, the design has its flaws. But for pads, etc, the M12 has a warm, rich sound that is not possible to duplicate using anything else.

Alas, this machine is fairly sensitive to abuse. I've had better luck with the M6/M1000's, which has a very similar but simplified design and architechture — DCO's instead of VCO's, less modulation routings, and much less advanced filters.

The Yamaha DX7

I have a DX7 with nine lives. (Better that than a DX9 with 7 lives)

The Roland JV-1080

Here's another example of very sturdy design.

My Gear List (but who fucking cares)

OK, here goes! Look at all this junk I've accumulated.. the equipment list is in a constant state of flux so this is as of 1999/04/20 15:57.

A bunch of Korg Polysixes. A bunch! Many with the Korg MRK, many without. Many work, many don't work.

A Yamaha TX816 rack. A Hammond L100 organ. Two 760 Leslies (one is in Los Angeles, one in Sweden). A Korg CX3 digital organ. A korg Poly-800.

An Oberheim Matrix-12. I was an Oberheim endorsee before they went bankrupt, so of course I have the individual outs.. it's a beautiful instrument.

A Roland DS330. an Emu Proformance. Two Matrix-1000's and a Matrix-6. A MiniMoog. A Roland SH101. A Yamaha CS-70. A Roland D20. A Roland SH-9. (That's a weird one! Got it in a pawn shop in LA.)

For controller purposes, I have three DX7's.. as I type this one is in Finland (broken low C#, 100 V resistor-hacked to take 117 V, used to have a plastic dog shit glued to it), one is in Dortmund (this one is in good shape, thanks to Peter Hablick who took good care of it on the 1999 tour, it's a 117/230 V switchable), one is in my apartment 30 cm away as I type this. This is the 100 V instrument mentioned above, it has the "MaxSystems SUPERMAX" ROM/RAM upgrade. I have never heard of Maxsystems before of after I bought this upgrade. I found it in a Sam Ash bargain bin for $20, but it's pretty cool — 256 patches, micro tuning, arpeggiator, stack mode, delay, random patch generation. Oh, the random patch mode is buggy and crashes the DX7 spectacularly sometimes, which is pretty cool as well. Except live.. At the moment I only use it as a home studio controller, and to edit the odd TX816 patch in a pinch.

A Roland JV1080 with the "orchestral expansion board". I actually also have the "expansion board sampler" installed which I got from Keyboard Magazine Japan to check out.. I checked it out..

Sundry effects...

What keyboards where?

I'll describe briefly what I can recall about what equipment I've used on various records and tours, because people ask sometimes. Before 84 I basically only used the L100/760, and a Polysix without any effects except the built in ones. Whatever piano was available in the studio... for Shakin Brains I believe it was a Yamaha. I may have used a Prophet 5 there for one overdub, can't remember.

For "Rising Force" in 1984 I used a Polysix, with external effects. It was an Electro-harmonix flanger and some crappy Aria delay, IIRC. I used this setup live as well.. we also used a Steinway grand, a DX7, and an OB8 (IIRC) for that record. We borrowed the DX7 from the guys in Devo who were recording in the studio next to us. We couldn't afford one! For "Marching Out" we again used the P6, and an Emulator II. For the Japanese tour 85 we rented a yamaha GS-1, believe it or not. What a piece of crap that was! I used the P6 and also had bought a Poly-800 as well, that got stolen later. The rest of the gigs in 85 (Europe and US) I think I used two P6es and the above-mentioned DX7. I later picked up a Poly-800 expander. This state of affairs for live continued until 1986 when I got a CS70 which then replaced one of the P6es. I think in 86 I retired the Electro-harmonix box, and started using distortion. I think it was some Pearl (!) brand guitar pedals. Yngwie had just thrown them away. I used those for a while, until I got the Korg effects. For Japan 86 we rented a bunch of stuff, if I remember it correctly it was Roland RD-whatever (digital piano), a Roland Jupiter 8 (?), a DX5 and a TX816 rack. I brought a P6.

In 87 I started working with Oberheim, and got a M12, a M6, two M1000s and a DPX Sample Player. I also bought a Yamaha QX5 standalone sequencer to use for the Oberheim clinics. For "Odyssey" we used the M12 and the DPX, they're all over that record. Controlled by the same old DX7. Also P6 for all the solos, and if I'm not wrong some Kurzweil sampler (the 250?).

1988 saw some free Korg stuff being thrown our way. Some of it made it into my rack. I got the Korg guitar effects (PME40X) which I used for many many years with the P6. The main tour in 88 was the first one without an actual P6. I used the M12, the dpx, and a korg DSM-1 for background vocals. The M12 broke all the time.. For that video in 88 (heaven tonight) they just rented some kurzweil piece of shit, it wasn't even plugged in, of course. In Japan 88 we simply rented a M12 to reduce freight costs, the rack was the same. I think. Yes.

1989 I did my first tour with Jonas. I used the M12 and a rack with the dpx, IIRC. Later that year I joined Dio. We recorded Lock Up the Wolves and I used a lot of keyboards, almost all of what I had, but didn't end up using so much in the actual mix. For the Dio tour 1990 we had a T3EX that Korg lent us. I also bought the CX3 and a 117V 760 Leslie. The P6 and the DPX came to use again, as did the DX7 (yes, the same one) which was suspended from the ceiling and blown up every night (see story above).

1991 to 1995 I didn't do much rock'n'roll touring, and largely kept the same equipment and enlarged my pool of Polysixes. I got a few new devices, such as a Minimoog, TX816, a DS330, and an Emu Proformance. Any instruments you see in the list above that are not mentioned chronologically were probably bought in the first half of the 90s.

After joining Stratovarius in 1995, the only new piece of equipment I've gotten is the 1080, which works very nicely for that sort of music, and more spare controllers in the shape of DX7:s, which is what tends to break, nowadays. I briefly tried to tour using a P6 with strato but it broke a couple of times too many. On Episode, I used the M12, a P6, the Finnvox Yamaha grand, the DS330, and Kotipelto's O5RW. Possibly some other piece of machinery from Finnvox as well, I can't remember now. (A Korg Wavestation?) On Visions and Destiny, I made heavy use of the 1080, the Finnvox grand, and the trusty old P6.

For the strato tours I've used, in order: Polysix with DS330, Polysix with 1080, DX7 with 1080. The solo effects have been: Korg PME40 until that got stolen in Madrid together with my first 1080, some shitty Spanish distortion box that the guy in the store in Madrid gave me when I bought my present 1080, and presently a Morley JD-10 speaker simulator which is great.

For the weirder pieces on Fission (and a certain extent Red Shift) the "studio as instrument" approach was applied. Especially the Eventide 3000 is amazing at this type of stuff. The last track on Fission has loads of computer-aided stuff on it — programs like pvoc, csound, cmix, soundhack, lemur, powerPV, etc.

In 1998 I began having a sort-of endorsement relationship with Steinberg Stoftware. This is quite nice, as I've been using Cubase (on the Atari) since about 1989!


Page updated Oct 26, 1999 at 12:40 Email: jens@panix.com

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