Vince Clarke Studio Tour

Waveshaper Media shared this video tour of synthesist Vince Clarke‘s studio.

Vince Clarke has been the synthesist behind Depeche Mode, Yaz/Yazoo and Erasure, and has built up an amazing collection of synths over the years.

This studio tour was filmed in July 2012 as part of the production of the documentary I Dream Of Wires, and was previously only available as a DVD/iTunes bonus feature.

38 thoughts on “Vince Clarke Studio Tour

  1. All very impressive, of course, but where are the 4 cz 101s? Jason, you could have had the camera guy pan around a bit more.

    1. An equal number to the amount of additive synths. You can’t have so many subtractive synths that you go negative.

      Ok, I’ll leave now..

  2. A couple of things that I couldn’t make out from the video that would be interesting to look at more closely were the Midi main distributor (that might not of been shown?) that Vince was referring to at the end and the ***** MP101 box that he points to at 11:33.

    I also found this great overview his studio if anyone’s interested.

    1. Since this studio tour was filmed for I Dream Of Wires, we focused on his modular synthesizers. I’m not even sure what a “Midi main distributor” is, but if you want clarification on those boxes we discussed, which he had all over the studio – those are Roland MPU-101s, which are Midi-to-CV convertors

  3. This is so dry and awkward and for a doc about synths the camera work is rubbish, there is not one shot that really shows the beauty or detail of the gear. Is the entire doc like this?

    1. This was really meant to be used more as B-Roll – it was hand-held, and mainly done for visuals, but we felt it was interesting enough to share. So do many others, it seems. The camera man (also I Dream Of Wires’ director/editor) is an accomplished cinematographer. I don’t recall Netflix or many of the hundreds-of-thousands of people who have seen IDOW complaining about the camera work. It’s currently available to stream for free online via Boiler Room TV, so feel free to check it out and see for yourself.

    2. The documentation IDOW is great and the “bonus” with Vince is just what is says: Bonus! There are some other studio tours on YT available. So don’t complain and just enjoy.

    1. Slightly awkward??? To be fair if I was in the presence of the almighty VC I’d be super tongue-tied myself. However, I find this hard to watch with the way the interviewer is stammering on

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I’m not that into modular, but I was absorbed by this film and the mad wires. I was enjoying the zoom for its energy in the moment. No complaints here ! -)

  5. Waveshaper Media thanks for making this video available one couldn’t ever think to have this available so readily back in the day.

  6. If you are going to do a video about cool vintage synths in a collection…it would be much better to slowly closeup pan the synths being talked about in addition to seeing people look at the synth.

    1. Eva please read my comment above “This was really meant…” for an explanation of how this was filmed. The camera man is an accomplished cinematographer and director. Besides, just because Vince was kind enough to let us film a tour of his synth collection doesn’t mean he’s going to let us stay there all day. Check out our other videos on the Youtube channel, along with our I Dream Of Wires documentary, for an indication of the work we’re capable of when not filming in an impromptu way, as was the case here.

  7. There are already thousands of videos and pics about these beasts on the web the commentary was most useful IMO. I still think he leans on too many similar additive synths but to each his taste! Thanks for sharing this video Waveshaper.

  8. Vince probably forgot, after all it was almost 30 years ago, but I sold him that Xpander and provided programming for it. It was an honor to provide them for the I Say I Say I Say record, which is one of All-Time Favs. No slight to Erasure’s awesome talent and contribution to modern music

      1. Hi Matt, I don’t believe so. I should go back to my written notes, which I can do if you think it’s worth more detail. At that time (1990) they didn’t have one as far as I knew, tho the Xpander was available in 1984. I was asked to purchase one for them (second hand) and include programming. I had been a programmer for E-Mu, but also had a reputation and some industry contacts, I don’t know how they found me. I do have a copy of the check they paid me with, from Erasure Tours.

        PS I changed my emails to the one I have with WordPress, [email protected]

        1. “My favourite is definitely the Xpander – that’s the synth. We use all sorts of stuff really – a lot of analogue equipment. I’ve still got all my old gear, I never throw anything away. I think it’s something that I’d like to get back into now, the old analogue equipment. There are companies now that are making analogue synths based around things like the Roland System 100, and I’d like to get more into that. That’s why I bought the Oberheim Xpander β€” it’s like old modular synths really, except that it doesn’t have patch cords, but you can still modulate anything with anything else.”
          Vince Clarke, Sound on Sound, December 1988

          1. Hi Matt, I see that! And hear that.. they said they wanted one in 1989. I could look for the notes I took at the time, I do have the check which they paid me for that synth including programming. I don’t know why they wanted me to program it if they already had one.. Let me know I can email it to you. It’s dated April 12th, 1990. It took forever to get paid… but it’s a moot point, I have always loved them and wish them the best. Perhaps the one they had in 1987 was borrowed, but who cares, that was 30 years ago. Thank you for communicating with me, appreciated.

            1. Hi Richard. Seems that they had 2, one for the studio works and one for the touring. Thanks for the info – there was never ever a discussion to doubt your replies!
              I have a Xpander on my own and love it. Didn’t touch it for a while but will catch up later.
              Would be curious to find some of the old XPander patches from the Erasure records to play it on my XP πŸ˜‰

              1. Pretty sure I have a very good collection of Xpander-Matrix 12 patches. I was programming and collecting everything from those days. The only issue is that I have Galaxy files. Since I still keep a G4 OS 9.2.2, the files are likely in that format. I suppose I could try to dump them in Pro Tools 12, I haven’t tried that. You are certainly welcome, I hope that if the developers are still around you can compensate them πŸ™‚ Please let me know, all I need is an email address and I’ll send you them. I’m not sure if I had a file named Erasure, but maybe!

                1. Sounds cool. I still own an old Macintosh Classic but do not have the Galaxy Librarian. But maybe I find a download in the WWW or find a developer to support.
                  Will be worth a try ! πŸ˜‰
                  My email is [email protected]
                  Thanks a lot in advance – really appreciated !
                  Regards, Matt.

          2. Hi Matt, It’s an interesting puzzle. Why not ask Vince? I was paid thru their accountant, Robbins, Spielman Slayton & Halfon in NYC, $2100, the check reads “oberheim expander”, check #1085, signed by Bruce Slayton. Can you imagine that outfit has records on discogs? That firm looks like it exploded in 1996, don’t know why. But surely Vince may know why they purchased an Xpander from me in 1990. It’s something for the story, right?

  9. It’s a cool story – maybe they needed another Xpander for the tour?! It may be the only synth mentioned by name in an erasure track. And I left out this great bit: “We use the same basic gear for live work and recording: an Oberheim Xpander, Juno 106, MKS80, Prophet VS, D550, S550, all run off UMI.” Nice set of instruments. cheers

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