Alan Wilder Emax samples

From Depeche Mode Live Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


As part of his 2011 auction, Alan Wilder sold 20 numbered and signed ZIP discs for the Emax II sampler containing samples used during the 1987-1988 Music For The Masses Tour and 1993 Devotional Tour[1]. Most of the samples were taken from the original multitrack recordings.[1] Samples of songs from the Devotional tour that went unplayed or played only once (in the case of Something To Do) were also included in the auction.[1]

General information

Copied & pasted from the original auction listing[1]:

The Zip discs will work in any suitable Zip drive and connect to the Emax via a scuzi[2] cable. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to transfer everything absolutely perfectly from the original floppies. The vast majority of sounds are fully in tact but one or two have small corruptions at the end of notes. The good news is that, with a bit of careful editing, these glitches can be removed. (Thanks goes to Tom & Simon for their help)

Alan's comments

Copied & pasted from the original auction listing[1]:

“I spent many hours (days!) programming each member’s keyboards for the tours, painstakingly trying to recreate as accurately as possible the sounds we formulated and used on the records. The Emax was a perfect tool for the live re-creations. This collection covers most of my own sounds for the two tours, although I did play live drums on some songs. I tried all these out recently and discovered how much fun it is to work out the various parts we all used to play. I even found some guide sounds which weren’t actually performed live but were used to demonstrate parts to others. For example, I discovered some guide vocals for Condemnation which were sampled to help routine our girl backing vocalists during the rehearsals.”

Please note that for obvious reasons, the samples can not be made available here on the wiki. It would seem they circulate fairly widely nonetheless, to the point that there's a post about it on reddit.[3]

It would seem that the ZIP discs sold were not necessarily complete sets, as more samples than the ones auctioned from the respective tours circulate more tightly.


A couple tracks have sequences that originate from Alan Wilder's setup; one track is sourced from an Emax II ZIP disc, the other from an Emulator II floppy disc. Neither of these are from the 2011 auction.

Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth

The sequence for Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth was present on one of Alan Wilder's Emax II ZIP discs, as told to me directly from an anonymous source who worked with Alan during his 2011 auction. The quality is somewhat degraded due to age of the ZIP discs[1] and lossy audio compression used for this track. The pops and clicks in the middle section specifically are the most obvious audible result of the degradation due to age. ZIP discs are notorious for their poor reliability, so this situation certainly makes sense. This track was previously thought to be a well-made fan cover, but I believe it is a legitimate sequence that was used during the tour. This information also appears on the 1987 - 1988 Music For The Masses Tour Backing Tapes page.

Christmas Island

A sequence of Christmas Island sourced from one of Alan's Emulator II floppy discs was sent to me by an anonymous source. The quality is significantly better compared to the sequence of Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth above, which is sourced from degraded Emax II ZIP discs.

If you listen closely towards the end of Alan Wilder's Emulator II demonstration video below, it seems that this sequence was the one he played over.

Furthermore, the Soundcloud user Michigan-Sweden recreated very faithful sounding "live instrumentals" of many tracks from the MFTM tour and other tours using some of the original samples from Alan Wilder's Emax II setup. Listen to them on his Soundcloud here.

Sound bank table

This table lists the sound banks as described on the auction page, with some additional information not present there.

Emax II Song Banks[1]
Tour Bank Song
1987-1988 Music For The Masses Tour 00 People Are People
01 A Question Of Time
02 A Question Of Lust
03 Pleasure, Little Treasure
04 Sacred
05 Blasphemous Rumours
06 It Doesn't Matter
07 Things You Said
08 Strangelove[4]
09 Shake The Disease
10 Never Let Me Down Again
11 Just Can't Get Enough
12 Stripped
13 Pipeline
14 Nothing
15 Behind The Wheel
16 Something To Do
17 Everything Counts
18 Somebody
?? Black Celebration[5]
?? Master And Servant[6]
1993 Devotional Tour and 1994 Exotic Tour[7] 34 Mercy In You (Alan 93)
35 Fly On The Windscreen
36 Nothing (Alan 93)[8]
37 Something To Do[9]
38 Leave In Silence (Alan 93)[10]
39 A Question Of Lust
40 Clean (percussion trigger sounds)
41 Condemnation (vocal guide)
42 Everything Counts (94 version)
43 Waiting For The Night[11]
44 I Want You Now


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 The Alan Wilder / Depeche Mode Collection: 20 x AW / DM sound sample ZIP discs
  2. Pronunciation of SCSI, "Small Computer System Interface" (Wikipedia)
  3. reddit: Depeche Mode Samples - I have them!
  4. Strangelove was also rehearsed for the 1993 Devotional Tour, but it was never performed during the tour.
  5. Strangely, Black Celebration's sound bank is not listed on the auction page, despite a sound bank existing for the song as part of the sold disc set.
  6. Strangely, Master And Servant's sound bank is not listed on the auction page, despite a sound bank existing for the song as part of the sold disc set.
  7. Though not explicitly mentioned on the auction page, some tracks were also played during the 1994 Exotic Tour, with the Waiting For The Night and I Want You Now exclusively during that tour.
  8. Nothing was rehearsed, but was never performed during the 1993 Devotional Tour or 1994 Exotic Tour.
  9. Something To Do was only performed once during the 1993 Devotional Tour, on 1993-05-25 Forest National Stadium, Brussels, Belgium; it replaced Fly On The Windscreen in the typical concert set list.
  10. Leave In Silence was rehearsed, but was never performed during the 1993 Devotional Tour or 1994 Exotic Tour.
  11. Waiting For The Night was played at least a couple times at the start of the 1994 Exotic Tour.