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Depeche Mode Enters the Matrix

Producer Ben Hillier specified SSL's Matrix SuperAnalogue mixing console for tracking Depeche Mode's thirteenth studio album, "Delta Machine."

Oxford, UK (August 6, 2013)—Producer Ben Hillier specified SSL’s Matrix SuperAnalogue mixing console for tracking Depeche Mode’s thirteenth studio album, “Delta Machine.”

The SSL Matrix has become part of the Depeche Mode production process, with frontman Dave Gahan having set up a Matrix-based project studio at his New York City home. Principal songwriter, synthesist and guitarist Martin Gore has also added a Matrix to his home-based project studio in Santa Barbara.

Fellow Matrix owner Hillier, who helmed the band’s Playing The Angel album and its Grammy-nominated follow-up, Sounds Of The Universe, returned to the Depeche Mode production fold for Delta Machine. The Matrix acted as the central hub for a collection of analogue hardware and multi-DAW based workflow.

“At the end of Sounds Of The Universe, we’d encouraged Martin to shift his work method away from purely using soft synths,” says Hillier. “We really enjoyed using vintage analogue synths on that record. Martin didn’t have a massive collection to start with, but he collected a whole load more. As a result of that, he knew he needed to rebuild his home studio, so we set him up with an SSL Matrix.”

For Delta Machine, Gore assembled a modular synth system with well over 700 Eurorack modules. According to Hillier, “One of the first things that [A&R] Daniel Miller said to me was, ‘The demos that Martin’s made this time are amazing!’ And he was right. They had this great sound to them-because he was using all these old synths and mixing them through the Matrix.”

While tracking at Manhattan’s Jungle City Studios, “We had a large rack of outboard compressors and EQs—a few of my favorites and some choice pieces liberated from Martin’s studio—that were all patched into the Matrix’s software patch bay. Pretty much everything was put through some of them, and we had preset insert chains for things like Dave and Martin’s vocal sounds.”

Solid State Logic