Level 42 Mike Lindup Synth Setup in Wembley ’86
The synth sounds of Level 42 always amazed me and still to this day certains sounds are very difficult to recreate and I always wondered how they were exactly created. I know the main instrument used was the Prophet 5 on most earlier records but later on there were a lot of fat sounds especially on running in the family album that you couldn’t do with either the DX7 or the Prophet 5.
Looking at the setup for the Wembley ’86 concert gives certainly a lot of clue’s… You notice there’s a TX816 rack which is essentially 8 DX7’s. I know you can create a similar fat brass by layering several DX-7’s sounds (i.e. trumpets 1+3, Analog_X, PitchaPad+Sax1) and that’s probably how most of these type of sounds were created (and some were manipulated or created with the Synclavier in the studio). UPDATE: I found the brass sound on running in the family is rather a Sax + Prophet 5. Also if you ever wondered about the unique intro sound on "it’s over", it’s a Juno 60 (thanks to Wally I never would have guessed that).
If you recognize some of the rack equipment that I didn’t, let me know! Interestingly the sequencer is a Yamaha QX1. I assume the band members followed the rythm of this sequencer for some songs (or rather the drummer would hear the click from the sequencer).
UPDATE: I always thought the metallic clavi sound on ‘something about you’ must have been a DX7 given how digital it sounds (yet I was never able to program it on a DX7 accurately). However recently I noticed a video where Mike was playing this sound on a Prophet 5. So I tried the Prophet 5 emulator and sure enough I was able to get a sound very close to it (check the ArpegKotoish preset). Here are some settings that sounds pretty close: