'I was endorsing two products but I've stopped doing it because I was getting terrible ear bendings from both companies and it seemed like I was losing my freedom and I couldn't use what I wanted. Being a man of contradictions, Allan does actually endorse A/DA stereo delay units. These form part of his stage rack, coupled with another pair of delay lines to get a longer delay, namely a Lexicon PCM41 and a Dynacord DDL 12. A Yamaha E1010 analogue delay completes his set of five delay lines which Allan needs to use with his set up. For solos he has a pair of Hartley Thompson 100 watt amps (shortly to be replaced by a pair of the 200 watt variety), and for chords a pair of Yamaha PI2200s, which are 200 watts a side, plus a pair of Yamaha PGI pre amps.
To create the tones customized for the specific tracks on Secrets, Allan cross-matched ideas, ingenuity and his inventions until he struck on a tasteful variety. Using his Steinberger GM2T, loaded with two custom Seymour Duncan Allan Holdsworth humbuckers and refretted by luthier Bill DeLap with Dunlop 6000 wire, Allan created "City Nights" by running a Boogie Mark III head through the Extractor prototype, into an equalizer, and back into a Boogie Simulclass 295 power amp, using only one side of the unit to drive his speaker box. There, the signal from a Celestion KS speaker was brought to tape via a Neumann TLM 170 microphone. The inline processing for his lead tone included an ADA Stereo Tapped Delay, two ADA mono delay lines and a Lexicon PCM60. Formulas differ on each track; there are few constants. "I used that power amp and the speaker box on all the tracks, with different variables," Allan reports. "On 'Peril Premonition,' for instance, I substituted a Boogie Quad preamp, and used a combination of a Shure SM58 and an AKG 460 on the same Celestion I'm very flexible, because it's all a big experiment to me. If I thought that I'd gotten a really good guitar tone and just left the mike and everything in the same position and used it, I know I'd die after-wards. I wanted to get back to using tube amps. Since I started using the Juice Extractor with the Boogies, I've fo und that I can get more flexible variations of tone than ever before. I find myself customizing the amp from the outside."
Today he uses Roland Jazz Cubes for his clean sound. - They are good and have a soft sound, they remind me a little of Lab L5 amps. Before that, I used the Mesa Boogie Mark III. For the lead sound, I use the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier through a Carvin solid state stereo power amp. The speakers are either a pair of 1x12" or 2x12" Rectifier cabinets. The rig has become smaller over the years, and the only effects I'm using now are two Rockton Intellifexes for the cleans, and a Lexicon Reverb for the solos. Signal processing was more fun before, when it was not created from presets, and it was assumed that the user himself had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish with the sound.
“In fact my English rack is based on this: it has two Lexicon PCM 41s, two Yamaha 1500s, two Roland 3000s, and two DeltaLab Effectrons, which is eight total. And it sounds better when you use units from different manufacturers, because each company has its own sound; when you blend them, you get the best tone. If you used eight delays from the same company, it wouldn’t sound nearly as good. I don’t use MIDI, either, because I like real-time control over it. Plus I just set the units and pretty much leave them, if I do change anything I like to do it myself manually.”