Skip to main content

Diamonds and Pearls

1991-1992

"Diamonds and Pearls" is Prince's thirteenth album. The album marked a departure in Prince's sound. It has a strong hip-hop and R&B influence. It also features a live a band on most of the songs for the first time since Purple Rain.

It is credited to Prince and the New Power Generation, who appear on eleven of the thirteen songs. There are accounts by engineers of the studio sessions for this album.

Prince and the NPG played live throughout 1991 and 1992, performing material from Diamonds and Pearls. The Diamonds and Pearls tour ran from April to July 1992. The NPG detailed their equipment in the November 1992 issue of Musician. The rest of the information is taken from photographs and videos from the period.

In the studio

Diamonds and Pearls was recorded between December 1989 and May 1991 at Paisley Park, Larrabee Sound and studios in London and Tokyo. Prince used a Dave Rusan Cloud Guitar and a Hohner Madcat on the album. He was also used his Mesa Boogie/Bag End amplification system and Boss pedals. This album saw Prince use more digital rack effects. He continued to use the Roland GP-16 for pitch shifting and also introduced a Zoom 9030 for multi-effects.

A Fender Gemini II, a cheap acoustic guitar, appears on several songs including Walk Don't Walk[1] . Prince was using Alembic Spoiler and Auerswald Cleo basses around this time so they probably appear on the album.

It is unknown which keyboards were used on this record. Possible examples include the Roland D-50, Korg M1/T3 and the E-mu Max II. Prince may have also played the Purpleaxxe keytar/sampler.

This period in the 1990s saw the decline of the use of the Linn LM-1 in favour of more modern drum machines. Prince continued using the Publison IM-90 Infernal Machine on this album, using it to sample and arrange songs. This was also the first album where MIDI was used to synchronise and sequence instruments[2] . It is possible that the Roland R-8 appears on the record. 

  1. ^Mix (2010) Gear Stories With Sylvia Massy—Prince and the Gemini II
  2. ^Brown, Jake (2010) Prince 'in the Studio' 1975 - 1995

Jump to era