Orchestron

Originally designed by Opsonar, the Orchestron was an attempt to perfect the Optigan for use by professional musicians. It will eventually be manufactured by Vako, a company created by David Van Koevering (1940-2018), a former employee of Moog. Compared to the Optigan, the Orchestron uses the same principle of optical celluloid disc reading but its […]

Optigan

The Optigan was created in Californie in 1971. It was produced by Optigan Corporation, a Mattel subsidiary, up until 1973, and by Opsonar afterwards. The Optigan was an instrument that used celluloid discs, which featured recordings of real musical instruments (especially organs) and accompaniments. The term “Optigan” comes from the words “OPTIcal orGAN”. It was […]

Birotron

After a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1975, Rick Wakeman (Yes’s keyboard player) met David Biro, who lived in Connecticut. Biro showed him his invention: an instrument that could play recorded sounds without the downsides of a Mellotron (sounds limited to 8 seconds, impossibility to play fast… ). It was a keyboard connected to nineteen […]

Chamberlin

The Mellotron directly comes from the Chamberlin (see History). In 1946, in California, Harry Chamberlin created a musical instrument that was able to play pre-recorded magnetic tapes. Somehow, it was the first sampler in history. 1948 – 1949 Model 100 Rhythmate Approx. 10 unitsIt’s the first Chamberlin. It could play 14 drum loops recorded on […]