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What is an Optigan, and how does it work?

Posted by peahix on April 23rd, 2006

The Optigan (OPTIcal orGAN) was a sort of adult toy originally made by Mattel in the early 70’s. Basically it was laid out like most home chord organs of the time, but its sound producing mechanism was very unique. Instead of producing electronically simulated organs, drums, etc, it spun clear LP-sized discs, optically encoded with looped recordings of real instruments and instrumental accompaniments. A series of chord buttons provides rhythm tracks and backing bands, while the melody is played with the right hand on the 37 note keyboard.

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