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New Prototype Optigan/Orchestron Disc Player – Sound Demo

Posted by peahix on November 14th, 2017

Robert Becker has been making steady progress (in his spare time) on his new Optigan/Orchestron disc player, which we hope will be put into production at some point. There’s still lots of work to be done, bugs to iron out, things to be fine-tuned, code to be optimized, etc, but it’s currently playable (via MIDI), and the basic sound quality is quite good, so we figured we’d post a few informal/noodly sound clips of it in action. These are direct/unprocessed recordings from the unit, some featuring the onboard reverb. Sorry, no live video of it being played at this time. We don’t cover ALL the features/functions in these sound demos, as some of them aren’t quite working yet, but you can get an idea from looking at the photos what sort of things it will be able to do. Also, currently we cannot field any requests for pricing/availability, so please don’t ask! We know alot of you will be interested in obtaining of one these, but at this time we simply can’t give any estimates on that front.

2 Responses to “New Prototype Optigan/Orchestron Disc Player – Sound Demo”

  1. Pocket Says:

    Sounds like it has the same shortcoming as the one that Japanese guy made, where it makes a little electrical snapping sound when you press a key. Maybe a side effect of using modern digital equipment as opposed to the analog stuff they had back then?

  2. Robert Becker Says:

    The reason for the click is not due to digital as opposed to analog circuitry. It has to do with the sudden turn on of the audio signal when it is not at a “zero crossing”, which means there is a DC component that adds an impulse that can be heard as a click.

    Optigans don’t have a perceivable click since the keyboard uses a conductive rubber strip to switch the audio on gradually (even though it may seem immediate, there is a multi-millisecond fade-in). In the service documentation they mention this click reduction property of the strip. The chord buttons and effects rockers do not have the conductive strip, and you sometimes can get clicks, though the audio material assigned to these buttons is usually rhythmical, which helps to mask this. Additionally, the Optigan has a high frequency roll-off in the circuitry as well as limited frequency range speakers which reduce the clicks.

    Talentmakers and many Orchestrons have keyboard clicks since they use j-wires to switch the audio. Model A Orchestrons are essentially Optigans, so they are clickless, but models B, C, and D can have clicks.

    Many organs have keyboard clicks, especially Hammond organs. This is part of their mojo (a feature, not a bug), and many artists make use of this in their playing.

    The prototype Optigan/Orchestron disc player sound samples presented here are intended as an initial demonstration without all the fine turning needed to make it a saleable product. The player does include special “clickless” digitally controlled analog switches, which fade in the signal gradually much like the Optigan. However, in this demo the gain staging hasn’t been optimized (it since has been). Also, the frequency range of the player is much greater than the original Optigan, so slight clicks are enhanced.

    As I continue to refine the product, I’m sure Pea will add more demos and info. Stay tuned!

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