Before Digital Sampling | Tape-Replay Keyboards Vs. Optical Disc

Read a Timeline of Tape Replay Keyboards for Professional Audio Production
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Tape-Replay Keyboards …

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1948
Chamberlin

Harry Chamberlin saw the potential of magnetic tape and manufactured the first tape-replay keyboard.

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1963
Streetly Electronics Mellotron

With a name that's synonymous with prog rock, this British-built tape-replay instrument is still being manufactured.

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1975
Birotron

Dave Biro and Rick Wakeman's collaboration used tape loops in order to sustain sounds over 8 seconds.

… vs. Optical Disc

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1970
Optigan

With a name that connotes “optical organ,” this instrument offered quirky rhythm tracks in a variety of musical styles, played by real musicians.

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1973
Chilton Talentmaker

The extremely rare follow-up to the Optigan included improvements in the disc drive and playback audio quality.

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1975
Vako Orchestron

This ill-fated optical-disc keyboard was designed for the pro market and meant to go head-to-head with the Mellotron.