No, we don’t know what that means either. Apparently back in the 1970’s Mattel (I know!) invented an “Optical Organ” to play back real sounds encoded on celluloid discs. It’s a bit like a futuristic Mellotron. We understand that it was pretty terrible but that never stops enthusiasts from being enthusiastic about things.
Robert Becker has built a device to play these discs via MIDI. He’s calling it the Panoptigon and he’s taking it to NAMM to let people have a bit of play. He stresses that this is a prototype and more of a proof of concept – which usually means it will probably fall apart.
It looks a lot like a record player, which is pretty close to what it is. The unit comes with an onboard DSP effects processor including reverb and a flanger.
It will play all original Optigan/Orchestron discs as well as new ones created by Optigan.com which have handy strobe lines on them for automatic tuning – nice!
If you’re at NAMM you have to go and check this thing out.
- Optigan website