by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 1 Minute

Panoptigon  ·  Source: Optigan


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 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.

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