Showing posts with label Optigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Optigan. Show all posts

Monday, September 04, 2023

Norman McLaren's hand-drawn sounds

video upload by Robotussin Vintage Synths

"Scottish-Canadian animator Norman McLaren developed a technique of painting onto the optical soundtrack area of the film negatives of his animations.

The shapes would then make drones and buzzes when played through a special type of projector. He used the technique to create experimental soundtracks to his animations.

It's similar to Daphne Oram's technique of turning shapes into sound – though hers, which she called Oramics, was more complex, with dedicated machines that read shapes on the entire area of the 35mm film, rather than just the little strip that contains the soundtrack.

You can see the results in the third video above, an extract from McLaren's film 'Dots', which employs the technique.

McLaren – born in Scotland in 1914 – worked for the British Post Office's film unit until around 1939, when he moved to New York, then to Canada in 1941, where he produced animations for the National Film Board, before setting up an animation studio at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal and the Ontario College of Art.

There he produced around 70 films, much of it highly experimental and strange. He died in 1987 aged 72."

This also reminds me of the Optigan.

Norman McLaren is mentioned in this book: Vector Synthesis: a Media Archaeological Investigation into Sound-Modulated Light

Thursday, August 03, 2023

Entire Back-Catalog of Optigan / Orchestron / Panoptigon Disc Titles Now Available


"For the first time in a couple of years, our entire catalog of existing disc titles for Optigan, Orchestron, and Panoptigon are now back in print and available for purchase! While the Optical Disc Lab (made possible by the generous support of our fellow Optigoners) isn’t quite ready yet to plot masters of new titles, we can now make copies of our existing masters that are fully up to the quality we were able to previously achieve with an outside vendor. So if there’s any gaps in your collection, they can now be filled!"

The Enchanting LoFi Textures Of An Optical Sound Sampler

video upload by HAINBACH

"Listen to the 'Talentmaker Takes' EP on my bandcamp:

The Chilton Talentmaker is one of the first samplers, or rather loop players. Like the slightly more famous Mellotron, it allows playback of recorded instruments, but it can play them back as loops. This allows for all kind of endless playback of music, from 'German Band' and 'Polka Band' to 'Waltz Guitar', made famous through Michel Gondry's 'Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless mind' soundtrack.

The Chilton and its close relatives, the Optigan and Orchestron, were used by Kraftwerk, David Lynch, Tom Waits, The Clash and many more."

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

New Optigan Merch Shop

Optigan has a new mech shop. You'll find Optigan, Vako Orchestron, and Panoptigan Ts there. They are currently having a 15% off sale. You can find the shop at

Sunday, November 01, 2020

OPTIGAN Model 35001 Stereophonic with Reverb


"Demo of Optigan Model 35001 using the Movin' disc"

via this auction

"All keys work, and all chord buttons work easily. Volume pedal works. In the down position, special effects buttons 1,3 & 5 all work; 4 is intermittent, and 2 doesn't work; none work in the up (lock) position. These are known issues and can be resolved by disassembly and cleaning the contacts; there are videos on YouTube about how to do this.

Cosmetically it's in decent shape, with some scuffs and scratches. There is a small chip above the 4th special effects switch and some discoloration on the plastic apron above the chord and percussion switches."

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Vintage 1979 Super 8 Film Home Movie CONTROL DATA CDC 3600 COMPUTER PLAYS SOUSA

This one is in via peahix of Forward to 6:52 for the mechanical rendition.

"Another garage sale find. This is almost certainly the CDC 3600 that was installed at UCSD. Please note: Only parts of this film have sound. You can hear the CDC's rendition of Sousa's 'Stars & Stripes Forever' starting at 6:52."

Monday, August 17, 2020

Four NEW 2020 Optigan Discs


2020 Optigan Disc - FUZZ ROCK
2020 Optigan Disc - GAMELESQUE
2020 Optigan Disc - SPIKE'S JOINT
2020 Optigan Disc - COUNTRY FOLK IN 6/8 Featuring Orchestron Solo French Horn


Friday, July 31, 2020




00:00 - Unboxing
01:16 - Optigan Mode Demo (Cha Cha Cha)
03:51 - Orchestron Mode Demo (Bass Clarinet)
05:03 - Chirp (Bossa Nova Style)

"Here's a quick unboxing & demo of Quilter Labs' new Panoptigon Chord Controller, available for purchase here

This is a small MIDI controller that replicates the functionality of the Optigan chord button panel. You can use it in conjunction with a standard MIDI keyboard to control Panoptigon. You can also use it with iOptigan (requires an additional 3rd party MIDI to Lightning interface) or any other MIDI sound module.

In "Optigan" mode, the PCC controls a standard Optigan format disc. In "Orchestron" mode, the chord buttons send chord MIDI data to play simple sustained chords to either an Orchestron disc or any MIDI sound module. In "iOptigan" mode, the PCC is mapped to control the iOptigan app ( All three modes can be set to either "Normal" for momentary operation or "Radio" for latched operation.

In this video I demonstrate the "Optigan" and "Orchestron" modes. A full demo of the 'iOptigan' mode will be coming soon.

At the end, there's a nod to all the Minecraft / Little Big Planet fans- a quick improv on 'Chirp.' :)"

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Optigan discs and songbooks / nearly complete collection

via this auction

"The mother lode of Optigan discs, songbooks and ephemera. 30 discs (4 in picture sleeves, the rest in Optigan-branded folios); 14 songbooks; 2 cardboard folio carriers with “highlight” sheets and extra stickers.

I am not parting out this collection; at the current price I’m listing at, each disc comes out to about $18 per; that includes rare titles like Movin’, Singing Rhythm and Sleigh Ride. See below for complete list.

I also have an Optigan organ (model 35002) with the usual sticky chord keys available for pick-up only in St. Louis, MO. Message me for more info.

1. Polynesian Village
2. Easy Does it with Vibes
3. Rollin' Easy
4. Big Band Beat
5. Guitar in 3/4 Time
6. Banjo Sing-Along
7. Bossa Nova Style
8. Big Top Marching Band
9. Organ Sing Along
10. The Blues Sweet and Low
11. Singing Rhythm
12. Nashville Country
13. Hear and Now
14. Waltz Time
15. Big Organ and Drums
16. Pop Piano Plus Guitar
17. Dixieland Strut
18. Cha-Cha-Cha
19. Folk & Other Moods - Guitar
20. Movin'
21. Gay 90's
22. Bluegrass Banjo
23. Romantic Strings (in 3/4 time)
24. Gospel Rock
25. Sleigh Ride
26. Latin Fever
27. New Orleans Blues (w. sleeve)
28. Champagne Music (w. sleeve)
29. Swing It! (w. sleeve)
30. Rock & Rhythm (w. sleeve)

1. Champagne Melodies
2. Swingin' Standards
3. Big Ballads
4. Latin Love
5. Everything is Beautiful
6. Contemporary Standards/Top Popular Hits
7. Sentimental Blues
8. Heart of Dixie
9. Folk Classics
10. Shades of Gold
11. Bluegrass and Sagebrush
12. Country Hits
13. Broadway Melodies (Rodgers & Kern)
14. Singalong Favorites"

Friday, December 27, 2019

Baldwin Syntha Sound Improv

Published on Dec 27, 2019 Joseph McGinty

A short improv "In C" on the Baldwin Syntha Sound, stepping through some of the presets. It's an unusual synth that actually sounds pretty cool! And fun to play!
Rhythm loop by the "Rollin' Easy" Optigan disk played by the Panoptigan disk player.
Baldwin synth looping by the incredibly versatile Enso looping software by Audio Damage.
Video effects by Signal Culture's "Frame Buffer".
Enso by Audio Damage:
Frame Buffer by Signal Culture:

You can find additional posts featuring the Bladwin Syntha Sound here. I believe this is only one of two video demos.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

New Panoptigon Format Disc – GRAND PIANO

Panoptigon plays SILENT NIGHT Published on Dec 1, 2019 optigandotcom

"SILENT NIGHT recorded on Quilter Labs' PANOPTIGON, featuring the new Panoptigon format disc GRAND PIANO (available now!) as well as the Optigan format DARKSOPHONE and Orchestron format VOCAL CHOIR and SOLO FEMALE VOICE discs. Please see for more information."


Published on Dec 10, 2019 optigandotcom

"Announcing a new disc for PANOPTIGON from Quilter Labs! This is the third disc in the new Panoptigon format, only playable on Panoptigon (

GRAND PIANO expands on the concept of our original Orchestron format Piano disc, in that it takes advantage of the full 60-note keyboard of the Panoptigon format, and also we've arranged more complex rhythmic figures for the individual notes, in 6/8 time. As with all of our discs featuring rhythmically articulated scale tones, GRAND PIANO is best used for playing sustained chords to produce rippling, arpeggiated patterns and textures. It's also great for playing in reverse for even more ambient effects.

GRAND PIANO can only be played on PANOPTIGON, and is NOT compatible with Optigan or Orchestron.

The raw piano recordings used on this disc are open-source samples available here:"

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Chilton TALENTMAKER Demo - All 20 Vintage Discs Played on Panoptigon

Published on Dec 4, 2019 optigandotcom

"Recently I had a custom modified spindle made for my Panoptigon ( that allows me to play Chilton Talentmaker discs. The spindle size on the Talentmaker is slightly smaller than the Optigan and Orchestron, making this modification necessary to play these discs. Please note that this is NOT a supported "feature" of the Panoptigon, and modifying your unit in this way will void its warranty. Neverhteless, it's a good way to get clean recordings of Talentmaker discs!

I thought I'd make a short demo of each disc. Obviously this is just some simple one-take noodling and doesn't represent any real musical effort. The idea is just to get a taste of what each disc sounds like. If you'd like to hear the Talentmaker in action on some actual songs, check out our album "Optiganally Yours Presents: Exclusively Talentmaker."

You can also buy a sample library of all of the vintage Talentmaker discs here:"

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Panoptigon plays SILENT NIGHT

Published on Dec 1, 2019 optigandotcom

"SILENT NIGHT recorded on Quilter Labs' PANOPTIGON, featuring the new Panoptigon format disc GRAND PIANO (available soon!) as well as the Optigan format DARKSOPHONE and Orchestron format VOCAL CHOIR and SOLO FEMALE VOICE discs. Please see for more information.

The film is from 1926 and is titled "The Story Of Santa Claus." Pea has an original 16mm print of this film and scanned it himself."

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Vintage Optigan Light Organ LOT - Many Original Discs SEALED + Song Books RARE

via this auction

Gay 90s Songs in there!

"This is an amazing opportunity to own a fantastic lot of rare, original Optigan discs & song books - all from the early 1970's.

This lot is 25 pieces in total -

12 discs & 13 books.

9 of the discs are in mint condition, STILL SEALED in the original factory shrinkwrap.

(The shrinkwrap of one of the sealed discs has been torn, but the side where the sleeve opens remains intact)

2 of the discs ("Bossa Nova" & "Easy Does it wth Vibes") are opened & appear to be in fantastic condition. The only flaw I could see is a tiny indentation on one of the discs.

There's also another disc (not pictured) that I found in my vinyl collection & am including in this lot. It's in a clear sleeve & appears to be in excellent condition.

The songbooks vary from good to excellent used condition, some yellowing, shelf wear, & a few have minor pen/pencil marks."

Thursday, September 12, 2019 Site Makeover & Free Sheet Music Book Library Download Now Available


"Well, it took awhile, but the new look & feel of is here! There’s still some things that need to be finished, and I’m sure there will be a few kinks & bugs to be worked out, but much of the basic functionality is live. Please let us know if you find something screwy (I mean, other than the basic fact that this site is all about Optigans). Many thanks to RoseRed Creative for bringing the site into the 21st Century!

Now you can finally order Panoptigon directly from our Shoptigan store! If you’re outside the USA, we are currently the only way to get one, though the ordering process is slightly more complicated- please send us a request if you’d like to have one shipped outside the USA! Also, our entire library of discs for Optigan, Orchestron, & Panoptigon is now available on a continual basis, so no more waiting around to snag the titles you need to complete your collection!

To celebrate the launch of the new site, we have a freebie! After many years of requests for the entire library of Optigan Sheet Music Book available digitally, we finally got around to it! Here you can grab a zip file of PDF versions of all the original books, including variations! You can use these books in conjunction with your vintage Optigan, iOptigan, Panoptigon, or our Soundware. Have fun, and be sure to send us your renditions!"

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Optiganally Yours - THE OUTER SPACE - Apollo 11 Mix for 07/20/19

Published on Jul 20, 2019 optigandotcom

Here's a quickie mini remix we made of "The Outer Space" for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 07/20/2019. The images are from Pea's vast archive of found photos, in this case some shots taken of a video monitor that day. The original version of "The Outer Space" is on our album "Exclusively Talentmaker."

Thursday, June 06, 2019


Some pics and details via Noisebug, who also as it listed on Rerverb here. Be sure to check out the pics with the cool transparent brown dust cover.

"The Panoptigon represents the culmination of years of research and development that carries an awesome vintage instrument into the modern era. Redesigned from the ground up, the Panoptigon empowers the artist with MIDI, modern effects, and a deeper and more thorough feature set than ever dreamed of before.
The original Optigan program discs came in many popular styles, and our new disc mastering system has enabled us to create and release never-issued discs from the master tapes rescued and preserved by Pea Hicks. In addition, we have mastered original discs, some of which go much further in exploiting the cyclical nature of the playback loop, resulting in loop libraries with endlessly entertaining combinations.

Maximum Polyphony: 60 Voices (Tracks)
Current Draw: 650 mA , 24V
Dimensions (W x D x H): 17.6" (447 mm) x 16.75" (425 mm) x 5.25 (133 mm) without cover
17.6" (447 mm) x 16.75" (425 mm) x 5.50 (140 mm) with cover
Weight: 13.4 lbs. (6.08 kg) without cover
15.1 lbs. (6.85 kg) with cover
Accessories: Dust cover, PS24 Power Supply, AC Cord, Disc Starter Pack, Owner's Manual
Connectors: MIDI (IN, THRU)
Headphones (3.5mm)
Audio Output x 2 (1/4" phone): LEFT-MONO SUM, RIGHT-TRS STEREO
Output Impedance: 1 kOhm
24 VDC Power (5.5mm barrel, 2.5mm pin, tip positive)
SYNC IN (3.5mm), SYNC OUT (3.5mm)
Power Supply PS-24 (24 VDC, 3A)"

Monday, April 22, 2019

Synthplex 2019 - Introducing the Panoptigon

Published on Apr 22, 2019 KeyboardMagazine

"Stephen Fortner checks out the new Optigan/Orchestron disc-playing hardware at Synthplex 2019."

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Panoptigon plays Optigan Surf Rock Disc

Published on Mar 21, 2019 optigandotcom

"Here's another demo improvisation on the Panoptigon, this time featuring the Optigan Surf Rock disc. Be sure to listen in stereo, as this one features the typical Optigan hard-panning between the chords/drums on the left and the keyboard on the right. Apart from the Panoptigon's onboard hall reverb, no other effects or EQ were applied."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Panoptigon Plays Optigan Symphonic Strings Disc

Published on Mar 20, 2019 optigandotcom

"Another Panoptigon demo, this time featuring the Optigan Symphonic Strings Disc. This demo features the onboard hall reverb, with no additional processing."

Patch n Tweak
Switched On Make Synthesizer Evolution Vintage Synthesizers Creating Sound Fundlementals of Synthesizer Programming Kraftwerk

© Matrixsynth - All posts are presented here for informative, historical and educative purposes as applicable within fair use.
MATRIXSYNTH is supported by affiliate links that use cookies to track clickthroughs and sales. See the privacy policy for details.