Rhythmic Robot Audio P15 KONTAKT
Rhythmic Robot Audio P15 KONTAKT
Dating from the very end of the 70s, the EKO P15 is a rare and quirky Italian analogue which blurs the line between a preset machine and a properly controllable synthesiser. It has 15 pushbutton presets (hence ‘P15’), but these are joined by LFO, VCF and VCA sections with much more promising-looking sliders and switches.

In practice, the LFO is always freely tweakable, while the VCF and VCA can be switched between Preset mode (in which case they don’t respond, because behind the scenes their settings are being determined by the Preset you’ve currently called up) and Manual mode (in which case you can adjust them to taste).

It’s a rather fun system, and while there are obvious limitations – only Attack and Release on the envelopes, for a start – it can be a quick and effective way to get at basic sounds.

It’s also a laugh to see just how unlike their namesakes the Presets sound: Panpipes is particularly un-panpipe-like!

With both VCF and VCA switched to Manual, the P15 effectively becomes a rudimentary synthesiser with its oscillator type determined by whichever Preset you engage.

These ‘raw’ oscillators range from crusty-sounding ramp waveforms (on the Reed and Violin presets, for example) to various flavours of pulse wave; there’s an effective sonic palette available in those oddly-coloured little buttons.

The overall impression is, to our ears, one of low-budget 1970s sci-fi shows: full of portentous filtersweeps and LFOs that wobble in time with the cardboard sets. It’s kind of cool.

There’s a three-and-a-half octave keyboard built into a sturdy tolex-covered carrying case, some really lurid green silkscreening (which I’m afraid we’ve imitated

just couldn’t stop ourselves) and, rather optimistically, a legend that reads ‘Digital System’ in the upper left of the panel… which is just a big fat lie, really, since the whole keyboard is analogue from start to finish, even if it does use newfangled ICs instead of transistors.

We’ve kept very true to the original in our recreation of the P15, and so long as you keep the Presets Active button engaged and the polyphony switched to Mono, it’ll sound and behave just like the real deal.

But we made two big improvements that really broaden its capabilities beyond the original’s limits.

The first of these is polyphony, which is now a button-press away: suddenly all those presets can be playing chords, which is rather glorious, especially since the analogue impurities and uncertainties stack up and add some warmth.

The second is that, if you turn the ‘Preset Active’ button off, you can now not only tweak the various sliders, you can also engage multiple waveforms (by clicking on several Preset buttons), which thickens the sound dramatically.

It’s easy using this to dial up a full string section (instead of having to choose between Violin, Viola and Contrabass), or add some Trombones to some Horns for a nice brass pad, and then adjust the envelopes and filter settings for the whole batch of waves en masse.

In fact, suddenly the P15 seems to come to life, with a quirky and pleasant vintage character all of its own.

Its typical sound is quite rounded and mellow, with a smoothness we’ve come to associate with Italian synths and string machines, but cranking up the resonance adds some bite and, just for fun, we’ve added in a Drive knob on the front panel to push the sound a little harder.

You can leave this bypassed for an authentically vintage tone, or add some extra harmonics if you want to make things edgier.

Round the back, of course, there’s a batch of effects comprising Chorus, Phaser, Reverb, Echo and an Amp Cab simulator, so you can get the P15 to sound swooshy, swirly, echoey or raw.

All in all, this unusual and hard-to-find little synth really comes into its own when played polyphonically, especially with a whole fistful of Presets engaged at once. In fact, whole worlds of low-budget 70s science fiction are yours to command, and more besides.

With the vintage authenticity switched off you can get surprisingly lush textures out of it by combining waves – stuff that really would have seemed cutting edge back in the 70s. All this, and Italian styling too…! What’s not to love?

home page:

http://tinyurl.com/pgqjggx


Related articles
Rhythmic Robot Audio Skyline KONTAKT Rhythmic Robot Audio Skyline KONTAKT
This is a genuinely weird little find: an Italian transistor organ with built-in rhythms and a wonderfully future-retro styling. It’s made by a company called GIS (no, us neither) and it’s called the Skyline.

The innards comprise a three-voice transistor organ with Flute, String and Oboe patches – which can be combined to form seven sounds in all – plus a neat little preset rhythm section, with a thick analogue sound not too far from early Korg units.

The rhythms are also combinable (if you lean on the buttons) which can make for some great, slightly mad, combos (Latin Waltz Tango, anyone?).

All the sounds come piped out of an internal amp and speaker assembly which adds a great mellow warmth to the transistor tone.

The whole thing is wrapped up in a matte black console with bevelled edges, on a column stand attached to a plinth, which makes it look like it’s been salvaged from the command deck of an early nuclear sub.

Now let’s talk about the sounds themselves. To our ears these were quite a surprise: the Oboe is rough-edged and raucous, but the Strings and Flute patches are rounded and thickly sweet.

The combos are even better, making for complex waveforms with a very distinctive character – again, there’s a quite delicate quality to the higher registers that makes for very airy pad sounds.

Something particularly alchemical seems to happen when you put all three buttons in for the Flute + Strings + Oboe combo: a very rich and satisfying pad sound emerges which has a sweet, evocative edge unlike what you’d expect from a transistor machine. 

It quickly became clear to us that the only way to capture this vibe was to sample the combo patches along with the basic patches (rather than using layers of the basic patches to recreate the combos in Kontakt).

It was really worth the extra effort: the four combos (Flute + Strings, Strings + Oboe, Flute + Oboe and All Buttons In) are, to our ears, the cream of the Skyline crop. Check out the audio demos to see what we mean here!
Rhythmic Robot Audio Logan KONTAKT Rhythmic Robot Audio Logan KONTAKT
1977 was a great year. Star Wars came out in the cinemas. The Queen had her Silver Jubilee (where I got to dress up like a policeman in our school parade). And the Logan String Melody II was released.

The String Melody had come out a few years earlier, in 72, but hadn’t been much of a hit. The mk II changed all that, earning itself a spot in the pantheon of All Time Greats. It looked stunning, with lavish 1970s real wood veneer and a delightfully responsive waterfall keyboard that made it a real player’s instrument. But that wasn’t why it was a hit.

The reason is very simply to do with the sound it makes. It doesn’t sound much like a real string ensemble, but it sounds amazing regardless, and it’s graced a thousand hit tracks as a result. It’s thick, warm, rich, thoroughly analogue, and yet at the same time airy.

It’s controllable, with drawbar-style faders to combine registrations, and attack and release controls too. And the five "Preset” buttons offer different settings of vibrato and chorus effect across all those synthesised strings, giving you huge, swirly, gorgeous acreages of pads that stretch on into the sunset…

And we’ve sampled every last wonderful resonance of it for you!

The Logan String Melody II bunches most of its controls within easy reach of the player’s left hand, so let’s take a quick guided tour.

The silver push-buttons are the Preset selectors. Each of these engages one of the Presets: a combination of string settings, chorus settings, and LFOs that defines the basic sound the keyboard makes.

Most of these – all except Orch., in fact – can then be adjusted further with the drawbar-style sliders below (in nice bright 70s colours!)

The red and blue "String” faders operate like typical organ drawbars: top is off, bottom is loud. They control three String registrations per set – Cello, Viola and Violin – which are effectively the same tone but played at pitch for the Cello, then one octave higher for Viola, and two octaves higher for Violin.

Mixing these up is very simple and gives you an instant orchestral ensemble effect. The red drawbars control the sound to the left of Middle C and the blue ones control the sound to the right, so you can set them identically for a whole keyboard of string wonderfulness, or have different registrations in the bass and treble.
Rhythmic Robot Audio 102200 KONTAKT Rhythmic Robot Audio 102200 KONTAKT
Unique and peculiar vintage analog machine, now with added polyphony

Detunable and stackable oscillators; use the original Presets as additional tonal layers

Modern controls can be switched in or out – play the original 102200 or bring it into the 21st Century!

Comes with over 80 professionally-designed factory patches

Very simply, this one just spoke to the geek in us :-D The 102200 is the Hammond Organ corporation’s only stab at producing a synthesiser. As such, it’s both very rare and very odd. Clearly Hammond had seen what Moog, Arp, Roland and others were up to, and had decided to jump on the monosynth bandwagon. The thinking must have been along the lines of, We already have keyboards. All we need to do is add the synth. Which is what they proceeded to do – but in the weirdest way possible. First of all, instead of calling it the Rogue or the Soloist or something catchy, they went for 102200 (which sounds like a Beverley Hills postcode to us). But that was just the beginning of the madness.

Instead of user-friendly knobs and sliders, the 102200 sports a matrix of 49 pushbuttons, plus six presets and a noise source on its own slider. Users could either select one of the six presets – which include the wonderful Solar Echo, the 102200’s sole moment of cool – or else deselect the presets and create their own tones using the button matrix.

The overriding impression we got from our 102200 is of an instrument that had great potential, but swerved off-reservation before attaining it. The filter is great. The oscillator is great… but there’s only one of it. And the buttons look futuristic and cool, but are actually rather weird to use. If Hammond had pursued their synth adventure just a little further, there’s every chance they could have come up with something genuinely powerful; but sadly, the 102200 became one of a kind. Which is kind of why we like it.

Synth Magic Sounds of the Delta KONTAKT Synth Magic Sounds of the Delta KONTAKT
Sounds of the Delta is a sample library of the Korg Delta Synthesiser for NI Kontakt (full version of Kontakt required). It also has all the raw oscillator samples which can be controlled in the same way as a real Delta.

The gorgeous analogue strings have also been sampled and when used in conjunction with the Delta sample library and raw osc's gives a lovely synth stack of sounds..
All samples are placed under the control of an intuitive graphical user interface and each section (Delta library, Raw Osc's and strings) all exist in the same .nki file for convenience.

No messing around with loading different sections, or having to adjust Kontakt behind the scenes-Access the whole instrument from the same GUI.
Loads of extra features added such as 9 LFO's, Pitch envelopes, filter envelopes, Highpass and band pass filters etc.
Has a full effects section which includes over 50 Impulse responses from classic reverbs such as Ursa Major Space Station.

Also has a sixteen step analogue style sequencer.

Samples recorded at 24 bit.
320 presets included to start your sonic journey with the Delta and remember you can tweek these presets to your own taste so very easily using the GUI.

The main sound generating part of Sounds of the Delta consists of 3 Sections.

Section 1) Delta sample library which is placed in an easy to use drop down menu system for quick and easy access to the samples Lots of bass, strings, resonance, filter mod effects, etc all sampled and easily selected from the custom user interface.

Section 2) Delta raw oscillators section which gives you full control over the raw oscillators in much the same way as a real Delta.

Section 3) Analogue string section which enables the creation of the beautiful strings from a Delta- Easily create lush analogue, swirling pads and strings that just ooz analogue.

Each section can be played simultaneously to create huge analogue sounds.

Dedicated effects and modulation section.

The Control page allows each oscillator, string and Delta Library to be panned independently of each other to allow wide stereo spreads.
Synth Magic ​ELKA Solist 505 KONTAKT Synth Magic ​ELKA Solist 505 KONTAKT
The Elka Solist 505 was a monophonic lead synthesizer, preset based with variations for added performance. It provided a nice alternative to the Moog Satellite ARP Pro Soloist. It had 11 presets, all which could be changed with freq/res, attack/release, vibrato and portamento. Notably, it contained the famous Moog ladder filter. Although basic in function – no CV, no MIDI – it could produce some lovely tones, and the keyboard action was very nice indeed – something you’d expect from a renowned Italian organ manufacturer!

In making the Solist 505, I sampled every single note of every preset from a real Elka Solist 505. Samples recorded at 24 bit for quality and depth. Each preset from the original machine has been sampled twice; the first set recorded clean, to give a perfect recreation of the Solist, and the other second set I recorded through vintage 1960's valve pre-amps similar to the pre-amps used by Joe Meek. Both sample sets can be selected directly from the custom GUI, designed by saintjohnbaxter.. There is also the ability to play both sets of samples at the same time. 

In keeping with the real Solist there is also a synth section, allowing you to shape each sound using filters, LFOs, envelopes, vibrato etc.

Synth Magic Sounds of the Delta KONTAKT-MAGNETRiXX-AKADEMiC Synth Magic Sounds of the Delta KONTAKT-MAGNETRiXX-AKADEMiC
Sounds of the Delta is a sample library of the Korg Delta Synthesiser for NI Kontakt (full version of Kontakt required). It also has all the raw oscillator samples which can be controlled in the same way as a real Delta.

The gorgeous analogue strings have also been sampled and when used in conjunction with the Delta sample library and raw osc's gives a lovely synth stack of sounds..
All samples are placed under the control of an intuitive graphical user interface and each section (Delta library, Raw Osc's and strings) all exist in the same .nki file for convenience.

No messing around with loading different sections, or having to adjust Kontakt behind the scenes-Access the whole instrument from the same GUI.
Loads of extra features added such as 9 LFO's, Pitch envelopes, filter envelopes, Highpass and band pass filters etc.
Has a full effects section which includes over 50 Impulse responses from classic reverbs such as Ursa Major Space Station.

Also has a sixteen step analogue style sequencer.

Samples recorded at 24 bit.
320 presets included to start your sonic journey with the Delta and remember you can tweek these presets to your own taste so very easily using the GUI.

The main sound generating part of Sounds of the Delta consists of 3 Sections.

Section 1) Delta sample library which is placed in an easy to use drop down menu system for quick and easy access to the samples Lots of bass, strings, resonance, filter mod effects, etc all sampled and easily selected from the custom user interface.

Section 2) Delta raw oscillators section which gives you full control over the raw oscillators in much the same way as a real Delta.

Section 3) Analogue string section which enables the creation of the beautiful strings from a Delta- Easily create lush analogue, swirling pads and strings that just ooz analogue.

Each section can be played simultaneously to create huge analogue sounds.

Dedicated effects and modulation section.

The Control page allows each oscillator, string and Delta Library to be panned independently of each other to allow wide stereo spreads.