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iOptigan by Stefan Stenzel

Stefan Stenzel released iOptigan, a faithful sounding recreation of the vintage Optigan instrument! The "Optical Organ" was a pretty bad idea at the time, but making a fun app out of it is brilliant! The base app includes 25 of the original discs, and the remaining 15 can be purchased in a $6 IAP.

iOptigan does not seem to include AUv3, nor Audiobus, but does support Inter-App Audio and MIDI in v1.0!

iOptigan iTunes Description:

This is the Optigan for iOS.

The Optigan, short for Optical Organ, was a chord organ from the early 1970’s. It is remembered today for its unique system of sound reproduction using optical discs. These LP-sized film discs were optically encoded with 57 concentric tracks, which contained loops of musical combos playing chord patterns in different styles. Each disc contained a specific style of music (Bossa Nova, Big Band etc) which the user could control by pressing the chord buttons. Changing the discs was as simple as putting a new record on your turntable. Think of it as the 1971 version of GarageBand.

Despite this novel technology, the scratchy sound of the Optigan left a lot to be desired.

The iOptigan we present here truthfully recreates that lo-fi sound.

25 of the original 40 discs are included, the remaining 15 can be purchased individually or all together in the Complete Pak.

Specifications and Features:
• Disc loading rigth-side-up or upside-down
• Spring Reverb (virtual)
• Optical Metronome
• Audio Demo for each Disc
• MIDI in/out
• MIDI chord detection
• MIDI File Import
• Sequencer with Record and Playback
• Sharing for songs as Audio and MIDI File
• iTunes File Sharing
• Inter-App Audio
• Smart background audio
• Help overlay
• Headphone optimised stereo (optional)
• Radio Mode for Chord Buttons or Keyboard
• Comfortable speed control in semitones or BPM

Doug Woods has already put together a demo for us in his BIG Soundtest & Tutorial!

There are also a lot of supporting videos from the official optigandotcom YouTube channel. Embedded here is a fun introduction, and there is also a playlist of demos.

Reader Comments 6

I used to own an Optigan and am VERY familiar with how they sound. I just bought this app and am thrilled w how faithful it is to the real thing. Nicely done!
November 01, 2017  | person_outline Matthew Brown
Thanks for that, Matthew. It sounded pretty authentic in the demos, but it is nice to hear that from an actual Optigan owner.
What a delightful little demo. I love it! It's kind of funny.

Makes me want to make my own little sets of things like that-- i.e., "roll your own."

I remember the Chamberlain had a similar method.
November 01, 2017  | favorite_border stub
Cool app.

The original keyboard instrument was made by Mattel, not a music company. Must have been an expensive flop for the company. I'm sure Barbie and Hot Wheels made up for the losses...
November 01, 2017  | person_outline Simon
Oh my. The first phrase that comes to mind on this one is this : just because you can, doesn't mean you should
November 02, 2017  | person jimhanks
Never mind iOptigan, where's iOrchestron? I want to sound like Kraftwerk's Radioactivity!
November 03, 2017  | person tom_tm
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