Hainbach on Panoptigon + New Sound of Kraftwerk

German synthesist Hainbach in his latest video – takes a look at the Quilter Labs Panoptigon, a modern optical playback instrument, that’s compatible with sample discs for the Mattel Optigan, Vako Orchestron and Chilton Talentmaker from the 70s.

The instruments play back samples that are optically encoded on to discs made of film. The sounds are imaged onto the film as concentric rings. During playback, the instrument shines a line through the film, and a sensor translates the variations in light back into sounds. It’s all very lo fi – even for the ’70s – but the technology gives everything a unique and haunting sound.

The technology was probably used most famously by Kraftwerk, who used the sound of the Vako Orchestron choir on the albums Radio-Activity and Trans-Europe Express.

Video Summary:

“The devices were not a commercial success and quickly disappeared. But one enterprising band from Germany took their lofi sound to heart. Kraftwerk employed the Orchestron in many songs, from Das Model to Uranium.

Even today its finds fans – such as Kyle Dixon of Survive, who used the iconic “choir” in their Stranger Things soundtrack. He employed the modern adaption of this arcane technology, the Quilter Labs Panoptigon. I talk with Kyle in the video, show a bit what you can do with the Panoptigon, demo classic Kraftwerk patches and introduce my own disc for this fantastic instrument.”

Watch the video and share your thoughts on the Panoptigon in the comments!


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