Andrew McDonald▸ Task 4: Digital Systems

My class and I will explore the evolution of electronic instruments, comparing early instruments such as the Mellotron of 1963 that played back audio via magnetic tape, with the polyphonic samplers and digital audio workstations of today that allow for the easy manipulation and playback of digital audio data using powerful computers.

All quotations below from Wikipedia:

The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England, in 1963. It evolved from a similar instrument, the Chamberlin, but could be mass-produced more effectively. The instrument works by pulling a section of magnetic tape across a head. Different portions of the tape can be played to access different sounds.

Fairlight Instruments was started in Sydney, Australia, in 1975 by Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie. The Fairlight CMI or Computer Music Instrument was released in 1979. The CMI was the first commercially available polyphonic digital sampling instrument. It sampled using a resolution of 8 bits per sample,[17] at a rate of 24 kHz, and included an interactive video display unit (VDU) where soundwaves could be edited or even drawn from scratch using a light pen. Software allowed for editing, looping, and mixing of sounds which could then be played back via the keyboard or the software-based sequencer.

First released on April 1, 2009, Maschine is a hardware/software digital audio workstation developed by Native Instruments. Maschine consists of a controller that connects to the included sequencing software, which can be installed on any compatible computer or laptop. The Maschine software is designed to be used as a standalone production studio, or utilised as a plugin within a digital audio workstation. The software is primarily based on drum sequencing and designed for use with the Maschine line of hardware controllers. Users assign drum kits, instruments and sounds from the included library, to each of the controller's 16 pads, and can manipulate sounds further by applying effects and plugins. #cserTask4

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