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The Minitron was an early sampling / looping system that could trigger 48 independent voices of tape based sounds. Utilizing an array of six 8-track tape cartridges loaded with 1/4" analog tape. The Minitron assigned each of the audio tracks to its own key on the 48 keys slide-out keyboard mounted below.

The Minitron had several features that made it more advanced than the Mellotron. The most prominent features were the Minitron's ability to play sounds longer in length, continuously, with amplitude control, and the ability to record its own sounds.

Where the Mellotron had a single strip of tape that played end-to-end, with no sustain, and pre-recorded envelope. The Minitron could begin and end at any point in the loop, and would loop as long as the key was held. Even more impressive, the Minitron could playback loops as long as 40 minutes. By starting and stopping at different points in the loop. The player could play the same recording in different ways. This extra latitude in playback time and accessibility, offered a number ways for the musician to play the sounds without them sounding as repetitious as the short samples of the Mellotron.

What is just as impressive, is the Minitron could also record its own sounds. Utilizing eight audio inputs, new audio could be recorded to an 8-track cartridge in the left cart slots. Then be switched to the right slot for playback. Recording to cartridges made it possible for the artist to build their own library of sounds that could be setup very quickly for use in performance or recording in the studio.

Finally, the Minitron also featured some level of control over the tape loops themselves with separate attack, decay and volume controls for each of the 48 voices. Allowing the player to be more creative with how sounds where shaped and combined.

Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Tape Loops
Oscillators: 48
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Input, Keyboard, Knob
Oscillator Notes:
6 x 8-track tape carts
1 tape track per key
Envelopes: 1
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Release
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 48
Timbrality: 48
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Patches RAM: 48
Storage: Tape
Case: Keyboard
Case Details: 48 Keys
Keyboard: Non-weighted, Plastic
Controls: Buttons, Knobs
Display Type: LED
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out
Audio Output Count: 1
Inputs: 8
Year Released: 1975
Units Made: 1
Used By
Design Notes:

The Mintron was invented by Norman Lederman in the 1970s as part of a graduate thesis project on tape-based loop technology. It was used in live performance for a few decades before being sold to Craig Patterson and PME Records where it was used in their studio until being sold to an unknown collector in recent years.

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] www.pmerecords.com
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References & Sources

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