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Lonestar Technologies The Key

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The key was developed by Lonestar Technologies, a company based in Hicksville New York. "The Key" has a far out design and in itself is a guitar synthesizer, where the frets are key like and strings are "veins".

What made the instrument so appealing was the fact it was MIDI compatible and expansion units called "SONGPAC" catridges could be purchased. "SONGPAC" catridges included licensed songs (i.e. Stone Temple Pilots - Vaseline cartridge included in the auction) which allowed "The Key" user to play along (rather easily) with their favorite songs. You could "CD Sync" the instrument when you had the CD of one of the songs included on the "SONGPAC", playing in sync with your favorite song. There was also an option where you could play along with your favorite music videos that were specially encoded for "The Key" through your VCR or LaserDisc player. Believe it or not, "The Key" also had networking capabilities. Through a 4 wire telephone cord, you could connect two units together and send information. WOW!

Unfortunately, the technology was ahead of its time. "The Key" did not sell many units, maybe due to its hefty price. It went the way of the LaserDisc. However, "The Key" was the predecessor for the ever popular "Guitar Hero", which has now become the medium for interactive musical entertainment.

Using "The Key": Though "The Key" was initially introduced to the public as high tech home entertainment, the capabilites of the instrument were far superior. With the ability of MIDI, you can use "The Key" as 'keytar'. I have personally used the instrument in live performances before, and you will achieve very unique and distinct leads through the instrument. As a synthesizer alone, it has a great sound. The built in speaker does not do the tones you can achieve justice, and you can record some great riffs through the Out line.

Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: ROM
Oscillators: 1
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 6
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Patches RAM: 1
Storage: Internal
Case: Keyboard
Keyboard: 25 keys, Buttons, Plastic
Controls: Buttons
Display Type: LED, Numeric
Display Count H: 3
Display Count V: 1
Audio Output Connections: 1/8" Phone Jack, Mono Out
Power: 9V DC
Year Released: 1995
Used By
Randy Jackson
Design Notes:

It was marketed as an "Interactive Musical Instrument" and came out in 1994 with an MSRP of $400 and above. For the time, the technology was ground breaking, and included design help from rock & roll guitar legend Randy Jackson.
MSRP List Price: $599 - convert
Retail Street Price: $500 - convert
Used Price: $300 - convert
References & Sources

  Report Synthesizer

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