In our continuing quest to explore the outer reaches of analogue esoterica, we are delighted to offer this...
In our continuing quest to explore the outer reaches of analogue esoterica, we are delighted to offer this incredible (and slightly bonkers) MTI Auto Orchestra or “CR78-On-Steriods” as it’s known here at Soundgas HQ.
This one is in exceptional cosmetic condition – easily the best one we’ve ever seen.
It’s just been serviced and is in excellent working order.
Complete with the original volume footswitch and bass pedal board to operate as an analogue electronic one man – or woman (thank you, Reg) – band.
Unusually it also has the original chrome stand and pair of small circular touch-plates for triggering fills.
This machine represented the ultimate breakthrough for the terminal narcissist: no longer need they share the limelight with their bandmates. Lead guitarists could solo all night to this space age rhythm section (dig that futuristic logo); no more waiting for the bass-player to show up; helping the drummer unload his kit in the rain; lugging electric pianos up stairs; dealing with in-fighting between first and second violins…
The drawback? To coax a varied and musical backing track requires the mastery of the two sets of footpedals (with four side-switches on the volume pedal), a bank of buttons and pots on the main unit for drum/string/keys pattern variation and a pair of touch plates for drum rolls and fills. Yes, it’s possible – and the adept could create something quite detailed and complex – but for most of us mortals the use of this many limbs whilst simultaneously wrestling with our main instrument is a stumble too far. These are reputed to be favoured by pedal steel players – no strangers to multi-tasking of multiple limbs…
I bought my original MTI years ago without the pedals and eventually pieced together a full set-up. However, I already had enough trouble playing one instrument with just two hands, so the added complication of dancing around a foot-operated ‘keyboard’ – whilst simultaneously operating a volume and chord-selector pedal (Minor, Dim, 7th & Start/Stop) was too much. Thus my dreams of onemanband nirvana were quietly extinguished to the great relief of those within earshot.
My machine languished in the studio as yet another “What the… is that?” piece of under-used gear until we sold it to Arcade Fire earlier this year.
I imagine them dancing across the pedals, switching instruments and creating richly-textured symphonies of delights.
That said, these are great fun for studio inspiration and it’s possible to quickly run up some quirky rhythms and basslines, so when this one showed up we got it serviced and here it is, all working as it should. There are plenty of detailed photos below and I’ve included some scans of the original sales brochure (not for sale, sorry) for a full rundown of all the features below. It’s basically an analogue drum machine, bass synth, keyboard chord player and string section in one large crazy space-age box that jams along with you as you play or sing. Has to be seen/heard to be believed…
[ Read our blog post on these beasts here ]
YouTube demo to follow.
Please view the detailed photos to fully-assess the condition before buying.
It’s been converted to UK/EU 240v power so will require a step-up transformer for countries with 100-110v mains.
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