Cassette Tape Organ

A 1950's Wurlitzer vacuum tube organ processed through tape machines

The story

This is a 1950’s Wurlitzer vacuum tube organ I got for free on Front Porch Forum (Vermont’s Craigslist) processed through two different cassette tape machines and one special sample processed as a crumpled up tapeloop for extra character.

Nine different voices/combos were sampled giving a variety of tonal qualities to choose from. Recorded with condenser mics on the front facing tube amp speakers and then onto cassette tape using a Technics RS-TR232 dual deck tape recorder. I recorded one note for each voice (“middle” C) to be spread across the keyboard.

The samples were played back using two different tape machines; the Technics (stereo) and a Coby (mono) shoebox tape player. Each machine has a unique noise character and eq curve, as well as varying degrees of wow/flutter/dropouts. The tapeloop was physically mangled and played back on a walkman.

There was some noise/hum-reduction applied to the original recordings because this old organ has a hefty background hum but the cassette samples were left with the noise intact except for some light high-pass filtering to limit low end build-up.

I’m finding myself using the samples way more than I ever used the organ because I can adjust the adsr. I particularly like giving a long attack/decay and spreading the voices across the stereo field. Included is 1 Logic Sampler and 1 Logic Quick Sampler intrument to give examples of how they can be used.

Enjoy!

Reviews for Cassette Tape Organ

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • I LOVE THIS INSTRUMENT!!!

    Just thank you... The first time of many I suspect that I will give 5 stars to recording quality when it is perfectly imperfect! Just a great example of how inspiring these tape instruments can be. A testament to the whole ethos of Pianobook. For me the sound evokes old 1970s government information films. This instrument is used extensively in one of the episodes in season 7 of Inside No9 and the makers of that series love it! See if you can spot it Andrew!!! Thanks again for the inspiration.

    Christian Henson27 October 2021
  • just wow

    I love that cassette sound, it has a more analog and real touch. Thanks a lot for the sample.

    Roger Metal14 December 2021
  • Love at first sound

    Amazing sound! As soon as I started playing this instrument, I was in love with it. I have a project coming up that this will fit perfectly into, in fact I think this instrument could be the focus of a whole album, it has so much to work with! The tape sound is fantastic, but it still maintains the nice organ tone. Immediately you'll notice the GUI, I think the best of all pianobook instruments I've seen. Volume and Pan knobs for each of the 9 instruments/parts of the sound easily customizable.

    Ada Maskil26 November 2021
  • Inspiring tape organ

    This has a really nice sound, I can imagine many uses for this instrument. The low fidelity vibes are charming and make me feel transported to another time and place.

    OsvaldoDeJesusG26 October 2021
  • Delightful and Nostalgic, Yet Feels Widely Usable

    The Tape Loop is good and gritty, the Coby is lofi, mono, and a little darker, which are less to my taste, but definitely have their uses. The Technics, for me, is instantly pleasant and musical, with a remarkable range of timbres, thanks to the numerous sliders for various "stops" including but not limited to "Cello", "Flute", "Melodia", "Pedal", "Tbone", and "Var. Highs", "Var. Mids". Control over Attack, Tone & Dynamic Range, Reverb and Release, as well as panning of individual "stops" makes this a particularly usable and functional interface, that allows a lot of control and flexibility in getting what you want from the instrument. I would love to see the Mod Wheel mapped to something by default, probably Tone. I feel like I've gotten sounds ranging from "1970's Instructional Safety Video" to "Reed Organ" to "80's synthpop" to bordering on "Cathedral Organ" out of this instrument.

    Jake Hendriksen12 October 2021
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