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.


Reviews for Cassette Tape Organ

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • 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 MaskilSamplist 26 November 2021

    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
  • A Beautifully Realized Instrument

    Just about every combination of the parameters provided produces a rich tone.

    Peter From Poland08 November 2023
  • Equal parts eerie and cozy

    I do believe that I can most aptly describe this magnificent creation as equal parts eerie and cozy. This instrument just begs for m7 and maj7 chords, which drench the listener in uneasy bliss. There's so much character here.

    As a sample instrument, it is very well designed I think. It sounds fantastic, and very consistently so across the whole keyboard. The nine register mixing controls make this a deep well of organ timbres, and you get to tweak the sound so it sounds exactly right. I did find that the background noise got quite noticeable on the Coby patch when stacking many notes, but it fits the overall vibe of this instrument so well that it sounds like it was intentional anyway (maybe it was!).

    But the magic truly began for me when I started using modulators/automation from my DAW on the different organs registers and lay down chords whose timbre just keeps on evolving. This instrument is incredibly well-suited for that, thanks to the way the GUI was organized. I've barely scratched the surface, because I suspect that there is a whole menagerie of effects that would also work well with this instrument (clippers, phasers, moving resonant filters, bitcrushers, Cryostasis' spectral inertia modulator, maybe even a parallel-processed vocoder?).

    And all that magic in a neat, 80 MB package. Truly a gift that keeps on giving. Thank you very much, sir Shaffer. Hats off.

    Saturnias12 April 2023
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