Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :-)

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adamstan
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Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :-)

Post by adamstan » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:11 pm

I recently got this little 1985 keyboard. It could be described as early arranger workstation. On the surface, it's one of the many auto-accompaniment thingys for organ players. But it's stregnth lies in sound, and programmability - you can create up to 64 patterns, that consist of drums, bass and arpeggiator. Additionally, there is built-in string machine with triple-BBD chorus.

Drums are 8-bit PCM with individual outputs. Bass, arpeggio and strings are based on M112 DCO, and the first two have SSM2044 filters. Bass has adjustable release time, and there are few presets, with different resonance and EG->filter amount. Arpeggio part has switchable waveform - square or staircase, and adjustable cutoff frequency. Strings have two parts available - cello and violin. There is also simple organ section (8' 4' 2'), that shares the chorus with strings.

Sequencer has adjustable pattern length and resolution = up to 24ppq. By default it's set to 16 steps. Can be programmed in realtime or in step mode.
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Because of its sounds, it can be considered Italo-Disco-In-A-Box :-) And the drums sound amazing when layered with analogue drum machine, for extra noise :-) And that's what I did in the recording below. It was recorded live, what you see is what you hear ;-)

Bass, PCM drums, strings and arpeggio is played by Programmer 24. Additional drum track provided by Vermona DRM - it also serves as MIDI clock master. Leads played on DX7 and Poly61, and my B5 provides brass. B5 and Poly61 are run thru Behringer CC300 chorus (dimension C clone). There is also some reverb, delay and compression. Enjoy :-)
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:24 am

Would be interesting what drum parts the Vermona DRM was used for, and which was the Solton.

Instant Disco.

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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by adamstan » Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:02 am

It was layered - Solton plays basic beat - Kick, snare, 16th note hihat, handclap and congas, while Vermona plays kick, snare and hihat. Vermona cymbals are much brighter - so we are hearing mostly them. As for snare - both sounds blend together really nicely. Vermona snare alone can be heard in fill-ins. I can make another recording, with muting/soloing each part, to show how it comes together.
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by StepLogik » Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:23 am

Fantastic demo!

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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by adamstan » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:36 am

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:Would be interesting what drum parts the Vermona DRM was used for, and which was the Solton.
OK, here it goes :-)


First you hear drums from Programmer 24, next is Vermona, then both are layered. After that the reverb is added, and then arpeggiator, bass and strings are switched on.

Solton drum samples are quite dark sounding by themselves, so I used something like +12dB@12k treble boost on its channel EQ. Vermona drums are quite heavilly compressed. There is kick, hihat, snare and handclap (playing together with snare).
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by madtheory » Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:06 pm

Nice work :)

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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by walkathon » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:23 pm

Lovin' this, thx.

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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:26 pm

I see we have a page here on the Solton K160. What other gear did this company make? I've never seen one in the USA, were they sold only in Europe?

Nice demo although it does sound like total cheese :mrgreen:
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by adamstan » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:45 pm

Solton is German PA maker. In the 70's/80's they also sold some organs. Most of these synths and arranger-related products were made by Italian company Ketron - they had "Solton by Ketron Lab." badge.

K160 is similar to Keytek CTS-2000 by SIEL, but it's preset-only. However it is built around the same chipset - Thomson M114 digital waveform generator, and CEM3396 VCF.

Ketron made also quite rare 6 voice DCO synth - Project 100, and module version - SM100. It had SSM2044 filters and chorus.
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And before Programmer 24, there was Disco 64 - fully analog auto-accompaniment unit, without MIDI. It is very rare.
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First widely known line of Solton/Ketron keyboards were MS arrangers, from '90s.
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Nice demo although it does sound like total cheese :mrgreen:
Yup, but that's the kind of cheese I love :D
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by forcedopinion » Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:21 am

Great job!

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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:00 am

A friend of mine has that Disco 64 thing -- an amazing one-trick pony.

I wouldn't spend a fortune on one, though.

Stephen
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by sneakthief » Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:23 pm

I used the Solton Programmer 24 to make a few italo-ish tracks.

On this one, the Solton did the bassline, most of the drums, the synth stabs, the filtered synth melody and the organ pads:

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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by adamstan » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:14 pm

Very interesting track :-) I'm thinking about introducing some modifications to my Programmer, especially to bass part:

1) Disable release cutoff on "Tuba" preset, thus enabling sawtooth wave for bass, in addition to narrow pulse used by rest of the presets. It requires desoldering one transistor.
2) Rewire frequency divider to shift whole bass one octave down.
3) Add cutoff or envelope amount and resonance control for bass filter - either by adding pots, or by reusing/rewiring two sliders that control "piano/accordion" and "guitar/brass" tracks, which are used only in preset pattern mode.
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Re: Solton Ketron Programmer 24 a.k.a. Italo Disco Machine :

Post by Akinseak » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:00 am

Really great Adam..

I REALLY wanna buy a Solton Ketron Programmer 24.. Have been looking for one for a loong time.. but they are hard to find.

Let me know if you find one i can buy.


and Great videos you made..

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