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Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

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Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby BJG145 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:28 am

I just noticed this curious thing on eBay...

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The seller has no idea what it is, and nor do I. I don't suppose it's very useful, but I know you like a puzzle - any guesses what it does...?
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby desmond » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:40 am

No idea, never seen one before!

I'm wondering if it is some kind of MIDI/VCA controller for audio signals, or maybe even some kind of organ or multi-keyboard utility, where you can plug the difference organ manuals/sections into this and mix them together, split keyboards and control them via MIDI...
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Kwackman » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:51 am

desmond wrote: maybe even some kind of organ or multi-keyboard utility, where you can plug the difference organ manuals/sections into this and mix them together, split keyboards and control them via MIDI...

Maybe for adding bass pedals to an organ?
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:41 am

You're not alone in wondering what it is.

They didn't seem to know either, but in the link there is a little more info about the inside and some additional pics which may help.
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:51 am

Can't say I recognise it either, but it looks to be some kind of break-out box to access different sections of an organ (probably) or a big synth. The fact that it has VCA chips internally makes me think the separate 'pedal' inputs are for expression pedals for each section.

Intriguing!

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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby BJG145 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:35 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:You're not alone in wondering what it is.

Well spotted. Did you pull that up on Google image search...? I thought about it but decided it was so obscure there was no point even trying...!

The "polyphonic bass" button and 25-pin connector are mystifying. An organ accessory sounds plausible though. (I'd wondered if it was an early computer interface.)
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby MOF » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:56 am

The "polyphonic bass" button and 25-pin connector are mystifying. An organ accessory sounds plausible though. (I'd wondered if it was an early computer interface.)
I think it’s a Tascam D-sub audio interface.
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:51 pm

BJG145 wrote:Did you pull that up on Google image search...? I thought about it but decided it was so obscure there was no point even trying...!

Nothing fancy, just a bit of persistence. I tried a reverse image searches on a few different sites, Google included, but they all came up empty. I then started searching for various combinations of the port labels using the '+' operator to restrict matches to those where all were present and also using quotes to force certain pairs of them together and after a few different goes I got a lucky hit.

I quite enjoy a bit of an electronic easter-egg hunt now and again!
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby DGL. » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:38 pm

Given it's 220V that would lead me to (probably incorrectly) assume it's of European origin, I would therefore guess it's probably Italian as they seemed to have the market in multi-keyboards.
Lastly the fact that it contains no sound generating electronics would lead me to thinking it was the I/O and power box for something like an electronic accordion.
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Wonks » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:02 pm

That D-connector looks very much like a user-made modification/addition. A fixed cable coming out of the top is not a normal design choice. An original fixing would almost certainly have a D-connector on the case and use a separate cable.
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby BJG145 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:55 pm

Wonks wrote:That D-connector looks very much like a user-made modification

Good thinking. I took another look at the one Eddy found to see if the cable was missing...and nearly everything is missing.

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Even more confusing.

I'm thinking that with one DIN socket labelled "To instrument", and two labelled "MIDI Out", "To instrument" has to be MIDI In...?

FWIW the thing is called "midimixer".

Image
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Folderol » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:10 pm

Quite possible.
If it's a standard MIDI-in it should have just 2 connections, going to pins 4 and 5. It will likely have the shell grounded, and might have pin 2 grounded as well (but it shouldn't).

In case you don't know the numbering of standard 5pin DINs is daft.
1,4,2,5,3
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Richie Royale » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:02 pm

The upper section has text that is reminiscent of Cheetah's products, but the lower part looks like the text was applied by hand rather than screened on. Plus if it was a Cheetah product I have no idea which one it would connect to. The SX16 has a DE9 D-Sub connector at the front called Contr. but this wouldn't have anything to do with its functions. It seems that was for a joystick (not much of a surprise, considering the parent).

http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/cheetah-sx16/414
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby ManFromGlass » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:47 pm

I remember my uncle bought an early midi accordion but I can’t remember what any of the parts looked like. If this was the add-on wouldn’t the jacks say Push Pull instead of left right?
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby desmond » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:51 pm

BTW the other day I did a search for "midimixer ac" (etc) throughout my entire mag library (not just the active issues on the site, but *all* (well, nearly) issues I've scanned to date, and not a single useful hit...

So this was not something that was a popular product, or even advertised (in the UK, at least), from the music production sector.

Maybe "Home Organist" or "What Keyboard" might be a better bet, but I only have one issue of WK, and I'm not sure I really want to take on OCR'ing years' worth of organ magazines... even I have limits of endurance! :headbang:
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby DGL. » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:04 pm

This is close, could be a later version, note the attached cable with a 25pin cable and similar outlined buttons,

Image

Image

(Images from accordion.co.uk)

A Borsini MIDI Accordion, the MIDI being via a Master midi interface

The extra wire would then be from the factory as the interface to accordion cable.

I will keep looking though.
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Wonks » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:17 pm

Maybe it's someone's combination of two separate products to meet their own requirements?
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Wonks » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:19 pm

But a metal accordion attachment? That's going to take a lot of banjos to get it burning!
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:32 pm

Folderol wrote:Quite possible.
If it's a standard MIDI-in it should have just 2 connections, going to pins 4 and 5. It will likely have the shell grounded, and might have pin 2 grounded as well (but it shouldn't).

In case you don't know the numbering of standard 5pin DINs is daft.
1,4,2,5,3

It's 'cos a three pin DIN has pins 1, 2 & 3 across 180º then the 5 pin has 4 & 5 in the spaces between them, make perfect sense. I suppose (but I CBA to check) that a 7 pin has 6 & 7 to the left and right (anticlockwise and clockwise 45º) from 1 and 3 respectively)
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Re: Quiz: identify the MIDI gadget

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:37 pm

DGL. wrote:This is close, could be a later version, note the attached cable with a 25pin cable and similar outlined buttons,

Image

Image

(Images from accordion.co.uk)

A Borsini MIDI Accordion, the MIDI being via a Master midi interface

The extra wire would then be from the factory as the interface to accordion cable.

I will keep looking though.

That was what I thought when DGL first mentioned electronic accordion (my dad had a Borsini non-electronic accordion BTW).

Richie's Cheetah ref does make some sense though, the text is, indeed, similar.
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