Manwomanchild has announced the release of Electron Echo Mini Piano, a free toy piano sample library in Kontakt, SFZ and Ableton formats (WAV files included).
When I was a kid, a bunch of my friends had the same little musical toy. It was about a quarter of an inch thick, about the size of a smartphone; it featured a row of rubbery buttons which, when pressed, would play different notes on a scale. It was, essentially, a tiny, very primitive synthesizer.
Well, last year, I did a bit of research. It turns out that the toy was called the Echo Electron, although it was actually sold under a variety of names. The reason that I never saw one in a toy store is that they were actually sold via mail order. Go figure.
Even stranger is that it seems they’re still being made, although the packaging has changed slightly since the 80s. Needless to say, I had one shipped from China for the princely sum of $1.99.
The way the author sampled it is as “primitive” as the toy itself: he plugged the little speaker wires directly into the audio jack of his sound card, then hit the record button. With the recorded sounds, he made some multisamples in three popular formats: SFZ, Ableton 9.7 and NI Kontakt (5.6 and above). For those who want to create their patches, the pack also contains the original recordings – 13 WAV samples.
Because the original toy is very unstable in terms of sound (can’t hold its pitch), the samples are a little off-key, so you may find yourself adjusting some of them by hand as needed. The author has added polyphony, and also expanded the key range so that you are not limited to the major scale that the actual instrument plays.
Electron Echo Mini Piano sample library is available for instant download via Manwomanchild (no registration required).