FEATURES

* An original Stylophone

* 44.1kHz/24-bit (to capture the Stylophone's full on/off dynamic range!)

* Comprehensively multi-sampled (well... I captured the notes that worked!)

* Sounds authentically irritating!

* Polyphonic - play chords with that annoying sound!

* Allows you to express your inner musical self through the medium of cheese!

* Enormous fun if nothing else!

 
PRICE - £1
 

The Dubreq Stylophone was a runaway success in the '70s, not so much within musical circles (although they have been used by such luminaries as David Bowie, Kraftwerk and Pulp) but as a gimmick, a toy, a marketing success story.

Dubreq was founded in 1967 by three British workmates: Brian Jarvis (inventor of the Stylophone), his brother Ted and Burt Coleman. They worked in the Broadcast / Film industry, dubbing and recording film sound tracks, hence the company name, 'Dubreq' (presumably, the 'q' was used to add an air of European mystique)!

The company brought in jovial Australian entertainer Rolf Harris to help promote the Stylophone. Rolf was a popular kid's TV presenter at the time and his almost shameless propensity for jolllity and self-promotion made the Stylophone a huge success to the point where most people thought that Rolf actually invented the thing himself... he did not - he was merely a well-known face used to promote it.

I never really knew about this thing before now. This makes me laugh every time I play it. Great fun for 5 bucks. I'm thinking of buying a real one now .

You should do some audio demos of this to show it off

Foster - via email


This is so great. I love it. I love Brett Domino and I can do that now lol

Mark - via email


I just had to buy this when I read your funny description on your website. It really made me laugh. Brilliant!

Chris - via email


I just bought your Stylophone. It's such a bad sound but I love it.

You should get Rolf to endorse this for you.

Bingo - via email

But he did a great job (and was quite a virtuoso on it) and the Stylophone was a huge commercial success in its short life!

Marketed as a 'pocket electronic organ' that anyone could play with no musical training, it used a stylus to play the notes - you touched the metal 'keyboard' with the stylus to complete a circut and a note was triggered.

It sounded truly awful! A horrible, buzzy pulse wave through a small cheap speaker that sounded like a very butch wasp on steroids!

There were two settings: a 'straight' sound and a vibrato sound selectable from a slider switch to the left of the 'keyboard'.

There was no volume control either and the only way to turn the annoying sound down was to place your hand over the speaker. Given that it became a popular children's toy, parents must have been driven demented by the whining, nasal warbling reverberating around their houses and I am sure that many mums and dads at the time had wished they'd spent a bit more on a Chopper bike instead!

In their time, Dubreq marketed three models of the Stylophone (see above) which Rolf (left) tirelessly promoted.

I genuinely believe that Dubreq thought that they had brought to the masses a new, affordable tool for modern musical expression and had visions of people jamming with them... maybe even serious composers writing music especialy for the instrument. But it was not to be...

The Stylophone was a fad... a gimmick... a toy.... initially very attractive but ultimately destined for the dustbin!

Dubreq tried to follow up on their success with the 350S Stylophone that offered more sound variations but that was not to be either... they had their moment with the original.

The Hollow Sun Stylophone's samples come from an original Stylophone a friend found in his attic, something he had as a lad and had almost forgotten about.

The UI is very simple with a simple level and tone control.

The tone control allows you to coax more sounds out of it than the original (and goes some way to emulating the primitive volume control of putting your hand over the speaker which, of course, changed the tone). Use your modwheel to add the irritating vibrato.

There's also a Master section for setting up velocity parameters (OFF by default ... obviously), pitch bend, etc..

It's only fair to mention that the Stylophone is alive and well and available to buy because it was recently revived by Brian Jarvis' son and a quick Google of 'Stylophone' will no doubt yield a ton of links where you can buy the real thing for some serious Stylophonic fun.


 
NOTE : It will work with the Kontakt Player but only in 'demo' mode and the session will be time limited.
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