Waddingtons Compute-a-Tune

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Waddingtons Compute a Tune

One of the first synths following the stylophone and before Casio got the VL1 out - Game Board manufacturers WADDINGTONS gave us this orange-weirdness. 

This is a monophonic device,if I recall correctly,based on a Texas Instruments chip. The single speaker delivers quite a loud punchy sound,but there is a 3.5mm earphone socket to take the sound elsewhere.The volume control controls speaker volume only.

The keyboard is a membrane-type and as well as the scaled keys there are 4 membrane buttons for entering a SPACE,clearing one note,the whole memory and to start playback of the internal memory.

There are also 4 grey buttons which control TEMPO [4 speeds],whether the playback is NORMAL,ECHO [Repeat notes] or CHORD [chord being ARPEGGIO],4 demotunes [When the saints,Bells of st Clements,Yankee Doodle,Sur le Pont] and the ON/OFF power switch.

There is also a further control to mix between two octaves of what I presume is a squarewave- this takes this keyboard one step beyond a stylophone,and mixing the noise on the hoof creates a kind of "feedback" sounding squeal. The effect appears at the earphone socket as well as the speaker.

The on-board memory can record in step-time (32notes) - and because you can delete each note as you go- it is possible to build a chain of notes without error which can then be played back.
There is scope for circuit bending as indeed someone has done on youtube.

Runs on 2 PP3 batteries - no external power. There is a tuning preset underneath.

Good Points: This is quite an interesting item - and rare.The dayglo orange case is attractive and robust.

Niggles: The membrane keyboard is not superb,but works. There is no external power socket,so you are stuck with batteries. The memory does not loop.

Expect to pay: I have seen rather unrealistic prices for these from £15 to £50,presumably because they are rare and hopefully well-kept (unlike mine). In my opinion they are worth more in the £<10 bracket.

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