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date: 18 November 2019

RMI [Rocky Mount Instruments]locked

  • Brandon Smith

Extract

[Rocky Mount Instruments]

Division of the Allen Organ Co. based in Rocky Mount, Pennsylvania. The RMI division opened about 1966 to produce portable transistor combo organs, electronic pianos and eventually one of the earliest digital synthesizers. The Explorer, one of RMI’s first products, was a combo organ featuring a keyboard contact system called ‘flying hammers’. These weighted contacts bounced up and down when a key was depressed, and created strumming effects for the Explorer’s more percussive sounds. RMI then focused on creating transistor electronic pianos. Unlike the electromechanical Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos, the RMI Electra Piano operated with solid-state circuitry. Their first model, the Rock-Si-Chord, had only two sounds (string and lute) both reminiscent of a harpsichord. Next, the 300-series Electra Piano featured piano, harpsichord and lute sounds. Four revised and improved versions were introduced throughout the 1970s. In 1974 RMI introduced two groundbreaking digital products: the KC-1 (Keyboard Computer 1, followed by the KC-2 in ...

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