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Recreating Robb: The Sound of the World's First Electronic Organ

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This paper follows up from a 2013 AES presentation reporting on the recreation of the sound of the Robb Wave Organ, the first successful electronic organ, prototyped in 1927. The organ employed primitive “PCM-like” sampling techniques in its tone wheel construction. Our work has led to the compilation of recordings of the last known organ into a MIDI-operable cross-platform sample library for public use, bringing the instrument back to life and out of obscurity. The presentation will feature playable sample sets as well as audio comparisons between the Wave organ and the pipe organs it attempted to reproduce. Audiences will be encouraged to interact with the instrument while gaining a sense of its history and contribution to early sample-based synthesis.

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