“A great source of retro synth textures, simple to use but deceptively powerful… an essential for anyone who wants to add analogue flavour to their music. The 80 preset instruments included are a nice touch, too.” – Computer Music magazine
Unique and peculiar vintage analog machine, now with added polyphony • Detunable and stackable oscillators; use the original Presets as additional tonal layers • Modern controls can be switched in or out – play the original 102200 or bring it into the 21st Century!
Very simply, this one just spoke to the geek in us 😀 The 102200 is the Hammond Organ corporation’s only stab at producing a synthesiser. As such, it’s both very rare and very odd. Clearly Hammond had seen what Moog, Arp, Roland and others were up to, and had decided to jump on the monosynth bandwagon. The thinking must have been along the lines of, We already have keyboards. All we need to do is add the synth. Which is what they proceeded to do – but in the weirdest way possible. First of all, instead of calling it the Rogue or the Soloist or something catchy, they went for 102200 (which sounds like a Beverley Hills postcode to us). But that was just the beginning of the madness.
Instead of user-friendly knobs and sliders, the 102200 sports a matrix of 49 pushbuttons, plus six presets and a noise source on its own slider. Users could either select one of the six presets – which include the wonderful Solar Echo, the 102200’s sole moment of cool – or else deselect the presets and create their own tones using the button matrix.
This basically engaged a behind-the-scenes series of components: an oscillator with square and sine waves at a variety of footages, a filter, three envelopes patched to amp, pitch and filter, and two LFOs patched to pitch and cutoff. These all sported up to seven preset settings controlling things like filter resonance, cutoff, LFO speed and so on. By combining these you could – eventually – punch together your very own patches.
The whole thing was unintuitive and rather let down by the single oscillator, which lacked depth. But the filter sounded good, and the overall nerdy vibe had its own odd appeal. Sadly, the 102200 failed to catch on, and not many were sold, which now makes it both pretty rare and largely unheard.
Our version starts by addressing the three key failings of the original. Firstly, it’s polyphonic. Secondly, it allows you to combine and stack up to 21 oscillators simultaneously, and detune them, for a properly thick and lush sound. And most importantly, while it recreates that insane button matrix on its front panel, it also liberates you from it if you’d prefer to work in a more familiar knob-based manner – just click over to the rear panel, and dial away. In what’s becoming a bit of a signature motif for us, this allows you to use the 102200 exactly as the original… or ditch authenticity and push the instrument into whole new territories.
Tonally, the 102200 seems to have a strong affinity for radiophonic-workshop type sounds – sci-fi burbles, bleeps, tremors and vibrations just come flooding out of it. There’s a faded industrial edge to some of its tones which can be great for adding something odd and unusual to your mix; a kind of metallic, granular, almost rusty sonic palette which conjures up distressed and abandoned alien cities overrun by red sand dunes. (Well, it does to us, at least. Too much Heinlein when we were kids.) Played monophonically it really feels vintage to its core, while the polyphonic patches have a great air of nostalgic texture to them.
The overriding impression we got from our 102200 is of an instrument that had great potential, but swerved off-reservation before attaining it. The filter is great. The oscillator is great… but there’s only one of it. And the buttons look futuristic and cool, but are actually rather weird to use. If Hammond had pursued their synth adventure just a little further, there’s every chance they could have come up with something genuinely powerful; but sadly, the 102200 became one of a kind. Which is kind of why we like it.
102200 ships with a factory sound library of over 80 patches, which were designed by our good friends Anatol Locker and Ed Ten Eyck. You can hear some of Anatol’s tracks here, and if you want to print your own synth, have a look at his day job here. Ed does sound design for other synths too, so take a look at his brilliant patches here.
E (verified owner) –
Haunting layers, I can’t think of sny synth capable of these complete pad reinvention. A big one. Top
johnup12 (verified owner) –
The presets alone are worth the price of admission – many are absolute gems. Start tweaking (mess with the tone filter, including bypassing it) and you can get some jaw-dropping sounds that no one would believe came from a €15 synth. Bravo, RR!
W.TaylorRiley (verified owner) –
This synth is ultra rad. I think the only reason I’m not going to give it 5 stars is that you can hear the organ guts throughout it. Like even if you make an ultra stacked Saw patch, there’s this little hint of organ guts leaking through the seams. It’s still an awesome sound, and very unique. the filter is pretty crazy too. I love the squelch of the resonance when it’s cranked up. I think I actually like using the buttons more than the knobs!! They are actually really handy, and seem to be at like the perfect spots all the time. I find it very intuitive, after pressing around for a couple minutes… set the filter to 6, stack up the oscs, add Horn, Tuba, Sax, and Solar Echo, a touch of Wind, crank the Voltage (Possibly my favourite feature) Engage Twin Osc, Detune as much as half the dial!! Sounds so thicc and juicy. Who even needs Serum??!?!
E (verified owner) –
Best value, 484+ wav audio files bundled with kontakt instruments.
Guillaume (verified owner) –
Many great presets, but also a seemingly endless number of settings to explore to carve your own sounds. Patience required, but it seems to be worth it. Some selection combos don’t seem to change much (if anything) in the sound, and sustain is sometimes a bit elusive in some presets, other than that it’s a very worthy instrument, especially considering the price.
Joseph (verified owner) –
One of my favorite buys from rhythmicrobot
102200 is such a unique concept for library
Nothing like it around
I just love how it sounds
Tomasz (verified owner) –
As others have noted, the push buttons while weird at first are very usable as a computer interface. You click a few buttons and quickly are in the general ballpark of the sound you were looking for. Turn it around to tweak the one or two parameters you could not get right from the preset buttons and you are home.
The buttons could be described a little clearer, e. g. the pitch bend 5, 6, 7 engage glide and IIRC it is not mentioned in the tooltips, so it takes some clicking around to grok what exactly do some buttons do. However they did mention that burble is a cool effect and it is. So overall a very usable, somewhat different synthesizer.
fer gonzalez –
¡I love that analogue sound!, this is just perfect for the music im doing, good quality, low price! awesome, five stars.
fer gonzalez –
I love that analogue sound, this is just perfect for the music im doing, good quality, low price! awesome.
Julian (verified owner) –
These guys can do no wrong. I’ve loved every instrument RR has put out and this weird Hammond synth is no exception. It’s got a real analog grit to it and can produce both rocking and ethereal sounds. All of their presets are great and the options are limitless when it comes to tweaking the instrument. Highly recommend.
Robert (verified owner) –
Sort of like that cousin at family reunions. You think he’s gonna behave and all of a sudden he does something rude.
Martin (verified owner) –
Amazing virtual instrument, one that I didn’t know existed until this release. The button system is unusual, but works great on a computer, and the patches that com with it are just awesome. Perfect toolbox for a sound designer!
Terry (verified owner) –
The simple fact of the matter is that even if the push button system was a little unusual for a synth, it is perfect for translating onto a computer based platform and Rhythmic Robot Audio have done a brilliant job with that translation and then taken it a step further and improved it.
The supplied patches give a good indication of what this thing is capable of and although it appears a little limited at first, the permutations available with all those buttons gives plenty of scope to craft your own sounds. Add to that a great filter and effects section and you have a instrument where the sonic possibilities will keep you coming back for more.
From spacey soundscapes through rusty basses to squeaky leads, the 102200 will do them, but it will do them in it’s own special way. The 102200 is like the kid that nobody ever picks to play on their team. However RRA have picked him, and out of the blue he has proved he can play with the best of them.
Dan (verified owner) –
one minute it’s doctor who noises, then it’s RR classic crusty organ, and then it’s all gritty basses and swirly shapes.
Five Stars! (Again)