The Optigan for iOS, made by Pea Hicks and Stefan Stenzel.
This is the Optigan for iOS.
The Optigan, short for Optical Organ, was a chord organ from the early 1970’s. It is remembered today for its unique system of sound reproduction using optical discs. These LP-sized film discs were optically encoded with 57 concentric tracks, which contained loops of musical combos playing chord patterns in different styles. Each disc contained a specific style of music (Bossa Nova, Big Band etc) which the user could control by pressing the chord buttons. Changing the discs was as simple as putting a new record on your turntable. Think of it as the 1971 version of GarageBand.
Despite this novel technology, the scratchy sound of the Optigan left a lot to be desired.
The iOptigan we present here truthfully recreates that lo-fi sound.
25 of the original 40 discs are included, the remaining 15 can be purchased individually or all together in the Complete Pak.
Specifications and Features:
• Disc loading rigth-side-up or upside-down
• Spring Reverb (virtual)
• Optical Metronome
• Audio Demo for each Disc
• MIDI in/out
• MIDI chord detection
• MIDI File Import
• Sequencer with Record and Playback
• Sharing for songs as Audio and MIDI File
• iTunes File Sharing
• Inter-App Audio
• Smart background audio
• Help overlay
• Headphone optimised stereo (optional)
• Radio Mode for Chord Buttons or Keyboard
• Comfortable speed control in semitones or BPM
This app has been updated by Apple to use the latest Apple signing certificate.
Ratings and Reviews
I have spent decades trying to find a working optigan, disks, and support. As any Opti fan knows Pea Hicks and his team are the gurus and even if you get a unit it will need work and at best last a bit before it needs it again. Years ago Pea made a cdrom of sounds available which was pricy but amazing. still, the joy of an optigan is playing it’s ridiculous buttons and switches in real time to “make” the music. It’s the ultimate obscure “cha-cha” box.
This app is done RIGHT. It capture all the nuance and features and is well laid out. I have never even heard a working reverb on an Opti- this has it! Haven’t tried the midi support but it appears to be extensive and there is even demo and recording features.
You will never find an optigan in this condition let alone with this collection of disks. This app captures and gives you the real deal. After almost 30 years and with two semi working Optis in my living room I am over joyed to see this app.
On an emotional and personal note The low price is absurd. Buy it now and pick up the full disk upgrade and support this team that has kept Optigan fever alive for all this time. - DT in Phila, Pa.
I Love This!
I know Mellotrons but hadn’t heard of the Optigan. I ran across this app looking for something else and it caught my eye as I am a huge fan of obscure weird lofi keyboard instruments from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. This is a beautiful thing!! I can’t wait to go deep with the MIDI and flipping the discs upside down. I am reading Pea Hick’s Tape Op interview and listening to O.Y.In Hi-Fi right now! The original cover photos for the discs being included makes my heart melt ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Update: I just discovered that the original manual as a downloadable .pdf is included in the “about” section! YES!!
And thanks for the optimized stereo switch. Makes listening to just the organ or the chords easier and if you are using speakers that are spread out.
Incredible, but add virtual midi please
IOptigan is a great, solid emulation that stands uniquely among all other iPad apps. The clunky elements that’d normally render most apps useless stands as a homage to the original device. The developer has obviously spent a great deal of time and head scratching figuring out how to create this digital beast w an analog heart + the price is right. Virtual midi however would be an amazing inclusion thus allowing its capability’s to grow by playing w it’s other pad friends. With vm I feel would enable the dev to charge a few bux (most of us use it allot). The general workings of the unit are greatly intuitive ever in future versions I’d love to see more info/help as far as its midi function. Otherwise this buggaz as as sweet as a tang, pixie stick powder and zotz induced diabetic coma. Hmmm scratch the diabetic coma part.
Developer Response ,
Thanks for the nice review! However, virtual MIDI is available, just tap the cogwheel and look at the MIDI Devices.
The developer, Stefan Stenzel, has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple.
No Details Provided
The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.
- Stefan Stenzel
- 187.3 MB
- Requires iOS 8.0 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 8.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 8.0 or later.
- Requires macOS 11.0 or later and a Mac with Apple M1 chip.
- Age Rating
- © Pea Hicks & Stefan Stenzel
- In-App Purchases
- Complete Disc Pak $5.99
- Movin' $0.99
- Singing Rhythm $0.99
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.