The Chamberlin history

The Chamberlin was the original tape replay instrument, developed and patented by US inventor Harry Chamberlin. One day, while playing his home organ, Harry got out a portable tape recorder to record his playing for some friends.

After having made the recording, the Big Idea struck him. He thought, ''if I can make a recording of myself playing, why not build a machine that plays recordings of these (and any other) sounds''?

Various models and versions of these extraordinary music instruments were manufactured until 1981 and during the years of production the much-respected Chamberlin sound library grew, and the licensing deal with Clavia includes not less than 60 Chamberlin sounds. The extraordinary Chamberlin Music Master was instrumental in the birth of the later Mellotron. The Chamberlin was a constructional beast with magnetic tapes (also used in recording studios) containing analog recorded sounds, triggered by the keyboard. One tape per key!

Once reaching the tape end which was normally after about 8 seconds of playing, the sound would stop and tapes would need to mechanically rewind. Even with quite limited sound quality prestanda and obvious limitations in tone length the Chamberlin tape samplers turned into precious pieces of hardware used by major artists and bands all over the world.

The Chamberlin M-series that was introduced in 1970, is reputed to have superior sound and reliability compared with the British Mellotrons. In general, the Chamberlin tapes use much less compression on their recordings, thus featuring sounds which ''breathe'' more and possess more dynamics and vibrato than those of the Mellotron.

During the manufacturing years, close to 700 units were made, all considered a real work of art and a true milestone when it comes to musical instrument innovations. Sounds from the Chamberlin can be heard on countless songs by artists like David Bowie, The Moody Blues, Crowded House, Richard Thompson, Beck, Mitchell Froom, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Neil Finn, XTC and Tom Waits, just to name a few.

Classic sounds in modern keyboards

The analog Chamberlin master tapes have been transferred to the digital domain using state-of the art recording equipment, in a 44.1 kHz, 24-bits resolution. All the sounds have been edited and carefully looped - when applicable - using the Nord Sample Editor. As always, all the sounds in the Nord Sample Library are available to all Nord Sample Library compatible instruments from Nord Keyboards.