Wow! This is the 1974 RMI Rocky Mount Instruments KC-1 Keyboard Computer! It has just arrived fresh from a Colorado Estate! I am still going through this incredibly rare synthesizer! This is the world’s first portable digital synthesizer!! Less than 100 were ever made! That is the best guess as to how many were actually ever produced! The Keyboard Computer II, or KCII, followed this original KC1 version. That KCII model was offered from 1975 to 1982..” Link
“Up for sale is a nice RMI Rocky Mountain Computer Keyboard Synthesizer. It powers on, but I cannot for some reason produce any sound from it. Since it does power on, it seems to be a small problem. ” Link
“This is a rare RMI Keyboard Computer II from the 70s. It is in complete and in very good physical condition, it powers up but does not work correctly. It makes faint sound but no proper tone. I was planning on restoring it but I do not have the time or money to do so right now. These are early digital synths with an unusual and very cool sound unlike anything else before or since” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.
“Extremely rare RMI KEYBOARD COMPUTER II, recently serviced by Allen Organ. 100% working condition. Serial # 646 (pot codes date to 1975). This RMI KC II has the same MOS-Board chip array that was recently purchased by the Smithsonian Institution. It was the first application of digital technology in not only musical instrument design but in all industrial manufacturing (1971), even pre-dating the digital calculator by several months. What is amazing is that these MOS boards are still running strong today and serviced by Allen, probably due to their robust military-spec design…very reliable for a vintage synth. This is a groundbreaking instrument and the model for other wavetable synths like the PPG Wave. It may look like a combo organ but it is a 10-voice polyphonic digital wavetable synthesizer with IBM punch card reader. 15 original punch cards (choir, gong, horn, sine waves, flutes) are included as well as the original bound service manual with schematics. The user’s manual is a copy.
For more images of this synth go to: http://www.9nerds.com/isabelle/RMI/
This RMI KCII is in excellent cosmetic condition. The case has many scuffs/scratches but nothing too serious. All controls work well including the card reader. The pedalboard is essential to the working of the synth and must be connected via the huge Amphenol umbilical cord. It adds a lot of real-time flexibility to the instrument including swell for both channels A and B, pitch bend, percussion. sustain, attack, decay, latch and staccato. Case has the plastic cover which is in great shape. One of the carrying handles (mounted on the front of the instrument) has a missing chrome cover…these are common handles used on many instruments from this period and would be fairly easy to find. The keys are semi-weighted wood and are very high quality with superb action. The original owner was a seminary in Omaha, Nebraska and their badges are still on the instrument…they would have paid over $5,000 for this instrument in the mid-70’s.
So how does it sound? The RMI KCII excels at airy string pads, vox/choirs, percussion-rich clavinet and hammond-type sounds, whistly flutes, bells (outstanding) and crisp 12-bit, pure-wave sounds. Cards and waveforms can be combined to make custom patches. It reminds me of both the Mellotron and the Yamaha CS-80…it just sits really nice in the mix. I’ve gotten great results with external LPF’s and ring modulators like the Moogerfoogers when more ballsy, analog chunk is sought. It really has its own sound which no one to my knowledge has ever quite harnessed…it requires skill to play well because the modulations are foot controlled, but practice rewards the player with some very unique timbres and color washes that frankly I’ve never heard anywhere else.
This seminal instrument is a must-have for any serious synth collection.” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.