Something for the Weekend: Latronic Notron controlling TR-808 and SH-7

This week we have a video of the Latronic Notron hardware midi step sequencer. We tried to find more details and specs of this sequencer but this is just on of those little hidden gems from the past that almost anonymously exists in the world of analog vintage gear. There isn’t even a wikipedia page for it!

However, SoundOnSound had an article about it in 1997: “Looking like a weird blend of an upturned frying pan, the mother ship from Close Encounters, and a turtle, the Notron is refreshingly and genuinely different. Its moulded plastic case has no fewer than 87 tri-colour LEDs, 10 stylish knobs, four equally stylish control wheels and 103 switches that rattle like marbles on a solitaire board. The Notron is a step-time MIDI sequencer with four rows of up to 16 steps. Each of these is capable of sending note information, MIDI controllers, chords and arpeggios on separate (or, indeed, the same) MIDI channels. Unlike older analogue sequencers, it doesn’t have a separate pitch knob for each step; instead a switch toggles notes on or off.

Designed for lap-top operation, the Notron feels comfortable and is light enough (at 2.2kg) to leave propped against a convenient wall when not in use. Or to wear as an impressive codpiece, come to think of it. (Dimensions are approximately 14 inches by 18 inches by 2.5 inches high.) Let’s complete the obligatory tour quickly so we can get to the interesting stuff: the Notron has a MIDI In and Out, two auxiliary inputs (for future developments such as controller devices) and an input for the external power supply. Construction is to a high standard, so there’s no doubt that you’re dealing with a serious piece of kit.

In the video below the Latronic Notron is sequencing a Roland TR-808 and a Roland SH-7. The soundtrack is four tracks on the Notron, jamming out! We thought to show it because, well to be honest, it looked like a nice Christmas video with these nice, shiny, red and green lights!


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