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by Robbie Rhodes
The first UM1 circuit boards were delivered sometime in 1996 to customer Jean-Claude Pasche for use with the MIDI-controlled orchestrions at Café-théatre Barnabé, Servion, Switzerland. Concerts were planned to begin in November 1996 when installation of the big theatre organ would be complete.
The first production UM1 units were shipped to customers early in September 1996. Laurent wrote to me then that they were "output only" and that he was still writing the user's manual and working on the firmware for the "input" mode. By the end of November 1996 Laurent was discussing with potential customers how the UM1 might be used with reproducing pianos and with the Hammond player organ, and shortly thereafter thoughtful questions appeared in Mechanical Music Digest.
I guess that during the 1996 Christmas season Laurent visited Switzerland
(his birthplace) and Café-théatre Barnabé, because
in MMDigest 97.01.03 he wrote that M. Pasche was seeking "toy box" instruments
for the organ system. In April 1997 he visited So. California and
looked into applying his design to the Mills Violano.
In 970721 MMDigest Laurent wrote about his discussions with folks interested in using the UM1 to transcribed music rolls to MIDI files. On 30 July 1997 I wrote to Larry Broadmoore suggesting that Laurent could collaborate with the PowerRoll device. (Larry estimated that for $150,000 he could build a working prototype PowerRoll.) A few days later Laurent shipped an older prototype UM1 to me for evaluation. At the end of August 1997 Laurent visited Wayne Stahnke and me.
By February 1998 Laurent was working with Richard Brandle toward the
"Wind" and "WindPlay" programs. In July 1998 I loaned my UM1 to Lee
Roan for experiments with his roll transcriber system. Craig Brougher
announced in 981118 MMDigest that he planned to use the Octet UM1 in his
big orchestrion. This announcement appeared in Mechanical Music Digest
of 26 October 1998:
From: email@example.com (Laurent Coray)
Subject: Octet Electronic Hardware for Perforator
Regarding the perforator software and hardware:
For those of you who desire punching but do not want to built the
The PD1 products were designed for this software and will work with
- connects to printer port of PC
Ron Perry wrote me that Laurent died on Sunday, 18 July 1999.
He was only 36 years old, but suffered an inoperable brain tumor.
Within a day or two a notice appeared at his web site saying that the company
would be sold soon. The news of his death was posted in MMD 990728.
Larry Broadmoore wrote to me on 31 July saying that he'd spoken with Ron
Perry and that it looked like Ron would purchase Octet Design Corp.
-------------------- [MMD 990906]
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Perry)
Subject: Octet Design Products by MIDIator Systems
With the tragic passing of Laurent Coray there has been concern
MIDIator Systems is proud to announce that we are setting up production
Ron Perry, MIDIator Systems
[ Editor's note:
10 July 2001
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