KAT Polyphonic Mallet Synthesizer

KAT Polyphonic Mallet Synthesizer


(2005-03-01) Donated by Dave Samuels

According to Bill Katoski, inventor of the MalletKAT, “The PS1000 (mallet synthesizer) was created in 1983 by Katoski Engineering. It is a hybrid analog/digital percussion synthesizer designed to be played by mallets on a four-octave keyboard layout much like a xylophone. It is designed to be used as a live-performance instrument with the ability to control most functions by striking the upper control pads with mallets. The PS1000 is an eight-note polyphonic instrument with two separate voicings that can split the keyboard or double on each note.

“The types of sounds are created by adjusting the knobs and switches on the front control panel. It has 64 user presets for storing sounds. It has an additive synthesis voltage controlled oscillator (with de-tunable second oscillator), a full voltage controlled filter, and a voltage controlled amplifier. It includes a multi-bank sequencer and arranger that permits the performer to create complex patterns (bass lines, etc.) that can be started and stopped at will in order to play ‘over the top of’ the sequence. It even has a programmable foot pedal for live sound changing of any of the instrument’s sound controls while you play.”

This prototype instrument measures 59 1/2 inches in length, 23 3/4 inches in width, and 4 feet 3/8 inches in height. Each keyboard pad measures 5 inches by 1 3/4 inches by 7/16 inches. The sequencer pads are 3 inches in length and 1 3/4 inches in width. The instrument weighs 71 lbs. with the lid attached.

This instrument predates MIDI and was used by Dave Samuels when he toured with Spryo Gyra. The sequencer function allowed him to improvise duets with the keyboard player, Tom Schuman, over different musical patterns at each night’s performance.