Bontempi B30 (beginners keyboard with gritty digital lo-fi sounds)
(picture taken from eBay)

This is a smaller predecessor of the Bontempi B50 and sounds basically similar. In opposite to the latter it is only mono, has no accompaniment and different percussion, but it features a programmable rhythm pattern and drumpads can be switched into "special pad" mode (playing sirens and digital telephone sounds). Like the B50 it has an awfully beeping bit stream DAC that tends to cause tinitus, although this one may whistle slightly less severe than the latter.

main features:


All functions beside volume, tuning, tempo, rhythm start/ stop, demo and drum sequencer are selected by entering numbers. A strange detail is that the instrument can be switched off by the number "414" although it has "auto power off" to save batteries. (I haven't examined the hardware closer yet.) Any button presses make a click noise. The B30 has (unlike the Bontempi B50) no accompaniment, but regarding the annoying fixed key accompaniment of the latter, this is not really a disadvantage.

The main voice sounds resemble coarse 2 operator FM timbres with complex envelopes those have audible zipper noise. Unlike the Bontempi B50, these ones include no duller or brighter fading timbres. All sounds contain a short sustain, which makes it impossible to play very short notes. Most sounds start with a percussive click, the ones with a smoother attack phase (e.g. "whistle") start with a nicely buzzing zipper noise instead. Most wind instruments and "viola" contain a delayed vibrato that wobbles quite slow with most of these. The "mandolin" rings. The "synth drum" howls down and up again an a unique way. The "telephone" is a disharmonic digital one with a little sustain. The "pearl drop" is a medium fast siren (falling pitch, 2 repetitions) that quickly fades silent. The "alarm" is a sort of harsh howling USA ambulance siren. The "space runner" is a sort of science fiction siren tone (like from an old videogame) with fast pulsing, down stepping pitch and some sustain. All siren- like sounds repeat their 2nd octave on the lowest keyboard octave.

The digital volume control steals bit resolution from the main voice, which truncates the decay phase of the timbres at low volume and thus can be rather regarded as a sound effect. It anyway only affects the main voice and not the rhythm, which is not what a volume control is supposed to do.

The percussion samples of this thing resemble much Bontempi ES3000 but sound even thinner and are so distorted that they have turned almost into blips. Their symbols on the drumpads look like those shown on the box of my Bontempi B50. The function "auto rhythm" simply enables synchro start of the rhythm. The drum sequencer ("program style") is programmed by pressing "REC." =>a metronome sounds and you can now enter in realtime a monophonic drum pattern using the drumpads. Once sounds are entered, the metronome stops and the pattern then repeats automatically in a loop while you can still add further percussion in realtime and even play on the keyboard(!) during this. It can be stopped and restarted with the "STOP" and "PLAY" buttons of that section. The pattern length depends on the previously selected preset rhythm (up to 16 steps); despite realtime the resolution is quite coarse and sounds very broken, but this makes it also great for tekkno. The instrument even keeps the programmed drum sequence (and all other actual settings) when powered off. The drumpads can be also switched to a set of different siren effect sounds. Bizarre is that these sounds resemble much the main voice timbres "alarm", "telephone", "pearl drop" and "space runner" although they have no sustain and a harsher and much creakier timbre (like a toy police car).

The mambo demo tune repeats in a loop but is for a monophonic instrument not bad and makes much use of the "synth drum" sound. A bit strange is that during demo all buttons still make a click sound although none of them beside "demo start/stop" do anything.

Strange is that Bontempi released earlier (likely in 1970th) already a wooden fullsize home organ (dual keyboard, chord buttons, volume pedal, few OBS preset sounds and rhythms, seen on eBay) with name "Bontempi B30".

 removal of these screws voids warranty...    
back to tablehooters collection