Testron CL-60910, Elta HS4242

Testron CL-60910

(squarewave keyboard with warm C64 sounds & great accompaniment)

This instrument sounds very similar like the Letron MC-3, but has a much warmer timbre and a wonderful responsive and versatile programmed automatic accompaniment. The case is bronze colour and has the German label "ELEKTRONISCHES KEYBOARD" ("electronic keyboard"). It was also released as Elta KE-5 and Elta CL-6091. A black case version was released as Plantron DP88, as Pantera PM88 and as Eastec ER-460 (seen on eBay).

(Note: This keyboard sounds great, but don't buy one of these so far your only intention is to get a keyboard with faithfully imitated natural instrument sounds. Remember, this is a squarewave instrument and though many of its sounds sound not even remotely like what is written on its buttons, though bought with wrong expectation it may disappoint you.)

main features:

TESTRON®, model:CL-60910



The CPU is made by NEC, those also manufactured most of the early Casio keyboard ICs. Unlike the Letron MC-3, the Testron CL-60910 always uses a piano- like envelope for chords. Depending on the rhythm volume slider position, the chord distorts at the beginning, which creates a warm sounding sort-of dull fading "wah- wah" filter envelope. The accompaniment has very interesting arrangements those vary depending on how many chord keys are pressed, and it does not restrict you to play establishment's standard chords. Thus e.g. the "country" accompaniment can make great disharmonic horror/ thriller music by pressing adjacent keys.

When rhythm is off, this instrument also provides a sort-of key split feature; in "manual bass" mode you can play a monophonic e-bass at the left (accompaniment) keyboard section and the 3 note polyphonic main voice at the rest, while in "fingered chord" mode you can play a 3 note polyphonic piano sound to the left, and the monophonic main voice to the right. The vibrato is unusually fast. Unfortunately all tones of this crystal clocked instrument are detuned by about -0.75 semitones and there is no trimmer to adjust tuning. Like with many old keyboards, the 12 OBS sound buttons can be also pressed while keys are held down without stopping their notes, thus theoretically they may be usable as a realtime sound control for arpeggiator- like timbre changes. Unfortunately the CPU polls the buttons only with about 4 Hz, which makes them respond much slower and less precise than with the Letron, and also the silicone rubber buttons are a bit awkward to press quickly.

Apparently the direct successor of this instrument was the Elta KE-6. A possible predecessor was the ABA-88.

Elta HS4242

This is a simplified and shorter variant of the Testron CL-60910. I am not sure about the original name of this keyboard, since the main model plate is missing and there is only the brand name Elta and a small paper sticker "HS4242/89" at the bottom; the "/89" likely indicates that it was released in 1989.

This instrument has only each 8 preset sounds & rhythms, but the same lovely accompaniment like the Testron, although the bass sounds less impressive since it uses here a very similar squarewave timbre like its main voice. Likely a separate bass sound filter was omitted here to reduce cost. Also the sound chip is not a genuine Yamaha one.

different main features:



 removal of these screws voids warranty...    
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