Video Technology
Rhythmic 2 - portable keyboard
  squarewave keyboard with accompaniment & analogue rhythm

This keyboard from 1985 may be the ancestor of all no-name squarewave keyboards. Like the MC-3 and Testron it employs a Yamaha 4 channel squarewave soundchip, but unlike these, it additionally uses analogue percussion. This instrument was also released as Maitho PK2 and a red version as Power Sounds (seen on eBay).

The Rhythmic 2 has a black case, 1 speaker and some rows of differently coloured silicone rubber buttons (similar like the Testron ones).

main features:


The hardware construction of this 1985er keyboard resembles much the Letron, HBATEC, Testron, Fujitone 6A and the like, thus it apparently was an early predecessor of a series of Chinese so-called "no-name" instruments. Interesting is in this context that the Rhythmic 2 features as well the demo melody "Blue Danube" (which is the same like with my HBATEC keyboard) as "For Elise" (which is the demo tune of the Testron), although these versions are arranged differently. The accompaniments of the instrument's demo melodies various times miss the correct key (thus sound disharmonic) and are slightly out of sync, which sounds quite unprofessional. Like early Casio instruments, the Rhythmic 2 has a moulded, cylindrical plastic pot behind the speaker in the case bottom, but unlike good Casios, this one seems to make the sound rather cheap and canny than improving its timbre. Nowadays the company Video Technology is better known as VTech, which is a well known manufacturer of educational children computers; VTech otherwise is affiliated with Yeno, which was the manufacturer of the "Der kleine Musikant" toy keyboard.

When I bought the Rhythmic 2 keyboard, the "fingered chord" and "tempo -" button didn't work due to a broken bridge trace on the panel PCB.

Interesting for playing are the 5 semi- OBS sound buttons those can be also pressed while keys are held down without stopping their notes. By rhythmically pressing these buttons many arpeggiator- like timbre changes can be created, though this button field can be regarded as a realtime sound control. The static voice assignment of the instrument is a little annoying, because in any chord modes only 1 voice remains for the user selected sound in the right keyboard section, no matter how many voices are really actually occupied with chords or other accompaniments.

The automatic accompaniments insert a sort-of automatic fill-in every 4 measures, which can be a little confusing, but generally sounds nice. The complex accompaniment behaviour resembles a bit the Testron, although it permits less play tricks. The instrument seems to make no use of the digital metallic cymbal sound of the YM2163 despite it would have sounded more natural than the analogue transistor noise it uses instead. Possibly this instrument was originally designed for a predecessor of the YM2163 soundchip, which didn't feature these percussion sounds.

A stereo(?) variant of the Rhythmic 2 keyboard was the Rhythmic 6 (seen on eBay), which has 2 speakers and an additional chord volume slider, but still the same preset and function button names although it has sliders instead of knobs and smaller buttons. Likely both belong to the same hardware class. A later fullsize keyboard by Video Technology was the Rhythmic 10.

 removal of these screws voids warranty...    
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