Everything, including the music file had to fit into 64KB of memory
Each disk has a total capacity of 360KB
Photos (1) First roll reader 1978-2002
The Phillips Ampico-Apple system was marketed in Australia, with some systems still in use. It was called the PA system.
The 1500 e-roll files were initially stored on 109, 5.25" floppy disks and the Ampico was played directly from an Apple II computer.
Peter Phillips in 1979 operating the roll recording machine. It was designed to record Ampico reproducing piano rolls.
The Apple software included a test program for the Ampico. The piano keys were listed by name (A, B etc to A#). When selected, a note would repeat at a preset rate on the piano. The expression system could also be fully tested.
This is one screen of many in the Ampico test program
We use these CDs to play the Ampico from a standard CD player
We believe this is the world's first computerised piano
The files were played on a PianoDisc installed in a Yamaha G5 grand piano. This instrument was replaced in 2002 with the instrument shown here: a C7 MKII XG Disklavier.
My 1923 Ampico in a Knabe piano, purchased and restored in 1977. Is this the world's first computerised piano?
Phillips Ampico-Apple system (1978)
PA e-roll MIDI files (2002)
In 2000, the e-roll files were converted to MIDI, then the MIDI files were emulated using Richard Brandle's WindPlay, shown here on a Win 98 computer.
Roll data was stored on reel-to-reel tape using an analog signal format to store digital data.
In the early 1980s, I wrote programs so the output of the roll reader could be stored in and played from an Apple II computer. This shot shows the Apple playing an Ampico e-roll file.
Being analog, the data signal could be recorded on any media that stored audio files. Initially files were stored on audio cassette, later on CD.
New roll reader