Teisco S100P

Teisco S100P Image

The Teisco S100P is a monophonic preset synthesizer from 1979. There were a number of such keyboards around at the time and earlier, including Roland's SH-2000 and the ARP Pro Soloist. They gave quick access to generic sounds, and were often designed to sit atop another keyboard, such as an organ.

A quick glance at the 32 sounds on offer might turn away those raised on modern Virtual Analogs with 1000 memories: tuba, flute, Hawaiian guitar, whistle…and yet, this is a surprisingly well-featured and useful little synth that still deserves a place in amongst its bigger, cleverer, more expensive brethren.

Teisco equipment can also be found under the label Kawai – the latter company bought the former and took some time to change the brand name. The Kawai model has a wood-effect front lower panel surround where the Teisco is all metal, but otherwise the two are identical. They originally came with a music stand that slots into two holes on the top; they are 37-key, C-C; they have 32 preset sounds that are selected using switches beneath the keyboard, and a left-hand control panel that sports basic performance features.

The sounds themselves are a mixed bag. Realism is not the 100P's strong point – bassoonists can sleep easy, and the monophonic piano seems slightly pointless – but many of them are a pleasure to play, and several are pretty usable. The bass sounds possess a solid low end, the shakuhachi is smooth and effective, and the four "synthe" sounds have a pleasing rawness. The limited tweaking afforded by the panel controls includes a clumsy pitch-bend slider, filter "brilliance", and modulation rate, as well as octave up/down, portamento (and glissando) time, tune, volume and three keyboard triggering modes.

Perhaps the most unexpected and interesting aspects of this modest little synth are its built-in reverb and assignable aftertouch. Reverb is of the spring type, with an effect level knob on the panel; aftertouch also has a sensitivity control knob to suit your playing, and can be routed simultaneously to several destinations, including pitch bend up/down, filter, vibrato amount and "growl". The degree of flexibility this adds to the otherwise simple sounds makes this synth much more expressive than many more patchable monos of the time. There is also an "effects" section allowing the switching of porta/glissando, hold/sustain, note repeat and – another nice feature – a flanger.

There is minimal interfacing here: high and low outputs, headphone jack, and an expression pedal input for volume control – but the advantage of this is that the 100P begs to be played. Forget your CV/Gate, your MIDI and USB – forget how many demisemiquavers you can quantize at 300BPM – flex your finger joints and have some fun!

NOTE: The underside of the S100P bears a sticker labelled "Manufactured under license from ARP Instruments Inc, USP 3,965,789". This refers to the "Electronic Musical Instrument Effects Control" – the aftertouch.

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12 Visitor comments
November 24, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

I'm looking for this model. My email: lhostecedric-at-gmail-dot-com
September 29, 2011 @ 6:12 pm
This is basically an ARP Pro Soloist repackaged. I've got both and have compared them side by side and they are very similar indeed. I think there was a time in analog synth history where all the different synth manufacturers where ripping eachothers designs off. In this case I think it was only meant to be the after touch which was officially licenced from ARP but the filter is IMO the same as the ARP Pro Soloist. This is a good sleeper synth so grab one if you see it going cheap!
July 13, 2011 @ 4:18 am
This was the first synth I ever played, in an organ showroom in Thetford, Norfolk, UK, circa 1980. I had yet to yet to go "pro" with my keyboard lust - that happened in July 1981 when I first saw a Jupiter 8, love at first sight, even in black and white!

As well as the aftertouch, which I picked up on straightaway despite my relative inexperience (I was only 13), the thing I loved about this synth was the glissando effect - I was listening to a lot of Vangelis and JMJ at the time, so knew the sound. Haven't seen it on a synth since, analog, digital or virtual. Shame...
January 31, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

Looking for this model in UK. My email: lhostecedric-at-gmail-dot-com
Rob Ocelot
July 10, 2010 @ 11:43 am
There seems to be more ARP DNA in this machine than one would think beyond the aftertouch patents. A good number of the sounds are identical to the ARP Pro Soloist.

Kawai released this synth in the very late 70's/early 80's and it seems to fill the void left by Pro Soloist (1973-1977) and the disappointment of the Pro/DGX (1977-1980). ARP was running into serious financial trouble around this time and I wouldn't be surprised if ARP tried to wring some cash out of the Pro Soloist design by licensing parts (or all) of it to other companies.

The flanger and spring reverb effects are curious additions too, especially the reverb -- practically the only other synth to have this is the ARP 2600. Almost every design choice in this synth points back to ARP.
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Multitimbral - 1-part
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO
  • Waveforms - Pulse w/PWM, saw, noise, with fixed settings
  • LFO - 1 LFO routed to effects
  • Filter - 24dB/oct lowpass; preset highpass
  • Envelope - 2 x preset ADS for VCF and VCA
  • Effects - spring reverb, flanger
  • Arpeggiator - note repeat only
  • Keyboard - 37-key C-C w/aftertouch
  • Memory - 32 presets
  • Control - Exp pedal for volume
  • Date Produced - 1979-1982

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