Jump to content
Clint Thompson

How many of you own an Atari Hotz Box?

Recommended Posts

Really curious about number of units out there, who owns one, how much they paid, what those who own one create or do with theirs and ultimately if anyone has one they may consider selling at some point in the future. I've seen a few units come up for sale with a more recent large model going for $2,000. Don't think that's an unrealistic price to pay for a large unit considering the scarcity of said units but I guess that's why I'm starting this thread. I've got a C-Lab Falcon coming my way soon and I really want to pair it up with a proper fitting MIDI controller such as one of these. It would help to know how much a true and fair going rate for a used unit in good working condition would be outside of my own guesstimate ($2,500) for a large one and maybe ($1,200) for a smaller one but even more so, those who actually own one.

 

So, for any and all Hotz Box owners... come out come out where ever you are! ;-)

 

I've yet to see any internal pictures of the unit as well - has anyone had one apart to see the internal components?

 

 

post-985-0-59521100-1505185218.jpg

 

*edit: Guessing aside, it looks like at very least 69 units have been produced, if this is any real indication of realistic sequencing of units made.

 

post-985-0-98663500-1505186115.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Clint Thompson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a kid Atari Benelux demonstrated the Hotz Box on a computer fair in The Netherlands. That was the one and only time I saw one. Seems a few famous musicians (Mac Fleetwood, Jon Anderson) used one as seen is this video.

 

Seems there were multiple versions. On the Hotz Box page at AtariMuseum they describe a big master unit with optional smaller slave unit and a stand-alone version of the slave unit.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All this time I had thought he was just a musician who really enjoyed the creation of the Hotz Box but it turns out that Mick Fleetwood actually aided with the product launch in helping it get funded and if I read correctly, may be the co-founder of Hotz Instruments. I'm not really sure why no one has done a proper interview with Jimmy Hotz or if one was done, I didn't uncover anything on Google over the years I've been researching it.

 

Maybe it's time.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a kid Atari Benelux demonstrated the Hotz Box on a computer fair in The Netherlands. That was the one and only time I saw one. Seems a few famous musicians (Mac Fleetwood, Jon Anderson) used one as seen is this video.

 

Seems there were multiple versions. On the Hotz Box page at AtariMuseum they describe a big master unit with optional smaller slave unit and a stand-alone version of the slave unit.

Did you get a chance to play it firsthand yourself?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you get a chance to play it firsthand yourself?

 

No, unfortunately not. It was quite busy with people and as a kid I was more interested in playing games :P

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Truth but I could only ever afford a used model 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand from someone in the community.

I hear you, I am musician but loved to play with my midi keyboard back in the 80's. I just tinkered with it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never seen one personally, but here are two photos taken from ST-Computer's May 93 issue (more articles from German Atari magazines: http://www.stcarchiv.de). It shows the large and the medium model. The photos were taken at Frankfurt's music trade show. According to the article, an Austrian company was the distributor at that time - for German-speaking countries at least...

 

Prices in Deutsche Mark:

 

MIDI-Translator light Version: DM 590
MIDI-Translator full Version : DM 890
Hotz-Box Touchboard large : DM 15000
Hotz-Box Touchboard medium : DM 7000

 

post-40977-0-44557800-1505336091.jpg

 

post-40977-0-73222200-1505336108.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never seen one personally, but here are two photos taken from ST-Computer's May 93 issue (more articles from German Atari magazines: http://www.stcarchiv.de). It shows the large and the medium model. The photos were taken at Frankfurt's music trade show. According to the article, an Austrian company was the distributor at that time - for German-speaking countries at least...

 

Prices in Deutsche Mark:

 

MIDI-Translator light Version: DM 590

MIDI-Translator full Version : DM 890

Hotz-Box Touchboard large : DM 15000

Hotz-Box Touchboard medium : DM 7000

 

attachicon.gifmusikmesse-hotzbox-falcon.jpg

 

attachicon.gifmusikmesse-hotzbox-mini.jpg

 

That's fantastic, thanks for sharing! They definitely are a lot larger in real life than you would believe from photos. Turns out the large one weights almost 70 lbs. !

 

So that would've been almost $9,000 USD. It's no wonder they didn't sell very many then, which is a shame. The super cool Haken Continuum boards cost about $2,500 and even that seems a lot for a modern day device. The one he's holding, if I'm correct with my last contact, is $2,500.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is available elsewhere but tonight is the first time I found it and have read the interview so wanted to share the images here:

 

post-985-0-69279900-1505615929_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-26703200-1505615940_thumb.jpg

post-985-0-00195800-1505615948_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-93518700-1505615954_thumb.jpg

post-985-0-78065000-1505615962_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-43978600-1505615970_thumb.jpg

post-985-0-46385800-1505615978_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-00513700-1505615997_thumb.png

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So with a lot of deep diving research, I've managed to find some more interesting bits about the whole Hotz Instruments and Atari Hotz Box:

 

•Jimmy mentioned wanting to produce 300 metal prototypes, though there's no confirmation that happened.

•Mick Fleetwood invested $400,000 into Hotz Instruments

•Atari released the rights back to Jimmy Hotz sometime in 1991 (from the information I found)

•Atari donated a Hotz Box and various ST items to the Children's Hospital at Standford University of Palo Alto (presented by Mick Fleetwood and Billy Burnett)

 

Outside of the patent diagrams of super technical jargon, there still seems to be a lot of information missing or unknown and it was even mentioned that Jimmy wouldn't comment in detail on technical aspects of the Hotz Box in one of the magazines. For your viewing pleasures all in one convenient Atari Hotz Box thread... hopefully some of you find all this as fascinating as I do.

 

post-985-0-15959800-1505641391_thumb.png post-985-0-37062500-1505641441_thumb.png

 

post-985-0-23467800-1505641524_thumb.jpg post-985-0-61534200-1505641551_thumb.jpg

 

post-985-0-44143700-1505641474_thumb.jpg

 

post-985-0-15965300-1505641567.png post-985-0-96342600-1505641579_thumb.png post-985-0-27731100-1505641595.png

 

post-985-0-21855900-1505642263.png

 

post-985-0-14107200-1505641844_thumb.png

Edited by Clint Thompson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After almost what seems to be close to 20-years, I have finally acquired an Atari Hotz Box. It appears as though it's brand new, almost as if I had time traveled back to 1990 and brought it back with me to 2018 =) With that, I also got a few promo bits that I haven't seen online before so I'm including it here:

 

Here's the goods I received:

post-985-0-17692700-1545186703_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-80693300-1545186711_thumb.jpg

 

Short improv video right after unboxing, messing around with it strictly as a MIDI controller to test without the Atari ST hooked up and Hotz Translator software:

I'll add more videos later when I get a replacement ST drive and am actually able to load the Translator Software.

 

Here are a few scans - have never seen this one at all online before:

post-985-0-19530300-1545186871_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-10250600-1545186960_thumb.jpg

 

I've only seen snippets of this before but never in complete form:

post-985-0-96161500-1545187295_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-78865900-1545187312_thumb.jpg

post-985-0-89442300-1545187358_thumb.jpgpost-985-0-29758100-1545187382_thumb.jpg

I also managed to get the exact two-tier stand shown in the promo brochure and despite the stand being rated at 125 lbs per tier (the large Hotz Box is roughly 66 lbs) I can't say I really trust it without additional reinforcement.

 

I couldn't find anything online about the MIDI Magazine nor do I remember seeing it, has anyone seen it before?

Edited by Clint Thompson
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on finally acquiring one, especially with the accompanying documentation/printed ephemera! That thing is truly massive.

 

How long were these sold for? Were they available past the demise of the ST?

 

 


I couldn't find anything online about the MIDI Magazine nor do I remember seeing it, has anyone seen it before?

 

It may have been an internal publication.

 

I have found

MIDI magazine: informatief tijdschrift voor musici (published in Holland, 1989-1993) and MIDI: written for the mind of the musician (American, 1993- present).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on finally acquiring one, especially with the accompanying documentation/printed ephemera! That thing is truly massive.

 

How long were these sold for? Were they available past the demise of the ST?

 

 

 

It may have been an internal publication.

 

I have found

MIDI magazine: informatief tijdschrift voor musici (published in Holland, 1989-1993) and MIDI: written for the mind of the musician (American, 1993- present).

 

Thanks, it's definitely a beast - having essentially two separate keyboards with drum loops programmed on the bottom and then side buttons to change configurations on the fly in a single device makes this thing really interesting. Looks like I'm going to have to get a Gotek setup for the ST.

 

He still makes custom boxes and has since expanded to different varieties judging by his website: www.jimmyhotz.com - but without the Atari logo of course.

 

Now that you mention the size, I'm actually not so sure why both sides button panels are so wide but they may either offer a way to pitch bend specific sounds (haven't ran it through the software yet) or was planned for extra features at some point which may not have been implemented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder what Jimmy Hotz thinks about that other company that appears to be using his ideas and selling their own keyboards... forget their company name but I've seen their videos on Facebook and billing their tech as "revolutionary" nearly 30 years after Jimmy Hotz did it first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder what Jimmy Hotz thinks about that other company that appears to be using his ideas and selling their own keyboards... forget their company name but I've seen their videos on Facebook and billing their tech as "revolutionary" nearly 30 years after Jimmy Hotz did it first.

 

Are you referring to the Roli Seaboard by chance?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few more things I ran across and scanned for those interested in seeing - the bottom two already exist online elsewhere but scanned them in at a much higher resolution so you can see details:

 

post-985-0-16227400-1547689898_thumb.png

What on Earth are those dangling from Mick Fleetwood? Haha..

post-985-0-85583300-1547689911_thumb.png

Hotz Marketing Folder:

post-985-0-76911100-1547690460_thumb.png

Hotz Translator Software for Windows Flyer front and back:

post-985-0-50459200-1547690649_thumb.pngpost-985-0-30988700-1547690717_thumb.png

It's interesting to see the various early configurations in seemingly the prototype stages and how it evolved into its final form:

post-985-0-56008300-1547689929_thumb.png

post-985-0-13929100-1547689945_thumb.png

Hotz Promo Sticker:

post-985-0-35746200-1547691528.png

 

A Christian indie-styled band that used the Atari Hotz in some of their music - you can really hear the distinguished sound the Hotz is capable of making starting right around the 40 second mark:

 

 

Also for those who may be interested, this is the current version of the Hotz Translator software running on my Windows 10 machine - though I haven't had time to explore it yet other than to verify it functions:

-- can be purchased here: http://www.hotzstore.com/

 

post-985-0-95953500-1547692553_thumb.png

 

Once I get the ST version loaded up on my STe (waiting on disk drive), I'll do a video overview and show examples on how it all works since there are actually zero videos online showing the software in action.

 

Patent submission for the original Hotz controller design: (I'm really glad the final design was changed as it makes far more sense layout-wise)

post-985-0-10285500-1547693312.png

Edited by Clint Thompson
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank-you for following up on this. I know almost nothing about music, but I am fascinated by obscure hardware, and I am enjoying this ongoing thread.

 

The comment about Mick Fleetwood being an engineer/designer was very funny.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just in case someone here may be looking to get one for fun and has spare cash on hand, producer Dean Hovey is selling off his custom 4-kit version of Atari Hotz controllers. I was on the fence about this one just over a year ago and he had wanted $3,000 originally but not knowing enough about the unit passed because of the layout and ultimately wanted the larger box. You can configure top for black keys and bottom for white keys if you wanted to do so while also having separate vibrato/pitch bend functions and individual pedal controls.

 

Currently $1,975 OBO - https://reverb.com/item/18027237-atari-hotz-box-midi-translator-ultra-rare-midi-controller-2005-black-blue

 

Here are the 4 that he used to have in his studio, has already sold at least one but at very least one remains:

 

post-985-0-40651800-1548780744.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally got my Gotek setup on the STe and connected to the Hotz - since there's so little info or screenshots posted of the actual software, wanted to post some here to share - it's quite complex in the amount of available options or seemingly so, hopefully some of the original manuals can be found and surface:

 

post-985-0-98567000-1549342310.pngpost-985-0-92109300-1549342319.png

post-985-0-87794900-1549342329.pngpost-985-0-43159600-1549342338.png

post-985-0-98927000-1549342380.pngpost-985-0-32456800-1549342387.png

 

Another article found in Billboard Magazine:

 

post-985-0-01123700-1549342443_thumb.png

 

Latest Hotz haul - wanted to have some music and examples that actually used the Hotz and what better examples than from the man himself Jimmy's Gates of Time (all music created with the Hotz Box) and then a 1995 live performance of Kitaro showing some use of Hotz pads in a custom made form specifically used for his Mandala song but shown throughout the entire performance since it's mounted (or embedded?) on his drums:

 

post-985-0-44556200-1549342464_thumb.jpg

 

post-985-0-28735200-1549342805_thumb.jpg

 

Timeline / variant forms of the Translator Software (though I have no specific revision numbers outside of the 3.7 for the Atari ST)

 

Hotz Translator (or Xlator) for the Atari ST - 1988 - 12/7/91

Hotz Trax - (Windows 3.1) - 1996? - does anyone have a physical copy of this by chance?

Hotz Trax 2 - (Windows 95) - 1998 (I could not get this to run on my Windows XP machine, though it may run on 98, I have none available to test it out on)

Hotz Translator I, II and III (latest version) - 2000? to 2019 - Windows XP - Win10 (I have the latest version running on my W10 machine)

Here's a scan of the first iteration of the Hotz Trax software disc found online:

 

post-985-0-70247300-1549343598_thumb.jpg

 

From News Bytes 1997:

 

"TUNE TIME: Thousand Oaks-based musician Jimmy Hotz has developed a unique software package that lets even the tone-deaf compose a masterpiece on their computer. Hotz Trax allows users to play any of 128 different instruments; edit, record and overdub songs; and save as a small, Musical Instrument Digital Interface-compatible file. The PC software retails for $49.95, and is available at most computer stores and at the Hotz Interactive Web site, http://www.hotz.com."

 

Inside of the Hotz Trax 2 disc - I'm actually really curious what this one is like since it mentions including songs to play along with:

 

post-985-0-25349500-1549344242_thumb.jpg

 

"MICK FLEETWOOD Hotz Trax 2 (1998 issue US CD-Rom - By combining modern patented breakthroughs in music technology with a vast musical knowledge base Hotz Interactive has created a software program that turns an ordinary multimedia PC into a profound instrument that will alter the nature of musical experience for years to come. Think of HOTZ TRAX 2 as a new musical instrument for everyone. Mick Fleetwood has been seen playing his vest during concerts this is Holtz technology and onethat he has been involved with for many years and is onward going. Complete with a picture sleeve featuring a great image of Mick wearing and playing a Hotz vest this copy is still sealed)"

 

As a side note or fun fact, the original www.hotz.com site is now an awful dating website.

 

An interview with Soundwell producer Dean Martin Hovey and his Hotz setup (as mentioned in the last post, he's selling this kit off and has already sold at least one of the 4 units):

https://sonicscoop.com/2014/03/31/composer-cribs-dean-martin-hovey-incredible-networking-at-soundwell-los-angeles/

 

An illuminated Hotz sign for Atari's NAMM shows demoing the units - there was only ever one of these signs made:

 

post-985-0-62273100-1549345202.png

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...