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Kenton

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Kenton Electronics was formed in 1986 by UK musician John Price. "I was a professional keyboard player with a background in electronics and a keen interest in computing. I owned an Oberheim OBX synth, which I very much wanted to get MIDIed. Unfortunately, the only interface on offer cost a fortune, and did very little, so I decided to do make my own. This was not quite the big step it might seem, as I had already built my own digital interface to enable me to play the OBX from the keyboard of my Hammond Organ.

The new MIDI interface was a success, and I soon had several of my keyboard-playing colleagues asking if I could do something similar for their keyboards, so I decided to build a small batch of 12 interfaces and things just progressed from there. From the moment I bought a fax machine, I started to get enquiries for kits from overseas. I was working from my flat in Kingston at that time, but I was rapidly running out of space. In 1990 I found premises in Hook Road Surbiton, an upstairs office with 4 rooms behind a parade of shops.

A singer friend of mine, Karen, offered to help me to prepare the place and make it a bit more welcoming, but as things turned out, Karen stayed on and worked part-time for Kenton for a couple of years.

Quite a few customers had asked if Kenton would make a MIDI to CV converter, and so around April 1992 the PRO-2 was born. I originally thought we might sell 100 - 200 units, but by the time it was replaced by the PRO-2000 in 1997, we had sold well over 2000 units.

People often ask where the name Kenton came from. My father Wylie Price was a bandleader in the 40s & 50s and was a big fan of Stan Kenton, so when I was born, I was given Kenton as my middle name."

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