Okay - yeah. Still on vacation. But this just came in the mail today and I just had to share!
The I Dream of Wires modular synth documentary [Hardcore Edition] PLUS hexinverter.net's batteryACID eurorack module. Yum.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Posted by RetroSynthAds at 6:11 PM
Monday, August 5, 2013
Taking a break to work on some music. Or something. Be back soon-ish.
But since you are here, why not click on one of the links under the "Best. Blogs. Ever." section on the left side of this Web page. Some cool stuff there.
Or, if you are interested in reading some older posts from Retro Synth Ads, check out some of my favorite and most popular blog posts:
- Roland Rhythm Machines TR-808, TR-606, TB-303, CR-8000, and CR-5000 brochure, 1982
- Yamaha GS1 (GS-1) and GS2 (GS-2), Keyboard 1982
- Sequential Circuits Inc. advertisements / Mattos artwork round-up
- Series of ads by Vibronic Music System
Posted by RetroSynthAds at 7:20 PM
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Roland JD-800 "What does 'programmable' really mean?" six page brochure from June 1991.
If you recall my previous blog post, you will know this brochure was not the first for the JD-800. More than a few months before, Roland had released a black and white teaser to get the buzz started on this beautiful beast. But I think we can all agree that the JD-800 deserved so much more.
And Roland knew that too, coming out with this full colour six pager. Actually, two of the six are only about 5/6 of the width of the other four, but details, shmeetails. It was a Roland "thing" to have that one fold slightly smaller than the rest, as you will see in future blog posts of other Roland brochures.
The problem with scanning brochures larger than four pages is that Google puts size restrictions on images (not KB size, but pixel size). So, if you scan them altogether and try and upload, Google will automatically size them down. Because of this 'feature' of Google, I've included every page above as separate images, even though the photo of the JD-800 on the inside of the brochure spans two pages. But, I've included merged versions below (they just NOT as high in resolution).
The front cover of this brochure is gorgeous and really shows off those front panel controls. But that inside two-page spread of the front panel is what really does it for me. It gives the reader a good sense of the actual size of this beast. And it is a beast. Just compare the front panel depth to the size of the keyboard itself.
The content of the brochure expands on what we had already learned from the teaser brochure. We even get a list of waveforms and the internal patches.
Gonna keep this one short. I'm thinking of taking the month of August off from blogging and this JD-800 brochure is a nice way to jump ship for a while and take a bit of a holiday for myself to recharge the batteries and figure out where to take Retro Synth Ads next.
Maybe a musical based on the blog? I kid... I kid...
See you in a month, or sooner if I can't stay away. :)
Monday, July 29, 2013
Let me start this blog post by saying I'm extremely biased. How biased? I'm gonna lay it out on the table - I like my Roland JD-800 more than my Juno-106. I find it more fun to play. More fun to program. There. I said it.
Everything you read about this synthesizer is true. It's big. It's heavy. It's gorgeous. And it sounds absolutely fabulous. When you sit down in front of the JD-800, you are drawn to those sliders and you can't help but start to experiment with it's sound. I liked mine so much that I spent a good part of the next two or three years searching high and low for the JD-990. And when I finally found one used in my local music store, I was lucky enough to have found one with the vintage expansion, FTW!
This was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, JD-800 brochure. It was actually more of a sell sheet, put out at the end of 1990 to announce the beast. The actual brochure would be printed later in 1991 (next post!). It actually contains a fair bit of info. Definitely worth the read.
The best thing about the JD-800, and this sell sheet in particular, is how Roland was selling knobs and sliders again. "A radical departure from conventional digital synths". It's fun to see Roland, one of the major companies responsible for the removal of all those knobs and sliders from the front panels of synths in the first place, was now pooping all over those synths. Including their own JX, Alpha and D series synths. But, Roland does deserve some credit, because even during those awful years of trying to program a Alpha Juno 2 or JX8P through a small LCD and a few buttons, at least Roland usually built a programmer module to go along with most of their hard-to-program synths. So, they didn't so much get rid of the sliders, more that they just put the sliders and knobs in a separate box and make you pay extra for the privaledge. A great marketing strategy for sure.
But launching a synthesizer with all those sliders and knobs added back into it was an even better marketing strategy. And helped keep Roland front of mind during a period in synthesizer history that had also recently seen the launch of competitors products such as Korg's innovative Wavestation, Waldorf's angry-sounding analog Microwave, and Yamaha's kick-ass sample+FM synthesis SY-77 monster.
I'll take a look through old Keyboard mags to see if this thing showed up at NAMM before being released, but as far as I can remember, this thing came out of nowhere, ready to satisfy all of those frustrated Roland synthesizer programmers that had been sulking ever since the company dropped their last easily programmable synth from their roster back in the mid-80s - the Jupiter-6 I think?!?!. So, when the JD-800 showed up in magazine ads and in music stores, everyone looked at it in awe and shock. We all drooled over the thing.
I was jealous as heck when a friend picked up one of the few that ever made it into my city.
But I was all smiles when he finally sold it to me more than 15 years later. Have had it ever since. :)
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Boss HC-2 Hand Clapper / PC-2 Percussion Synthesizer "A sound innovator" two-page colour brochure from February 1984.
If there is one thing I do a lot of, it's clap. I clap when drinks come to the table. I clap when my dog does a funny trick. I clap pretty much anytime I want to. And its usually accompanied with me bobbing up and down in a chair. If that HC-2 Clapper had its own speaker, I'd definitely be using it to clap with.
I've never owned either of these. But have *always* been infatuated with them. They just look so adorable - especially in that front cover photo sitting on that particularly 80s background. And the orange on the always-adorable Boss knobs really pop.
That front cover photo is really the only thing remotely "design-y" about this brochure. The back cover is just your standard specs layout found on many of the Roland/Boss brochures from the time period. But that spec section does contain some good reference info, so I'm not gonna complain. Plus, like many of these brochures, we not only get the year it was printed, but also the month. I will never complain about that.
This brochure is part of Boss's "A sound innovator" series that included the DR-110 brochure I blogged about last Monday. But this time Boss has kept the brochure to two pages - there just isn't enough info to justify another two pages of content. But that's the point - they are simple enough to use. No need for bulky instructions. :)
You can find quite a bit of information on line on both units. Vintage Synth Explorer has pages for both the Hand Clapper and the Percussion Synthesizer, where you will find a ratings of three and four stars respectively for each piece of gear from the site itself, and three and (a disappointingly) 2.36 stars from users. Both pages provide some great information - like the little nugget that the HC-2 was a particularly useful addition to the hand-clapperless DR-55 and TR-606 drum machines.
One thing I first noticed on this brochure, and then went back to the DR-110 brochure and found it there too, is how Boss is referenced in relation to Roland. You will find it on the back of both sheets under the logo:
Sounds like someone pointing out an animal pack in the woods. Like a group of moose.
Anyways, I found a great little video on YouTube from someone that was selling both units in an auction. Provides a nice little demo to end the post with. So here it is... the end.