Monday, September 14, 2009

Octave Electronics Inc CAT, Contemporary Keyboard 1977

Octave Electronics CAT synthesizer ad from page 7 in Contemporary Keyboard magazine February 1977.

This was apparently the first CAT ad created by Octave Electronics after the synthesizer was announced in the Spec Sheet section of Contemporary Keyboard in December 1976.

Most other synthesizer ads at the time drifted somewhere between text-heavy technical ads like this Moog ad and photo-heavy ads like this ARP ad. To introduce the world to the Cat, Octave Electronics kept the text-heavy technical aspect, but replaced the standard photo-op of the synthesizer with a cartoon image that took the reader out of the studio and, in this case, into the jungle. Octave continued to use this cartoon theme in a small string of ads (to be seen in future blog posts).

Its not to say Octave Electronics were the only company to enlist artists. Around the same time, ARP was promoting their sequencer with an artist drawn (and I think creepy looking) hand image, and three or four years later, Sequential Circuits became well-known for their use of cartoon images in the Ear-Force ads and the continued use of the wizard-like image in a variety of ads for different synthesizers.

You can find lots of basic information online about the CAT , including Vintage Synth Explorer and but Music Machines' spec sheet on the CAT written by Mike Dvorkin is by far one of the best resources I've found. Alas, there doesn't seem to be an Octave Electronics or CAT synthesizer page on Wikipedia.

But, if you are going to check out just one link from this blog post, check out Gordon Reid's interwoven history of the Octave Electronics CAT and the ARP Odyssey published in May 1999 for Sound on Sound magazine.

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