Monday, January 18, 2010
Moog Sonic Six brochure from 1974.
This week is going to be crazy at work, so I decided to take a look around to see what I could scan in quickly and maybe hold back on the blogging a bit. Let's see how *that* goes... :o)
I've seen the cover of this Sonic Six brochure around the 'net a bit but not the rest of the pages. The centerfold text and image, along with the back page, provide some great reference material.
I've never seen or heard this synthesizer. But I love it and everything it stands for - Education.
The Sonic Six was marketed as a educational tool for the classroom. Sure, the brochure mentions using it in 'live performances', but even the photo looks like my high school band room at lunch hour (minus the Sonic Six).
Turn the page and read the centerfold text, and you can see that this brochure is aimed squarely at music educators, where 'students can concentrate on musical expression ... as they explore and express their musical ideas' and 'grasp the basic concepts of music'. The Sonic Six can help you, the educator, 'illustrate important musical material'.
On the back page, Moog explains that they have 'specifically designed a program of lessons for small groups which you can take at your music store' called 'Meet Moog'. The lessons include an instruction booklet with eight exercises to help you learn the basics of the synthesis on the Sonic Six. Nice.
One of Moog's main competitors in the educational sector, even before the Sonic Six, was surely EML. In Mark Vail's Vintage Synthesizers book, one of the founders of EML, Norman Milliard, talks about how EML really got a kick start thanks to Moog. Norman was setting up his booth at a music educator's convention where Bob Moog was supposed to be the featured speaker. But Bob's plane was snowed in and convention organizers asked Norman to speak to the 2000+ crowd. The result - a lot of business. The competition is also clearly seen in the design of the ElectroComp 101 - it bears more than a slight resemblance to the Sonic Six with its clearly separated synthesis sections and portable form factor.
Okay, one final note - a confession of sorts. I have an extreme fetish for portable synthesizers. If you are gonna shove the guts of a synthesizer into a suitcase, then count me in. The EML 101. The EMS Synthia A or AKS. The Sonic Six. I love all of them. I even like looking at the P (Portable) series of Moog Modulars rather than the C series.
I'm glad I got that out in the open.