Monday, February 1, 2010

Octave Electronics CAT SRM reference sheet, 1978

Octave Electronics CAT SRM fact sheet from around 1978.

This fact sheet isn't in the best condition, but I had to post it for a few reasons.

First, this fact sheet contains A LOT of great reference information - all in one document!

Second, a while back I did a blog post on the Cat and Synth meme that has existed on the Web for quite some time. Well, this definitely has to be one of the earlier photos of a cat posing with a synthesizer. :o)

The third reason I posted this fact sheet is because it contains no date on it, and I'm having a hard time putting a time-stamp on it.

But I think I have narrowed it down a bit. Here's my logic in giving it a 1978 date...

This fact sheet references Octave as a division of Syn-Cordian. Octave also included this line of text in the CAT SRM ad that ran from December 1977 - March 1978. The next CAT SRM ad doesn't show up until August 1979 and that later ad references Octave as a Division of Plateau Electronics. So, it would make sense that this fact sheet was probably created sometime between December 1977 and August 1979.

Also, usually fact sheets will take on a bit of the personality of the rest of the marketing material. This fact sheet definitely doesn't have the look of any of the advertising done by Octave before March 1978. No synth hero or illustrated stylized cat synthesizers here - just a good solid close-up of a CAT SRM (WITH A REAL CAT!). Sure, a fact sheet SHOULD have a close-up the actual synthesizer, but if it was part of any earlier advertising, I would have expected some graphic elements to cross over. So, I can probably narrow down the publication date to sometime between March 1978 and August 1979.

The opening text in the fact sheet also gives us a clue - the first sentence suggests that the synthesizer is relatively new:
"The CAT SRM - the newest addition to the CAT SYNTHESIZER FAMILY from OCTAVE."
If this fact sheet had come out later in the CAT SRM's life cycle, it probably wouldn't have introduced it as the 'newest addition' to the family. So, I'm thinking we have a fact sheet that was created some time earlier in the CAT SRM's life. Probably early- to mid-1978.

One thing is kinda throwing me for a loop though. This fact sheet is part of the Home Demo Kit that appears in the CAT SRM and Kitten ad that ran from August 1979 until February 1980 (you can see it peaking out from behind the record in the bottom left image in the ad). That ad references Octave as a division of Plateau Electronics - so either this fact sheet was re-printed later on with new affiliation information, or they must have had a lot of old stock on hand.

End note: This fact sheet also throws out another term near and dear to my heart - the term 'Human Engineered' in the second sentence of the fact sheet. Octave's major rivals ARP and Moog were using similar buzzwords in advertisements and promotions around this time period. I've blogged about ARP using 'Human Engineering' in a number of ads and newsletters including these ones from 1974 and 1976. Moog used a similar term - 'Musical Engineering', including in this ad from 1977. It would make sense that competitors of ARP and Moog would also try and pepper some of their promotional pieces with similar buzzwords - and it looks like Octave definitely did.

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