Thursday, October 7, 2010

Performance Music Systems Syntar Series I brochure, 1980

Performance Music Systems Syntar Series I four-page brochure from approximately 1980.

I was reading through my RSS feeds when I came across MATRIXSYNTH's October 4th post entitled "The Syntar Turns 32".


I wasn't going to pass up that click-through! Or miss this great opportunity to take a well-earned break from the Oberheim love/fixation I've been feelin' lately to upload something really special to me - this Syntar brochure.

That MATRIXSYNTH post is a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the history of the first "all enclosed keytar synthesizer". Heck, or if you are just interested in keytars in general. In particular, the post includes two great YouTube videos featuring an overview of the Syntar and showing it in action, and a link to Carbon111's most excellent Syntar page.

Read through Carbon111's Web page to get a good introduction to Syntar's creator George Mattson. You'll find some great historical information surrounding the history of the Syntar straight from George.

For me, one of the highlights of that Web page is the photo of the table top version of the Syntar called the S.W.A.N. (Syntar Without A Neck). And as icing on the cake, look for the S.W.A.N. logo on the instrument - drawn by George Mattson himself. Excellent!

I came across this brochure through an email exchange with George Mattson, who generously offered to send over a few brochures he had kept over the years. After finally convincing him to *at least* let me pay postage costs, the care package arrived. And it didn't disappoint.

Not only did George include this Syntar brochure, but some other brochures and tech sheets as well. I don't want to ruin any future surprises, but let's just say that at one point in time he was an independent factory rep for EML... :o)

In our email exchange, George also mentioned that he bought EML circuit boards to build the proof of concept Syntar.
"Ugly thing, stainless steel control panel and a 3.5 octave keyboard. It weighed 25 lbs. I painted the panel blue and used dry transfer lettering for the control legends and circuit board layout tape for the graphic lines.

I actually hired and paid EML to design the circuits for the Syntar. I didn't have time to do it. I was busy trying to figure out how to build the rest of it."
And many of those EML-designed Syntar circuits were revamped for his current line of "Phoenix Series" modules for his Mattson Mini Modular, with other circuits not found in the Syntar designed new by George.

But back to the brochure for a second, because this thing is seriously sweeeeeet.

The black and white beauty includes a great cover photo of a woman peering out of the door of her car at the night sky, with a Syntar beaming light down like an alien space craft. And the Star-Trek-like font used throughout the ad fits this theme perfectly. George mentioned that the brochure came out around 1980 when sci-fi movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind were burning up the screen - hence the theme. Also, the volkswagon in the photo belonged to the photographer!

Inside the brochure you will find a nice photo of the Syntar with some great creative brochure-copy, and on the flip side is my favorite - all the technical reference information along with two close-up photos - one of the front panel controls, and another of the Syntar's neck with all of the performance controller features. And there are a lot of them.

Finally, the back page includes more information on the Syntar's features and it's quality, as well as some of the additional accessories available.

I know I usually have more to say - but really, I think MATRIXSYNTH and Carbon111 have all the Syntar information you could shake a keytar at. So, if you haven't clicked on the links above, go check 'em out now. And there is also a good interview with George Mattson posted on

Also, make sure you check out George's current offering - the Mattson Mini Modular.

One word - Ichabod.

Happy 32 years, Syntar! :o)

No comments:

Post a Comment