Monday, January 24, 2011

Sequential Circuits Inc. Prophet-10 "Sequential Circuits Presents The Ultimate Keyboard" ad, Contemporary Keyboard 1980

Sequential Circuits Inc. Prophet-10 "Sequential Circuits Presents The Ultimate Keyboard" advertisement from page 31 in Contemporary Keyboard Magazine, September 1980.

Number three!

That's right. This is the third Sequential Circuits advertisement to feature the artwork of John Mattos, and SCI had to know they were on a role. You could probably hear the high-fives making their way around the SCI offices when this ad first appeared in the February 1980 issue of Contemporary Keyboard, following closely on the heals of the ever-so-popular Prophet-5 "Beware of False Prophets" ad that first appeared in November '79, and the "Legend In Its Own Time" ad in January '80.

This ad has a lot in common with the "Beware of False Prophets ad". For example, this Prophet-10 Mattos ad wasn't the first ad for the Prophet-10 - but definitely a step up. And this ad was also modified slightly during its ad-run.

In the case of the "Beware of False Prophets" ad, an addendum paragraph was added at the end of the ad-copy when the version 3 Prophet-5 was released. In this Prophet-10 ad, the text "NOW SHOWING! See Your Local Dealer!" was added much later in the roughly nine-month ad-run.

So, could the "now showing" text addition possibly correlate to any changes in the Prophet-10? You betcha. Kinda. Well maybe...

Looking back, as far as I can tell the last time the Prophet-10 was featured in a CK ad was way back in 1978 when the first Prophet ad appeared. Back then, the 'version 1' Prophet-10 was just a single keyboard instrument. Then, according to's Prophet-10 page, the double-manual keyboard version of the Prophet-10 was "once again attempted in 1979". That same synthmuseum page tells us that the 'version 3' Prophet-10 was released in 1980.

But, those dates don't exactly line up with this advertisement appearances between February and September 1980. So, I have three theories:

1. This ad started showing up at the beginning of 1980 as a delayed response to the introduction of the version 2 Prophet-10, and then the "now showing" text was added when version 3 came out.

2. This ad started showing up a a teaser for the version 3 Prophet-10, and "now showing" was added to the ad when the new version started showing up at local dealers.

3. There is no correlation. Which I doubt considering SCI's previous strategic marketing efforts.

I also checked's Prophet-10 page, and although it didn't contain any useful version release information, it still had some good general reference material. I also got a chuckle out of one of the Prophet-10 comments left at the bottom of the page in March 2010. Commentor "Mezzo" writes:

"Sick, sick, sick. No one else had the balls to take their flagship synth (p5) and graft two together to make such a beast (imagine a Jupiter 16). One of the most over the top and wonderful analog instruments ever."

Well, maybe the Oberheim Eight-Voice. That was ballsy too - but not technically two Four-Voices grafted together. So, Mezzo is probably right.

End note: This ad also has something else in common with the previous ads that included Mattos' artwork - and it is probably one of my favorite features of this ad. Humor. Look closely in the bottom right hand corner and you will see a poodle doing it's "business" on tux-guy's leg.


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