Thursday, May 12, 2011

Korg Trident, Contemporary Keyboard 1981

Korg Trident polyphonic synthesizer from back inside cover of Contemporary Keyboard 1981 July 1981.

Update: I've added this Trident ad to Korg's interactive advertisement timeline tool.

Update 2: Looks like Blogger is back up. But this post was unfortunately one of the .16% of Web pages affected - and this post disappeared. Normally, I write my posts right into Blogger, so if a post disappears, I would think I would have to start from scratch. But, thanks to Google's cache, I managed to pull this post out of the sky and get it back up. Time to come up with a better back-up plan.


I love my Trident.

But when I moved my studio into a smaller space, I had to make a few decisions. Not all the gear was going to fit, and so I had to come up with a plan.

It was a relatively simple one:

1. Find rack versions of as many of my synthesizers as possible.
2. Build an over-flow room.

Some rack versions were easier to track down than others. Replacement gear like an MKS-50, Wavestation AD, and TX802, almost fell into my lap as soon as I started looking. And surprisingly, when selling their keyboard counterparts, I found that most people were willing to pay extra for a good helping of black and white keys! :D

Others have been more difficult. For example, It took a couple of years to come across a Yamaha TG-77 to replace it's tank-like brother. And the TG's backlight display was even worse than the SY's. But that's a small price to pay to free up that much space.

Problem is, you rarely have the rack option with older gear. And that is exactly the case with the Korg Trident. That thing is large. And heavy. And large. And did I mention heavy? I figured it wasn't going to fit so nice on my slatwall arms.

And so it sits.


Well, it does have a bit of company - two dead keyboards, waiting to be used for parts if ever the need arises.

So, when I saw this rather rare Trident ad (it only seems to have shown up in CK twice in 1981), I decided to bring it upstairs and plug it in. It sounded as beautiful as I remember. I really really missed this keyboard. And it looks like comments on the Trident page at back me up on this statement.

While looking around the Web, I found this good demo of the Trident by Calvin Cardioid (through Synthtopia ). Listen for yourself...

This is the Korg Trident Mark 1 from Calvin Cardioid on Vimeo.

The ad itself is not so shabby either. The synthesizer does have a lot to offer, so a lot of ad-copy is expected, especially since this is the introduction of a whole new instrument. One that is going up against some heavy competition.

But, I think Korg had a bit of bad luck in terms of their choice of imagery and timing.

I say this because in the recent past, Korg had really been on a string-ensemble-like kick with the Korg Lambda and Delta. But, to me, it seemed like the string-ensemble era was slowly coming to an end, being replaced by some of the heavy synth hitters coming to market. Many with marketing campaigns aimed more at synthesists rather than keyboard players - the Jupiter 8, Prophet-10, PPG Wave 2, Oberheim OB-Xa, etc.

But Korg's big image in this ad is all about strings, brass, harps, etc. Yes, these sounds were a big part of the instrument, but I can't help but feel Korg missed an opportunity to really play up the Trident's synthesis abilities in the imagery. But that's just me. Or maybe they did it on purpose to stand apart from the rest. Hard to say.

Before I end, if you recall, there was a second part to my studio re-design plan - build an overflow room.

Well... that's taking a little longer than expected (go figure). And so the Trident continues to sit.


Boo me. :(

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