Thursday, September 1, 2011

Electro Dynamics Corporation DM-1000 Super Drum Machine, Keyboard 1983

Electro Dynamics Corporation DM-1000 Super Drum Machine 1-page advertisement from page 17 in Keyboard Magazine November 1983.

After my last long rambling blog post comparing the Sound Master SR-88, Boss DR-55, Electro Dynamics Corporation SR-99 and Amdek RMK-100, I became a little obsessed with one of the companies in particular - Electro Dynamics Corporation (EDC). Which, BTW, is a great name for a band.

I decided I needed to do a quick scan through old issues of Keyboard to see if EDC had pushed the SR-99 or any other gear. Nothing on the SR-99 came up, but this ad definitely caught my attention.

And just wow. Oh wow. Where do I begin...

To start with, I have a bit of an infatuation with any piece of gear that has the word "super" slapped on it - as can be seen in the photo of the DM-1000. Ironically, about half the time you will find the word "super" printed in BIG letters on rather small items to try and make up for some type of perceived deficiency. Kinda like those four-foot-three guys that get into body-building in a big way. Some of my friends may put products like Korg's DDM Super Drums and Super Percussion into this category (but they would most definitely be wrong. :)

The other half of the time, the word "super" is found on crazy-stupid fun products from glue to water pistols on steroids.

But the problem is that since about the mid-80s, enough companies had deployed the strategy of including the word "super" on bad products that seeing a "super" product in a store immediately fires off the "DON'T BUY" neurons in my brain. I am instantly skeptical. That is, unless, you are talking about kid products - Super Soaker, Super Ball, Super Mario, Super Friends, Super Scrabble...). Quite the opposite then.

Unfortunately, the heretofore unknown Japan-based Electro Dynamics Corporation seems to have taken on this strategy. But I think that was only the first of many problems EDC probably encountered as a company.

The second problem had to do with timing. As far as I can tell, this ad only appeared once in the November 1983 issue of Keyboard, and that is nowhere near long enough to accomplish this ad's dual purposes. The first purpose being to introduce readers to this new drum machine, and the second to entice exclusive agents in other countries to distribute EDC products. I hope this wasn't their only communications channel with potential buyers and agents.

Finally, the third problem deals with translation. Apparently Japan-based EDC thought it unnecessary to hire a professional translator/copy-writer.

We've all seen badly translated synth and drum machine manuals. And I bet you there are just as many people in non-English-speaking countries scratching their heads at manuals that have been butchered by US, UK and other English-speaking companies during translation. Worse probably.

But manuals are post-purchase. We've already bought the instrument. No big whoop.

Compare that with pre-purchase promotion and advertising, and my opinion changes entirely. Although translation services can be expensive (my company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in translation costs each year), you just have to convince your boss that proper translation is important. Remember when we all learned that you can't let your boss hire his 17 year old nephew who has a pirated copy of Photoshop do your advertising layout? Apply the same rule to translation.

An ad title of "You Can Find High Technology In This Machine" is just a little uncomfortably confusing to a reader. But then to follow it up with "The Ultimately Functioned Drum Machine DM-1000" kills off any confidence in the company that a reader may have remaining after seeing the word "super" on the photo. The rest of the ad-copy is equally frightening.

Those problems aside, I'm still drawn to the DM-1000. I *need* to find one. I think it is the combo of the knobs, pads and outputs. Yup. Definitely the knobs, pads and outputs. And what look like buttons.

When I first came across this company while researching Sound Masters SR-88, I found it exciting because I had never heard of Electro Dynamics Corporation. And the logo was even kinda cool in a simplistic sort of way. I thought Google would clear everything up, but there is surprising little about the company and nothing about this machine online.

As mentioned in my last blog post, there was a recent E-bay listing for Sound Master SR-88 Memory Rhythm and EDC SR-99 Programmable Rhythm - and the SR-99 included the EDC logo!

I had suggested that there was definitely a connection between Sound Master and EDC, but the fact that both companies had been independently advertising in Keyboard in late 1983 made it unlikely that one company had changed its name to another.

In reply to my last blog post, Twitter follower @ahmedje1 (Joe Ahmed) tweeted his agreement that the two companies were probably connected:
"@RetroSynthAds I own 4 of those drum machines.The 88 & 99 sound pretty similar & I suspect from the same company.The Amdek came after."
Excellent! At least I know its not just me making things up in my brain.

I'll keep researching - and in fact, just a received an email with some great info. Keep it coming, and stay tuned!

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