Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 U.K. ad, 1978

Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 1/2-page advertisement from page 155 in International Musician and Recording World July (UK)/August (USA)1978.

Oh Rod! How much does your store love US synth companies! First "OBERHEIM month" - twice. And now July is the "MONTH FOR THE COMING OF THE PROPHET".

And, not sure if the Prophet just didn't show up in July or not - but the ad appeared again in September declaring that it was the month that Prophet would show up.

Either way - like I said in my last Rod Argent ad post on the Oberheim synths - good on ya for giving companies like Sequential Circuits and Oberheim some good advertising real estate in IMRW.

The ad template is very similar to the Oberheim advertisement, and in fact this template appeared quite frequently to promote the store in IMRW. For example, the same 1/2-page advertisement template appeared in the May issue of IM declaring May as R.M.I. month - "starring for the first time in the U.K. the RMI KEYBOARD COMPUTER - solely available from us". Great historical info!

Side note: It seems Rod Argent was the exclusive distributor for a few synths in their time. As as I flipping through the Nov (UK)/Dec (USA) issue doing research, I noticed that the "Stand by for the Wasp invasion" ad mentions that Rod Argent's was the exclusive distributor in the UK. 

Similar 1/2- page Rod Argent ads in other months wouldn't focus on a particular piece of gear, but instead be very general in nature. The ad in the March 1978 issue of IM was just that - listing off a string of synths, electric pianos, organs and string machines by Moog, Yamaha, ARP, Korg, Yamaha as well as a few lesser known companies such as the Jeremy Lord SkyWave! Yum!

This ad is also cool because it really helps pin down when exactly the Prophet made it on to UK soil. Promotion of the Prophet started in Contemporary Keyboard back in February 1978. And this ad states that this synth is "solely available from Rod Argents Keyboards" in the UK. This seems to indicate to me that there was only a four or five month delay (tops!) before Dave Smith got that instrument across the pond. Not too shabby for 1978.

And something I didn't mention in my previous blog post -  you will find a small blurb at the bottom of this ad that states that Rod Argent carried Contemporary Keyboard magazines! Including back issues. Nice!

Just like I mentioned in my previous Rod Argent advertisement, it seems that its not only me and Rod that are digging the Prophet-5 either. But this time, its not IMRW reviewer Dave Simmons that is reviewing the synth. It is none other than Robin Lumley from Brand X.

In the review, Lumley doesn't hide his excitement over the Prophet too well. Okay - not at all.

For example, at one point he describes the Prophet as a "super-Minimoog" that "behaves like and has the inherent richness of sound of the Moog". He even includes this note:
"Note the constant reference back to the famed little instrument from Norlin: this is because constant comparison to the Mini should be useful to you as a tern of reference, and also because for any instrument to be compared favourably to a Mini is a compliment to its ergonomics, its sound, and its satisfaction in operation."
Even when he mentions that quick removal of the Prophet-10 from the market due to the power-supply temperature issue, he is quick to point out the good in the situation:
"Obviously, Sequential Circuits is going to lose a lot of prospective customers by withdrawing this version, but it's to their credit that they've not prepared to see anything that is slightly below their high standards."
Near the end of the article, he mentions that his only two quibbles (I love UK-speak!) are the fact that it is only five-voice polyphonic, and the lack of triangle wave on oscillator 1.

Interestingly, his conclusion is upbeat, and, even better, also gives us a little bit more history on the Prophet's entry into the UK. After pointing out the number of Prophets bought up by musicians such as Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz, Bob Styles, and others, he writes:
"Only the fairly slow arrival of the product into the UK is stopping a boom from occurring. If you are into synths, you must try the Prophet, and if you're not, try one anyways and you'll be converted for sure."
Can't beat that kind of historical info.

End note: One other thing I always find interesting about UK ads is the different credit cards that seemed to be available.

Diners Club?

To buy a synth?  :)


Warbirdskies said...

Mentioned my brother in law in the SQInc logo post - he worked for Rod Argent in London prior to working for SQ.

Warbirdskies said...

"SQ"? Sorry, mean SC!!

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