Monday, June 25, 2012

Yamaha DX "Special Announcement to Purchasers..." ad, Keyboard 1983

Yamaha DX "Special Announcement to Purchasers of Yamaha DX Digital Synthesizers" DX7 and DX9 full page advertisement from page 53 in the February 1984 issue of Keyboard Magazine.

I'm enjoying a bit of time out at my parent's farm this weekend. And that means more chainsawing.

A good session with a chainsaw is almost as satisfying as a session with my Moog modular. Both can be temperamental. Both produce awesome results in the right hands. In my hands... er... let's just say that I go for quantity, not necessarily quality. If it were at all possible, the modular and all my other hardware would travel with me - there is a lot of downtime when relaxing out here. The perfect atmosphere for creating music. But this time I didn't even bring my Ubuntu netbook with Renoise. I've actually been reading a book. You know, one of those thing made out of paper. Wow.

Anyways, enough blabbing.

Hmmm - this special announcement pretty important information for Yamaha to suddenly their ongoing advertising campaign for their newest and hottest DX7 and DX9 synthesizers. But, as soon as I see those little "advertisement" tags in the top corners of this full page ad, I start to get suspicious.

It makes me curious as to what the real motivation was for this thing.

Could the demand have been that great for the DXs that a grey market through unauthorized dealers really could be putting that big a dent in the profits of authorized dealers?

Or was it just a US dollar thing such that it was relatively cheap to import products, including synthesizers, during this time period?

Or was it just a hidden advertising opportunity to let users know of the "valuable accessory package" available, including "volume pedal, sustain pedal, owner's manual, music stand, demo cassette tape, instruction cassette tape, ROM and RAM cartridges, instruction and follow-up material, subsequent manuals, information on software... etc... etc... You get the picture.

But, as you keep on reading, you realize that this isn't just a special announcement to purchasers of the DXs, but a warning shot at unauthorized retailers as well:
"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission requires all such equipment to be certified. Any retailer of uncertified equipment is subject to severe penalties. And any purchaser may be subject to forfeiture of the equipment." 
No matter what the reason, the ad only seems to have ran once. Not really a lot of effort if Yamaha was actually serious about the whole thing.

Unless this really was a necessary communication, I think this space could have been much better used as an educational opportunity for Yamaha to start the process of explaining FM synthesis. Up till now, DX ads and an early reviews have been very high-level when it came FM - focusing mostly on the pieces (operators, envelopes) and not necessarily how they combine together to create such pleasant sound.

Oh - ads, reviews, and this Spec Sheet promo that finally appeared in the November 1983 issue of Keyboard Magazine. Some good reference info, but I still think readers wanted more in-depth knowledge.
"Yamaha Synthesizers.  The Dx7 and DX9 are two completely programmable 16-voice FM digital synthesizers from Yamaha. Both instruments feature 61-note keyboards, programmable modulation wheels, breath controller inputs, and foot controller inputs for volume, sustain, and portamento functions.  The DX7 also has a modulation pedal input. The DX7 features 32 user programmable presents, an EEPROM (electronically erasable programmable read-only memory), and six operators – combinations of digital oscillators, envelope generators, and VCAs. Its keyboard is both velocity- and pressure-sensitive. The DX9 features include 20 user-programmable presets, a cassette interface for external memory expansion, and four operators. Prices are: DX7,  $1,995.00; DX9, $1,395.00. Yamaha. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622."
Hmmm - actually I should take a closer look at some of the magazine articles around this time. It could be that Bob Moog or someone else at Keyboard Magazine has been writing about FM synthesis in more detail all this time I've been complaining about lack of education.

And there's another thing I sometimes wish I had out at the farm. All my magazines. But since I don't... where's that chainsaw...?   :D

End note: It really cracks me up that the DX7 comes out of Yamaha's "Combo Division". Really?

No comments:

Post a Comment