Thursday, August 9, 2012

Roland MSQ-100 MIDI Digital Keyboard Recorder brochure, 1984

Roland MSQ-100 MIDI Digital Keyboard Recorder 4-page colour brochure from 1984.

Do you think the Roland MSQ-100 had a bit of an inferiority complex? It's  bigger brother the MSQ-700 was probably getting a lot more attention at the time, with its larger foot print and sleek white design. And the MSQ-700 also had that DCB port - immediately putting it on the same level as Roland's slowly aging, but still awesomely spectacular top of the line Jupiter 8.

But as far as I can tell through Google searches, the diminutive MSQ-100 is still as sought after today as it's bigger brother for its MIDI -> DIN SYNC abilities, apparently allowing it to sync your TB303/606/808 with the rest of your MIDI gear. I couldn't tell you. I've never had one.

But I can tell you for sure that this brochure rocks my socks. That front cover is enough of a reason to dig this thing. I'm not sure who actually piles up their Jupiter 6, JX-3P and Juno-106 like that, but I guess Roland needed to fit them all into the photo. It's almost like that 106 is photo-bombing the rest of them.

The inside of the brochure has some great reference information as well, but oddly, Roland chose to use green text on a purple background for the promotional part of the blurb. I can understand if you missed it at first when you glanced at the scan, but its the in the middle of the two-pager. Luckily the rest of the text is black and a lot more readable.

This brochure shares a few other features also found on the MSQ-700 brochure. First, that back page is being used for the promotion of a few other pieces of Roland gear. In this case, the same synths that are doing the front cover pile-on. We get some good juicy photos with some decent specs. 

The other thing this brochure has in common with the MSQ-700 brochure is the fact it includes the print date on the back. In my blog post for the MSQ-700, I mentioned how this helped show that Roland was still using their awesome tag line "We design the future" all the way into March 1984. And now, with this brochure, we see it used as late as June 1984!

I know that three months doesn't sound like much, but when you are talking about anything remotely related to the fast pace of MIDI development, three months can seem like a life time.

For example, the April 1984 issue of Keyboard included an article on the January 1984 NAMM show, and as Dominic Milano states, you could almost hear the chant "MIDI MIDI MIDI". It was apparently a gong show. And, according to Dominic, "Roland was at the head of the pack by a fair distance with MIDI-equipped everythings".

The list of products Roland showed was extensive, and most included MIDI. These including the MKB-1000 MIDI keyboard-controller, JX-3P, JP-6, MKS-10 piano module, MKS-30 synth rack, MSQ-700 sequencer, JSQ-60 DCB interface, MD-8 MIDI-DCB converter, MM-4 MIDI through box, GR-707 MIDI guitar synth, TR-909 drum machine, MPU-401 MIDI processing unit, and last but not least, Juno-106.

But did you catch it? Yup. No mention of the MSQ-100. And yet the brochure print date was June 1984. That's only five months later, yet it wasn't shown at NAMM.  Even if just a prototype was available, you think they would have brought it out to the trade show. So that makes me think that Roland (along with MIDI in general) may have been on a really fast development pace with the MSQ-100.

Hope all that logic made sense.

Anyways, it doesn't look like the MSQ-100 got much attention in ads or promos either. That is, until it finally appeared in a Keyboard Report of its own IN JULY 1985!!! Yup. More than a year after its apparent launch. Luckily, Dominic wields the pen well in the full page review, which of course includes basic features and operating procedures, as well as my fav, its list price- $625.00. Yum.

That long delay before its Keyboard Report really only shows just how popular this little piece of hardware must have been. If it was over a year later that Keyboard decided to run a report on the 100, it must have still been on sale and in use.

Hmmm... Maybe I should pick one up.

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