Monday, February 18, 2013

Steiner Microcon vertical ad #2, Synapse 1978

Steiner Synthesizers Microcon vertical black and white half-page advertisement from the left side of page 52 in the January/February 1978 issue of Synapse Magazine.

Someone was obviously paying attention.

What an improvement over the last version of this vertical advertisement that appeared in the previous issue of Synapse.

In that previous ad, you will recall that the dark text was appearing over the top of the dark photo of the Microcon being held by the hairy Wookie. Even the name of the instrument couldn't be read.

Look over there and click ----->

But all that changed and this might be Steiner-Parker's best ad yet. Correction - Steiner's best ad yet. That's right, Parker has packed up.

Finally, with this advertisement and it's tall, vertical format, readers could get up close and personal with the Microcon. Most, if not all of the labels on all those switches and knobs are readable.

The ad-copy is also nicely laid out, with the ad-title "Steiner Synthesizers" big and bold. So is the name of the instrument, nestled gently next to the wrist in the photo. And what used to be just big blocks of ad text has been separated into three paragraphs. Much more legible.

A branding expert may have wanted them to retake the photo (assuming that newer versions of the Microcon would only have the "Steiner" name on them - and not the Steiner-Parker logo like in the photo. But I'm not gonna get picky.

Although Steiner-Parker had chose not to advertise the Microcon or any other SP instrument in Contemporary Keyboard since the end of 1976, just the other day I did notice that it did pop up in the Spec Sheet section of the July 1977 issue.
"Steiner-Parker Synthesizer. The Microcon features a VCO, and LFO, a VCF, and an AD envelope generator. It is designed to complement other synthesizer by adding an extra voice to them. The unit is about the size of a small pocket calculator in width and height, but is about four times deeper. A power supply is built in. Price is $300.00. Steiner-Parker, 2258 S. 2700 W., Salt Lake City, UT 84119."
 Two interesting things about this Spec Sheet.

First - the same summer, a similar promo appeared in the What's Happening section of Synapse, and, as I posted in my last blog post, Synapse also included the promo for the Minicon, another one of their synthesizers. But it didn't get mentioned at all in this Spec Sheet promo.

Second - when was the last time you saw something compared to a pocket calculator? And apparently a "small" pocket calculator. How awesome is that!?!? I guess in today's world, the equivalent would be a comparison to the Apple iPad Mini or Google Nexus 7 (I love my Nexus 7   :)

But unless you were an avid reader of Synapse magazine, I doubt many people interested in Steiner's Microcon ever actually saw one. Luckily today, we have Google, and in particular MATRIXSYNTH  :)

There are some good photos to be found in this July 2008 auction post, this August 2011 auction post, and this follow-up auction from October 2012. Most of the details are taken from the Microcon ads of the day.

One other really cool resource I found online was through the forums, where one smarty-pants engineer, David M. Ingebretsen, has created new PCBs for the Microcon. The project seems to have started back in 2011 with the PCBs shipping at the end of 2012. A cool  read for anyone interested in that sort of thing. 

And that thread led me to his own Web site, where he has resurrected a Steiner Synthasystem modular - and it looks fantastic.  He has tons of other projects too - you can read his blog here.  

I've only started to explore these pages... there goes the rest of my Sunday afternoon! 


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