Thursday, February 14, 2013

Steiner-Parker Microcon vertical ad, Synapse 1977

Steiner-Parker Microcon synthesizer vertical black and white half-page advertisement from the right side of page 45 in the November/December 1977 issue of Synapse Magazine.

WTF is this?!?!

I don't know where to begin. But, in a nutshell - this ad has been given a really good beating by the ugly stick.

If you recall from my last blog post, it was only six months previous that S-P came out with this rather lovely, mature advertisement for the Microcon. Fairly good layout, lots of white space, large photo, good font sizes.

Obviously a lot can go wrong in six months.

Believe it or not, this advertisement contains the *exact* same ad-copy as that previous Microcon ad. But you wouldn't know it, because you can't read most of it. In fact, you can't even tell what product this ad is for. You can't read that either.

This is not human error on the part of the scanner (me....  :)     This is human error on the part of whoever gave the job of designing the ad to their twelve year old nephew. Could you imagine the damage that kid would have done had Photoshop been around. Two words - lens flares.

And maybe it's because I'm follically challenged, but that arm hair is creeping me out a little too.

The good news: Steiner-Parker decided to continue to use the waveform imagery in their logo. It's squished in there beside the name a little, but I'm gonna take whatever goodness I can squeeze out of this advertisement.

Luckily regular readers of Synapse would probably have heard pretty much everything there is to know about the Microcon by now either through that previous advertisement in the July/August 1977 issue. Or even an issue earlier when a small promo for the Microcon and Minicon appeared in the May/June 1977 issue of Synapse in the "What's Happening" section:
"Utah's claim to electronic fame, Steiner-Parker, has released two new synthesizers. The Minicon (designed to compete wih the ARP Axxe and the Minimoog) features a traditional compliment of modules and the ability to split one sawtooth oscillator to make it sound as two. It retails for $995. The Microcon is the size of a normal module but features the functions necessary to add another voice to an existing performance synthesizer. The Microcon retails for $300."
$300 bucks! Impressive. That price would have definitely put it on my radar for purchase.

But even more interesting is the mention of another Steiner-Parker synthesizer - the Minicon!

I can't recall coming across an ad for the Minicon in the usual magazines, but a quick Google search brings up the Minicon page on Vintage Synth Explorer. For $995 you got a VCO, VCF, VCA, EG, LFO, noise generator, portamento and S&H. Not too shabby. But apparently very rare. also has a Minicon page with some good info, as well as a scan of what looks to be a sell sheet for the Minicon with a lot more info.

Couldn't find a video though. I'll keep looking. 

Luckily, even Steiner-Parker knew something had gone terribly wrong with this Microcon advertisement, and either the company, or Synapse, decided to fix it the next time it ran.

I'll get to that, and more info on the Microcon, in my next blog post.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone... ***grumble grumble*** 


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