Thursday, February 7, 2013

Strider Systems Inc. DCS II Signal Flow Chart and Dealer Price List, 1979

Strider Systems Inc. DCS II Signal Flow Chart and Dealer Price List, 1979

Here are two more Strider Systems Inc. docs to add to the company's recent appearances on the blog.

The first document is a two-sided DSC II  "Synthesizer Module Signal Flow Chart". The front is the actual flow chart along with some descriptive explanation of  the DCS II's functionality, and the back continues with more functionality information.

I really dig synthesizer signal flow charts. They are just so much easier for me to digest when trying to figure out exactly what goes on under the synthesizer's hood. Would you rather take a glance at the above flow chart, or read the made-for-a-drinking game DCS II Spec Sheet promo that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago? Okay, maybe a bad example for those that like shots. But you get what I mean.

The second document is a one-sided Dealer Price List from 5-1-1979. Either May 1, or January 5. I hate when dates are printed that way. Anyways, I always find dealer pricing fascinating - it's a glimpse into the world of my buddies who worked at music stores in the 80s. A time before the Internet messed with the whole retail pricing model. Stupid Internet.

These two docs came to me with a pile of other great brochures and reference sheets a while back, and I always wondered if they were originally distributed together or separately. But then, during my research, I came across this MATRIXSYNTH auction post from October 2012 that included this description from the auction:
"Rare 'STRIDER SYSTEMS INC.' digital polyphonic synthesizer 'DEALER PACKET' from 1979 NAMM show!!
strange synth from Norman, OK
brochure 4 pages / price list / dealer info / synth signal flow chart
in original 8.5 x 11" envelope!!"
So, it turns out that could very well have been part of a dealer packet from NAMM  that also included the 4-page brochure that I had already posted. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across the original envelope. That thing looks juicy good.

I asked James Christensen, then president and founder of Strider, if he recalled exhibiting at NAMM. He sent me a few things he remembered, and if there was one memory that would stick out in my mind too, it would be this one:
"Bob Moog came to our booth at a NAMM show at McCormick Place in
Chicago and was very encouraging. A real gentleman."

He also remembered an earlier NAMM show where they displayed the DCS-1.
"The first time we showed the DCS1 - solid oak case and all - was at a NAMM trade show in LA (lots of posters up on the telephone poles for this new group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Troubador). I spent a lot of the time in the motel room in West Hollywood fixing the connections that had come loose in the airplane's baggage hold while the other guys were out in the hospitality suites. I was mentioning this to one of the other exhibitors and he remarked knowingly, 'Prisoners of our own devices.'"
Tom Petty? Who's that. I kid, I kid. Speaking of musicians, I asked Jim if he had given any of his products away to musicians as promotional items.
"I believe that Tony Presti (Anthony Prestigiacomo), a musician from Baton Rouge who became our marketing department, had one - He was the only one who could play it and demo its features convincingly."
 Those are some good memories. With the resurgence of analog and older synthesizer companies (Moog, Dave Smith, etc), I asked Jim if he ever felt the pull back into synth building.
"One thing that the Strider experience taught me was that I am a whole lot better at software than hardware. Whenever I feel the urge to build something that produces music, I do some programming with JavaSound. The only thing missing there is the ability to create sounds from scratch via additive or subtractive synthesis by patching modules together. Massive collections of sampled sounds just aren't the same. I did spend the rest of my career writing standards and building software for interconnecting software modules diagrammatically.  Maybe one of these days I'll get around to programming some "function blocks" for synthesizer functions."

Thanks again to Jim, who currently heads up HOLOBLOC Inc., for all the great Strider history. I'll still jelis of anyone that was around and contributing to the industry during this time period. 

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