Thursday, April 11, 2013

Roland "Eschew mediocrity" ad, Contemporary Keyboard 1979



Roland JP-4, MP-600 and RS-505 (and family) "Eschew mediocrity" two-page full colour advertisement from pages 42 and 43 in the April 1979 issue of Contemporary Keyboard.

Eschew? Gazoontite.

That has to be one of the best ad-titles I've come across in a long time. Someone needs to get that tatoo'd to their ass. And make it about the same size as the ad-title in this two-page, one-time-only centrefold ad that popped up in the April 1979 issue of CK.

This advertisement features three of Roland's "newest line of Professional Keyboards", but it's really about the promotion of the "FREE-Deluxe, full-color 58-page Roland Catalog of the largest, most diversified line of electronic music equipment in the world". A catalog you can get for a mere dollar (shipping and handling charges  :)

As a centrefold should, this ad's focus is on that one big lovely photo of the three featured keyboards. There is some good detail to be found.

One of the most interesting details I found was the green colour framing around most of the controls of the RS-505. My recollection told me that these were gray, not green, and I was excited that this photo may contain a prototype. Like the grey colour found on the photo of the RS-505 on Vintage Synth Explorer.It makes me wonder if that colouring changed on other Roland synths during their life spans.

This was actually the first ad to feature the RS-505, but the keyboard itself seems to have been around a lot longer than when it first appeared in advertisements.

For example, it showed up in the December 1978 Spec Sheet section of Contemporary Keyboard. It's not the best Spec Sheet I've seen, but it includes the basics as well as the coveted retail price. Not gonna argue with that:
"Roland Paraphonic-505. The RS-505 Paraphonic keyboard has a splittable 61-note keyboard with three voicing possibilities - a string synthesizer section, a lead synthesizer and a bass synthesizer are included int he unit. A number of different settings are available on the string section, a 24dB-per-octage filter is supplied on the lead synthesizer, and the bass synthesizer has two 16' settings and one 8' setting. There is also an independent three-state ensemble mode for creating effects ranging from flanging to chorusing. Re-tail price is under $1800.00. Roland Corp, U.S., 2401 Saybrook Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90040."
But that's not even the earliest sighting of the RS-505 this side of the pond. It actually appeared even earlier in the What's New section of the Summer '78 issue of Synapse Magazine. And it contains something REALLY weird about another synthesizer featured in this advertisement. Read it right to the end:
"...Roland Corp US, 2401 Saybrook, LA, CA 90040, has released several new synthesizers recently. The SH-7 is a duo-phonic keyboard instrument with dual sample and hold, so that both notes will hold pitch after the keys have been replaced. The $1,895 unit features a 24dB fVCF with external signal envelope follower, and a "bender" that can control VCO, VCF, and VCA. The RS-505 "is a paraphonic ensemble, a strings and synthesizer combination," with a tag of $1,895. The PO-44 Space Bird is a "four-voice polyphonic synthesizer with a computer memory," listing for $2,695. No further information has been furnished on these instruments yet. Roland has also announced plans to introduce additional guitar synthesizer models later on this year..."
Did you catch it? The PO-44 SPACE BIRD. When I had first read that name, I could only assume that Synapse was referring to the Jupiter-4 - it was the only 4-voice Roland released soon after. Could you imagine if the Jupiter-4 has been named the SPACE BIRD?!?!? Pure awesomeness. I can only assume a Rave band of the same name would have sprung up in the late 80s or early 90s. Oh - and dibs on the domain name!

I had no idea. But apparently Simon James and Matt Ford of TheSimonSounds twitter account did back in 2011. Gah.Was I the only one that didn't know this?!?!

I used to want Roland to reissue the TB303 or SH101 as part of the new craze to build on old brands - like the new Korg MS-20 or even Novation's just announced Bass Station II. But now I just want Roland to create a 4-voice polyphonic analogue synthesizer called the Space Bird.

Pleeeeeeeeeese Roland!

1 comment:

Kevin Gibson said...

There is something odd about the Jupiter 4 (or Space Bird) too. The pins for mounting a music stand are on top, rather than on the rear. Is it a pre-production unit?

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