Thursday, June 6, 2013

Byter Incorporated Polysync Rhythm Controller "...for $595" ad, Keyboard 1984


Byter Incorporated Polysync Rhythm Controller "...for $595" full page black & white advertisement from page 31 in the April 1984 issue of Keyboard Magazine.

While looking through the April 1984 issue to get some information on Dave Formula (a la Magazine and Visage) I came across this advertisement for Byter Inc.'s Polysync. 

Don't remember it from back in 1984? Neither do I.

But its 2013 and now my heartstring's always getting pulled when there is a nifty logo about. And Byter Inc.'s simple but playful dog head logo was EXACTLY the type of logo I can fall in love with. Maybe even tatoo-worthy.


 Woof!

This logo makes me clap my hands together and jump up and down. No kidding.

Yeah, I love this logo. And I love sync boxes like the Polysync. They also make me clap my hands and jump up and down. Again - not kidding. There is just something about the feeling I get when sync'ing old drum machines, arpeggiators and sequencers together.

But like I said, I don't remember this box. I remember other sync boxes of the time period, like the Garfield Electronics Mini Doc that was also featured in this issue of Keyboard ten pages previously. For the exact same price: $595.

Garfield had the advantage of name recognition, having placed advertisements in the magazine since as early as 1982 with ads like the one for their original Dr. Click. That original product ran upwards of $2,000. Ouch. Nice to see prices dropped. :)

I was a little surprised that the Byter Polysync didn't include MIDI. This was 1984 after all. The SCI Prophet-600 had been out for quite a while and, in fact, this issue of Keyboard featured a SCI Six-Trak/Drumtraks advertisement. MIDI was all the rage. Or was it?

Flipping back to the Mini Doc ad, I realized it too didn't include MIDI. And flipping throughout the magazine I found ads for the Roland SH-101< Oberheim OB-8/DMX/DSX/DX, and the Linn Electronics LinnDrum - all sans MIDI.

Even better, and MIDI-related, is the ad for the Digi-Atom 4800 analog to MIDI interface. Yup - you heard right. NOT MIDI to analog, but the other way around. Allowed your analog gear to control your less-superior MIDI gear. Awesome.

Well, since I didn't know anything about this beast, I decided to Google "Byter Polysync". And guess what? Nothing. Well, in English anyways. There were two hits in other languages, and when I clicked on the first one, I got a giant "VIRUS WARNING" message from my anti-virus program. So, that ended that. Googling just Byter Incorporated also brought up nothing. 

Huh.

So, it makes me wonder if this piece of gear was just vaporware. Well, obviously a box or two made its way into production for the photo, but did it ever get mass produced? The advertisement lasted a surprisingly long six months in Keyboard Magazine - April to September 1984. So, there must have been getting some funding from somewhere. Very curious.

If anyone has one or has seen one in the wild, please leave a comment. Really interested to know more.

In the mean time, I'll get started on the tatoo design for the logo.

1 comment:

John Mastracchio said...

No it was made @ 100 sold in NYC, Florida, LA. I was the co owner of the company. Product cycles, the life of a product from concept to being replaced by something better was 18 months. Studios were using, hardware sequencers, and drum machines: Oberheim DX series, Roland 808 - 606, TB 606, Linn Drum, Pro1 arpegators, Voletra 8 generation of studio tech, just prior to MIDI (18 month cycle). A close artist friend I worked with designed the Logo as a take off on Nipper the RCA dog.

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