Monday, April 20, 2015

Roland Synthesizer System 100 Model 102/103/104/109 "Let's you start your own Synthesizer studio" brochure, 1976

Roland Synthesizer System 100 Model 102/103/104/109 "Let's you start your own Synthesizer studio" six page brochure from January 1976.

Sure. Call it hopping on the bandwagon. I don't mind.

I've made it no secret that I love the Roland gear - old and new.  So when Peter Kirn wrote of the rumor of Roland's return to modular with a small post that included the history of Roland's modular systems starting with the System 100 on, I just had to pull this gorgeous brochure from the shelf to share. I think I can say with certainty that no one expected just how deep down the modular hole Roland was going to go. As a Roland AIRA fan, I'm happy. As a modular owner, I'm even more happy. Wallet - not so happy. :)

Back to the brochure....

It has definitely seen better days - but it just adds to the character. I can imagine the original owner flipping through it, dreaming about what it would be like to own a whole synthesizer system in such a compact format. If you want to get a little more intimate with the different parts of the semi-modular System 100, this is still a good reference piece. Interestingly, this doesn't have a lot of information on the basic Model 101 unit itself. This brochure was really created to focus on the other pieces of the "synthesizer studio" - specifically:
  • Expander Model 102
  • Mixer Model 103
  • Sequencer Model 104
  • Monitor Speaker Model 109
Remember - the best way to view the hi-res scans is to right-click and select "show image" or whatever the equivalent in your browser might be. in October 2009 I blogged about Roland's "Build your own synthesizer studio" ad for the System 100 that appeared in Keyboard Magazine in 1977 and mentioned that there was also a write-up that appeared much earlier in the Spec Sheet section of the May/June 1976 issue (yes, there was a time when Keyboard magazine was only published every two months!). Although just a small write-up, it still gives a great overview:

"The System 100 synthesizer is composed of separate component banks: the Model 104 sequencer; the Model 102 expander; the Model 103 mixer; two Model 109 monitor speakers, and the basic Model 101. The basic unit itself includes a VCO, a VCF, an LFO, and an ADSR envelope generator. Other features are a noise generator, a high-pass filter, an audio mixer, and a test oscillator. A 37-note keyboard is standard. The Model 102 expander supplies the performer with a sample/hold circuit, an envelope generator, an LFO, and a VCA. The 104 module is a 2-channel, 12-step analog sequencer (both channels may be linked together for 24-step sequences). List price for the System 100 is $1,950. "

List price $1,950. Not bad at all for everything you got.

Until recently, the only time I had ever played on a System 100 was in a friend's basement a long, long time ago. He had the whole package. And it was a beauty. I remember being fascinated at both the look and the sound.

I say until recently, because just a few months ago I managed to find a System 100 Model 101 unit in my home town. You bet I jumped on the chance. It's in wonderful condition too.And the sound is exactly how I remember it. I've now started the long journey of tracking down the other pieces.

Until then, I can't wait to hook it up to the new Roland modular gear. Yeah... I'm already deep into Eurorack. So you can bet I'm jumping on the Roland modular bandwagon too. :)


Steven Riis Sellick said...

Hi. Love your posts. Do you have hi--res versions of the Jupiter 4 and RS-505 ads? I'd love to make posters out of them for my studio/home.

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