Monday, March 11, 2019

Korg 707 "Performing Synthesizer" brochure, 1987

Korg 707 synthesizer "Performing Synthesizer" four page colour brochure from 1987.

One word - smarties!

I gotta say I love the aesthetics of the Korg 707. For one, it has the same form factor as the Poly-800 with those lovely guitar strap pegs on the sides. But, where that 800 modulation joystick isn't in the best position to bend notes and add LFO while slung around your neck, the 707 has two modulation wheels conveniently located on the top-right edge - the perfect position for your left hand.

But more importantly, the 707 have those delicious smarties buttons. They make my mouth water.

Those in the U.S. may not know what I'm talking about, because as far as the U.S. is concerned, the word smarties conjures up this chalky mess:

But in Canada, smarties are these delicious candy covered chocolate treats:
Mmmmm... yummy.

And so in Canada, and I'm guessing elsewhere, those rounded buttons found on Korg synths like the M1 and 707 have been nicknamed "smarties" buttons. 

And I love 'em. Almost as much as I love the programmers behind the sound of the 707.

The 707's engine is a 4-operator FM synth. But, until like most other FM synthesizers that require physics degrees and unmanageable menus of carriers, modulators and ratios, the creators of the 707 have done away with the complicated programming found on the DX-100 or TX81Z, and replaced them with three sliders for tibre, EG1 and EG2. As it says in the brochure, "these sliders alter many parameters simultaneously". 

I'm hearing your argument already - even just messing slightly with one simple parameter on a classic FM synthesizer can quickly turn your lovely string sound into something really crazy and unmusical.  And now with the 707, attaching one slider to many different parameters all at once is going to lead to total chaos really fast. 


The smarty-pants (see what I did there) at Korg apparently created fixed frequency ratios and algorithms so that the 707 is much more likely to pump out musically useful tones when those sliders are moved.  Sure, if you're Autechre, you may not like this much... but your average musician will dig this simplification lots. 


And speaking of beauty, the brochure is a thing of beauty too. Large cover image, even larger photo on the inside pages.

But two things in particular stood out for me.

The first is that lovely little Korg 25th anniversary "Because We Love Music" logo in the bottom right corner of the front page.  Sure enough, I used my fingers and counted back 25 years from 1987 and yup -1962. Correct! And I like that the logo isn't a big honkin' thing in the middle of the page either. It's nicely sized and positioned. A simple nod to the past. 

The other thing in particular that stood out for me... are you ready for this (it blew my mind)...


WHAT?!?! Was I the only one that didn't know this?  Black. White. Blue. AND PINK. 


I snarfed this photo from a 2-year old Reverb posting.

That thing looks gorgeous. I want one. 



Anonymous said...

can i connect that synt to the pc?

RetroSynthAds said...

Just through MIDI! No USB or anything.

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