Monday, August 31, 2009

ARP Odyssey, Contemporary Keyboard 1975

ARP Odyssey synthesizer ad from the back inside cover of Contemporary Keyboard magazine November / December 1975.

Looking back over my posts, I've noticed that with the exception of a few posts, I've been neglecting ARP. To help rectify this situation, I've gone back to my earliest magazines to see what I could dig up - and the first result is this ARP Odyssey ad.

This is one of the earliest ARP ads I can recall that drops names AND gives away free stuff - a tradition ARP continued in many of their later ads. And, its even unique in these two respects:
  1. Free stuff - not only did you get a free anvil case, but it was customized with your name hand-lettered on the side.
  2. Name dropping - this ad didn't just name-drop famous Odyssey users, but Odyssey users that lugged their gear around in Anvil road cases. And apparently, based on the name on the road case in the photo, The BlackByrds were one of them.
There is no real reference information in the ad, but you can find lots online, including:
More ARP posts to come in the weeks ahead.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Moog Micromoog, Contemporary Keyboard 1976

Moog Micromoog from page 13 of Contemporary Keyboard magazine May/June 1976.

Coming across this ad got me thinking... I do quite like the term 'thermostated oscillator'.

Although my memory is starting to go, I can't recall my Micromoog ever drifting out of tune. The Micromoog operation manual even talks about its' super pitch stability' and its 'advanced temperature regulation' too. And best of all, the ad even throws out the temperature in celcius - and this ad is from '76. Whenever you see celcius involved in a US-based publication you know science must be involved.

But Google doesn't bring up any direct hits related to the Micromoog's thermostated oscillators. So, have I fallen for Moog's marketing trap of 1976? Or, is this just more proof that Moog was always ahead of their time?

Although you can't find much online specifically about the thermostated oscillators, there is a lot of general info on the Micromoog at the usual spots, including Vintage Synth Explorer. Also, a great site to check out for the Micromoog user manual, tons of schematics, links and images, is fantasyjackpalance (built by a guy not named Jack... see his faq for more info). Check out Google for more Micromoog links.

Let me say it one more time - 'thermostated oscillator'. Hee hee. Cool.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Roland RS-101, SH-1000, SH-2000 and SH-3A, Contemporary Keyboard 1975

Roland (from left to right) RS-101, SH-1000, SH-2000 and SH-3A synthesizers from inside front cover of Contemporary Keyboard magazine November/December 1975.

Scanned from the second issue of Contemporary Keyboard, this is one of Roland's earliest ads from the magazine, and includes four of Roland's 1973-75 collection of synthesizers/string ensembles.

It also features Roland's first free demo record - something I've never been able to hunt down, but have this inkling an MP3 is sitting out on the interwebz somewhere. If anyone has an idea where I can get a copy, please contact me.

One other thing that interests the amateur graphic designer in me is what looks to be latin text below the record image at the bottom of the ad. Looking similar to the 'lorem ipsum' text often used by computer layout artists as a temporary substitute for real text (so the client will focus on the design), similar 'lorem ipsum' text was apparently included in the Letraset catalogs of the 1960's and 70's - often used by advertising agencies in print layouts for the same reason. Did they just forget to replace the text? Or maybe the ad agency thought the relatively low-res printer would keep the text from being legible?

But I digress.

Vintage Synth Explorer has some basic reference material on the SH-1000 and SH-2000.

The site also has information on the SH-3A, which, according to a quote on Synthtopia, was put into the market after Moog sued Roland for the original SH3’s filter design.

Surprisingly, there is just bits and pieces of information on the RS-101 lurking around the Internet, even at the usual synth hangouts, but you can find the instruction manual at the Roland Vintage Gear Manuals Web site. In fact, take a look at this site for a wack of different user and service manuals. Great stuff.

BTW, Sound On Sound has a great article on the early history of Roland online. Definitely check it out if you haven't already.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sequential Circuits Prophet-10, Keyboard 1981

Sequential Circuits Prophet-10 synthesizer from page 7 of Keyboard Magazine August 1981.

I've been on a roll with SCI lately, what with yesterday's belt buckle post that linked back to an earlier SCI merchandise ad. This Prophet-10 ad may also look familiar from that merchandise ad - the artwork was used in one of the three Ear*Force posters that could be purchased as a set for six bucks.

The artwork in each ad/poster references a particular synthesizer in the Prophet line - Prophet-10, Prophet-5, and Pro-One - and each also features that wizard dude that reminds me of Gandalf from LOTR (incidentally, The LOTR film by animator Ralph Bakshi came out around 1978)... You can be sure I'll be uploading the other two ads in the future.

The ad doesn't really mention anything about the Prophet-10, but luckily there is a lot of information online at the usual places (see below for links). Unfortunately, the Prophet-10 Wikipedia page was deleted in June 2008.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sequential Circuits Brass Belt Buckle, 1978

Click images to view full size

As promised in an earlier post that featured various Sequential Circuits merchandise, I've uploaded a few photos of my SCI brass belt buckle. I've included images of the front and back, as well as a photo with my Pro-One to give you an idea of its size. The date on the back looks to be 1978, although part of the date has worn off over time.

I was given this buckle (as well as a few others) a while ago by one of the long-time managers of my local music store. Most of the store staff over the years have been great - knowledgable, friendly, and willing to go the extra mile to find gear. Come to think of it, they even tracked down the Pro-One in the photograph. $200 bucks. Canadian. Seriously. I know. :o)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Roland TR-808, Contemporary Keyboard 1981

Roland TR-808 drum machine from inside front cover of Contemporary Keyboard magazine May 1981.

I personally liked this phase of Roland advertising - bright yellow, black background, and smaller, bright fonts. It follows the same theme as the Jupiter-8 ads I've posted that were coming out in 1981 and 1982. I think its also interesting that they chose to use such a small image of the drum machine itself.

But the most interesting design elements are the black dots in a grid pattern - no doubt reflecting on the single row of 16 LED edit buttons available on the TR-808. But could it have also been hinting at the multiple rows of LCD dots to appear in later drum machines such as the TR-707, TR-505, etc?

The ad copy also predicts the TR-808's future as the standard in drum machines to come (and indeed it did with many types of electronic music).

Due to its current popularity, there is a lot of online information readily available including manuals and samples, so I've decided to just post a few links and let you run off on your own to find out more. Google has everything... so, have fun surfing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Korg MS-20, Keyboard 1978

Korg MS-20 from page 63 of Contemporary Keyboard magazine November 1978.

This highly technical ad appears in the same issue as a similarly designed MS-10 ad (posted on my blog in July) and boasts the MS-20's spectacular external signal processor (something that I - as well as a lot of synth-heads - make use of on a regular basis).

Strangely, a totally unrelated Korg VC-10 vocoder ad also appears in this issue - very cartoony and lacking technical detail.

A simple MS-20 Google search pulls up all the regular sites, including Wikipedia and Vintage Synth Explorer. Wikipedia also pointed me to some crazy, fun, almost hypnotic YouTube videos showcasing a wack of Korg MS-related gear.

A great online owner's manual is also available through Korg Kornukopia.

If you can't afford current eBay prices, check out the software version. I haven't heard it myself, but apparently its pretty close.

Or, if you already have a Nintendo DS and want to noodle around with some music-making while riding the looser-cruiser to work in the mornings like I do, check out the DS-10.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Take a look at who's visiting...

With the recent increase in traffic to the blog, I thought you might want to know where you are all coming from. The image above is a part of a screen shot from, and shows the last visitor (red dot), last ten visitors (green dots) and the last 10+ visitors (white dots) to the blog.

As you can see from the image, recent visitors have come from a number of countries including Canada, United States, France, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and more! Japan and Australia are also reprezentin'.

Everyone - thanks for visiting! :o)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sequential Circuits Poly-Sequencer, Remote Prophet, belt buckle and more merchandise Keyboard 1982

Sequential Circuits Instruments (SCI) Poly-Sequencer, Remote Prophet and merchandise including brass belt buckle, SCI and Prophet 5 pin set, 'Ear-Force' poster set and Prophet jersey shirt from page 78 of Keyboard magazine December 1982.

SCI took a bit of a break from their usual cartoony 'Ear-Force' and Prophet ads to bring us this December split-level ad. The upper portion features the Poly-Sequencer and Remote Prophet (also see an SCI family ad I posted earlier) with some good solid reference information about the gear. The bottom portion features some excellent merchandise. How many people left this ad out on the living room table to entice their loved-ones to drop an SCI brass belt buckle into their stocking for Christmas?

Some online information is available for the Remote Prophet on Vintage Synth Explorer and

The Poly-Sequencer is a bit more of a rare beast - I found little online except for a few photos from eBay auctions through MatrixSynth and some more photos elsewhere.

And even more surprisingly, SCI's Wikipedia page doesn't mention either piece of gear.

Not a lot of vintage SCI merchandise displayed online either. I'll take a picture of my vintage Sequential Circuits brass belt buckle (also have an ARP buckle) and drop them on the site some day. If you have any vintage SCI merchandise you'd like to feature, send me a scan/photo and I'd be happy to add to this post.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moog Memorymoog, Taurus II, and DSC, Keyboard 1982

Moog Memorymoog synthesizer, Taurus II bass pedals, and DSC sequencer (Digital Sequential Controller) from page 39 of Keyboard magazine Feburary 1982.

1981 was around the time I first started reading Keyboard, so this 'family photo' is etched in my brain almost as deep as the real family photo that hung in my parent's kitchen directly opposite to where I ate three meals a day growing up.

It was actually a follow-up ad to Moog's January 1982 advertisement where the gear was covered up.

Ads for the Memorymoog continued to pop up in Keyboard magazine well into 1983-84 (see my 1983 Memorymoog ad post) with later Moog ads suggesting more and more that the Memorymoog was the equivalent of six Minimoogs, as well as the promotion of the Memorymoog Plus (adding MIDI and two sequencers). I'll post more of those ads in the near future.

Lots of Memorymoog information is available online, including Cary Robert's excellent Memorymoog Web site that contains a 1984 Moog liquidation flyer (What? - A Moog Source for $199?)! Vintage Synth Explorer and Wikipedia also contain useful info.

The Taurus II pedals were also promoted in ads as late as 1983, and you can find most of the basics online, including the Taurus page on Wikipedia and Vintage Synth Explorer.

I wasn't able to find much information on the Moog DSC, although the Audities Foundation has a page with some great close-up photos . Please post links if you have more information.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Roland Jupiter-8 (JP-8), MC-4, OP-8, and MTR-100, Keyboard 1982

Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer (JP-8) and MC-4 sequencer, with OP-8 interface and MTR-100 digital cassette recorder, from inside front cover of Keyboard magazine December 1982.

I quite enjoy this 'Special Product Report' advertisement - a two-page spread that kept the yellow and black design that Roland was using at the time for many ads including the TR808 (to be posted in the near future). The ad also includes some great quotes and references to famous users, including producer Martin Rushent, Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, and Toto's Steve Porcaro and David Paitch ("... a happening polyphonic synthesizer...").

The JP-8's popularity is quite apparent through it's numerous online references:
If you can't afford (or find) the real thing, many say the VST version made by Arturia is a good replacement.

The MC-4, OP-8, and MTR-100 each have their own Wikipedia page, and you can also find MC-4 command flowcharts online (via Matrixsynth).

Another 1981 JP-8 ad was posted on April 2, 2009, and the MC-4 was featured in a 1978 'family photo' ad posted on March 9, 2009.

End note: The JP-8 the *only* synthesizer I've ever regretted selling. Seriously.