Monday, December 14, 2009

EML family of products, Contemporary Keyboard 1976

Electronic Music Laboratories, Inc. (EML) 1/6-page ad of its family of products including ElectroComp 101, 200, and 401 semi-modular synthesizers and 400 sequencer from page 30 of Contemporary Keyboard Magazine March/April 1976.

This was the first and only time that I can recall that this particular EML ad ran in CK. It was replaced in the following issue of CK with the much more popular 1/3-page ad that used the 'They grow on you" slogan.

And I know you can guess the number one reason I love this ad: THE LOGO!

I could not recall seeing this version of the EML logo anywhere - on paper or gear - so I did a quick Google search and it didn't bring up anything even close to it either. Can anyone tell me if this logo ever graced any piece of EML equipment?

The hand-drawn fonts used in the ad are also interesting, vaguely reminding me of the older Sequential Circuits 'Prophet' font that started to appear around 1977-78.

But, I have to admit I'm not that familiar with EML synthesizers, probably because of my limited exposure to the instruments themselves. And I bet other innocent eyes were more likely to focus on the full page ads that larger companies like ARP, Oberheim, and Moog were putting out at the time, and not the smaller ads that were usually allocated to the back-half of the magazine. EML did spend a wack of cash on a full-page ad for the SynKey that appeared in the following issue, but that ad was just as rare as this one - and didn't seem to appear in later issues of CK.

And that is unfortunate, because I think more people would have liked EML had they been able to have access to them. Looking at information I could find online, they definitely looked like well-built tanks and were apparently much more affordable than comparable Arps and Moogs. But, according to Mark Vail's 'Vintage Synthesizers' book, EML made some bad decisions in the mid-70's and in the end they couldn't compete with the 'onslaught of synths from Yamaha and other Japanese manufacturers'.

So, maybe in the end, larger ads in CK wouldn't have helped them in the long-run...

For more information on EML synthesizers, check out some of the usual online synthesizer haunts.

Vintage Synth Explorer has pages for all the instruments including great images: ElectroComp 101, ElectroComp 200 and ElectroComp 400/401. also has some great information on the 101, 200, and 400 - including links to some excellent brochures for the 101 and 200 courtesy of synthesizer technician Kevin Lightner.

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