Monday, July 15, 2013

Technical Research Institute Inc. Orchestron "Your Instrument of the Future" 2nd ad, Synapse 1978

Technical Research Institute Inc. Orchestron "Your Instrument of the Future" half-page black & white advertisement from page 30 in the January/February 1978 issue of  Synapse Magazine.

I've always said there was an art to shrinking down advertisements. Whether you are going from a two-page spread down to one page, or, as happened here, one page down to a half. And in this case doing it twice since they had to shrink down the previous full page Viking Keyboard Systems advertisement as well.

Those two full page advertisements appeared side by side Keyboard Magazine, but that wasn't always the case with the half-pagers. In the November/December 1977 issue, the two ads appeared opposite each other on page 12 and 13, each on the far sides of the page, with CD reviews running down the other halves. But then, in the January/February 1978 and May/June 1978 issues, the two ads appeared on the same page.

The designer did a great job of shrinking down the ads. In fact, there is more white space now than there ever had been before!

In comparison to the previous Orchestron advertisement, only three pieces of content were left out. The first, rather insignificant piece was the last sentence of the ad-copy - "It is our desire to serve you.". Don't need it.

The second, more significant deletion was that of the price - "From under $2,500.00". But, considering that in an even more previous ad from 1976, that price point had been "From under $2,000.00", it may have been better to remove it all together since it seems that price was increasing considerably over time rather than decreasing like technology usually does.

The final piece of information removed was the call-out box from the top-right corner of the ad that explained who Dave Van Koevering was. This is what humanized the TRI/Orchestron brand - especially since Dave worked as a VP for Moog. They took out some good name recognition when they did that. But I agree, it did have to go to fit in the new, smaller space. 

As far as I can tell, this is the first Orchestron advertisement to appear in Synapse Magazine, although the previous company - Vako Synthesizer Inc. - had begun appearing much earlier in the "Listings" section of the mag under "Synthesizer Manufacturing". In fact, it continued to appear as Vako in this listing for quite a while, even though Dave Van Koevering had changed the name of the company to TRI quite a while earlier. Someone wasn't keeping up with the times at Synapse.

And speaking of confusing name changes, the first time these two ads appeared in the Nov/Dec77 issue, the companion ad for keyboard cases was stilled named Viking Keyboard Systems. There was even an Orchestron give-a-way contest in that issue under the Viking name. It was in the Jan/Feb78 issue that Dave Van Koevering changed the name of that company to Voyager Keyboard Systems and dumped the viking ship logo. 

And...and...  speaking of contests, by fluke I came across an earlier Contemporary Keyboard giveaway contest (#15) for an Orchestron from page 22 in the July 1977 issue. What is really cool about this giveaway is that CK does a great job at explaining more of the technology behind the Orchestron. More than I've seen elsewhere:
"The Orchestron operates on the principle of modulated light measured by photoelectric cells. A variable-area sound track is cut by a high-energy laser on a thin translucent disc. As the disc is rotated, a beam of light is modulated by the laser-cut soundtrack. This modulated light is converted into electrical impulses by photocells. These laser-cut recordings can be made of virtually any instrument and are played on the Orchestron's 37-note keyboard. This unit is supplied with five memory discs: violin, pipe organ, 'cello, flute and vocal choir. The pitch of the instrument is voltage-controlled and separate bass and treble boost circuitry is provided. High-impedance and balanced-line outputs are included. The duration of the laser-recorded sound is infinite, and the optical memory discs can be interchanged in seconds."
That info is GOLD! Someone needs to get that info in the Wikipedia page.   :)

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