Thursday, February 22, 2018

Korg DDD-1 Dynamic Digital Drums brochure, 1986



 Korg DDD-1 Dynamic Digital Drums four-page colour brochure from 1986.

I've been slowly learning that Moog Song Producer software, but that manual is so crazy that I need to take a break and work on something else every now and then.

And I gotta say I've also been on a bit of a Korg kick lately that has begun to flow into the blog. First with that lovely 1982 Korg catalog I last posted, and now with this equally lovely D.D.D.1 (aka DDD1 aka DDD-1) brochure.

Where do I begin? How about with that lovely 80s-style front cover design created very much in the style and colouring of the Korg drum machine itself. Stacks of rectangles in the shape of the drum pads representing all sound possibilities the DDD-1 has to offer.

Flip open the cover and you've got tons of interesting brochure copy to read inside. Yet the text doesn't feel too crowded thanks to the large main image and plenty of white space between each column as well as each paragraph of text. Makes for a nice, easy read.

And flip over to the back, and we see all the specs as well as a few interesting options, including an intriguing sampling board! But I'll get back to that later.

In order to understand the significance of the Korg DDD-1 and where Korg was trying to fit this piece of kit into a crowded market place where technology was developing fast and feature/price ratios was falling even faster, we have to look at what had come previously, both from Korg and others. Here's a few examples:

 - Roland TR-909: 10 sounds, $1,195
 - Sequential Circuits DrumTraks : 13 sounds, $1,295
 - LINN 9000: 18 sounds, $5000+!

 - Roland TR-707/727: 15 sounds, $595
 - Sequential Circuits TOM: 8 sounds, $799
 - E-mu SP-12: 24 sounds, $2,745 - 1.2 seconds of sampling
 - Korg DDM-110/220: 9 sounds, can't find a price anywhere!).

 -  Casio's RZ-1: 12 sounds, $599 - .8 seconds of sampling
 -  Roland TR-505: 16 sounds, $395.00

And, now, we slot the DDD-1 into this mix of drum machines with its 18 sounds. All for $995.00.

What's that you say? The Roland TR-505 has 16 sounds for only $395.00?

Yes, but its not just about the number of sounds the drum machine has. It's also about the features!

With the Korg DDD-1, we getting dynamics and tuning. And we can also add more sounds by plugging in up to four ROM cards (from the more than 20 to choose from). Plus, if you shell out a bit more cash, you can get the sampling board, which gives you 3.2 seconds worth of sample time - a lot more time than the RZ-1 had.

My point is, the DDD-1 found a nice niche to settle into and a pretty fair price point with lots of future possibilities for expansion. Unfortunately, I could never track down an original price of that sampling board, which would have allowed a better comparison with some of the other sampling drum machines from the time period. I'll keep looking.

Now to get back to that Moog Song Producer software I've been slowly learning for a near-future blog post.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Korg "We put it all together" catalog, Vol.3, 1982

 Korg "We put it all together" four page catalog - Volume 3, 1982.

I love Korg catalogs.

This one from 1979.

This one from 1984.

There are others on the blog too!

Every one of them packs so much gear into such a little package. And the legends are all there - Korg Trident, Polysix, PS-3200, Mono/Poly, MS-10/20/50, VC-10... the list goes on and on. It all makes me so happy.

But out of all the gear spread across the three pages, one rather unassuming section of this catalog gets my full attention every time.


I can hear you say it... "What? Bags? SOFT BAGS...?!?!?"

But if you look closer, they just aren't just bags. Some of them aren't even just Korg-branded bags. Three of them are PRODUCT BRANDED. 

The funky blue bag proudly exclaims in bright yellow that it was specifically made for the LP10 electric piano. It kinda reminds me of my 80's blue and yellow Adidas gym bag I used to lug around. Or maybe that was the colour of my pants? Or shirt? Maybe both.

Anyways... back to those bags. That fire-engine red one? You can see it clearly written that it was designed to hold an X-911 guitar synthesizer.

And, although its hard to make out in the photo, the grey writing underneath the logo on that smaller brown bag at the back says "RHYTHM" - clearly made to carry their KR-55 and/or KR-33 Rhythm drum machine. You can see a photo of a KR55 snuggled right in on Polynomial's KR-55 Web page

photo from MATRIXSYNTH!
The larger brown bag doesn't say what it was destined to carry in its belly, but I have seen it on MATRIXSYNTH - its made to fit the MS-10 perfectly. Drool.

For me, these bags are right up there with Roland's black and silver TB-303/606 vinyl carry bags.  But unlike those bags, I've yet to trip over one of these Korg product bags IRL. In fact, I've only ever seen the red and blue bag in Korg catalogs. 
So, if you have one of these bags, I'd love to see a better photo - preferably with an X-911 or LP-10 sitting it 'em.