Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Roland JX-3P and PG-200 "Programmable/Preset/Polyphonic Synthesizer" brochure, 1983


Roland JX-3P synthesizer and PG-200 programmer "Programmable/Preset/Polyphonic Synthesizer" four page colour brochure from August 1983.

Well, well... another "We design the future" brochure. I got a million of them. Okay - maybe a few are duplicates. 

Can you blame me? Look at this beauty. All the signs of a Roland brochure from this era - like this JX-8P brochure I published back in 2020 - and the blog post that holds the record by far for hate mail regarding my position on the statement "Too much gear reduces your creativity". But that's another story. 

Where was I... oh yeah - the multitude of other We Design the Future brochures (and those that came after the tagline was dropped, but kept the same design format). At least 11 tagged on the blog to date, and as I find others - like that JX-8P brochure I've scanned, I add the tag to those posts too. 

The centrefolds in these things never disappoint. Flip the cover page open and you get that big gorgeous photo. I don't care if you love or hate the sound or the programming of this thing... it looks awesome. This is what an 80s synthesizer front panel should look like. Yeah yeah... knobs are great - but I equate those with 70s synths. A real 80's synth has one big data knob. Or at most, one or two sets of up/down button. Think Yamaha DX7. Or Oberheim Matrix 6.  :)

But the real history here is Roland's introduction of MIDI to their brochures. The tech was so new, companies were still fiddling about with their buzz words.


"... can be hooked up with..."

"MIDI BUS connector". 

All oddly awkward and satisfying at the same time.

Roland gives up a bit of real estate on the back page (not enough in my opinion) to discuss MIDI even more. 

"Today's modern digital technology has made it possible to automatically control and synchronize a remarkable variety of electronic instruments. A personal computer can even be incorporated in such systems which usual require no special knowledge or operational techniques. The only problem is that individual makers have in many cases employed mutually incompatible connections and this greatly reduces the performer's potential. A new universal BUS system called MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital interface) solves this problem. It accepts all connections from instruments and devices of a standard signal. Now any standard musical instrument or computer can be connected using DIN cords for both input and output. Thus, MIDI expands the potential of performers and brings unprecedented convenience to the realm of electronic music. The Roland's JX-3P and Jupiter-6 are equipped with the MIDI Bus terminal. "

Probably a few more months before the words "MIDI" and "cable" are finally strung together in a sentence. 

And I love it.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Moog Retail Price List, 1977

Moog Retail Price List from January 1, 1977.

Good lord. I haven't posted since August. Time is just flying since I took a new work gig in the spring. Told myself I was "retired" back in 2016, but after some consulting work during the height of COVID, I found an opportunity I just couldn't pass up. 

Anyways, I found this write-up sitting half-finished in my drafts, and thought it was a gooder since it includes some comparisons to other Moog pricing brochures I've already published. In particular, a 1974 brochure I posted in 2012 and a 1980 brochure I posted back in 2018. 

This 1977 brochure sits right in between, so I'd expect prices to fall somewhere in between as well. Let's take a look at a few....

1974 - $1,595.00
1977 - $1,795.00
1980 - $1,995.00

1974: $595.00
1977: $695.00
1980: not on the list

Sonic Six: 
1974:$ 1395.00
1977:  $1495.00
1980 - not on the list

1974: not in the list
1977:  $795.00
1980: $895

1974: not on the list
1977: $795
1980: $1,195

Wowza! In fact... two wowzas. 

First wowza - we can see how the Minimoog seemed to transcend all those other Moog products. The Satellite, Sonic Six, and Taurus came and went, never appearing in more than two of the brochures, but the Minimoog just kept on truckin'! 

The second wowza was that price jump for the Taurus Pedals. All other price jumps were exactly one hundred bucks on the nose. But that Taurus Pedals jumped an astonishing $400 within three years. I wonder what caused that kind of drastic change in pricing?!?!

From a purely design perspective, there's a few interesting elements I'd like to touch on. First, is that signed photo of Keith Emerson. Not surprising since he had been a long-time spokesperson for Moog. And awesome that he shows up in a pricing brochure of all things. It's a big step up from the 1974 brochure that featured that little conductor dude that was their kind-of mascot back in those mid-70s days. 

Don't get me wrong, I still think Moog could make a killing slapping that little dude on a t-shirt. Just look at him over there ---->

 He even looks better on that Minimoog brochure that came out around two years previously. Look at him with the Moog logo behind him. 

Now put THAT image on a hoodie!!!!


Moog Dude. On a t-shirt. NOW!