Thursday, July 27, 2017

1985 Roland New Product News for NAMM show, 1985

1985 Roland New Product News for NAMM show 16 page black and white brochure from June 1985.

Another big XOX day! This time celebrating all that is awesome about the TR-727. Heck, who doesn't love the Agogo and Whistle sounds from Phuture's Acid Tracks!

Quite by accident, I just looked on Twitter and Roland tweeted out a Boss Summer NAMM highlights video. Honestly, a total fluke that I'm posting a Roland NAMM brochure from 32 years early.

And if you haven't guessed, Roland features the TR-727 in this "new products" brochure that they handed out at Summer NAMM 1985. And it had good company - so many great products are including in this document. And they all have one thing in common (besides the obvious) - SPECIFICATIONS. As far as the eyes can see. Damn I love specs.

Each summary write-up does a great job including various other Roland gear that would be compatible. For example, the summary for the TR-727 pulls in the Pad-8 MIDI pad controller and the MKB-200 MIDI keyboard - both also featured in the brochure.

The Pad-8 Octapad was a piece of gear I had always wanted but never managed to pick up. I so wanted to stand on stage and summon my inner Depeche Mode a la Construction Time Again.

Another great highlight are the two pages devoted to the MKS-7 - both the black and ivory versions! Every once in a while an ivory MKS-7 pops up around town but I always miss out on picking it up. Under the photo of the ivory rack are diagrams of typical and expanded set-ups featuring many of Roland's products. Yum.

One thing missing from today's market is something akin to Roland's CPM-120 compact power mixer. Eight channels including an effects send/return, all in a small box. I still use Boss's mini-mixers of the era and would snap up a CPM-120 if it was ever remade.

The back of the doc includes a table of contents as well as Roland's logo and tagline - "We design the future". Its hard not to think that Roland's current "The future redefined" tagline for many of their remakes isn't a nod back to this original tagline that featured many of the originals.

If I was gonna quibble, I'd say the only thing missing are suggested retail prices. But I ain't complaining. I love this brochure from cover to cover.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Roland TR-707 "Digital Dynamite" ad, Keyboard 1985

Roland TR-707 drum machine "Digital Dynamite" full page colour advertisement from page 50 in the May 1985 issue of Keyboard Magazine.

Well, it seems like its only been a week or two since I celebrated 6/26 day by posting a TR-626 ad. That may be because it has only been a week or two.  :)

Coincidentally, it is 7/07 day and to date, this blog has been conspicuously absent of any mention of the TR-707. So, time for that to change.

I'm a big fan of the TR-707. The large LCD screen and the fact it has MIDI, DIN sync, trigger out AND tape sync are big pluses for me (well, not so much tape sync any more). The individual outputs and the great little mixer section make it very useful in live situations.

As you can see from the image of the advertisement, this lovely drum machine got swept up in Roland's "Roland Makes It Happen" marketing campaign. The distinctive neon light design style and tag line started to appear in Keyboard and other magazines back in the summer of 1984 beginning with their gorgeous dark blue Juno 106 "Synful" advertisement, and carried on well into the spring of 1986 until ads with a new "computer art" design replaced it - like that used in their TR-505 "Light Heavyweight" ad.

Other Roland ads to get the neon "We make it happen" treatment included the JX8p (green) and MPU-401 (baby blue). And of course, this yellow TR-707 ad. But the most memorable piece from this marketing campaign bunch has to be Roland's three-page-plus  MIDI-love-fest fold-out that appeared in the July 1984 issue (see right).

The ad itself got little play in Keyboard Magazine, making only two appearances - May and December 1985.  During this time period, Roland instead chose to give their JX8p and new MPS software (Music Processing System) ads its monthly page real estate. Kinda makes sense since the Magazine is called "Keyboard".

The ad copy, although a tad hard to read, includes a lot of useful information, including my favourite historical reference- the price! $595 ain't too shabby. The text also highlights the increasingly rare M-64C memory cartridge, and  Roland fortifies its importance by including a not insignificant sized photo.

But one of the most interesting and notable features of this ad and others in the series is the size of the Roland logo. Its quite small compared to the other design elements. Normally I'd be freaking out about something like that, but Roland had such a large presence in Keyboard and its products' evolution was so highly recognizable, that they could get away with it. Work in their favour even.

A nice position to be in!