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1386 Retro Synth Ads: Sound Master Memory Rhythm SR-88, Keyboard 1982
Sound Master Memory Rhythm SR-88 drum machine 1-page advertisement from page 67 in Keyboard Magazine August 1982.
Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about this ad. There just seems to be a lot going on.
For example, am I supposed to know who "The Rhythm Section" is? The fact that they include themselves in an already long ad title suggests they must be some kind of a big deal. And then you find their name again in the bottom left-hand corner:
"The SR-88. Another innovative product from The Rhythm Section by Sound Master Distributed exclusively by JTG of Nashville."
So, let me get this straight. JTG of Nashville is the distributor of the SR-88 which was created by The Rhythm Section which is somehow owned or operated by Sound Master.
That is waaaaay to much information. Sounds like something political is going on there, and readers unfortunately get stuck in the middle of it.
There also seems to be a lot of ad-copy which actually doesn t give me much information. Reason #4 gives readers the most info including instant stop/start, variable tone and output switches, and a write/play mode indicator. The most I glean out of the four other reasons put together is: 16 rhythms, clock pulse and a price of under $200.
The actual specs that are probably most important to potential buyers are inexplicably shoved into the bottom right-hand corner.
Luckily for me, there are a few resources on the Web with more information about this beast. Unluckily for blog readers, as soon as I started looking for more info, I got swept up in a certain SR-88/Boss DR-55 controversy.
Comparing the SR-88 and Boss DR-55
One of the first Web sites I hit while looking for info on the SR-88 was Dubsounds.com. The site includes a great little write-up on the SR-88, but, more interesting was finding out about a little controversy about whether the SR-88 or the very similar Boss DR-55 came out first.
The two do seem mighty similar in functionality. For comparison purposes, I did a quick search on MATRIXSYNTH to find more photos. . A great photo of a gray SR-88 can be found in this December 2005 SR-88 MATRIXSYNTH auction post and the less common, but definitely more cool, blue SR-88 can be seen in this January 2011 MATRIXSYNTH auction post.
Comparing the two to the Amdek RMK-100
Interestingly, it s not just these two machines that look and function similarly. In this May 2009 MATRIXSYNTH SR-88 auction post commenter "PAC" notices:
"Interesting. I have an Amdek RMK-100 (sold as kit), very similar!"
Never heard of it, so I Googled "Amdek RMK-100" to see just how similar it was to both the DR-55 and the SR-88. Turns out (according to the Internet) that Amdek products were made by Boss/Roland back in 80s, and, not only that, but that the RMK-100 is actually the kit version of the Boss DR-55. Makes sense on why it would also be similar to the SR-88.
I found an ebay auction for an Amdek RMK-100 going on right now with a great photo of the front panel (see below), and indeed it does share a lot with the DR-55 and SR-88 - but definitely not identical to either one.
For example, it looks like the Amdek and SR-88 share a similar filler function that as far as I can tell is not available on the DR-55. And the DR-55 and the RMK-100 share a similar accent function that I don t see on the SR-88.
Now where does the Electro Dynamics Corporation Programmable Rhythm SR-99 fit in?
I also came across another machine with similar features - the Programmable Rhythm SR-99. No - not manufactured by Sound Master, but by Electro Dynamics Corporation. And, it too resembles the others in functionality, and especially the SR-88 in design also.
I ve included a row of photos below to help make the comparison between the two. The SR-88 photo is from the 2005 MATRIXSYNTH auction post and the EDC SR-99 photo is from the excellent BigBlueWave.co.uk site. I ve also thrown in a photo from another recent E-bay listing that included both - plus boxes and manuals! Sick!
Obviously, Sound Master and EDC are somehow connected, although I can t find any info on the Internet concerning these two companies. I do know that they were both advertising separately in Keyboard Magazine in late 1983, making it unlikely that one of the companies changed their name to the other. Anyone know anything?
And then there is the Clef Master Rhythm...
Now, I m going to throw in a late entry. It s Sunday night, and I just came across this August 2010 MATRIXSYNTH auction post for the Clef Master Rhythm. It not only shares part of the name of one of the other units ("Master"), it too has many features of the other rhythm machines, and identical innards as the DR-55, but is expanded to include even more sounds:
"This is essentially a fully expanded Boss DR-55 feature-wise and tone-wise. The circuits are identical (schematically and tonally) to the Boss DR-55, but the Clef Master Rhythm gives you way more instruments than the Boss DR-55..."
Interestingly, according to the post, it pre-dates the Boss DR-55 - and also came in a kit form like the Amdek.
"The Clef Master Rhythm came out a little before the Boss DR-55 in late 1979/early 1980. It was sold in two versions and available in greater quantities in Europe than in the United States. One version was a kit that the user put together and another one was a prebuilt machine."
A photo from the MATRIXSYNTH post really helps show the similarities in functions with the others:
What does it all mean?
So, looking at all five machines, its almost like there was a rhythm machine salad bar of some sort in Japan, and each company stepped up to it and picked out which features they wanted to include in their product.
And that begs the question - since we know there was a kit form available and there are claims that the Clef Master even has the same circuits as the DR-55, could all five products (and probably others) have used the exact same internal parts - each company choosing which features to include and then customizing in their respective rhythm machine? And if so, were those parts supplied by Amdek, or did all five get their internal parts from some other manufacturer?
And if that is the case, then the question of whether the SR-88 or DR-55 came first doesn t really matter much, since it is likely that the kit components would have been available first. Plus, we have that one auction post with the claim that the Clef Master came out before the DR-55 - making it all even more confusing to figure out.
Or, am I totally off the mark on all this? Were they all created separately? Maybe I ve just been fixated on this a little too much...
I ll keep on looking for more info on these companies and any connection they might have, but if anyone want to buy all four and open them up to take a look - it would be muchly appreciated. :D
Posted by RetroSynthAds at 12:05 PM
Labels: 1982, amdek, clef master, dr-55, drum machine, electro dynamics corporation, keyboard magazine, rmk-100, Sound Master, sr-88, sr-99
Here s a funny thing - I seem to remember Clef in the early 1980s as a British company that made electronic pianos (touch-sensitive ones!) in kit form. Deep in the back of my mind I recall seeing them at a music fair in London with a couple of their pianos and some drum machines including a prototype drum/bass/chord sequencer called something like a "Band-Box". But it WAS a long time ago.
February 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Looks like (for once) my memory didn t fail me. Here is a 1982 ad for Clef Electronics showing all the products I mentioned, plus a natty-looking little monosynth! BTW, I owned an EDC SR99 drum machine in the mid-1980s, but replaced it with a Yamaha RX-21 a couple of years later.
February 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM
1052 Lab Overview
Not that I recommend this level of excitement to everyone, but this is my lab. It is my basement, and as you may note from the disheveled ceiling tiles up above, having this much equipment has actually forced me to purchase a separate AC unit for the basement. So my trendy two-zone AC house has now magically become a three-zone AC house. Fortunately, I didn't need a furnace for down here. Equipment is great in the winter to heat your house!
The lab has taken on a life of it's own over time... It started out as a single standard 7-foot 19" rack. Then it grew to two standard racks... Then it changed into three Ortronics Mighty-Mo 19" rack systems (because those are cool). As seen now, it has changed yet again into four separate rack cabinets. The cabinets are a bit pricey, so they aren't all the same vendor. Note to all, even if you find a really good price on Ebay, be aware that you still have to ship them, and they weigh a LOT! (This means, have lots of friends and lots of pizza/beer!)
Nov'04 -- Well, things have moved even more! The equipment was beating the AC unit that ran for the basement. So instead of being a three-level, three-zone house, we had to upgrade to being a four-zone house. Go figure. As noted above, I would not recommend this path to anyone unless you have a good amount of business to drive it! All of the equipment here is used for testing and lab purposes, but easily serves as Proof of Concept lab for many consulting clients of mine. The recent change was that the crawlspace area under the kitchen area was excavated out and had a concrete floor poured making an enclosed little room. In addition, a large air handler (AKA Mongo AC Unit) was put into that specific room and a door was installed for access and physical separation! While all a very interesting project, it is a pain to move any equipment that you amass, so definitely plan ahead for this sort of activity!
704 What Is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools And Resources - Smashing Magazine
Websites and Web applications have become progressively more complex as our industryâs technologies and methodologies advance. What used to be a one-way static medium has evolved into a very rich and interactive experience.
But regardless of how much has changed in the production process, a websiteâs success still hinges on just one thing: how users perceive it. âDoes this website give me value? Is it easy to use? Is it pleasant to use?â These are the questions that run through the minds of visitors as they interact with our products, and they form the basis of their decisions on whether to become regular users.
User experience design is all about striving to make them answer âYesâ to all of those questions. This guide aims to familiarize you with the professional discipline of UX design in the context of Web-based systems such as websites and applications.
[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that we are publishing a Smashing eBook Series? The brand new eBook #3 is Mastering Photoshop For Web Design, written by our Photoshop-expert Thomas Giannattasio.]
679 Trevor Marshall's ETI3600, ETI4600 International Music Synthesisers and Maplin 3800 and Maplin 5600s Stereo Synthesisers
Many years ago the Australian magazine "Electronics Today International" published my designs for two partly digital, mostly analog, Electronic Music Synthesisers. the ETI 3600 and ETI 4600. Both were made available as kits of components
Barry Wilkinson at ETI was responsible for the final packaging and kitting coordination.
Maplin Electronics Ltd.(in the UK) subsequently picked up the designs, which they marketed as as the Maplin models 3800 and 5600s Electronic Music Synthesisers
At the time I held two Australian provisional patents for the technologies I used in the Synthesiser designs. One related to the method for generating sawtooth waveforms, the other was for the method of using commutated resistors in voltage controlled filters.
I never made any money out of the designs, or the patents, which have long ago been allowed to lapse.
But it was fun!
The original constructional articles for the ETI 3600/4600 can be found in these PDFs: October 1973, December 1973, January 1974, Feb 1974, March 1974, April 1974, July 1974, March 1975, April 1975, May 1975, August 1975
Although the earliest (4004) microprocessors were available at that time, it was not until the late-70's that I first started programming fully digital (Signetics 2650 based) Microcomputer systems. Consequently my early digital designs were hardware, and not firmware, based.
Of course, these days, everything in my hardware and firmware is based on software designs - even the interconnections are controlled by the software in the EPLDs and PALs, instead of by wires.
So many things have changed over the years....
Here is a mug shot of the Maplin 3800:
298 The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook
Facebook is a great service. I have a profile, and so does nearly everyone I know under the age of 60.
However, Facebook hasn't always managed its users' data well. In the beginning, it restricted the visibility of a user's personal information to just their friends and their "network" (college or school). Over the past couple of years, the default privacy settings for a Facebook user's personal information have become more and more permissive. They've also changed how your personal information is classified several times, sometimes in a manner that has been confusing for their users. This has largely been part of Facebook's effort to correlate, publish, and monetize their social graph: a massive database of entities and links that covers everything from where you live to the movies you like and the people you trust.
This blog post by Kurt Opsahl at the the EFF gives a brief timeline of Facebook's Terms of Service changes through April of 2010. It's a great overview, but I was a little disappointed it wasn't an actual timeline: hence my initial inspiration for this infographic.
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