Monday, October 26, 2009

Roland System 100, Contemporary Keyboard 1977

Roland System 100 modular synthesizer from page 27 of Contemporary Keyboard Magazine February 1977.

One thing that always bugs me when reading old Contemporary Keyboard magazines is that it is sometimes months between seeing a new piece of gear in the Spec Sheet section and then seeing it in an ad or a Keyboard Report. Roland didn't advertise synthesizers consistently around this time, so the System 100 fell into this trap.

The Roland System 100 was announced in the Spec Sheet section of the May/June 1976 issue of CK but it looks like it wasn't until about eight months later that this ad appeared. And unlike the Oberheim 2-Voice that was also announced in the same Spec Sheet section, the System 100 announcement didn't include a photo *and* it had to share it's announcement space with its little brother the SH-2000 preset synth. Booo!

According to the Spec Sheet section, the System 100 listed for $1,950 US - and the ad mentions that you could purchase all the components for under $2000, the equivalent to about $5,800 US in today's dollars. Roland was smart to also mention that you could purchase the components separately in this ad, because other synthesizer ads appearing in the same issue were hitting a much lower list price 'sweet spot' at the time - sitting around $600-700 US ($1800-2100 in today's dollars).

For example, advertisements for the Micromoog and CAT in the February 1977 issue were throwing out list prices of $695 and $599 respectively, and even Oberheim's ad was pushing the $695 SEM module as a starting point for its 2-, 4- and 8-Voice synths.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but this issue would have come out after the Xmas gift-spending spree so many buyers would have less in their pockets to spend on synthesizers. Pushing products with lower list prices would be a smart strategy on the part of the gear companies.

I don't have the list prices for the the System 100's separate components, but if they fell even remotely close to the prices listed in these other ads, Roland maybe should have included some pricing info for the separate components to help themselves with the inevitable price comparisons that readers would be wanting to make.

Anyways, check out a few of these sites for more info on the System 100:

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