Moog Song Producer 12-page introductory guide/brochure from September 1985.
I'm sure I'll get to some of the other documents in future posts, but for now, lets unfold that introductory guide and see what's up.
Once unfolded, it's the photo on the front page that directs the eye's attention. This is the same photo that gets passed around *a lot* in Facebook synth forums and elsewhere - yellow paper background and all. Who can't appreciate that Song Producer hardware sitting atop a "portable" Commodore SX-64, with a large 5 1/4 inch floppy sitting askew on the keyboard? For me, it doesn't get much better than that.
I'd always wondered where that image had originally come from. So imagine my surprise when I unfolded this brochure for the first time and there it was! Made me quite happy.
The document itself is quite long - some may say "wordy". And that might be an understatement. But, it is a quick-start guide in the same vein as the also-wordy 250+ page manual, so its not really a surprise that it gets into so much detail itself.
Point being, I'm gonna skip everything between page 1 and 11 in this post. Read it all at your leisure to learn a great deal on how Song Producer worked. For now, jump right to back page., because that's where the real fun begins.
First, I'd like to take a long lovingly gaze at that image in the middle of the page.
Did you see it? Isn't it twenty kinds of awesome? No. It's not.
Its twenty-one. :)
Moog has a history of creating great illustrations to promote their products, like this one from 13 years earlier (see right). Love both images so much I tweeted both pieces of artwork the other day.
Okay, enough drooling... let's move on. Also on that back page is a great little summary, providing us with some historical insight into how Moog Electronics was positioning Song Producer in a market place that was quickly becoming crazy about MIDI. I've typed it all out so you don't have to go looking for it in the scans above:
"At Moog Electronics, Inc., we believe that MIDI interfaces with only MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU connections should NOT become the "standard" for musicians. The Song Producer's MIDI/DRUM/SYNC module and bundled software package are an important step that extends the usefulness of many devices orphaned by simpler MIDI interfaces. It also solves many of the problems with MIDI.
Significant third party software is now available for this interface. The general nature of the system will attract OTHER software programmers who have nothing to gain by supporting only one interface. The Song Producer Interface simply has more to offer the talented programmer.
In the final analysis, musicians will vote--with their purchases--for the limitations they wish to live with."Sure, a few other MIDI cartridges had good old fashion sync, but as far as I know the Moog Song Producer was the only C64 unit that included trigger outputs - and not just one or two... but EIGHT. This is a great addition to anyone that has kept their pre-MIDI drum brains or even synths such as a Modular Moog around.
But it wasn't just hoarders of pre-MIDI gear that Moog was marketing to - they were also directly targeting third-party programmers in order to entice them to write their own software for Song Producer. They say there is third party software that is already written, but I haven't tested any other Commodore 64 software with this hardware either. I'll put that on my to-do list. :)
Ominously, Moog ends the brochure suggesting that musicians will vote with their wallets, and sadly Moog Electronics would loose the MIDI interface battle a few years later when the company was sold and the manufacture of all proprietary products was halted.