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Roland ProMars & Korg Sigma - - Super Rare or What!?

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:47 pm
by OMNI26
Are these two synths among the rarest out there??

In my 20+ years of searching for, buying, collecting, and trading synths, and in countless visits to pawn shops, mom & pop music stores, and classified ad searches, I have seen a total of ONE Roland ProMars (technically the ProMars Compuphonic, I think!) available for sale....and that was a shady pre-eBay internet deal about 10 years ago that probably wasn't even legitimate.

Also, I have only seen ONE Korg Sigma (on eBay). I've run accross other deals for other Korg "greek letter" series synths (Lambda, Delta) over the years, but no Sigmas. Maybe there have been more of these synths on eBay, but if so I missed 'em.

Moogs, Prophets, Oberheims, etc. have always been so much easier to locate, but why not these two?! I can only guess that, at least here in the USA, they are VERY rare.

But, I have always been curious about these two units. Anyone out there ever lucky enough to own one of either of these? If so, where did you find it? Any comments on the sound? Thanks!

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:00 pm
by solderguy
Saw one Korg Sigma in the past ten years, and purchased it. Cute little machine, well built, very different from the norm. Has two VCOs, each of which feeds it's own preset bank. Can layer up to ten presets at a time ( layering 3 to 5 different presets sounded best to me ). Nice joystick and very very nice mono pressure-response on keyboard. Most of the presets have their own dedicated MS-20 filter module - there are 13 of the Korg-35 modules inside IIRC. A bit too left-field for me, probably have to be a Korg afficionado to really appreciate it. Ended up selling it for the same price I paid for it a couple months later.

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:38 pm
by Analogue Crazy
The Promars is definatly a rare synth. I was lucky enough to own one a few years ago and i loved it. The Promars is the reason im so obsessed with the Jupiter-4. I wish i had not sold it now. I miss it. Oh well, i think the Jupiter-4 is a far better synth.

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 8:44 pm
by OMNI26
Analogue Crazy wrote:The Promars is definatly a rare synth. I was lucky enough to own one a few years ago and i loved it. The Promars is the reason im so obsessed with the Jupiter-4. I wish i had not sold it now. I miss it. Oh well, i think the Jupiter-4 is a far better synth.
Was it really a "monophonic Jupiter-4", as it was originally advertised to be?

I am thinking that probably not too many were even made. They are definitely cool looking beasts! (at least in my opinion)

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 9:26 pm
by system777
The best thing about the JP4 was because of it being monophonic you could CV/Gate it and damn it has some great bass lines...I've found 2 JP's and 3 Sigma's over the years...

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 9:28 pm
by Analogue Crazy
OMNI26 wrote:
Analogue Crazy wrote:The Promars is definatly a rare synth. I was lucky enough to own one a few years ago and i loved it. The Promars is the reason im so obsessed with the Jupiter-4. I wish i had not sold it now. I miss it. Oh well, i think the Jupiter-4 is a far better synth.
Was it really a "monophonic Jupiter-4", as it was originally advertised to be?

I am thinking that probably not too many were even made. They are definitely cool looking beasts! (at least in my opinion)
Yes it was a monophonic Jupiter-4 but it had one big difference, it had dual VCO's. You can tune VCO 2 to intervals on the Promars and use it for detuned sounds. The Jupiter-4 only has 1 VCO per voice in poly mode but in unison has 4 (!). The Jupiter-4 is much fatter than the Promars but can't do these interval sounds. Oh yeah, and the Promars has CV which the Jupiter-4 does not have.

The Jupiter-4 definatly the winner.

Posted: Thu May 01, 2008 10:44 pm
by OriginalJambo
system777 wrote:The best thing about the JP4 was because of it being monophonic you could CV/Gate it and damn it has some great bass lines...I've found 2 JP's and 3 Sigma's over the years...
Don't you mean ProMars?

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 1:46 am
by tim gueguen
Here's Sound on Sound magazine's take on the Sigma.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun01/a ... gsigma.asp

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 2:36 am
by system777
Yep your right I meant ProMars not JP4...

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 6:38 am
by V301H
I saw a Sigma back in December here in New Jersey. It's owned by the guy I bought my CS70M from. He didn't want to sell the Sigma, but gave me a brief demo. It did have a pretty impressive low-end sound with the 32' oscillator setting. According to info on the web, apparently these synths are very common in The Netherlands and go for ridiculously low prices there.

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 7:45 am
by tim gueguen
Hmm, another topic for future research, distribution oddities. I seem to remember someone posting that certain models of the Roland SH series were relatively common in Australia.

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 3:07 pm
by Automatic Gainsay
I have been interested in both of these synths.

The ProMars is definitely more uncommon. I have seen one (maybe two) of them on eBay and one of them for sale outside of eBay, but this was in about 2004 and before.

I have probably seen 4 or 5 Sigmas on eBay. Recently, our own Minime123 was selling one.

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 3:33 pm
by synthshaw
Analogue Crazy wrote:
OMNI26 wrote:
Analogue Crazy wrote:The Promars is definatly a rare synth. I was lucky enough to own one a few years ago and i loved it. The Promars is the reason im so obsessed with the Jupiter-4. I wish i had not sold it now. I miss it. Oh well, i think the Jupiter-4 is a far better synth.
Was it really a "monophonic Jupiter-4", as it was originally advertised to be?

I am thinking that probably not too many were even made. They are definitely cool looking beasts! (at least in my opinion)
Yes it was a monophonic Jupiter-4 but it had one big difference, it had dual VCO's. You can tune VCO 2 to intervals on the Promars and use it for detuned sounds. The Jupiter-4 only has 1 VCO per voice in poly mode but in unison has 4 (!). The Jupiter-4 is much fatter than the Promars but can't do these interval sounds. Oh yeah, and the Promars has CV which the Jupiter-4 does not have.

The Jupiter-4 definatly the winner.
If you set the 2nd oscillator of the promars one octave below the 1st and switch the (dual) sub oscillator on, it gets very fat. trust me.

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 6:32 pm
by Micke
Guess the bass synth :?:

While you're at it, try to see if you can figure out what was used for the weird melody sound that kicks in at the 0:45 mark :)

Micke

Posted: Fri May 02, 2008 6:56 pm
by Shleed
I've played a Sigma at the music shop I used to work in. It was working perfectly, despite been in storage for decades. One thing I noticed was the odd filter design, it was controlled by joystick and you couldn't get 100% LPF or HPF.

I should buy it off my old boss, but he'd probably sell it for €6000 or something due to his lack of knowledge of basically anything.