Which was the first production duophonic synth?

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Automatic Gainsay
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Which was the first production duophonic synth?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:55 am

While there have been traditional arguments between the ARP Odyssey and the Sonic Six in regard to which was actually the first duophonic synth... today, I think I discovered the truth.

In 1969 at Moog, there was talk of a portable non-modular synthesizer. The Moog employee responsible for the 960 module, Gene Zumchak, left that year.

He was hired by Bill Waytena before Bill bought Moog, so that would be in 1970 or 1971. Waytena had Zumchak work with another guy to create the Sonic V. The story goes that "he couldn't sell it because he didn't have a name in the synthesizer industry."

Waytena bought Moog in 1971 or so. So, that would suggest that the Sonic V existed before that purchase.

The company Waytena named "Moog Music" had a NAMM or AES show in 1971 or 1972 that featured the Minimoog and the now rebranded Sonic V. But not the Moog Sonic Six.

The ARP Odyssey came out in 1972.

This means that the MuSonics Sonic V was the first production duophonic synth.
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Re: Which was the first production duophonic synth?

Post by plikestechno » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:01 am

Maybe the EML 100 from 70/71 for the earliest ones?
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Re: Which was the first production duophonic synth?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:16 am

Well, if the stories are true about the 100 coming out in 1970 AND being duophonic, it would definitely be the 100.
But resources suggest that the low-note-priority/high-note-priority trick was invented by Tom Oberheim... and I think 1970 predates his implementation of that trick... perhaps he didn't come up with it?

I've asked Laurie Spiegel about it... I'll let you know what she says.
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Re: Which was the first production duophonic synth?

Post by CZ Rider » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:52 am

If modular synthesizers count as production models, the ARP (Tonus) 2500 had several choices in multi voice keyboards.
Here is a scan of the ARP 2500 series 3000 keyboards dated April 1, 1971.
Image
Image
This would suggest the ARP Odyssey borrowed the two-voice circuit from the 2500.
Interesting to note both the Sonic Six and ARP Odyssey 1972 brochures claimed each to be a "Polyphonic" synthesizer. It was a latter 1977 ARP black/orange brochure for the Odyssey that used the term "Duophonic".
Sonic Six:
Image

Early ARP Odyssey:
Image

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Re: Which was the first production duophonic synth?

Post by moremagic » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:55 am

yeah, the 2500s had those monster five octave half reverse color keyboards and could play up to four notes on the fanciest arrangement: an ody style duophonic on the white accidentals and another one set up on the section with black accidentals

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