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Micor Coupland Digital Synthesizer, 1978.

Many vintage synths exist without having ever been mass produced.

Take the space-age looking Con Brio ADS 100 & 200 for example, or George Mattson’s PMS Syntar.

These synthesizers, the ones that solely made prototype status, are some of the most intriguing to me. Perhaps it’s their elusiveness that makes me want to know their story!

The Coupland Digital Synthesizer falls into the category of synths that never were - commercially released that is. Like the machine itself, there aren’t even many photos of this synth floating out there. I did find an advertisement featured in Synapse Magazine - via the wonderful Retro Synth Ads blog. The ad features inventor Rick Coupland himself.

The Coupland Digital Synthesizer was a 16-voice polyphonic real-time instrument with a full 88-key keyboard. According to the Wiki page for the synth - which is a hefty article without any references - the idea was first conceived and invented in 1973 by Rick Coupland and John Moore, old friends and systems programmers who were working at Ramada Inns Micor Division.⁣

In the 1970s, digital synthesis was expensive. Due to inadequate funding, the Micor Coupland Digital Synthesizer never made it to the masses.⁣

I wonder where the prototype is now!⁣

References: Encyclotronic, Retro Synth Ads, Vintage Synth Explorer, Wiki.⁣


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