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The Minimoog, released in 1970, is the archetype of a synthesizer. It was the first instrument of its kind, that was portable and could be afforded by normal (albeit wealthy) musicians. The modular synthesizers that inventor Robert A. Moog introduced before were filling whole rooms and cost a fortune.
Alain R. Pearlman followed the successful curse of the Minimoog and released the Odyssey in 1972 as a scaled down version of their semi-modular ARP 2600. The quirky duophonic synthesizer became their best selling model and found its place in music history under the hands of Herbie Hancock and many others.
The Oberheim SEM, is a monophonic synthesizer module without a keyboard, originally intended to be played by a sequencer. Soon after its introduction in 1974, Tom Oberheim experimented with combining several of these modules to build the first polyphonic synthesizers, the Oberheim 2-, 4-, and 8-Voice.
The Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 was invented by Dave Smith and came out in 1978. Inspired by the architecture and design of the Minimoog and utilising the latest technology, it was the first polyphonic synthesizer that could store complete sounds. Besides its gorgeous design and beautifully sad sound character, it keeps some fascinating secrets under its panel.