Just for fun, we have listed some classic synthesizers and drum machines in their model number order. This was originally compiled into a children’s numbers chart to mashup the LEGO toy, learning numbers and Synthesizers.
It was interesting to see that most of the famous synths fit into a 1 to 10 sequence. Although we had to apply some ‘artistic licence’ for 4 and 9. A Roland TR909 could have been used for number 9!
1) Linn LM-1
The Linn LM-1 Drum Machine was manufactured by Linn Electronics and released in 1980. It was one of the first programmable drum machines and the first to use samples of real acoustic drums. See more here.
Notable users: Human League, Gary Numan, Mecano, Icehouse, Michael Jackson, Prince and Genesis.
2) EMU Emulator 2
Released commercially in 1984 to huge acclaim, the Emulator II was E-mu’s second sampler. Like the original Emulator, it was an 8-bit sampler, however it had superior fidelity to the Emulator.
Notable users: Stevie Wonder, Front 242, Depeche Mode, 808 State, New Order, ABC, Genesis, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Herbie Hancock, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Yes, OMD, Stevie Nicks, and Mr. Mister
3) ARP Odyssey MK 3
Odyssey Mk III was introduced in 1978, with a redesigned chassis and orange-on-black color scheme consistent with other contemporary ARP instruments.
4) Mellotron M400
The Mellotron was invented in 1963 It was a keyboard that played back sounds stored on magnetic tape. When a key was pressed it would trigger a tape loop of a single note played by orchestral instrument. See more here.
Notable users: Beatles, Moody Blues, King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, OMD and Tangerine Dream
5) Sequential Circuits Prophet-5
The Prophet-5 is an analog synthesizer. It was the first fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer introduced in 1978.
Notable users: Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Tangerine Dream, Madonna, Patrick Cowley, Dr. Dre, Too Short, Radiohead, John Carpenter, Alan Howarth, and John Harrison.
6) Roland Juno-6
The Juno-6 appeared on the market in 1982, and was the first polyphonic synth to be sold for under $2,000.
Notable users: Duran Duran, Enya, Sean Lennon, Sneaker Pimps, Erasure and Banco De Gaia.
7) Yamaha DX7
The Yamaha DX7 is a synthesizer manufactured by the Yamaha Corporation from 1983 to 1989. It was the first successful digital synthesizer and is one of the best-selling synthesizers in history.
Notable users: A-ha, Kenny Loggins, Kool & the Gang, Whitney Houston, Chicago, Phil Collins, Luther Vandross, and Billy Ocean.
8) Roland Jupiter-8
The Jupiter-8, or JP-8, is an eight-voice polyphonic analog subtractive synthesizer introduced by Roland Corporation in early 1981.
Notable users: ABBA, Devo, Depeche Mode, BT, Duran Duran, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Howard Jones, Stevie Nicks, OMD, Ray Parker, Jr., Queen, Tangerine Dream, Tears for Fears, Ultravox, and ZZ Top.
9) Moog Minimoog (Featuring *9* analogue circuit boards)
Released in 1971, the Minimoog was the essential Prog keyboard.
Notable users: ELP, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Gary Numan, Abba
10) Sequential Circuits Prophet-10
In 1981, Sequential released a 10-voice, double-keyboard version, the Prophet-10.
Notable users: Tangerine dream, TheOrb, The Who, the Pet Shop Boys, Vangelis, Genesis, the Human League, and John Carpenter
A few more 8s
The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, commonly known as the 808, is a drum machine manufactured by the Roland Corporation between 1980 and 1983. It was one of the first drum machines to allow users to program rhythms instead of using preset patterns.
The Yamaha CS-80 is an analog synthesizer released in 1977. See more here.
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