Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 23:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Schreiber <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Paul's "Moog"
>Paul S. designed the Radio Shack Moog! I'll be damned.
Since this pops up every now and then, and I'm taking a break bagging up
7,620 resistors, here is the "story".
Radio Shack has no engineering. Rather, that falls (er...'fell') under TSD
(Tandy Systems Design). Also, twice a year Radio Shack holds a private version
of COMDEX/CES, just for them! Vendors line up 50 deep and present their wares.
Back then (early '80s) about 40% of gear in a Radio Shack was bought 'outside'.
Most electronics was made in a Korean factory that Tandy owned a majority
share called EnCal (EnCal made all of Pioneer's and Alpine's car stereos
So, during one of these mini-trade shows who is on the presentation list
(which TSD got in advance) but a one 'Dr. D. Luce'. Well, when I saw Mr.
PolyMoog on the list I had to see this. So sure enough here he wanders in
with a hand-made small synth. He demos it. Bernie Appel, the #1 decision maker
(er...the *ONLY* decision maker of what went in the store or not) had this type
of conversation (I am giving not exact, but the general idea. It was 16-17
BA: What the f*** is that piece of s***? (BA enjoyed treating all new
vendors this way. This was his equivalent of "Hello.")
DDL: It's a music synthesizer prototype. [Proceeds on a 3 minute demo. You
had 5 minutes to present. Period!!]
BA: (interested, but certainly not going to show it to the Yankee geek) How
the hell do you plug it in?
DDL points out the 1/4" jack.
BA: Where in the holy hell, in my store (they were always referred to as "my
stores") does that thing go? Up my ass?
See, RS had not a single piece of gear that had 1/4" jacks! All RCA. BA knew
DDL at this point looks like he's gonna puke. He's quivering & sweating like
a whore in church (sorry, that's another BA expression!)
BA: Play me a tune. [DDL one-fingers a classical thingy.]
BA: That damn thing busted? What's with this 1 finger shit?
[DDL explains about monophonic blah blah blah.]
BA turns to me.
BA: You know what the hell he's talking about?
Me: (thinking this is a trick question) Err...yeah.
BA to DDL: We'll look at it. NEXT!!!!
So began the Luce/Schreiber effort. What he had was the boards out of a
Minimoog, no A440 osc, no noise, in a box. So, I got handed that, designed
the MG-1 version (added the organ stuff BECAUSE BA was convinced that typical
RS customers wanted more than 1 note). Added RCA jacks, ring mod do-dad. Then,
had to specify parts that Moog never had to use: cheapo pots. I'll admit it:
CHEAPO. They were ALPS and I think we paid (back then) about 23 cents apiece.
That is because the RS gross profit margin was an unheard of 63% (the
average of ALL the Forture 500 is like 8%) and lastly, I spent about 3 weeks
on just the panel layout and color scheme & wrote the Owner's Manual along
with, oddly enough, Steve Leininger who designed the TRS-80. He played a Vox
in a jazz band and BA wanted his opinion as well.
Luce and I went back & forth about 5 months until they delivered the
"pre-production" units. Moog made them, Tandy supplied most of the parts (we
had a company in Japan that bought parts and resold them to Tandy. One day
I'll tell my funny modem capacitor story.)
So, the story was:
a) Moog presented the original idea to RS
b) They dumped it on me. I had to make it "Radio Shack compliant". Which
meant a re-design. Used the 3046 + Tel Labs tempco for the VCO. More
Electronotes than Moog! Moog ladder filter, 3080 VCA. Prototype had mod
wheel; *PUNT!*. Cost like $3. Get real.
c) Moog built it.
d) Tandy had 18 months exclusive. Moog then made the Rogue which is my
design without the organ/ring mod, wheels back on.
e) No, I didn't get a free MG-1 or a Rogue.
f) No, I didn't get alot of money. At that time I was making about $21,500/yr.
Final note: NO!!! I DID NOT pick that stupid black felt that lays over the
sliders, then turns to tar. That was Luce's deal. But, I DID get Luce to send
me *every* piece of Moog literature at the time: still have it!