The very rare Steiner-Parker Minicon was released in 1977 as a simplified version of the Synthacon. Instead of three VCOs, the Minicon has just a single analog oscillator, but thanks to Steiner-Parker's engineering they claimed it actually sounded more like two oscillators, and was incredibly stable too, which was a very important feature at the time compared with some of its more popular competition.
Flanked by classic solid wood end-panels, the four-octave keyboard is graced by a clean, simple and logically laid out control panel with 17 knobs (and 19 switches) for total hands-on control. The keyboard itself could be switched between three different octave ranges (low, middle and high) and had portamento and a pitch bend knob.
The oscillator offered two waveforms (saw or square) plus a pulse-width mode as well as an independent noise source, continuously variable from white to pink noise. The resonant filter section offered three modes: low pass, band pass or high pass. A unique envelope section had Attack and Decay controls, plus ACD (attack converted to delay), which allows delayed envelopes for double attack effects. The VCA can be triggered or enveloped. A simple LFO offers square or triangle waveforms with adjustable speed and depth and is assignable to the filter and the oscillator. Additional features include Sample & Hold, Legato triggers, a CV/Gate interface for use with other gear and an internal headphone driver.
Steiner-Parker was a Salt Lake City, Utah based company formed primarily by Nyle Steiner and Dick Parker. As something of a boutique manufacturer, never achieving the mass-market production scale of Moog, Arp or Sequential Circuits, the synths made by Steiner-Parker between 1975 to 1979 (when the company dissolved) are exceptionally rare and very high in quality.
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- The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
- Polyphony - Monophonic
- Oscillators - 1 VCO plus Noise (variable continuously from white to pink)
- Waveforms - Saw, Square, Pulse-Width
- LFO - 1 LFO with square or triangle waveforms, speed and depth controls. Assignable to the VCF and VCO.
- Filter - Three mode filter: Low, High, Band pass
- Envelope - Attack, Decay, ACD
- Effects - Portamento, Sample & Hold
- Arpeg/Seq - None
- Keyboard - 49 keys with pitch bend knob
- Memory - None
- Control - CV/Gate
- Date Produced - 1977 - 1979
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- Resources & Credits
Images from an original Steiner-Parker product brochure, scanned by Chris Kann.
Reviewed January 2012.
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