Gleeman Pentaphonic

Gleeman Pentaphonic Image

The Pentaphonic is a five-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1982. It was designed by brothers Al and Bob Gleeman and featured three DCOs for a stable and juicy analog sound. The Pentaphonic was in the running against such classics as the Sequential Prophet-5, Moog Minimoog and Polymoog, and the Oberheim 4-Voice. But the Gleeman Pentaphonic (and the Pentaphonic Clear) are extremely rare! Only about 30 Pentaphonics and 20 Pentaphonic Clears were ever made.

In addition to three oscillators per voice, the Pentaphonic has a four-pole lowpass resonant filter with an ADSR envelope, a VCA with ADSR, an LFO, and built-in chorusing (slow or fast). There is also a handy 300-note capacity sequencer on-board for simple real-time recordings that you can play along with. There's also a cool X/Y joystick for controlling pitch and mod effects. Some models also had a Presetter added which gave it 100 patch memories and eight digital waveforms.

Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic Image

The Clear model is unique because of its transparent plexiglass case. It was also designed to be strapped on like a guitar for live use. The standard models had a boring black case and a built-in speaker. Their demise has been blamed on the rise of the digital revolution as led by the Yamaha DX7. They went out of production in 1983, but the Audities Foundation had bought, restored and built some since. Audities-built Clear versions have green circuit boards. They have been used by Moog Cookbook, Imperial Drag, and Alabama. Originally selling for $2800 to $3400, they now go from anywhere from $700 to $5000 depending on the condition.

Read a very detailed history of the Gleeman Pentaphonic story here, written by Joey Swails.

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9 Visitor comments
Louis
July 30, 2011 @ 8:20 am
I have one. Not clear. Very fat sounding with a digital edge to it. The samples on this page are just stepping thru the raw oscillators. It had a nice filter section, a simple sequencer, and was nice and small - but beefy.

It was an amazing instrument that gave me many hours of pleasure. I gotta get it working again. Wonder how much it's worth?
Richard Paschal
March 11, 2011 @ 11:25 pm
Another great musician who used the Gleeman Pentaphonic was the late Kevin Gilbert. Early in his career he recorded an album called NRG with the Gleeman listed as one of the many instruments he played. The album's out of print but for those interested, the NRG tracks are available at his website as free downloads here: http://www.kevingilbert.com/audio.htm.
Yancey
January 28, 2010 @ 1:05 am
I had a clear Pentaphonic that sounded kick ass. You could really get some great sound out of it if you knew how to work it. I really got a chuckle out of the guitar strap thing as it would have crippled you after about half a gig. Way to heavy for my back at least. Mine caught fire mid jam and went out making some really wacky noise.
Dee
May 24, 2009 @ 2:37 pm
Such a rare synth, I imagine that most of the voters (15) who rated this synth have never touched one.
 
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VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 3.06 (101 Votes)

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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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 5 voices
  • Oscillators - 3 VCO's
  • LFO - One with sine wave modulation; routes to VCO, VCF or VCA
  • Filter - 4 dB/oct with cutoff freq, resonance and EG amount. Has dedicated ADSR EG to filter.
  • VCA - ADSR envelope
  • Keyboard - 37 keys (3-octaves)
  • Sequencer - 300-note realtime "sketch-pad" sequencer
  • Control - None
  • Date Produced - 1982

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