A synth manufacturer that existed from 1975 to 1979. Although the company existed for a short period of time, it introduced several unique products that influenced later synth design.
The company was founded by engineer / trumpet player Nyle Steiner and engineer Dick Parker. While Parker concentrated on the cases and packaging of the circuits, Steiner handled the circuit and instrument design. Among the products produced by Steiner-Parker were:
The Synthasystem, a modular synth system
The Synthacon, a three-VCO monophonic synth based on Synthasystem circuits
The EVI, or Electronic Valve instrument, a controller designed to emulate the user interface of a trumpet and be familiar to brass-instrument performers.
The Microcon, a scaled-down version of the Synthacon
The Multiphonic Keyboard, a master keyboard that output a CV/Gate interface
Steiner’s motivation originally for founding the company was to develop and market the EVI. However, because Steiner was unhappy with the results he got when using the EVI with synths on the market, he began developing his own synth designs to be used with the EVI. This grew into the Synthasystem and Synthacon products.
The Microcon was originally intended to be used as part of a guitar synthesizer. Guitar maker Hagstrom had developed, along with Ampeg, a guitar that could output CV/gate signals based on fret sensors, called the Patch 2000 system. The Microcon was to have been the synth that would be packaged with the Patch 2000-equipped guitar, but Hagstrom never brought the system to market. Instead, Steiner-Parker sold the Microcon as an expander. It was notable for its small size; it contained a complete monophonic VCO-VCF-VCA voice in a box that could be held in one hand, a notable accomplishment for 1970s technology.
The misleadingly named Multiphonic Keyboard did not in fact output multiple control voltages. What it did do was arpeggiation; it contained one of the first arpeggiators. The 49-key keyboard had controls to its left that controlled pattern and arpeggiation speed; Steiner-Parker marketed it as an alternative to analog sequencers that had to be laboriously hand tuned.
After the company shut down in 1979, Steiner took the EVI design to Crumar, which put it into their production; Steiner himself continues to build them today. None of the other products was ever produced again, although the Steiner filter has appeared as a module from several modular manufacturers, some of which Steiner himself consulted on.
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