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Print magazine advertisement for the Kurzweil K250
Why Bob Moog stands behind the Kurzweil 250
Right from the start, Kurzweil was building it's brand through advertisements in Keyboard Magazine. There were two previous ads that helped in this respect, the second of which focused on one single aspect of the machine: its spectacular sampling abilities. In particular, duplicating a $35,000 concert grand piano.

This third advertisement piles on another layer to Kurzweil's legendary status by presenting to readers the ultimate endorsement: Bob Moog.

He liked the K250 so much, he joined the company as "Chief Scientist".

Bob Moog's time at Kurzweil isn't as well known as some other time periods - at least not to me. But a bit of digging into my archives and on the Web brought it all back to me.

One of the best sources I've ever come across (which isn't saying much :) is a 1985 interview with Bob Moog by Henning Lohner published in the Computer Music Journal (Vol. 9, No. 4). The three and a half page interview took place in February 1985, only months after Bob Moog took on the full time gig, and contains some great historical information. Coincidentally, it is also the same month this advertisement appeared in Keyboard Magazine!

According to the interview article, Bob Moog met Ray Kurzweil and others from the company in the summer of 1983 when he visited "the very first Kurzweil exhibit at the Music Merchants Convention". The K250 didn't exist as a product yet, but there was a "demonstration of a computer program that you could play at the keyboard".

Bob was initially hired as a consultant for Kurzweil at the beginning of 1984 in keyboard design, in particular "making certain recommendations to improve the keyboard feel" of the K250. Like most consultants, by the end of 1984 he had worked on several products, and was made an offer that was, according to Bob Moog, "very attractive", so his family moved to Boston in the fall of 1984.

When asked by Lohner about his function at the company, Bob replies that "it's a very interesting position, for someone like me who has a lot of ideas, but not much administrative capability". Bob goes on to say that his title is "Chief Scientist", but that "it doesn't really describe what I've been doing. I exist partly in marketing and partly in engineering". Bob also notes that "a very little bit of my work ended up in the Kurzweil 250 sampling keyboard. A lot more will end up in succeeding products".

The interview also discusses all the features, options and pricing of the K250, including sampling, MIDI and computer connections. For example, Bob mentions that Kurzweil chose to work with the Macintosh for its graphic abilities, the compatible operating systems (both were MC680000-based), and the fact that this brand of computer was becoming more popular and readily available.
Keyboard Magazine, pages 74-75
February 1985
Story written by @RetroSynthAds on Thursday, April 21st 2011
document | advertisement | advertising | print | keyboard | synthesizer | innovation | musical instruments | music | Bob Moog | Ray Kurzweil | sound
This item is shared by Philip M Shearer