MATRIXSYNTH: Search results for Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gleeman Pentaphonic

Click here for shots via this auction.

"Only 50 ever made - so this is probably the last time you will see one again - this rare beast sounds like a cross between Moog / Oberheim and the Prophet synths and the has the film soundtrack fx side of the VCS3 so is killer for film soundtracks - the Gleeman is in tip top condition and has been recently serviced by a reputable UK company - it comes with mains 110>240v transformer - the total shipping weight is 26kg so email me your area/postal code / country for shipping quotations - I originally paid £2000.00 for the Gleeman Pentaphonic - remember this is one of the very rarest synths out there - you will definately not see another one and it sounds like no other - here is what has been said of the legendary Gleeman Pentaphonic:

The Gleeman Pentaphonic
by Joey Swails (

The Gleeman Pentaphonic was introduced in 1981 by the Gleeman company, a partnership of two brothers, Bob and Al Gleeman. They were based (in the grand old Silicon Valley tradition) in their garage in Mountain View, California.

I met Bob Gleeman at the 1982 AES show in Anaheim, while I worked for Don Wehr's Music City in San Francisco. I was blown away by the Pentaphonic's sound; Bob came around the store a soon after, and we became the first authorized Gleeman dealer.

The story goes that the Pentaphonic came about when Bob decided that he wanted a synthesizer like a Prophet-5, but smaller and more portable. His "smarter brother" Al, a computer hardware designer, basically designed the synth from the ground up, working from his brother's description of what a polyphonic synthesizer should do.

It was in actually a digital/analog hybrid -- the filters and amps were based on the same Curtis chips that were used in the Prophet, ARP and Octave machines. The oscillators were digital, as were the ADSRs. The machine was based on the Intel 80186 microprocessor, which was very advanced for it's time. In fact, it used two 80186's -- one for the keyboard/transpose functions, the other for waveform and amplitude control. One thing led to another and they decided to try to market the machine after everyone who heard it told them how great it sounded. They had wanted to call it the "Gleeman Minstrel", since their family name Gleeman means "minstrel." But there was another machine on the market called Minstrel (the Basyn, by Grey Labs), so they settled on "Pentaphonic".

The oscillator section featured 3 oscillators, each with a selection of 8 waveforms. The waveshapes were fixed, in that there was no pulse-width modulation. Instead it offered 3 choices of pulse widths. There were two "digital" waveforms with lots of high, bell-like overtones which had a distinctive, almost FM-like sound when selected.

There was an octave switch on each oscillator (hi/low) and a "chorus" switch that actually detuned oscillators 2 and 3. Interval tuning of the oscillators was not introduced until the programmable version was made, and the intervals were part of the program, selected by pressing keys on the keyboard. There was also a Transpose control that shifted the entire tuning of the machine in half-steps over a one octave range.

It was a standard Prophet-type control set, with one filter ADSR and one volume ADSR. The filter section had the standard cutoff, contour amount and resonance dials. The layout was basically that of a MiniMoog, including an oscillator mixer that included a pink noise control.

One drawback was a lack of a keyboard tracking filter setting, which was explained to e as being impossible due to the way the keyboard controlled the oscillators. Another as that it also lacked a provision for a sustain pedal.

The keyboard system was unique in that it was not based on the same serial-scanning system developed by Tom Oberhiem used by virtually every polyphonic synth, but was rather a parallel port that had an input point for each of the 37 keys. This made for a very fast, responsive keyboard, but made it difficult to derive an analog voltage
to use for filter tracking.

The first Pentaphonic's joystick was only a pitch bend lever, but later they upgraded it to allow for pitch bending and modulation of either the pitch or filter cutoff. There was also a simple, real time, one-track sequencer built in, but with the unique eature of being able to play back the sequence while playing the keyboard with the joystick and transpose control effecting only the notes played on the keyboard.

The original Gleeman Pentaphonic retailed for US$2795 and featured a 6X9 inch "car speaker" with amplifier built into the back of the cabinet. The price included an injection molded road case (actually a Samsonite suitcase customized with form-fit molding inside to hold the synth and a "Gleeman" nameplate glued over the "Samsonite" label.)

In 1982, the programmable version was introduced. I had told Bob from the beginning how much better (and more marketable) the Pentaphonic would be if it were programmable (as the Prophet-5 was setting the standard for analog synths in these days.) The "Presetter" used a two-digit thumbwheel selector next to the joystick with a toggle switch. The first 50 programs (designed by the Gleemans with help from
myself and Keith Hildebrant, who later worked for Opcode and authored several sound sample disks) were in ROM memory and the second 50 were user programmable. The toggle switch allowed for either instant recall as the thumbwheels were changed, or in the second position the patch remained in performance memory until the wheels were changed and the switch was toggled into the "recall" position. A small recessed red
button was the "write" switch. Unfortunately there was no provision for off-loading of programs. The programmable version retailed for US$3295.

I sold Oscar Petersen his Pentaphonic a few months after we became a dealer. He was playing a concert in town nearby and came into the store just to kill time after the soundcheck. He started playing on the Pentaphonic and didn't stop for two hours, while a small crowd gather to listen. He told his road manager he had to have one, and Bob and I delivered it to him at the venue the next day.

The greatest thing about the Gleeman was the sound -- it was gorgeous! The pads were thick and rich; the string patches made an OBXa sound almost thin by comparison. The three oscillator sound was very similar to a MemoryMoog in some ways, but with a crystal clarity that the Moog couldn't touch. If it had a weak point, it was that the Gleeman was almost TOO "pretty" sounding -- not a very good "down and dirty" synth. It was no good at the kind of bizarre patches that the Moog and the Prophet were capable of. It lacked a sync mode and the limited keyboard range was a hassle, but within that range, it was a truly lovely sounding instrument.

To address these defects, the Gleeman brothers had plans for a 61-note, touch sensitive, 8-voice version of the synth (I even saw the prototype being built while visiting their workshop). MIDI was just becoming available, and the new machine would have MIDI (though by then programmable Pentaphonics could be retrofitted for MIDI by the shop.)

Unfortunately, by 1984 the Japanese synth builders were flooding the market with inexpensive polysynths (like the PolySix and the Juno 6/60) and the market for a 5-voice machine with a 37-note keyboard and a price tag over 3000 bucks was gone. And oon after that the DX7 was introduced and the market was radically changed. The Gleeman "Octophonic" never saw the light of day, and the Gleeman brothers retired from the synthesizer business. (I heard that years later Al Gleeman went on to invent the laser dentist's drill.) Only 50 or so Pentaphonics were ever made but they still pop up in the keyboard rigs of some major recording artists such as Kansas, The Band, R.E.M. and of course, Oscar Petersen.

But the Gleeman didn't disappear until after it had made a bit of a stir in the synth world with the introduction of the world's only see-through synthesizer -- the "Pentaphonic Clear".

Here are gleeman owner's Harmony central reviews:

Monday, March 30, 2020

Lance Hill of the Vintage Synthesizer Museum

Published on Mar 30, 2020 Vintage Synthesizer Museum

Rare clear Gleeman Pentaphonic in the background. Steiner Parker Synthacon top right.

"An amazing interview with the curator of the Vintage Synthesizer Museum, Lance Hill.
A film by Shayne Keator.
To book an appointment at the Vintage Synthesizer Museum contact:


Update: I asked Lance if he knew how many clear Gleeman Pentaphonics were produced. Here's what he had to say: "Not sure how many Gleeman Pentaphonic Clear's there are. Rumored to be around 25. Funny enough, the guy I bought this one from lived in San Jose, which is just a few miles from where the Gleeman brothers were producing their synths. He told me that the one we have was originally a black one, but when they came out with the clear one, he had them retrofit it into a clear one, so he could wear it as a keytar and walk around with it on stage."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gleeman Pentaphonic Synth Demo

via this auction
video below and at the auction.
"extremely rare vintage 1982 Gleeman Pentaphonic analog synth with original owner's manual... serial number 8110047, from the original owner.

The Gleeman Pentaphonic is a five-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer produced in extremely limited quantities (approximately 75 total, including 50 black and 20+ clear) during 1982. It was designed by brothers Al and Bob Gleeman and featured three DCOs for a stable and juicy analog sound. The Pentaphonic was designed to compete against such classics as; the Sequential Prophet-5, Moog Minimoog and Polymoog, and the Oberheim 4-Voice.

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, such as this one, also had a Presetter added which gave it 100 patch memories and eight digital waveforms."

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Super Rare Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic Synthesizer

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

Here's something you don't see every day.  Although the description states anywhere between 30 and 50 were made, previous accounts state 50 solid black and only 20 clear were made.

"This is a genuine Gleeman Pentaphonic clear synthesizer. I acquired this in 1986 from the original owner. It has spent most of the last 28 years in its case. I did not gig with it. Its been in a smoke free environment. The clear synth case as well as the keys are in excellent condition with no cracks or deep scratches. Everything works. I’ve checked every switch and knob and all are working.

It has been repaired twice. Once in 2008. The red light would come on but no sound. A guy that has experience working with high-end vintage synths repaired it. He said most of its problems were there because it hadn’t been used in almost 2 decades. After playing it and using it for recording I put it back in the case for 6 more years. In 2014 I again got it out and it would power up but I was not able to hear my patches. Again I sent it to the same repairman and again it had some minor issues from not being used for 6 more years plus maybe a little user error. It is now in 100% working order.

For those that don’t know…this is an extremely rare synth. Estimates vary but maybe as few as 30 and maybe as many as 50 of these were made [see above]. The original flight case is included. It is missing a handle and also its interior foam. I’ve been using cloth towels inside the case for padding. The flight case does have an aged look. It will come with a reprint of the original manual as well as a couple of Gleeman advertisements. It will ship FedEx well packed."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic - Phillip Taysom's studio

Ran into this via this gas station thread. Title link takes you to an Oct, 2004 Sound on Sound article on Phillip Taysom's studio. There are some really nice shots there including an Oberheim 8-voice and one of the rarest synths out there, a clear Gleeman Pentaphonic pictured below. Wow.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

1980s Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic Literature

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

" Double sided color original info on the Gleeman Pentaphonic Clear synthesizer system. Early 1980's, good condition, very rare."

See the seller's other items for more.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

1983 POLYPHONY Magazine Featuring Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic Larry Fast Synergy

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

"POLYPHONY Magazine was a promotion of PAIA synthesizers. In this issue are the Gleeman Pentaphonic clear (cover only) Larry Fast of Synergy and Peter Gabriel, EH advert, PAIA pedals + others! In pretty good condition, not perfect but only slight wear overall."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gold Moog Voyager with Clear Knobs

Update 11/6: video here

flickr By Moog Music Inc
(click for more)

That's what I'm talking about...

Pictured top: Richard Devine
Bottom: El P sound lab

The knobs remind me of the clear Gleeman Pentaphonic.  Different shape of course, but both clear.

Update via elestereo in the comments:

"Since late September, there is a thread on the moog forum about the synth. here are the details:

10th Anniversary Minimoog Voyager

Moog will soon be announcing a VERY special and limited Custom 10th Anniversary Minimoog Voyager. Only 5 total of these will be built for the United States (31 total were made).

Price is $15,000.

• Production limited to 30 total worldwide, with only 5 total in the US
• 24 Karat Gold-plated Chassis with Custom Silk Screen
• Clear Polycarbonate Knobs
• Custom Cut Rear Panel with Indigo (purple) Backlit Moog Logo (see photo below)
• Black Piano Lacquer Cabinet and XY Bezel
• Custom 10th Anniversary Cabinet Inlay - Designed and Executed by World-renowned Inlay Artist Larry Robinson
• Gold customizable Voyager Badge
• Gold Headphones Jack
• All Black Rocker Switches and Jacks
• Custom Fleece Dust Cover
• Handcrafted and Bound Manual
• Custom-built Museum-style Wood Shipping Crate
• When will they ship - December"

Updated the title from Chrome Moog Voyager with Clear Knobs to Gold.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Rare Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic

This one spotted by Alex on This one is in Switzerland. The Swiss synth museum, Synthorama had one. You can see my pics from a visit here.

There's a black one listed on eBay US here. Note the built in speaker on the black one missing on the clear one here. Pics for that one captured here. See the Gleeman label below for more.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Synthorama - Moog Modular, Voyetra and Oberheim Room

images here

Some notes on the room:
Upon entering the area, on the left is a massive Moog vocoder and the Moog modulars. Yes, plural. In the far left corner is a Buchla Music Easel. From what I could tell it was not hooked up or working. To the right of the Buchla along the back wall of the room is a Steiner-Parker modular (hooked up and working) and to the right of that were two Voyetra 8s with keyboard controller, also working. On top of the Voyetra 8s was a Gleeman Pentaphonic not hooked up or working as far as I could tell. To my surprise the Gleeman's knobs felt rather light and cheap. For some reason I expected them to have a bit more weight to them. On the right wall of the room, opposite the Moog modulars, were the rest of the Octave Plateau synths followed by the Oberheims. See the images for the specifics.

Remember to click on the "All Sizes" link for each shot you'd like to see full size in the set. Click on the synthorama label below for the full set of posts on my visit to the Synthorama synthesizer museum. Note all images are going up including the "bad" ones.

Update: some notes on the Gleeman and Buchla via Martin: "The Gleeman Pentaphonic Clear also works properly. I have it not connected because I am still searching a better place than it has now. This synth earns a better place !!

Also the Music Easel is working fine. Actually it is not connected, I know. In the whole museum there are not a lot synths which do not work. Some of them have bad keyboard contacts or noisy potmeters or sliders but they are working."

Friday, May 04, 2018

Gleeman Pentaphonic on a rainy day

Published on May 4, 2018 Switched On

"No external effects - Pure Gleeman"

Here's something you don't see or hear everyday. The rare Gleeman Pentaphonic. There was a clear one as well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gleeman Pentaphonic Demo Cassette

via this auction

"This is an original DEMO cassette for the amazing synthesizer: the Gleeman Pentaphonic. Which was a cool RARE 5-voice synth with some advanced features and cool digi waveforms thru analog processing. Amazing sound and even cooler when in the CLEAR case some came in. This will likely be the BEST Gleeman demo cassette you ever find. Go for it!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gleeman Pentaphonic CLEAR Synthesizer

via this auction

"Up for sale is a very rare Gleeman Pentaphonic synth. Supposedly there were only about 70 of these ever made. 50 were black and 20 clear."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Retro Synth Ads

Get ready to get lost for a while. RetroSynthAds just wrote in to let me know they started a blog that will showcase scan synthesizer ads. They plan to post an ad every Monday and Thursday. There are a number of ads already posted including quite a few I haven't seen before. I'm subbed.

Clear Sequential Circuits Pro-One similar in appearance to the clear Gleeman Pentaphonic
Roland Modular systems and more
The Octave Plateau CatStick
The Roland Jupiter-8 Features
The Sequential Circuits Trak line of synths

Be sure to click on the images - these are nice and large.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vintage Synthesizer Museum Featured on ABC Local News

This one in via the Vintage Synthesizer Museum in Emeryville, CA.

This is pretty awesome. It's great to see synths of any kind featured in mainstream news.

via ABC7 News in the Bay area:

"A new East Bay museum dedicated to vintage synthesizers has a collection of instruments that produce unmistakable sounds found in many of the songs of the 1970s and 1980s.

Monday, January 12, 2015 08:24PM
EMERYVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- In today's digital world, an East Bay man is offering up a serious dose of analog at a new museum he just opened to the public.

Some East Bay musicians and engineers have created a unique music space, one that preserves the history of synthesized and music, as well as the instruments which made those sounds in the 70s and 80s, and maybe even more recently.

The Vintage Synthesizer Museum in Emeryville is a place where music lovers can learn, play, rent, or record.

From the classic to the experimental, the museum has instruments that defined more than a decade of music.

Lance Hill is the mastermind behind the collection that acquired piece by piece for more than a decade.

"It's ridiculous," Hill said in regards to his collection, and obviously an addiction. An addiction he used to keep to himself until he found a space for rent.

"I found the studio," he said. "It looked like an old recording studio from the 80s and I just knew that this was the place to have the collection."

The Vintage Synthesizer Museum includes something that's been in magazines with its famous owner, an oddity made of see-through plastic.

Some of the synthesizers on display at his Vintage Synthesizer Museum in Emeryville.

"It was formerly owned by Joe Zawinul of Weather Report. It's kind of in rough condition because he took it on the road," Hill said.

"This clear case, there was maybe 20 of these and I have one of them," Hill said.

It turns out these analog instruments are more than just history. they make sounds that computer engineers still haven't quite been able to imitate. A discerning musician can always tell the difference.

"They sound warm and fuzzy and beautiful," one of Hill's friend's said.

"I don't know, it moves you. It's a little more inspiring," another one of Hill's friends said.

"You are not going to get a computer emulation of this that sounds remotely like this," Hill said.

Unlike digital keyboards, these actually require tuning and they can go out of tune, which some say makes the sound more real."

Joe Zawinul's ARP 2600 and a rare Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic at 1:16.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Clear Case SCI Pro One

Update: Via Carbon111 via the comments:

"That was a one-off I believe. Sequential made it for use in their full page ads for the Pro-one when it came out. "

Interesting. I never know that.

Looks like I'm on an SCI roll... The following isn't a clear Gleeman Pentaphonic, but actually an SCI Pro One. I forget where I got this shot. If you know please share and I'll update the post.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rare Vintage Gleeman Pentaphonic Analog Synthesizer - One of 50 Made

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

"What can I say? Here is the rarest of the rare Gleeman. Only around 50 made. Rare does not make a synth "good" it just makes it rare. If you ask around you will find that the Gleeman sounds incredible. I have owned two in my life. This is the 2nd. Both in black. They also come in clear, but those are even more rare, but who cares about "rare" they sound incredible and a ton of attention to detail went into their manufacture. The keyboard action feels great, the controls are intuitive. I purchased this directly from the man himself in his garage. It is one of the first two made (I believe).."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Evol Fucifier Distortion Synthesizer

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

"Described as a Distortion Synthesizer, Evol Audio's Fucifier is a striking overdrive/distortion processor that features an analogue filter, tape simulation, a vintage germanium preamp and an inductor‑based equaliser. Although not a synthesizer in the usual sense, the Fucifier (pronunciation "deliberately vague”) aims to deliver a tempting menu of grunge and deep, fat saturation to satisfy even the most demanding firestarter, industrial‑noise merchant or metalhead..."

See the listing for the full description pulled from Sound on Sound. See the Evol Audio channel below for previous posts including video.

Those knobs remind me of the clear Gleeman Pentaphonic.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Clear Gleeman Pentaphonic Analog Polyphonic Vintage Synthesizer Brochure

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

Monday, February 10, 2020

The MCS70 by ELKA's Mario Maggi - Only One In Existence Might Come to Soundmit

Published on Feb 10, 2020 Badilevintage

Details on Soundmit with the pics further below.

"Hello everybody , my Hobby it's restore the old Combo organ and Synth.
In this video i show you the test after restored of ultra rare MCS70 made by Ing. Mario Maggi .
The only piece in the world!!"

[Side note: Mario Maggi was the man behind the ELKA Synthex. There was only one previous post that mentioned the MCS70 here on MATRIXSYNTH posted back in 2006. This had me wondering whether there are any other one-off synths, and what are some of the rarest synths out there? There was the ASE Modular also by Mario Maggi. There is only one S.W.A.N but it shares the same synth engine as the Syntar. There was also the ConBrio ADS, protoype Minimoogs if you want to count them, prototype Orchestron (not technically a synth, but...), the original Acxel Resynthesizer, clear Gleeman Pentaphonic (same engine as the solid black ones though), rare EMS synths, rare PPGs (here and here for example), and I'm sure others I forget at the moment. If you can think of any, leave a comment below! BTW, the New Old Label is a great resource for exploring vintage gear that never appeared on the site before. I highly recommend it and the exclusive labels for some of the more exclusive synths out there.] Also see the first synth to post.

via SoundMiT

"The rarest synthesizer on Earth comes back to life thanks to the patient restoration work of two passionate Italian technicians

Recently the Soundmit has been involved in an event of those that happen once in a lifetime.
Two longtime friends, passionate about synthesizers, musicians and technicians, have accomplished a feat deemed impossible.

They have completely restored the rarest Italian synthesizer, the MCS70 designed by Mario Maggi, just him ... the father of Elka Synthex.

The MCS70 is a monophonic synth with many surprises inside, perhaps the most evident in the presence of the presets! In an era in which microprocessors were not yet widespread, Maggi succeeded in the enterprise of creating the first analog, monophonic synthesizer with memories!

There is only one MCS70 in the world and has been owned, for almost 40 years, by Patrizio Fariselli, the famous keyboard player of the Progressive Rock band "AREA".

Recently two friends, one technician (Marco Molendi) and the other a musician (Andrea Manuelli), specializing in the restoration of Italian electronic musical instruments, have succeeded in the impossible task of bringing the instrument back to life.

According to the engineer Maggi, it is not possible to give technical details beyond what can be seen in the video.

Francesco Mulassano of Soundmit was invited by Marco and Andrea during the last phase, that of the toast for the goal reached and in fact is one of the very few people in the world who have seen tried and listened to the instrument that, after so many years, remains a jewel of technique and sound.

Special thanks go to engineer Mario Maggi for the work he has done (and continues to do) in our sector.

We hope to hear the MCS70 in new compositions soon and hope to see it at Soundmit in November 2020!"


Switched On Make Synthesizer Evolution Vintage Synthesizers Creating Sound Fundlementals of Synthesizer Programming Kraftwerk

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