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Polyfusion at Knobcon

Polyfusion at Knobcon  ·  Source: Synthtopia

Polyfusion were at Knobcon 2018 with an original Polyfusion Series 2000 modular monster of a synthesizer. Original creator Ron Folkman was there and you can see the glee in his eyes as he talks about coming back to modular at the age of 74 – he thought this sort of synthesis was long dead. Well, Polyfusion is going to get a new lease of life with a plan to reissue the Series 2000 as a new line of smaller and better Series 3000 modules.

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Update: Check out the comments below this article for some clarification and detail from Jim Soloman.

Series 2000

The one they had at the show was built for Toto’s Steve Porcaro back in 1979. It’s been on tour with them around the world but it looks completely pristine and huge! Ron and his partner Alan Pearce originally worked for Moog in the 1970’s but had a few of their own ideas which became Polyfusion. It’s interesting how the font used for the word “Polyfusion” on the synthesizer has a very Sequential Circuits feel about it. Ron claims that they never used a single circuit from Moog, they were all original designs that formed all the usual modules of the Series 2000. This new Polyfusion drive will first focus on small runs of the original, full-sized Series 2000 in order to sort out the requests they’ve had from existing owners.

Original Polyfusion advert

Original Polyfusion advert

Series 3000

The plan is to bring the whole thing down to a more manageable size – does that mean Eurorack? I hope so because the last thing we need is a new format (seems unlikely – see comment below). They say they’ve got a lot of great ideas that they hope will push modular forward just like they did with the Series 2000. “Something we haven’t seen before in modular” is the intriguing comment from Jim Soloman (JMLS – Polyfusion distributor) at the show. They are currently absorbing all the original schematics into CAD and sourcing components, some of which don’t exist anymore. But they believe they can make the Series 3000 sound identical or better than the original. They are hoping to have something to release next year, including a monosynth which (according to Jim’s Facebook page) is being tested at the moment by a few artists. That is very exciting!

So this could be very interesting. Currently Polyfusion makes electrical systems and hasn’t made synthesizers since the 1980s. Apparently, there may be some jostling over who gets to use the name, but hopefully it will all work out.

More information

There’s nothing to see at the moment other than the Synthtopia video from Knobcon. I mean here’s the Polyfusion website but it’s not going to tell you anything helpful. I can’t find anything much on JMLS or Jim Soloman and Jammie Logan who have taken on the distribution of all Polyfusion products. Apparently the dispute over the name and trademark is making it difficult to set up any official accounts online.

Update: There is now an open Facebook group called Logan Soloman (which was previously closed) where you may find some information and developments. And there is a Polyfusion Modular Systems – Series 2000 Facebook group for existing users and interested parties. Check out Jim’s comment below for some more insight.

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4 responses to “Polyfusion comes back to modular after 40 years to give us a Series 3000”

  1. Jim says:

    Hi, thanks for the article. Let me clarify a few things. JMLS is now Logan Soloman, and we have made our group open to the public now. Ron was pretty nervous and didn’t quite say that right. We did have a webpage called logansolomansynthresearch.com but opted for a new domain name that is shorter and will be launched soon.

    Ron has tried to have an official Facebook page and Instagram page, but Logan Erickson and Scott Radke have had them deleted by those companies due to “infringement” or trademark violation. I’m not sure what you are trying to imply by saying this is “weird”, but it’s a very complex situation right now. There’s nothing weird about it! Currently Jammie and I run a Polyfusion Series 2000 Facebook page that we took over from a gentleman named Damir. That is an open group as well.

    The trial at the trademark office is suspended right now for review. So the trademark is in limbo at the moment.

    I’m not sure where you have seen that the mono synth is being tested by artists, because we don’t have one built yet. We just received the keybeds from Fatar to begin building the enclosure and front panel. We do have artists, keyboard techs, and advisors in the industry giving input for the synth and they are all very excited about the specs. We have shown them drawings and ideas and that’s about it. Their input has been extremely valuable in guiding our design decisions. All have called it a player’s synth because we are listening to what they want and really doing our best to implement their suggestions.

    If you look at Sequential’s first product they have a different font for their name. It doesn’t look like they used the similar font until 1978 on the Prophet 5 – at which time Polyfusion had already been in business for roughly 3 years. When you look at the fonts closely you will find that they are in fact different. They come from the same family, but I believe they are slightly different – someone can correct me if I am wrong!

    For the 3000 series – I’m not so sure it will be Euro format. It’s more about shrinking the depth of the system and being able to fit more modules into the same size. That’s the current thought at the moment. The height of the modules are 7 inches.

    If we can reduce the size of an oscillator from 2U wide to 1U wide that would be ideal while keeping the same sonic character. That goes for all of the modules. Reduce the size so we can make a more efficient set up and add some wicked new functionality. Our goal is to make it backward compatible with the 2000 series if at all possible – so keeping the height and unit width increments the same is what’s on the table as of right now. This can all change though, especially if we feel we can’t get it to be backward compatible. The feedback from Knobcon was that people loved the chunky knobs and patch cords. They loved that everything wasn’t as cramped as Euro. These are not my words – they are the words of the folks that came by the booth. So we’re not sure if we want to go down to Euro size. Whatever the final product is – it will be smaller.

    To keep the current customers happy and help some of them out who have the rev 1 heavy cabinets we are doing the 2000 series first. Some want the original size no matter what – so the Series 2000 is still a necessity.

    Thanks for your time,

    Jim

    • Robin says:

      Hi Jim,
      Thanks for the detail and clarification. I wanted to respond to a couple of points just to make sure you’ve not taken anything the wrong way. We like to express ourselves on Gearnews and that doesn’t always translate with the intended humour if it’s read a straightforward news site. By “weird” I meant that it is strange that here you are launching an awesome project into the world and there’s no place to find out any information about it. So we’ve no idea how complex it all is or what the difficulties were because of a lack of information – that all makes some sense now and is less weird 🙂

      The reference for the monosynth came from your Facebook page where you commented on the 4th April “We actually just named it! We’ve tested it with a few artists who have NDAs with us and they seem to really like it”. Again when there’s a void of information then I’ll fill it with what I can find!

      The Sequential thing was just a tease. I thought it historically interesting and wasn’t meaning to imply anything by it.

      Good to see the Facebook pages are open – I will amend the article to reflect that.

      I really appreciate you stopping by and setting us straight.

      All the best
      Robin

      • Jim says:

        Yes, no problem! Not many people know about the trademark battle. When they find out they are upset. It’s been tough to get the word out, because our pages were getting zapped! Sorry for the lack of info as of yet, but we’re trying the best we know how!

        Ok – yes that was testing the name only, I can see how that got mixed up. We went through a few names until all artists agreed that the one chosen was the right one. We didn’t want to have an awesome synth with a stinker of a name.

        It’s my pleasure. We hope to have more info soon and we appreciate the support of you and your readers.

        Thanks

        Jim

  2. Chuck P. says:

    its been three years and still i have not been able to find any information on how things are going and what the status is for the rebuild of the 2000 modular and the new 3000 series. An update would really be great if one can be given.

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