We pick up our countdown of the ugliest synths ever with this extremely rare monstrosity, the clear version of the already rare Gleeman Pentaphonic (how dorky is that name?). Only 20 of these were built, so maybe even Gleeman knew. On paper, the idea of a clear synth whose guts you can see from the outside is kind of cool, but this is one of those cases where the reality just didn't live up to the promise.
8. Moog Sonic Six
Based on the Sonic V, a synth made by Musonics, who eventually bought out R.A. Moog, the Sonic Six clearly doesn't look much like prior synths with Moog's name on them. An awkward-looking panel layout and that lovely blue and brown combo we saw previously with the EML Electrocomp 100 combine to make for a pretty homely instrument. Not many of these were made, with most of them being used in educational facilities.
9. Multivox Firstman SQ-01
This is one synth whose ugliness totally makes me want one. Featuring a membrane keyboard (who ever thought those were a good idea?) and built-in sequencer, the synth section of the SQ-01 was quite simple, but MAN what a sound. Really thick, wooly synth bass.
I used to be a video editor. If I walked by this quickly, I'd swear it was a Beta deck. I'll let you decide if that's a good thing or not. Although it was not very well-known, those who have Voyetra Eights rarely sell them. Many consider it to be one of the best-sounding polysynths of the era. You can spot one being used in New Order's "Perfect Kiss" video.
11. Oxford Synthesizer Company Oscar
Look, the Oscar is an amazing synth, no two ways about it, but what a visual trainwreck! The Oscar was definitely one of the most unusual synth designs out there, and I suppose that makes it beautiful in its own way.
Maybe "ugly" isn't the right word, but the panel of this French synth is a chaotic jumble that looks more like engineer with attention deficit disorder's schematics than synth controls. I've never used one before, so perhaps it's a joy to program, but that layout makes my head ache just from looking at it.
Stay tuned for our third and final installment tomorrow!