The year was 1983. We spent the summer delivering newspapers, saving every dime we could, with one goal in mind. Radio Shack was blowing out the Realistic MG-1 Synthesizer for half price - only $249 - and by the end of the summer, the MG-1 would become our very first synthesizer!
Cherry Audio is pleased to announce the release of Surrealistic MG-1 Plus, the latest in our expanding lineup of virtual instruments. Based on the Realistic Concertmate MG-1 synthesizer sold by Radio Shack from 1982 until 1983, the Surrealistic MG-1 Plus is an incredibly accurate recreation that takes the concept of the MG-1 to new heights while retaining the character and soul of the classic original, all for the low, low price of absolutely FREE.
America’s Technology Store
As the 70’s turned into the 80’s, Radio Shack, the world’s largest electronics chain, wanted to break into the lucrative synthesizer market. Working with Tandy and Moog Music engineers, they designed a small, low-priced, portable two-oscillator analog synthesizer that could be sold to retail consumers. To save money, they eliminated common synthesizer features including the pitch bend and mod wheels, and added more consumer-friendly features, like a polyphonic organ section and RCA output jacks. The result was the Realistic Concertmate MG-1, an affordable, quirky, beloved analog synthesizer that ranks as one of the most successful mass-produced analog synthesizers of the 1980s.
1982 Radio Shack advertisement
Released in 1982, the Realistic MG-1 was sold at Radio Shack stores around the world, advertised as a "Price and Performance Breakthrough!" with ads featuring Elton John in a cowboy hat (!). Despite its low price, the MG-1 featured dual analog oscillators and a fat transistor ladder filter, and offered advanced features, including a ring modulator (called “bell tone”), oscillator sync, automatic repeat note triggering, and a polyphonic organ section. The result was an entry-level synthesizer that sounded great. By 1983, with increasing competition from powerful low-priced Japanese synthesizers, sales stalled and Radio Shack slashed the MG-1 price by 50%. At $249, the Realistic MG-1 became irresistible.
Like so many vintage analog synthesizers, the Realistic MG-1 has become a beloved classic, and today they routinely sell for more than they did when new. Capable of deep basses, soaring leads, and unique filtered organs, this little synthesizer remains a great source of analog tones. As with all vintage synthesizers, they are often plagued with dirty sliders and knobs, malfunctioning keyboard contacts, and burned-out components.
Playing our MG-1 takes us back to 1983 and the pure joy of recreating synth sounds from the radio, while learning how to program new patches and compose new songs. Let’s face it, 2020 has been a difficult year for everybody, and we could all use a reminder of happier times. That's why we created the Surrealistic MG-1 Plus, a loving tribute to the Realistic MG-1 that preserves the sound and capabilities of the original, while adding desirable new features that address a few of its shortcomings.
The Surrealistic MG-1 Plus adds adjustable note priority, legato/retrigger, and transpose controls. The polyphonic organ section is now transposable and switchable between the original’s square waves and our new sawtooth waves. Plus, the polyphonic section can now be modulated by the tempo-syncable LFO. Finally, we’ve packed in over 130 presets to get you started, including the original “factory presets,” reproduced using the diagrams in the MG-1 Owner’s Manual. It’s the MG-1 you’ve always wanted, and we hope you enjoy it!
Free? Really?... Really!
The Surrealistic MG-1 Plus is our gift to you this holiday season. You’ll just need to create an account at cherryaudio.com to get it, and it’s 100% free, for everyone. It’s available for both Windows and macOS, in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats. Visit cherryaudio.com today to download the Surrealistic MG-1 Plus!
Happy Holidays from all of us at Cherry Audio! We hope you have a great 2021, and we promise we’ll have a lot more surprises coming your way next year.
Nov 25, 2020