A new ferocious breed Cherry Audio’s Octave Cat synthesizer is an emulation of The CAT duophonic synthesizer released by Octave Electronics in 1976. Designed in collaboration with the designer of The CAT, the Octave Cat retains all the grunt of the fat, wild sound of the original hardware and reproduces its aggressive resonant filter. The Octave Cat features the flexible modulation, screaming oscillator cross-mode and tight oscillator timing of the original hardware, plus enhanced polyphony, a powerful integrated effects suite, and a versatile two-step sequencer.
1976: Year of CAT :
In the early 1970s, portable synthesizers were a rarity and few musicians could afford the legendary Minimoog or ARP Odyssey synthesizers. Realizing this, a small group of engineers from New York City, led by the brilliant 22-year-old Carmine Bonanno, decided to shake things up and create affordable synthesizers with innovative features, starting Octave Electronics, which became Octave-Plateau™.
Based on their own development of the modular system, Bonanno and his team set out to create a synthesizer that would not only be accessible to novice musicians, but also have revolutionary features. The result is The CAT, an elegant and easy-to-program mono/duophonic synthesizer with an innovative feature set including cross-mode, adjustable sample and hold, extensive modulation, dual sub-oscillators, combinable waveforms, two types of oscillator sync, and low pass filter with unique powerful resonance.
Even more revolutionary was the 1976 price of just US$599, a watershed for musicians who couldn’t afford the more expensive alternatives. It attracted the attention of more affluent musicians, who praised its exceptional performance and versatility. The CAT has been used by such notable electronic artists as Devo, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Dave Greenslade, Split Enz (notably for the keyboard break on their hit “I Got You”), and more recently by The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers.
The CAT synthesizer remains an iconic piece of musical technology, embodying Octave’s legacy of groundbreaking innovation and relentless pursuit of making audio and music technology accessible to all.