After seeing a vintage marketing poster for the Frogg Compu-Sound that made the bold claim “Throw all your pedals away!”, I had to track down some more info on this device and hear it playing. I could only find one video, which I’ll include here for you – and quality information about the unit was even harder to come by. I had to piece together the history of the company from advertisements, articles translated from Spanish, and archives of long dead websites documenting the unit. It’s actually a fascinating little device, and it sounds awesome!
These are more rare than the haunting instrument known as the Ondes Martinot, though considerably cheaper. If you find a Compu-Sound, you can only expect to drop at least $3k for one. Pocket change, right?!? Especially when compared to the street value of the Ondes Martinot, a rare instrument made in the 20's at a limited run.
First marketed in 1972, the unit only lasted until about 1976. The units are extremely rare today, seeing as only 100 were produced in the company’s short run. Current listings are actually fairly priced around $2,500 when you adjust for inflation. They were originally sold for $500 – according to the US Inflation Calculator, $500 in 1972 amounts to $2,916.28 today!
I love the names of these presets, especially "High Bite Manual Wa-Wa." So cool:
The Frogg Compu-Sound has 99 pre-set effects, including Envelope Follower, Arpeggio, Automatic Wa-Wa, High Bite Manual Wa-Wa, Notch Flanging, and Vowel Sound Manual Wa-Wa. Its function has been described as “basically a filter with an envelope follower”, but I find that to be a little underwhelming considering the range of sounds you can pull from this thing – as well as the digital integration being cutting edge for the time!
Yeah, seriously. Watch the video. The range of sounds are out there...
The Frogg Compu-Sound’s only cited claim to fame is that it was used to record the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. That’s a pretty good achievement for having only manufactured 100 units! Listening to the demos of the presets, I am certain that the Compu-Sound was also used in millions, possibly billions, of 70s porno films.
Saturday Night Fever eh? Perhaps John Travolta has one of these hanging out in his garage gathering dust. If that's the case, Hey John, You wanna help a brother out?!?