How old is "Vintage"?

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Tekhed66
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How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Tekhed66 » Thu May 18, 2017 4:14 am

Hi all,

Firstly, fantastic news that the VSE website has been given a new lease on life ... really glad to know we've all got a great, brand-spanking new, healthy website to visit ... hopefully it's all up, up, up from now on.

Which sort of brings me to my question ... how old does a synth have to be to be considered "vintage"? ... now that the website is looking for new content, will this mean that there will be info on additional synths currently not listed in the library? What's the year cutoff between vintage and modern/current? ... just how up to date is the website content willing to go?

All of my gear is old but every now and then I get a hankering for something new-fangled and modern (like a Yamaha MOX series synth) but it's not listed.

Anyway... good luck with the new site. :-)

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Weirdofromouterspace » Thu May 18, 2017 9:11 am

Tekhed66 wrote:info on additional synths currently not listed in the library? What's the year cutoff between vintage and modern/current? ... just how up to date is the website content willing to go?
I don't think that is (nor should be) much of a criterion. For instance, the Arturia Minibrute was released in 2012. The Moog Slim Phatty was released in 2011. For sure, neither of those are by any means 'vintage' instruments :).
Don't forget to TURN ON THE SYNTHESIZER. Often this is the reason why you get no sound out of it. - ARP 2600 manual, 1971

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by jxalex » Thu May 18, 2017 12:22 pm

Hahaa.... :D The good one. Just my idea...

Lets say...by manufacturer --
There are "new" and currently "in production" synths, then there are "supported" instruments, but also "discontinued" products, and "no longer supported" products. Still, if it takes just a 10 years to reach to this point it does not certainly mean vintage by that term. So, it must be even older.

But... what pops into my head is that all these "vintage synths" have in common -- they all have atleast one detail which is hard to obtain *now* (or there are much better replacements instead of that!), but that detail was widely (by truckloads) available before and the use of obscure tricks to get over the technology limitations in that time -- whatever if it is huge size capacitors and resistors or small capacity 16..1024kBit SRAM chips or some obscure transistors for which are now more than 10 better alternatives and it is there, but not in the shop by now!
Also by technology means they have some tricks used which was done becouse of the technology of that time.
(Floppy disc drivers and floppy discs (hey, where from You get those now?!), 32kHz sampling rates, channel multiplexing). All becouse that was the time and the technology by then.

So, perhaps this is enough which classifies the synthesizer as a vintage? :) In some cases there are better alternatives and so all can be substituted with modern details, and capacitors are much smaller for the same capacity, but what I mean that You cant get the same details directly from shop. ;)
Well, the corporations proprietary chips are always outdated by next season and hard to find, unless You work there.

When I dig into some synth and look up its datasheet and I see "not recommended for new designs" or even "no longer in production", then it must be a vintage synthesizer. ;-)

Still, here are listed the synths which does not follow that criteria and are just couple years old and all parts available.


Whereas the Prophet 6 is not a vintage. It has too much modern technology inside, along with digital effects onboard, all of which are available. But it would be automatically vintage by my criteria if it would have atleast
a) common average floppy disc drive which was produced 30 years ago which was widely available by then,
b) some old SRAM memory chips, instead of flash memory
c) electrolytic capacitors which are 12V 1000uF, but with a size of 20x90 mm.
or 4000uF 25V capacitor which is in a size of 0.25 litre bottle. (this was common by 1990).
Take your pick. :D

BY technology I would say that having a solderable battery onboard would make instrument vintage too perhaps (or if they have battery at all! Since that trick was used by that time on older synthesizers but vanished with progress of the flash memory?) Still, all those batteries are widely available, which maybe is, maybe not criteria when looking this way...
Also carbon pots do not make the synthesizer real vintage as they are widely available by now, and just that the company provides small limited supply, does not count (Behringer has always provided only limited amount of spares).

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by salwa » Thu May 18, 2017 1:01 pm

I have vague memories of this topic being discussed here and someone (one of the mods I think) claimed, that "vintage" is anything pre-DX7. I forgot why. But at least that's some kind of definition ;)
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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Rasputin » Thu May 18, 2017 2:37 pm

I agree with the idea that it's not so much about time frame but rather something containing a technological approach that's no longer relevant, been abandoned, superseded, etc.

Vintage (for me) is something that most of the world has moved on from, the kind of thing someone might not find useful anymore because it was either a fad, or something "better" or at least more convenient came along. Vintage is the type of thing you find in a closet, attic, or stored under a bed because there was an aspect to it that meant it wasn't conveniently modern enough to use regularly or keep in circulation. At least until it becomes a trend again, or whatever quirk it has can't be easily found in new equipment because the quirk is seen as an obsolete waste of time/money.
Last edited by Rasputin on Thu May 18, 2017 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by pflosi » Thu May 18, 2017 2:37 pm

Vintage = vingt ans d'âge

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Weirdofromouterspace » Thu May 18, 2017 2:49 pm

it just came to my mind that one particular instrument shows how difficult it is to define 'vintage'.

I'm speaking, of course, about the Model D a.k.a. Minimoog. I think most people would agree a 1974 Minimoog is a "vintage" instrument since it's over 40 years old now. Now the Minimoog is in production again (please let's not enter a 'this is no Minimoog and, as such, total cr@p because an extra LFO has been added' discussion now ;)). Which makes the Minimoog an instrument which is available brand new and factory sealed in 2017. Thus definitely not vintage.
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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Tekhed66 » Thu May 18, 2017 2:53 pm

pflosi wrote:Vintage = vingt ans d'âge
Well that settles it then ... if we go by calendar date, anything pre-1997 is fair game.

The technology angle might be a bit harder to define ... so many current synths are harking back to the 'golden age' of synths ... what's old is new (modular synths anyone?) ... lots of gear now also sprout cv/gate outputs as well as the usual USB/WiFi/mind-meld outputs so there's a blurring between old and new.

Maybe there should be a yearly cutoff so that each year we can look forward to a new collection of synths becoming eligible for vintage status and included in the VSE database.

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by desmond » Thu May 18, 2017 3:44 pm

"Vintage" is anything an eBay seller wishes it to be... ;)

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Tidda » Thu May 18, 2017 4:16 pm

Tekhed66 wrote:
pflosi wrote:Vintage = vingt ans d'âge
Well that settles it then ... if we go by calendar date, anything pre-1997 is fair game.
Let me unsettle it again then by saying the word is derived from 'vin' (wine), not 'vingt' (twenty). ;)

Tidda

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by pflosi » Thu May 18, 2017 5:07 pm

Well, the expression originated in vine circles, originally...

There actually is an etymological debate that I ignored on purpose. It could be derived from "vendange", which is the collection of vine grapes. The other version is more plausible, though, IMO, and more relevant in this discussion :thumbright:

Apart from that, I think it would be silly to restrict the front page reviews to things that must have a certain age. Everything goes, if someone is willing to provide a nicely written review.

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by madtheory » Thu May 18, 2017 5:33 pm

desmond wrote:"Vintage" is anything an eBay seller wishes it to be... ;)
LOL.

Lots of new synths are "vintage" IMO, in that they use vintage tech- all those monosynths for example.

So ya, it's all fair game IMO.

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by Jabberwalky » Thu May 18, 2017 7:15 pm

This site was started in 1997 I think. So by that standard, a Dx7 mk1 would have only been 14 years old!

Wayback machine has the earliest entry of 1999 https://web.archive.org/web/19990125104 ... th.com:80/

Man, the days when VSE had "REAL Player" samples, and random edm/trance artist bios.

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by madtheory » Thu May 18, 2017 7:29 pm

Jabberwalky wrote:Wayback machine has the earliest entry of 1999 https://web.archive.org/web/19990125104 ... th.com:80/
Aw, a guestbook! How quaint :)

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Re: How old is "Vintage"?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu May 18, 2017 7:31 pm

Vintage is a moving target. In the guitar collecting world, it's usually defined as 25 or more years old...which means a guitar made in 1992 is now vintage :roll: Of course, when the term started being used in the mid 1970s, guitar collectors were looking at 1950s and 1960s electric guitars made before the major mfrs all got swallowed up by conglomerates, so some "vintage" guitars were only 10-15 years old at the time.

For synths there's only one such obvious demarcation, before/after MIDI of course.

Do people consider the Roland MC-303 a vintage synth because it came out over 20 years ago?
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