Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

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tigamendonza
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Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by tigamendonza » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:27 pm

I've had my eye on a vintage roland synth (JX-3P) for a while now. Its not very impressive on features, when compared to a modern poly, but I love it's sound! There's no way of testing one before buying it as it's coming from a different country. It's old, tired and heavy but it's sound is exactly what I'm missing from my studio. This will be my only polyphonic synth. My heart says go for it but my head is telling me I'm being foolish as I can get something like Rev2 for the same price after factoring in shipling, servicing etc. It's still way cheaper than the Junos and Jupiters out there. My question is, are vintage synths really worth the price and headache compared to their modern counterparts or is it more of an eyecandy/synth collectors game?

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:13 pm

If you have to ask this question, you will never know.

You can buy a brand-new Dodge Challenger Hellcat, or you can buy an original 1970 R/T for (roughly) the same money. Both will get you from A to B but it is up to you to decide which one is the more pleasant ride.

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by desmond » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:15 am

For me, not really. The prices of the vintage classics have long since outweighed their musical utility, to me. Over a thousand pounds for an SH101..? Sheesh!

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by Alex E » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:37 am

It's 2020. If you're just getting into synths: nah dude. Prices are ridiculous now.

If you're familiar with fixing stuff, buying broken gear that no one wants to fix is pretty much the only way to acquire decent vintage gear these days. Worked for me though.
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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by Rasputin » Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:07 am

tigamendonza wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:27 pm
My question is, are vintage synths really worth the price and headache compared to their modern counterparts or is it more of an eyecandy/synth collectors game?
Run away while you still can :D

Vintage has its own charms, nostalgia, whimsy, quirks, and such, and it can be fun to tinker with if you're into that, but on a practical level... it's probably just a time and money sponge unless you're chasing some really specific sound or user interface which can only 100% be had with that exact vintage gear.

Some people will never be satisfied without their white whale, holy grail, genuine article, real McCoy trophy piece though.

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by Yekuku » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:05 pm

If you asked this question a decade ago, the answer would be definitely yes.
By today standards and the prices that vintage synths go for, absolutely not, you can get modern synths at a fraction of the price and with more / better features.
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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:27 pm

Yekuku wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 1:05 pm
If you asked this question a decade ago, the answer would be definitely yes.
By today standards and the prices that vintage synths go for, absolutely not, you can get modern synths at a fraction of the price and with more / better features.
Yup. And modern synths have far greater reliability. With some vintage gear, you hope and pray that something doesn't go wrong that results in an expensive repair, if you can even get it repaired. Many vintage synths sit in home studios and are not moved out of fear.

Do vintage synths sound better? Well, that is obviously subjective. Many of them do sound great, but so do modern synths. Here's a clip that shows what it can be like to deal with vintage gear, and this was over a decade ago:


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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:09 pm

Are they worth owning? h**l yes. Even with the explosion of modern analog, there's still a pile of interesting, characterful synths out there that Behringer hasn't gotten around to shamelessly cloning yet.

Are they worth paying $x for? Well, the answer to that is different for everyone, and it's true that a lot of the big names have spiked so high in the last decade that they're probably only worth the trouble for the true obsessives. But you can still get a lot of interesting but less-famous ones for at least somewhat closer to non-insane prices.
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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Thu Apr 16, 2020 3:11 am

At this point, there's quite a bit of vintage-voiced new stuff priced favorably compared to the vintage originals. I would have totally gone for the Abstrakt VS-1 over the vintage Oberheim OB-8 if I had just held out two more months (or if my offer came up short). I was also this close to starting a Eurorack for five Timo Rozendal SDSV+ modules and necessary mixing and interfacing modules, but lucked into an original Simmons SDSV for cheaper than the Eurorack setup would have cost.

But there are still quite a few holes in the market. If you want the Roland voicing, your only options are digital imitations (though I do say the System-8 and the Jupiter-X(m) do have more of the character than their predecessors), DeepMind if Juno is enough, or vintage. As well, there really isn't an equivalent to the vintage analog filtered samplers.

So my short and in-general answer is "not really, unless you're sure the modern equivalent doesn't exist / won't satisfy you." My specific-to-you answer is "probably yes, the JX-3P seems to be what you want, you'll be disappointed trying to chase its sound with a Rev2."
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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by madtheory » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:38 pm

Agree with all of the above. Here are modern alternatives that will get you the same sound, or arguably better:
  • Roland Cloud JX-3P. Identical sound. Arguably a better user interface.
  • Roland System 8 with JX3P plugout. You get a beautiful keyboard with a fabulous user interface. And the System 8 in its own right is arguably vastly superior to a 3P.
  • "The System 8 is a powerful virtual analogue synth with numerous shortcomings... but it sounds fab. There will be those who will appreciate it for how it sounds, and those who cry out in anguish, “but it isn’t analogue and it hurts my ears”. Those in the first group are going to like it very much. Those in the second need help." I agree :lol:
    https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/roland-system-8
  • Roland Cloud Jupiter 8, or Arturia JP8V: because a Jupiter 8 is what a JX3P would be if it was a real synth :)
  • TAL UNO-62. OK, it's a Juno 6 emulation, but it has extra modulation so you can do 3Pish things. I use Arturia and Roland Cloud, with an (old now) Novation KSR as the controller. It is wonderful.

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by Hyde » Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:02 am

Can you afford them for the value of collecting? There are some special machines out there. That do one special thing. If it's your bread & butter, sure. it's worth it on all accounts. I've been mechanically engaged, my whole life. Whether it's cars, bicycles, guitars etc etc. The point i'm coming to is that mechanics have certain tools in their box that, even though they only complete one task, they wouldn't do w/o. A tool that makes their job much easier & productive, regardless of the cost. If you are a musician/producer, you may have a a few special synths that do the same for you. Again, can you justify that cost?

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:12 am

Hyde wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:02 am
[…] There are some special machines out there. […]
Which the JX-3P in question most certainly isn't. It's a surprisingly neat little synthesiser but it's nothing that shakes the world.

As Madtheory has pointed out, there are decent substitutes for it which are more modern, more reliable, and more flexible. Something I would most definitely opt for as having a JX-3P maintained is more hassle than it's worth IMO.

There are other machines that can't be replaced that easily, and these are worth the hassle. At least to me. To some extent.

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by Jabberwalky » Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:40 pm

I will always say no in today's over saturated market, but I will also point out that there will never be an accurate modern equivalent of the Maxikorg 800dv. Vintage is great for those super rare "unicorn" type synths that fly under the radar. The prices for vintage Roland polysynths is 80% trend and 20% substance.

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by JotaSotodiaz » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:31 pm

Its funny I had the same feelings but owing a vintage analog Synth is the best thing you can do.
I recently both used a Roland Juno-60 and it sounds amazing I had to do some work on it but i don't regret at all.
I also had a roland Jx3p and a regret so much selling it... :(

here it is this is my review on the Jono-60. I also had a roland Jx3p and a regret so much selling it...

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Re: Vintage synths, are they really worth it?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:40 pm

JotaSotodiaz wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:31 pm
Its funny I had the same feelings but owing a vintage analog Synth is the best thing you can do.
I recently both used a Roland Juno-60 and it sounds amazing I had to do some work on it but i don't regret at all.
I had a Juno 60 for years. The modern Deepmind 12 synth blows it away in every way.

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