Most overpriced synths of all-time?

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Post by freqwaves » Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:04 am

oceanbourne wrote:
Laurie Anderson. h**l, a lot of 80's music was Fairlight. Damn thing was fun and damn speedy to work with. The fairlight was the first sampler I used, and I still remember it fondly. It ruled until the EII then EIII came out.

I thought Laurie used the Synclavier more? I've seen photos of her circa 1989 with one on stage . . . she used the Fairlight for earlier work I take it?
You're right that she had a Synclav...but I think she used a Fairlight too (but now I'm wondering if my memory is correct on that)
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Post by jupiter8 » Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:30 am

Micke wrote:The Rhodes Chroma is the synth that really shines in this video though.
So that's what it is. I thought it was a Yamaha DX1 for a while but was far from sure.

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Post by Bitexion » Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:07 pm

Hm. The Fairlight is well known as THE most expensive synth ever. How come "all" the 80's musicians could use one, then? I mean, it's not like every 80's synthpop band could afford a $30,000 synth?

Imagined Phone Call:

Me: "Hey, mr record company. I'm starting a new synthpop band that there are already a dozen of out there."

Mr. EMI: "No problem, we'll send you a brand new $30,000 synth to get you started"

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Post by jupiter8 » Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:44 pm

Bitexion wrote:Hm. The Fairlight is well known as THE most expensive synth ever. How come "all" the 80's musicians could use one, then? I mean, it's not like every 80's synthpop band could afford a $30,000 synth?

Imagined Phone Call:

Me: "Hey, mr record company. I'm starting a new synthpop band that there are already a dozen of out there."

Mr. EMI: "No problem, we'll send you a brand new $30,000 synth to get you started"
First of all it is well known that the Synclavier was by far the most expensive synth ever made. The price of accesories (extra IO,ram,etc.) was hairraising.

Second of all it was enough to send them to a studio that had a Fairlight. No need to buy one for yourself.

Third of all this was the golden era for the record companies. They made tons of bucks and an advance of 30 k was small potatoes. Advances in the million dollar range were far from unusual.

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Post by bill H. » Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:10 pm

Over a year ago when this thread started I went high with the Kurzweil 250. This time I'll go low.

Arp Axxe and Moog Micromoog. So called "budget" synths from two companies with practically no competition at the time. And it showed with these guys. Budget in features for sure, and when you opened 'em up there was practically nothing inside. But their prices were close to $1000. In mid-1970s dollars!


I can kind of understand the high prices on things like Prophets and Obies because of the talent and work involved bringing them to life. But these guys took practically nothing to design and manufacture.

As Japan started getting into the market later in the decade, Moog did better for it's customers (both feature and price-wise) with the Prodigy.

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Post by Micke » Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:32 pm

jupiter8 wrote:
Micke wrote:The Rhodes Chroma is the synth that really shines in this video though.
So that's what it is. I thought it was a Yamaha DX1 for a while but was far from sure.
Yep, a Rhodes chroma w/ expander.
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Post by Bitexion » Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:19 pm

I guess a full PPG Wave system w/Waveterm wasn't really cheap either.

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Post by MrFrodo » Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:47 pm

Bitexion wrote:I guess a full PPG Wave system w/Waveterm wasn't really cheap either.
Perhaps not, but would many people need such a heavy load? I mean, a Wave 2.2 (or 2.3), PRK keyboard, EVU and Waveterm B is quite a bundle. I'd be happy enough with just a Wave 2.3 and the sounds I could generate with that alone.
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Post by Bitexion » Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:21 pm

Obviously a couple of people on this very forum, at least.
I know a couple guys here have wave+waveterm systems.
I've asked one of them to marry me on several occasions so I could get to his loot.
I guess you just keep pining for that Waveterm no matter how cool the Wave itself is.
I mean, c'mon, it looks like a Commodore 64 program :)

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Post by jupiter8 » Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:15 am

If you're really itching for a Waveterm jam.se has one in Stockholm for 6500 sek. Though for that money you could get two MicroKorgs. :shock:

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Post by Micke » Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:52 am

Bitexion wrote:I guess a full PPG Wave system w/Waveterm wasn't really cheap either.
Nor was the Audioframe 1000 sampler/digital workstation by Waveframe (1987). The price was $45,590 for a basic system and $250,000 for a fully loaded one.

It was used by Peter Gabriel (The Last temptation of christ, 1989) Stevie Wonder and Fred Myrow (Phantasm II soundtrack, 1988) among others
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Post by splitpoint » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:10 pm

Micke wrote:
Bitexion wrote:I guess a full PPG Wave system w/Waveterm wasn't really cheap either.
Nor was the Audioframe 1000 sampler/digital workstation by Waveframe (1987). The price was $45,590 for a basic system and $250,000 for a fully loaded one.

It was used by Peter Gabriel (The Last temptation of christ, 1989) Stevie Wonder and Fred Myrow (Phantasm II soundtrack, 1988) among others
Also used on Peter Gabriel's "US" if memory serves and used extensively on Enigma's MCMXC...

My Waveframe was close to $90k when it was new with 32 voices of sampling and expanded with the 8 track (woohoo!) HD recording. I paid about 2% of the original price back in 2002 and added the DSP option, no idea what it's worth now. Scary that you could do everything that this thing does and more on a $600 laptop these days but it still sounds pretty good, it was used on the movie "How to make an American Quit."
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Post by freqwaves » Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:14 am

Waveframe. Wow! I remember people used to talk about 'getting framed'. Never used one though.

My Emulator III went for 13,500 with 8 megs and a 100M hard drive (although I didn't have to buy it). The EIIIx was 4000 at dealer cost (that one I had to pay for) , bare-- 8m no drive .

The original E3 had analog filters, and they sounded great.
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Post by SubliminalEffect » Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:40 pm

Mr Rich wrote:I agree about the Neuron; excellent piece of kit but damned expensive on release. That was probably the ultimate cause of its' demise. Such a shame because it was a stroke of genius.
i got the very first Neuron that made it to North America. unfortunately, it arrived to me D.O.A. so i cracked it open to have a look around. turns out that it was powered by an Intel Pentium processor (i think it was just a 1.1GHz clock) and the heat sink for it wasn't particularly sturdy - just a couple of clips spring mounted for tension. it was this that had popped loose during shipping so the Neuron never stayed powered up more than a few seconds - just long enough for the power on self-test to fail and shut the whole thing down. i went and got a heavier duty heat sink the next day, replaced the original and everything was good until i went to put the case back on...

unfortunately, the metal case was pretty heavy duty and the wires from the rear-mounted power switch were very flimsy. all it took was a simple pinch in the case to sever these wires...

net, while the exterior of the Neuron was exquisitely stylish, the components inside and the build could have been spec'ed for more durability. the bulk of the cost of the Neuron was obviously in the R&D and programming, not the materials. a month later, was the Winter NAMM and the Neuron's premiere. i raised these issues then with the North American distributor (whom i knew previously), Axel Hartmann and the company's business manager, they were all very attentive and sympathetic as this was their first customer feedback.

the next year at Winter NAMM, i bumped into their business manager again even though they weren't exhibiting (not a good sign) and their North American distributor had dropped the line (double ditto). so within a year of product debut, they basically had no presence in the North American market.

when i next bumped into the business manager (at Winter NAMM again), their North American distribution was being done through some backwater Canadian company and the Neuron VS had come out (very quietly). he said that Hartmann was basically out of business. the fabricators that they used for the Neuron VS had gotten spooked that they weren't going to get paid for what they had already manufactured and basically flooded the market with them at their cost as a cost recovery measure. with nothing for them to sell and a glutted market of cheaper product than they could ever afford to sell at, there was just no way for them to ever recover. so that is what happened to the Hartmann company as related to me during successive Winter NAMM shows.

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Post by DGX305 » Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:08 am

tallowwaters wrote:burns, you could fall in a barrel full of titties and come out sucking your thumb.
how did you even come up with that!
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