vintage gear question..

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
Post Reply
volumetrik
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 278
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:00 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

vintage gear question..

Post by volumetrik » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:03 am

Hi

I've been wondering, why were there not many of the components ever made? For example like a Synton Fenix only 75 were made or like EML's 400/401 only 300 ever made, were they hard to make? And also why did they stop making them and over the years everything has shifted to digital and software? Could there ever be a comeback to analog equipment, like companies start making devices again or is it all software based from here on?

bakeded
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:28 pm

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by bakeded » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:48 am

:-#
Last edited by bakeded on Tue May 12, 2009 5:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
griffin avid
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1568
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:08 am
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by griffin avid » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:58 am

Some stuff is made by SMALL companies. They hope to sell that first lot to get the capital to make more..or get investors along the way. If the product doesn't catch on quick enough...

Lots of things start out as dogs and then grow into gems. Great for the consumer, bad for the company.
Music Product: Better Sounds for Beats http://www.StudioAVX.com
Music Production: Resources and Research http://www.ProducersEdgeMagazine.com
Music Produced: Abstract Hip Hop Sci-Fi: http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com

jupiter8
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 198
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:30 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by jupiter8 » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:38 pm

Regarding the Synton Fenix
"Bert and I designed the Fénix because none of my existing synthesizers gave me exactly the combination of facilities that I wanted. We did it for that reason alone -- it was the synthesizer that I wanted. Both of us work elsewhere so, even though the Fénix is now a reality, producing it will never be the main job for either of us, and we have no wish to become a mainstream synthesizer company. That's why we built just 25 Fénixes. Having said that, we've shipped these already, so we are going to build a further 50, but that will then be the end of it.

User avatar
Synthprophet
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:05 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by Synthprophet » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:31 pm

When you are a small and unknown company, it is harder to hit the market. Further more, if the synth is very expensive, like some of the first synths, less would be able to purchase it. It is just difficult making a huge bussines out of it I guess, unless your name is Roland, Yamaha or Korg and your are able to massproduce it for affordable prices. Even Moog the most famous synthbrand of them all has been through the bad days.
Clavia: /Nord Lead 2x/
Roland: /AX-Synth/D-50/SH-201/
Korg: /EMX-1/Microkorg/Monotron/MS-20 Mini

User avatar
tim gueguen
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 795
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:31 am
Location: the Canadian Prairies
Contact:

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by tim gueguen » Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:57 pm

Some companies simply had better luck than others. Some had more commercially appealing products. ARP and Moog sold more instruments than EML in part because the instruments they developed proved more appealing to buyers than EML's. Diversity of products also helps. Roland became a big player in the music business because besides synths they soon started to offer guitar amplifiers, effects devices and so on. Yamaha never had to rely on synths to make money, so it could afford instruments that didn't sell well, unlike a small company that could quickly fail if it didn't get a hit.

Synth technology went from analog to digital because the companies involved were trying to take advantage of the latest sound generating and control technologies to offer more features and a wider range of sounds than previous instruments.
Keys: Realistic Concertmate 500, Korg K25, Korg Micro X

Guits: '86 Fender Japan '50s Reissue Strat, '80 Aria Pro II TS-300 Thor Sound

User avatar
aredj
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 497
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:34 am
Gear: A little bit of E-muAccessJomoxKorg -
Spectralis2!
Location: Toronto ON

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by aredj » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:24 pm

Synthprophet wrote:When you are a small and unknown company, it is harder to hit the market. Further more, if the synth is very expensive, like some of the first synths, less would be able to purchase it. It is just difficult making a huge bussines out of it I guess, unless your name is Roland, Yamaha or Korg and your are able to massproduce it for affordable prices. Even Moog the most famous synthbrand of them all has been through the bad days.

Y'know, that why I love DSI so much... Dave's been a small company so long, he seems so down to earth... not making c**p for the masses... just quality for those who care...
Dave Smith answered the phone when my friend called for tech support one time... helped him out and had a little chat... Thats so awesome...

***Dave Smith appreciation thread de-railing complete****

User avatar
Yoozer
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1390
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:31 pm

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by Yoozer » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:49 pm

volumetrik wrote:were they hard to make?
"Hard" is not the problem, but when your design depends on a certain type of chip which is no longer produced, you'll either have to make a revision or
And also why did they stop making them and over the years everything has shifted to digital and software?
The shift to digital is not related to the shift in software, and when you say "everything" you overlook many players, factors and goals.

Let's start with some players: engineers, accounting, marketing and users. If a user demands a 12-oscillator synth with all possible modulation options you can dream of, the engineer will say that he's going to run into some problems, the accountant will say that it costs a fortune, and the marketing guy will say that nobody will buy this except for 3 people with enough cash and rocket science under their belts to figure it out.

Let's start with some factors. What a user calls charming analog drift, an engineer calls an unwanted side-effect of using VCOs. What an engineer calls discrete circuitry, the accountant will call expensive since you can buy a chip which does it all in a single package instead of a voice board. The engineer will chime in again and mentions that the chip is more reliable, and the user to actually complain about this would arrive in the '00s on an internet messageboard, not 20 years before that.

The first shift is to digital, but there was a sort of leading to that shift in the shape of DCOs and ICs - miniaturization and consolidation of functions, making things more reliable, adding computer chips to scan the keyboard and panels, handle MIDI and calculate envelopes. What really brought the house down was FM synthesis and sampling as well as Moore's law.

Back to the user. Dragging along a Minimoog, Rhodes, B3, Prophet and ARP Solina to a gig is actually not something the user (or his roadie) likes to do. It costs too much, takes up too much place, and may not be reliable enough. Furthermore, these instruments are used as imitations of the real thing. This is a particular kind of user, though, but the one that determined the market for a long time.

The shift to software depends on computers becoming powerful enough and users demanding a kind of convenience that's hard to get with hardware - again, more portability, realism, and automation. A studio can be rebuilt in software and has several important advantages over hardware.

The group of users who do not see all of this as a series of improvements is not large enough to cause a large shift in the opposite direction, but they are numerous enough to be customers for smaller companies.
Could there ever be a comeback to analog equipment
You've been living under a rock for the past few years ;). There's probably more variety than ever - just not in the analog polysynth domain (yet).
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

User avatar
hfinn
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1197
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:21 pm
Gear: http://soundcloud.com/heath-finnie
Location: Boston
Contact:

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by hfinn » Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:57 am

Well, thats debatable. P8 is analog, PEK is a hybrid, Andromeda...

AstroDan
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 226
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2005 12:05 am
Location: Rogers, Ar

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by AstroDan » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:08 am

After reading Mark Vail's book 'Vintage Synthesizers', I've come to the conclusion that the last business I would ever get into would be developing and trying to sell a synth. The one term that the seemingly hundreds of companies most had in common was bankrupt.
Too futurist to live.

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5868
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Logic Pro X

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:35 pm

You might be surprised how few synthesizers get sold, period.

The best seller of all time was the Korg M1 which sold about 250,000 units. That's actually a pretty small number compared to TV sets, microwave ovens and PCs.

In the 1970s when EML was still in business, the instruments cost as much as a small car. Today's synths, especially analog ones are cheaper than ever before.

Then there's the whole issue of marketing, signing up dealers, etc. The internet has actually helped small synth makers immensely in that regard.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

Wiglaf
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 4:06 am
Real name: Tyler
Gear: I don't even remember half of it
Band: width full
Location: Michigan, U.S...but not Detroit

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by Wiglaf » Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:28 am

meatballfulton wrote:The best seller of all time was the Korg M1 which sold about 250,000 units. That's actually a pretty small number compared to TV sets, microwave ovens and PCs.
That's a bit like comparing apples to automatic hay balers with red paint. Only certain musicians care about owning a M1. A far wider selection of people, not just synth-playing musicians, care about owning a television, a microwave, or a computer.

Synthesiser sales vs. guitar sales, now there's a topic.
"I thought all you did was push a button and sounds came out!" - Mom on synths
"Not quite, Mom." - Me on synths

User avatar
23
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 593
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:19 am
Gear: TB-303, MC-505, MC-09, V-Synth GT, FR-777, FR-XS, MFB: Synth II, EMU Proteus 2500/CS, FS1R, Supernova II, Fusion 6HD, ER-1 MKII
Band: 23, A23P, Piss Ant
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Contact:

Re: vintage gear question..

Post by 23 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:01 am

hfinn wrote:Well, thats debatable. P8 is analog, PEK is a hybrid, Andromeda...
No, it's really not debatable. No one said Analog polysynths ceased to be made, but analog polysynths as a norm have long been out the door.
If we were talking cars, what you said here is akin to someone telling me that luxury sports cars akin to the Lamborghini Diablo are small in number and not many are made....
Then my retort being, "Well that's debatable, what about the Aston Martin D9, Audi R8, and Ferarri 599?"

Post Reply