why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: i dont get something

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:18 am

Jambo:
Stab Frenzy wrote:Give me a quantifiable measurement that we can all agree on to measure an aspect of older vs. newer synths performance and we can have a rational, objective discussion about it.
Quality is a great thing to measure synths by, but to be objective you need a quantifiable measurement of quality, similar to the four C's of diamonds. What's your unit of quality?

I could go through all your points one by one and point out how you're trying to argue a point which is tangential to what's being discussed in this thread, but that would be a little boring. I'll just summarise:

Do you seriously think a reissue SQ-80 would be under $400?
Not every modern synth is an SH-201.
The D-50 horns I get from my VC-1 card in my V-Synth are quite nice, thanks for asking.
Older synths are great for cheap second-hand items. Making the exact same synths today using outdated technologies and ignoring the advancements made in the last 30 years is financial suicide for a large company.
etc...

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:23 am

Ry-Fi wrote:FWIW, I had the great fortune of having a 45 minute one-on-one chat with a Roland employee who was quite involved in the technical aspects of the company and very privy to its business workings. He's also a huge synth nut and collector. I essentially have his word that Roland will NEVER EVER make an analog synth again. According to him, anyone in the company who had any involvement in analog synth design in the past has either moved on or is basically now at the top of management, and none of the new designers and engineers know anything (er, you know what I mean) about creating sophisticated analog synth circuitry. It would be completely unpractical for them, business-wise, to return to making those kinds of products. It's basically digital now and for the rest of time...

I hope I don't get him in trouble for saying this in a public forum... :oops:, but I hardly doubt this is any kind of "top secret" information, and I doubt anyone's too surprised.
Nah, it's been stated by Roland employees many times in the past which is why it's so funny that the topic keeps coming up.

If Roland put a jar at their NAMM booth that people had to put a dollar in every time they asked why Roland didn't reissue the 303 they'd have enough money to do another production run and give them away with every V-Synth they sold. :D

User avatar
JayEm
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:41 am
Real name: Jonathan
Gear: KorgPoly800 Monotron MonotronDuo MonotronDelay Monotribe VolcaBass MS20Mini MS2000 MFB522 Arturia Minibrute Yamaha CS-15D Tama TechstarTS305
Band: datapark / KNUCKLEFACE / JayEm
Location: London, ON
Contact:

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by JayEm » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:10 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:
If Roland put a jar at their NAMM booth that people had to put a dollar in every time they asked why Roland didn't reissue the 303 they'd have enough money to do another production run and give them away with every V-Synth they sold. :D

No, they wouldn't.
w00t

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:18 am

JayEm wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:
If Roland put a jar at their NAMM booth that people had to put a dollar in every time they asked why Roland didn't reissue the 303 they'd have enough money to do another production run and give them away with every V-Synth they sold. :D
No, they wouldn't.
Ooh, you got me there. :D

User avatar
OriginalJambo
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2560
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:04 am
Gear: Check my sig
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom

Re: i dont get something

Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:19 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:Quality is a great thing to measure synths by, but to be objective you need a quantifiable measurement of quality, similar to the four C's of diamonds. What's your unit of quality?
I suppose it'd have to be features for the price. Or maybe knob count.

How can you truly be objective about a musical instrument though? Again, is a 24 string guitar better than a 6 string just because it has more strings? Clearly it just isn't feasible to measure musical instruments in this way - due to their nature it doesn't really mean anything.
Do you seriously think a reissue SQ-80 would be under $400?
Probably not, but will it be better than the original?
Not every modern synth is an SH-201.
And not every modern synth is better than every old synth.
The D-50 horns I get from my VC-1 card in my V-Synth are quite nice, thanks for asking.
Great if you have a V-Synth and a rare VC-1 card. What if you only have $400? Is the V-Synth better for you?
Older synths are great for cheap second-hand items. Making the exact same synths today using outdated technologies and ignoring the advancements made in the last 30 years is financial suicide for a large company.
No contesting that, but this has nothing to do with my initial post:
OriginalJambo wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:4) The synths available now really are better than the old ones. It's just people living in the past who want to be Wakeman/Numan/Eno/Lemmy that think otherwise.
I think the word you're looking for may be different?
Synths are like foods - everyone has their favourites. Objectivity can only be useful up until a point, otherwise we'd all be making decisions based solely off of spec sheets - wouldn't that be fun?

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:53 am

Hey Jambo, go back to the start of this thread and read it all the way through. It's about why synth companies like Roland, Moog, Yamaha etc don't just reissue their old synths, instead of making new ones. You keep pulling out the $400 figure, but if companies reissued old designs they'd be much much, more expensive than what they're currently making with up to date technology.

User avatar
Johnny Lenin
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:56 pm
Gear: JX8P | AX60 | Little Phatty Stage II | DW8000 | Vox Jag | Fantom X6 | Juno-G | P-Bass | AS-120 | Double Jet

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Johnny Lenin » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:43 am

otto wrote:I think it is only a matter of time. While they might be hard pressed to make exact replicas, due to discontinued componenets, they could make similar gear in the way that moog has the voyager and LP. I think it there will come a time when you see reissue type synths, similar to what fender and Gibson do with guitars, from companies like Roland. Roland would actually be prime for this as they have some major fanboy gear that they could probably reproduce and make a profit. SH-101, TB-303, RE-201, etc. Just wait, I wouldn't be surpirsed if it happened someday as collector prices climb and working old gear becomes hard and harder to find. I wouldn't count on it being cheap though...
That'd be cool but, for many of the reasons already noted, it's not likely to happen. In many ways, it is much easier to reproduce a guitar. Fender and Gibson still have all their patterns; swamp ash and mahogany haven't evolved much in the last fifty years; you still cut wood with a saw; pickups are fairly simple devices. The manufacturing process for a guitar has been greatly automated in the last fifty years, but it involves the same general processes.

Electronic components have evolved so much in the last thirty years that much of the original design and manufacturing knowledge just isn't there anymore, let alone the components. In the golden age of the analog polysynth, many of the components used had wide and varied applications in addition to synthesizers. A lot of what went into these machines was off-the-shelf technology that just isn't around anymore. Do you remember how hard it was to get tubes for amps in the late-80s before the wide availability of Russian copies after the fall of the Soviet Union?

Of course, Yamakorgland could set up a fab to make ICs, but quite apart from the astronomical cost of tooling up, they'd have to train whole squadrons of workers who have never learned how to make them.

User avatar
Hossinfeffa
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 454
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:08 pm
Gear: Roland D-50, MT-32, Korg DSS-1, DDD-1, MS-20, Yamaha FB-01, PSS-560, Akai AX-80, MfB 522, Arturia MiniBrute
Location: Everett, WA

Re: i dont get something

Post by Hossinfeffa » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:56 am

OriginalJambo wrote:Synths are like foods - everyone has their favourites.
This is very true. Now maybe everyone should put their differences aside and go savor the flavor of their favorite. ;)
Well fffff.

User avatar
cornutt
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2117
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:03 am
Gear: 6th
Location: Rocket City USA
Contact:

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by cornutt » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:53 am

One other thing I want to throw out is that, although the boutique manufacturers are doing great things for us these days, being boutique doesn't inherently mean better, nor does mass production always mean c**p. Don't forget that before there was Yamahakorgland, there was ARPMoogEMS. Back when most of the Minis were built, Moog was mass production -- and when you read some of the things about the absolute s**t conditions that existed in the Buffalo factory, it's a wonder that Minis from that era aren't looked at with the same gimlet eye that guitar players regard the CBS-era Strats with. Remember, the Mini was specifically designed to be mass produced, and it was, to the tune of over 10,000 units -- a record for any synth at the time.
Switches, knobs, buttons, LEDs, LCD screens, monitors, keys, mice, jacks, sockets. Now two joysticks!

User avatar
30h5
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 249
Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 3:30 am
Gear: SH-2, JV-880, D-110, M-1000, CS-15, FR-777, FR-XS, ESQ-1
Location: Berkshire, NY

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by 30h5 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:18 am

Shouldn't some of us just be happy we have some nice new analog gear (DSI, Jomox, FR) and that Alesis engineers won the battle to get the A6 out? Also, even if something was re-issued as somebody said: would we even like it? probably not. Be happy there is still analog out there, be it vintage or boutique. :wink:

User avatar
OriginalJambo
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2560
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:04 am
Gear: Check my sig
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:53 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:Hey Jambo, go back to the start of this thread and read it all the way through. It's about why synth companies like Roland, Moog, Yamaha etc don't just reissue their old synths, instead of making new ones.
Indeed it is. You gave many good reasons for this, but I don't think everyone will agree with point number 4:
4) The synths available now really are better than the old ones. It's just people living in the past who want to be Wakeman/Numan/Eno/Lemmy that think otherwise.
To me this isn't one of them, although I'm sure others may disagree but not all (again we're on Vintage Synth Explorer so I think it's feasible to say that some people here probably have a penchant for older stuff).
You keep pulling out the $400 figure, but if companies reissued old designs they'd be much much, more expensive than what they're currently making with up to date technology.
Which is one of the reasons modern synths aren't always better. It depends on what you want.
Last edited by OriginalJambo on Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
OriginalJambo
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2560
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:04 am
Gear: Check my sig
Location: Scotland, United Kingdom

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by OriginalJambo » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:58 pm

cornutt wrote:Back when most of the Minis were built, Moog was mass production -- and when you read some of the things about the absolute s**t conditions that existed in the Buffalo factory, it's a wonder that Minis from that era aren't looked at with the same gimlet eye that guitar players regard the CBS-era Strats with. Remember, the Mini was specifically designed to be mass produced, and it was, to the tune of over 10,000 units -- a record for any synth at the time.
I've read "Analog days" so I know where you're coming from.

It is indeed a small miracle that most well looked after Minis are still indeed functional. That's probably because even given the poor conditions of the factory these were built to last, like proper musical instruments - not to throw away when the new model is released like your modern mobile/cell phones that are built in automated factories with technology they wouldn't have even dreamed about back then.

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

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Yoozer » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:14 pm

This topic keeps popping up and people still never get the Econ 101 through their heads.

Here, try building a 2-osc, 2-env 1-filter monosynth using circuits like this thing - http://yusynth.net/Modular/index.html

Then get back saying how much x-and-x should cost. It's not Sim City, size does not automagically make stuff cheaper, and all the laments about VCOs miss one very important point - they suck in imitating a piano.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.

User avatar
Automatic Gainsay
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3962
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:22 am
Real name: Marc Doty
Gear: Minimoog, 2600, CS-15, CS-50, MiniBrute, MicroBrute, S2, Korg MS-20 Mini, 3 Volcas, Pro 2, Leipzig, Pianet T, Wurli 7300, Wurli 145-A, ASR-10, e6400.
Band: Godfrey's Cordial
Location: Tacoma
Contact:

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:03 pm

The answer to this question is a painful reminder that the history of synthesizers (from the 70s on, anyway) is not a musical, artistic, or technological history as much as it is a business/marketing/consumer history.
‎"I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." -Charles Babbage
"Unity and Mediocrity are forever in bed together." -Zane W.
http://www.youtube.com/automaticgainsay

User avatar
Jack Spider
Retired Moderator
Retired Moderator
Posts: 902
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 7:42 pm
Gear: -
Bit One
Boss DR-220
Boss DR-660
DSI Mono Evolver Keyboard
Korg LP-10
Roland XP-50
Yamaha QX21
Location: Old Blighty

Re: why don't synth manufacturers just make the old synth?

Post by Jack Spider » Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:32 pm

Chaps, let's not start the VCO vs DCO debate again - let's keep this 'un on topic, please!
I didn't get where I am today by posting on internet forums.
http://www.myspace.com/thegreenalsatian
http://www.soundclick.com/greenalsatian

Post Reply