New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by nadafarms » Tue May 12, 2009 9:31 am

It's my birthday today. I want to order a 522, Mbase-11 or a Miami so badly... :cry:

looks like I'll have to keep waiting. :cry:
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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Syn303 » Tue May 12, 2009 10:14 am

I think a lot of people are waiting.... Manfred Fricke said that the MFB 522 is now available
and places like Thomann should stock it, as units had been shipped out to MFB dealers, but
checking on Thomann there is nothing yet, and that's nearly 2 weeks on!


*Update from Thomann*
"We expect to have the MFB 522 in stock within the next week, the price will be 279,- EUR incl. german tax"
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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by supermel74 » Tue May 12, 2009 8:49 pm

Honestly, how much more would it cost for MFB to put their synths in a metal casing instead of plastic? People can claim that the build quality isn't bad, but plastic doesn't usually hold up well over the long run.

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by rockmanrock » Tue May 12, 2009 9:31 pm

supermel74 wrote:Honestly, how much more would it cost for MFB to put their synths in a metal casing instead of plastic? People can claim that the build quality isn't bad, but plastic doesn't usually hold up well over the long run.
Look the the SH101, MC202 and TB303, they've survived nearly 30 years with careful use.

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by supermel74 » Tue May 12, 2009 9:37 pm

rockmanrock wrote:
supermel74 wrote:Honestly, how much more would it cost for MFB to put their synths in a metal casing instead of plastic? People can claim that the build quality isn't bad, but plastic doesn't usually hold up well over the long run.
Look the the SH101, MC202 and TB303, they've survived nearly 30 years with careful use.
I disagree. Most of the ones I see on Ebay have pieces of plastic broken off or areas of discoloration which will eventually lead to cracks and breaks. Why not just put the things in a solid metal case? I would pay an extra $100 without a thought for a metal case over plastic. I'm sure I'm not alone.

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by space6oy » Tue May 12, 2009 9:49 pm

dude germans love plastic. deal with it. ;)

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Syn303 » Tue May 12, 2009 10:49 pm

space6oy wrote:dude germans love plastic. deal with it. ;)
bring on the tupperware synths :lol:
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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by StepLogik » Tue May 12, 2009 11:50 pm

Syn303 wrote:
space6oy wrote:dude germans love plastic. deal with it. ;)
bring on the tupperware synths :lol:
:lol:

man I'd be all about a DIY synth mounted into some 70's style garish tupperware.

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Shreddie » Wed May 13, 2009 2:40 am

supermel74 wrote:Honestly, how much more would it cost for MFB to put their synths in a metal casing instead of plastic? People can claim that the build quality isn't bad, but plastic doesn't usually hold up well over the long run.
It's all down to economics, some people would be happy to pay for better build quality but many are not because they don't take build quality into account... It's all about the features for alot of people! And lets fact it, an extra £50 or £100 on top of what would otherwise be a £2-300 unit is a bit of a price rise!

There's also the unit cost/expected sales volume to take into account.

Back when I was working in manufacturing, it could cost anywhere between £10-20,000 to above £100,000+ for injection moulding tooling to be made depending on the size, finish etc. But once that is done, the actual cost of the moulded product is very cheap indeed. Say 10 pence for a remote control sized product. So for mass produced stuff, that makes economic sense as you will recoup the cost of the tooling.

Pressed/folded/punched steel on the other hand is a different story. The tooling is often generic/modular and the actual folding and punching of the metal is done on a programmable machine or two... At least for smaller production runs. That makes setting up of the tooling quite cheap, often negligable. The cost of the materials is far higher though, perhaps £5+ for each unit, then you have to add the cost of powder coating/painting, screen printing, operator costs (as alot of this stuff is done semi-manually) and so on... So for smaller production runs, in spite of the individual product costs being far higher, presssed steel is often the most economic option as the tooling and development costs are so much lower.

There is of course a grey area where the production run is going to be somewhere inbetween the two. Ideally, build quality should take precedence but as the manufacturers always hope for either a long product life span (in terms of years on the market), or are optomistic, they often go for injection mouldings.

There are more esoteric options like what Kawai use on some of their synths and digital pianos, extruded aluminium. There, the costs remain high in terms of material costs (higher than steel), the die for the extrusion is cheaper than injection tooling (but still not cheap) and the actual production costs are comparable to those for steel pressings. All in all it's the most expensive method but arguably gives the highest build quality.

In the case of the MFB thing, it looks like they've gone for an even cheaper option than those mentioned above. It looks to me as though they have gone for an off the shelf plastic case with a punched (or laser cut) steel panel inlay. The box itself is probably bought in volume so will be very cheap with no production or design costs for them and the steel inlay will be very cheap to make as it's just a simple punched plate. If they had gone for the option of a custom made steel casing, depending on sales, you would be looking at anywhere between an extra £30 and £150 at a guess... As MFB appears to be a rather small company, I would expect that figure to be towards the top end of that estimate.

The thing is, companies need to be able to compete with their competitors. For example, imagine two products with identical features, the differences being that one has a far higher build quality and costs 25% more than the other. Which one is going to sell the most? In the mass market, it'll be the cheaper one which will sell more. The other will still sell but in a much lower volume so the company which makes that one will loose out and as development costs have to be recouped, their profit margin will be smaller too... It's a double whammy. Looking at things that way, I can't blame companies such as MFB going for the cheaper option... If they didn't, they could end up in financial difficulty as they lost out to their competitors.

Also, it's generally in the manufacturers interests not to make stuff too well. They need things to break/fail otherwise they would have more limited future sales... That's not to mention what they may charge for repairs/spares.

I wish it wasn't like that but that's the way things are in more consumer orientated product markets. Thankfully, I worked mostly on industrial products (robotics/automation or medical equipment) where build quality/reliability was very important indeed... As a result, almost everything was heavily over engineered in comparison to consumer products... And that was reflected in the cost.



I know I'm new here but I have a reputation for sometimes writing rediculously long posts on other forums... Sorry about that!

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by rockmanrock » Wed May 13, 2009 3:05 am

Shreddie wrote:SNIP!
Well explained Shreddie, that was a good read.

My Synth Lite II and probably all the other MFB products with a coloured panel (mis)use a PCB sheet for one. It's a great way of geting a cheap but smart panel, these PCB companies are geared up for automated screen printing and drilling. They do look a little utilitarian but it's all a trade off, if you want fancy metal enclosures, you can buy the Miami at 3 or 4 times the price.

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Shreddie » Wed May 13, 2009 3:24 am

rockmanrock wrote:My Synth Lite II and probably all the other MFB products with a coloured panel (mis)use a PCB sheet for one. It's a great way of geting a cheap but smart panel, these PCB companies are geared up for automated screen printing and drilling. They do look a little utilitarian but it's all a trade off, if you want fancy metal enclosures, you can buy the Miami at 3 or 4 times the price.
Using a chunk of PCB board probably isn't a bad idea actually, especially if it's one of the tough fibreglass ones. They're well solid!

And as you say, automated drilling etc. With that kind of board, you could probably drill several at the same time if you stacked them. You can't often do that with sheet metal as you can get a bad finish. So all in all cheap to produce, good finish and pretty solid!

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Operatron » Wed May 20, 2009 9:07 am

are they going to be avaliable in New Zealand ?

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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Syn303 » Wed May 20, 2009 10:25 am

NZ hmmm, dunno... but i do know, that the MFB-522 is now in stock at thomann :D
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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by JSRockit » Wed May 20, 2009 1:07 pm

Syn303 wrote:NZ hmmm, dunno... but i do know, that the MFB-522 is now in stock at thomann :D
Did you order one?
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Re: New MFB-522 drum machine, now with more cowbell..

Post by Syn303 » Wed May 20, 2009 2:12 pm

JSRockit wrote:
Syn303 wrote:NZ hmmm, dunno... but i do know, that the MFB-522 is now in stock at thomann :D
Did you order one?

Yes i did
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