Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

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Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by joshlister » Fri May 07, 2010 3:54 pm

Hey everyone, I'm taking a sound and synthesis class in school and need to put together a presentation. An idea that I had for the presentation was The Biggest Synth Flops and Why they Flopped. However, I am having trouble finding those sales figures.

Now, I'm at plan B: Ask some experienced synth masters if they remember any certain instruments that just failed miserably. I'm not asking about what synthesizers you hate the most or ones that you think suck. I just want to know if you remember if any floppped.

Any information you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

It's a great board here. If only I had the money to have some of the fun you guys have.

Thanks.

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by mao » Fri May 07, 2010 4:16 pm

Korg DS8
Korg 707
Yamaha SY33
Alesis Fusion

Alesis Fusion is interesting. It's a wonderful workstation... but Alesis/Numark marketing strategy is near to absolute zero. The same goes for the Alesis Andromeda, a wonderful analog beast with no advertising at all. The Andromeda saved itself thanks to the great feedback from the users... Perhaps Alesis/Numark thinks that it's website is so cool but... someone must notice them that MARKETING is something more than thinking and producing a product. ADVERTISING is the key.

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by CS_TBL » Fri May 07, 2010 5:08 pm

Hmm.. lemme think and come up with something of which I'm not sure but what the heck.. :mrgreen:

Roland VP-9000 - expensive, target audience was a bit unclear
Hartmann Neuron - *very* expensive, buggy, not mainstream enough, company went broke
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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by CfNorENa » Fri May 07, 2010 6:26 pm

The Yamaha FS1R is said to have been a sales disaster: not only poorly marketed, but a notoriously difficult synth to edit (this was, mind you, an EIGHT op FM synth with a tiny screen and only a handful of buttons and knobs). But used prices today seem to be rising rapidly.

Some smart guys out there claim it's the best synthesizer they've ever heard. CS_TBL, would you like to weigh in on this?

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by paugui » Fri May 07, 2010 7:12 pm

I would likely say this one:

Image

As ugly as possible :?

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by paugui » Fri May 07, 2010 7:18 pm

mao wrote:Alesis Fusion is interesting. It's a wonderful workstation... but Alesis/Numark marketing strategy is near to absolute zero. The same goes for the Alesis Andromeda, a wonderful analog beast with no advertising at all. The Andromeda saved itself thanks to the great feedback from the users... Perhaps Alesis/Numark thinks that it's website is so cool but... someone must notice them that MARKETING is something more than thinking and producing a product. ADVERTISING is the key.
Definitely... the Fusion is really good synth.
If they had introduced the same filters as in the Ion with two filters per voice and some other features the Ion has, I'm sure it would have been one of the best digital synths to come out lately.

With the Andromeda it is quite interesting to check their current prices.
Now that they are not available in the stores (does anyone knows if there will be another batch?), people start asking quite some money for them.
There is one at ebay.co.uk now for almost 2500£ which is way more than the prices they were sold for...
I think with some proper marketing Alesis would sold a lot of those...

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by cornutt » Fri May 07, 2010 7:49 pm

* Roland VariOS. After a splashy introduction, Roland pulled the plug on it very quickly. I don't really know why. Some of the technology did turn up in the V-Synth.

* Ensoniq Fizmo. Was marketed to the wrong audience initially (Ensoniq tried to sell it as a techno/trance machine). Then, it got a bad rep due to the reliability issue and the amount of time it took to isolate the problem to the under-spec voltage regulator. Then, it got caught up in the shutdown/foldup of Ensoniq and E-Mu into Creative Labs.

* Peavey's whole synth line. Poorly marketed and Peavey killed it just as people were starting to get interested.

* And I'm surprised nobody has mentioned: The infamous ARP Avatar.
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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by braincandy » Fri May 07, 2010 8:15 pm

This may be debatable because I don't have the sales numbers, but what about the Yamaha AN1x? I've owned 3 of them and I liked them, so this isn't a put-down of them, but an objective look in terms of sales figures.

They wound up being blown-out by Guitar Center for something like 50% off. I don't think it sold (at its original price point) because the AN1x requires some menu diving and it did not have as many knobs/sliders compared to its competitors, the Roland JP-8000 and Clavia NordLead. It also didn't help that it closely resembled the CS1x.

I'm thinking the Kawai K5000s is another flop (although it's another synth I've owned and like) as additive synthesis just didn't catch on.
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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by CS_TBL » Fri May 07, 2010 8:28 pm

CfNorENa wrote:The Yamaha FS1R is said to have been a sales disaster: not only poorly marketed, but a notoriously difficult synth to edit (this was, mind you, an EIGHT op FM synth with a tiny screen and only a handful of buttons and knobs). But used prices today seem to be rising rapidly.

Some smart guys out there claim it's the best synthesizer they've ever heard. CS_TBL, would you like to weigh in on this?
<-- This smart guy here claims FM8 is the best synthesizer he's ever heard.. :P

Within the hardware realm there're two ultimate Yamaha FM synths. It all began with the DX series, but after that Yamaha split up the FM line. One part going to the SY77/99, and the other part ending up at the FS1r. They both have a good FM core which basically matches the DX7, but the SY and the FS both have unique additions which the other doesn't have.

The SY has a phase parameter per operator (maybe it doesn't make sense to most of you, but I really liked it), 3 configurable feedback loops, samples as operators, a lot o' operator waveforms etc. It has segment-style FM scaling while the FS1r has DX style scaling. The FS1r has 2 extra operators and 8 extra formant operators, has a few operator waves which the SY doesn't have, but is otherwise limited to 8 waveforms. The FS1r only has 1 feedback loop.

Operating the SY is rather easy. It may require some experimenting during the first evening, but after that the fun starts and it's actually not a complex machine. The display of the SY is more practical than that of the FS1r as the latter uses a fixed layout while the SY's display can really display all kinds of graphs and values.

Both the SY and the FS1r have one major issue: FM. It's simply a fact that not everyone (or heck, probably 95%) understands FM. No matter how easy a display is, if you don't know you're doing with all these parameters, you're stuck. For an analogue-style synths it's easy: pitch env (6), filter env (6), amp env (6), osc1 (4), osc2 (4), lfo1 (4), lfo2 (4), controls (8), effects (8), and together you have a synth (with small 'n simple sections) wth 50 parameters for your whole sound. Now, the amount of parameters in an FS1r is staggering. If you don't know what does what, never mind, stick to presets. Or.. if you want bread 'n butter sounds, never mind the FS1r, get a JV1080.

The FS1r has one forte however, it has all these craploads o' DX7 libraries inside, about 1400 sounds. With this many sounds, and with the option to stack 4 of 'm together, .. well.., tbh, at a certain point I simply stopped making my own sounds. Whatever I wanted usually was somewhere in that immense library.

Sound designing on an FS1r can be a nightmare. If you don't know how FM works then you can as well give up immediately.. well, maybe if you create a sawtooth FM sound once and use the filter from there... a bit pointless using an FS1r then, but alas. But even if you do know FM, then the FS1r can be daunting. It's just menu after menu after menu after f*cking menu. And if there's one thing with FM, then it's that you often need overview and the ability to change totally different aspects at the same time. In such situations, having to travel through epic menus isn't fun. On the up side, the FS1r is more modern when it comes to effects, the SY sounds a bit dated.

So, no matter how you look at it, the SY isn't better than the FS1r and the FS1r isn't better than the SY. They're both the end of a development path, but with limitations. I may sound like a stuck 'n repeating vinyl record, but if you want easy and vast FM today: get FM8. :lol:



oh.. but this thread wasn't about all this... oh well... ^_^
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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by n1nj4 » Sat May 08, 2010 4:47 am

CS_TBL wrote:
CfNorENa wrote:The Yamaha FS1R is said to have been a sales disaster: not only poorly marketed, but a notoriously difficult synth to edit (this was, mind you, an EIGHT op FM synth with a tiny screen and only a handful of buttons and knobs). But used prices today seem to be rising rapidly.

Some smart guys out there claim it's the best synthesizer they've ever heard. CS_TBL, would you like to weigh in on this?
<-- This smart guy here claims FM8 is the best synthesizer he's ever heard.. :P
Blind testing reveals people prefer the sound of Yamaha FM hardware over FM8. :lol:

Native Instruments FM8 vs Yamaha TX-802

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by nvbrkr » Sat May 08, 2010 5:05 am

Well, you know, it's hard to model convincingly those vintage algorithms.

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat May 08, 2010 5:20 am

The Roland TB-303 sold terribly but Roland had produced them in huge numbers and ended up being stuck with heaps of them when they stopped making them 18 months after they started. Roland were giving them away free with any Roland amp sold for a while.

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by I12 » Sat May 08, 2010 8:37 am

Being someone who bought a sy77 a fs1r and a tb03 brand new, owned a k5000 and an arp avatar

I buck the some of the trends listed here:lol: :mrgreen:
Dont bother its not worth it!

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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by meatballfulton » Sat May 08, 2010 12:58 pm

Con Brio ADS200---only 1 sold.

Vermona Mephisto---announced in 2000, 500 to be made but none ever manufactured.
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Re: Hardware Synthesizer Sales Figures/ Worst Selling Synths

Post by greggybud » Sat May 08, 2010 8:36 pm

That big organ thing...I think Yamaha made it.

GX1

It was a bit pricey, heavy, and they didn't make very many of them. I hear it's offspring did a bit better later on...

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