If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

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Yoozer
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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by Yoozer » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:10 am

You can't expand the Monotron without some bumps.

Suddenly, you need more controls. Suddenly, you need bigger knobs. Because of that, you need a bigger package to cram everything in there. Suddenly, you may even need memory, MIDI, all the things we take for granted (the Moog Voyager OS only sold 500 - that should tell you something). And what do you get then? This was a single circuit board; a project that could be finished by a reasonably competent single engineer and all he needed was some dude to design the plastic housing. Not so with a blow-up in features.

The whole popularity of the Monotron is that you can just impulse buy one. When that impulse buy balloons up in price it's not an impulse buy anymore, so people start to think. And they start to look at alternatives, because hey, you want the best deal for the money. And then you see stuff like that Dark Energy, and like a Vermona Lancet, and perhaps even a Little Phatty, or a Mopho, and while those are nice you just don't buy 'm or get 'm nearly for free with a pack of cornflakes.
RD9 wrote:I think you're thinking too narrowly.
No, he's pretty much right, as is tallow's comment. Synth folk are a fickle bunch who are nearly impossible to please.
Personally I believe that it's possible to develop a cheap but powerful analog product that makes everyone happy and is still profitable. Finding where the sweet spot is the challenge.
See - and it's not that people get actually angry at suggestions. But have you ever designed such a product from scratch? Do you know what's involved in sourcing the parts, or even mass-producing the circuit boards (SMT's not cheap for small runs, so are you going to solder everything yourself)? How long do you think R&D is going to take? (and no, the fact that the circuitry is already designed won't make your R&D time shorter; you'll have to repackage things, because we're not happy with a Poly-800 anymore). Are you aware of the economics? Do the back of the envelope math - and then you're already beyond what 9 out of 10 people posting threads like this suggest.

You're not going to get away with "but they're big, they'll find a way". No. They have to retool entire production lines for things like this. To not take this into account is thinking too narrowly.
For example, if you build on top of the Dark Energy or Moogerfooger patterns and figure out a way to make them cheaper, it could work. Think of a cross between a Monotron and a Dark Energy... what would you get?
We already have a boatload of great, cheap (well, not always) analog gear. It's called an Eurorack module, and there's more choice in those than there ever was 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. The difference is that it's not a nice, self-contained little package, and that you'll have to take pictures to memorize the settings. Even that is not a barrier for people to dive into this and assemble rigs that make a PS-3300 look puny.

Why would you hold out for a company that, since the mid-80s, dropped analog synthesizers like a proverbial brick? Everyone else is already doing it better.
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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by smoothcriminal » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:19 am

I should add that, FYI, you can buy pretty much the exact synth suggested in the OP (2 VCO, LFO, EG, VCF, MIDI) for less than $500, it's called Atomo Labs Krakken.

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by RD9 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:45 am

Um, there's quite a big gap between a Monotron and a Voyager. That's not really a fair example. For instance, even DSI breaks up their market into segments (Mopho vs. Poly Evolver). And of course Korg would need to retool and develop a new production flow, but I don't think that's what would keep them from getting into analog.

Bigger companies have more flexibility in routing money around. So it's not entirely impossible that money from other Korg products could be put towards developing a new analog mini synth if it has profit potential (especially if it sells better than Oasys haha). I don't think it's worth anyone's time to speculate about what Korg isn't capable of doing. It's an even bigger waste of time ranting about what's not possible than dreaming of the possibilities. What's the value exactly of shooting ideas down? It doesn't inspire, it doesn't spark imagination, it doesn't lead to anything new. People should really just look at these discussions as free thinking. Even a skeptic like me likes to imagine what might be possible in spite of the challenges and obstacles.

Anyway, two years ago if someone told you Korg were to release a Monotron, you probably wouldn't have have believed it either.
Luke: "I don't believe it."
Yoda: "That is why you fail."

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by RD9 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:50 am

smoothcriminal wrote:I should add that, FYI, you can buy pretty much the exact synth suggested in the OP (2 VCO, LFO, EG, VCF, MIDI) for less than $500, it's called Atomo Labs Krakken.
Now THAT is a great example! If Korg were to design a better enclosure for something that does what that does PLUS the 35 filter, I wouldn't mind paying extra. ;)

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:42 am

RD9 wrote:That's no reason not to discuss the possibilities. Why be negative?
This discussion has been had several times before, and every time people who actually know about things about designing, manufacturing and marketing analogue synths patiently explain why Korg can't just put two monotrons in a box, shake it and come out with a new MS20.

And they get a response of 'but I want them to'. :facepalm:

I was going to type 'you can see how that would be rather frustrating' but I guess if you can't see A then you probably won't see B.

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by RD9 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:11 am

Have some fun and loosen up a little. Life is short.

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by tallowwaters » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:36 am

RD9 wrote:What's the value exactly of shooting ideas down? It doesn't inspire, it doesn't spark imagination, it doesn't lead to anything new. People should really just look at these discussions as free thinking. Even a skeptic like me likes to imagine what might be possible in spite of the challenges and obstacles.
What's the value in presenting navel gazing ideas? People are just as free to use cold logic against pie eyed pipe dreaming. Why get so bothered when people present reality? Nobody here is angry or trying to stifle you, they're merely reporting the truth (as filtered by a basic understanding of economics via electronic instrument engineering).
Brains can be used like a "stress ball," but only once.

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:08 am

Image
You've just demonstrated that the technology to slap a Korg sticker on a Doepfer synth already exists.

Now go forth and create the synth of your dreams. No corporate cooperation required.
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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:10 am

Hang on, what would be the point of Korg doing something just like the Dark Energy but more expensive? I don't get it. Surely the whole point of the Monotron is that it's really cheap, that's the reason that people put up with the fact that you can't actually use it for anything except sound effects.

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by Nannerfan » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:35 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:Hang on, what would be the point of Korg doing something just like the Dark Energy but more expensive? I don't get it. Surely the whole point of the Monotron is that it's really cheap
I totally agree..
Stab Frenzy wrote:that's the reason that people put up with the fact that you can't actually use it for anything except sound effects.
This I don't agree with.
I think the Monotron being such a "near miss" is why people are rushing to mod them.

If they they just made the Monotron able to keytrack correctly.. be it better keys, CV/GATE or MIDI. It would be a great cheap analog source for bass and leads. Worth about $250 new IMO.

bastards...

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:50 am

Nannerfan wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:that's the reason that people put up with the fact that you can't actually use it for anything except sound effects.
This I don't agree with.
I think the Monotron being such a "near miss" is why people are rushing to mod them.

If they they just made the Monotron able to keytrack correctly.. be it better keys, CV/GATE or MIDI. It would be a great cheap analog source for bass and leads. Worth about $250 new IMO.

bastards...
Actually you do agree with me. That's what I'm saying, they're impossible to play melodies on due to the lack of keyboard, CV or MIDI input.

The reason they're cheap is that it's much much much more simple to make an oscillator that goes generally up and down in response to a changing voltage than it is to get one to go precisely up and down by repeatable amounts.

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by b3groover » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:36 am

cartesia wrote:This is what I hate about music gear - so many things have a ridiculous price-point discrepancy.. It's obvious that we are getting reamed by a vast number of the products on the market
Yeah! If only we could figure out a way to download physical hardware then we could all just rip it off via bittorrent. Just like music and movies!!! Where are those damn Tron scanner thingies when you need them?

But seriously, welcome to the real world, where actual materials, research and development, and distribution cost money. There are so many options available right now that are far cheaper than what you would've paid back in the heyday of analog synthesis that I cannot even begin to imagine why you're complaining about getting "reamed".

Get a job, hippie. ;)

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by cartesia » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:11 pm

Everyone says it is impossible.. but as people have stated here.. it works pretty much with modular components.... Obviously not the highest quality ones, but nobody is expecting like a freaking moog filter on a cheap synth..
.. but then you have to buy the case + PSU.. right?
But I can walk down to my local electronics store and grab a $15 plastic box and a $15 power supply..

So if a number of separate modules can be produced by a company nowhere near the size of korg for a reasonable price.. korg obviously can't produce a single product with the same features that costs anywhere less than twice as much right?

with regards to building it myself, I know nothing about analog circuits, but you can all bite me when I've finished my step sequencer for 1/20th the cost of the ones on the market.. and I laugh in your face if you paid for something with a maximum of 16 steps per sequence.

"Here is your step sequencer sir. It's digital because it makes no difference to the sound since it's just a sequencer. Oh by the way, it has a 16 step limit because that's what step sequencers have always had. Yeaah sure it'd only cost us 50 cents to include enough extra memory to run 1024 steps instead (in fact we probably already have the space left over!), then a dollar or so to include a couple 'bar ->' 'bar <-' buttons.. but hey you know..we can't afford everything now can we?

BTW That 90s calculator processor plus 30-something buttons plus a 2x16 LCD, power supply plus a plastic box and 3 DIN plugs will cost you... Hmm let's say $900?

What's that? expensive? no no no .. It's the software that costs all that money.. stringing all those bytes together and receiving digital input is terribly difficult!
..I tell you what.. pay an extra $1000 and you can have the deluxe software!"

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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:51 pm

b3groover wrote:But seriously, welcome to the real world, where actual materials, research and development, and distribution cost money. There are so many options available right now that are far cheaper than what you would've paid back in the heyday of analog synthesis that I cannot even begin to imagine why you're complaining about getting "reamed".

Get a job, hippie. ;)
+1

And be glad you're not into classical music, where your instrument could easily cost more than a new car. People whining about prices in the synth world (where the most deluxe stuff tops out around $3-4k) just further demonstrates its insularity.

But yeah, it's those unscrupulous corporate overlords who are keeping you from making awesome music; keep arguing with them and I'm sure they'll see the light eventually. :roll:
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Re: If Korg can make a Monotron that sells for $65...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:23 pm

cartesia wrote:So if a number of separate modules can be produced by a company nowhere near the size of korg for a reasonable price.. korg obviously can't produce a single product with the same features that costs anywhere less than twice as much right?
Nobody's saying that, we're saying that the modular stuff is too much of a niche market for Korg to bother with. They ditched the Radias because it wasn't selling enough, so anything they make needs to sell more than that.
cartesia wrote:with regards to building it myself, I know nothing about analog circuits, but you can all bite me when I've finished my step sequencer for 1/20th the cost of the ones on the market.. and I laugh in your face if you paid for something with a maximum of 16 steps per sequence.
I've done a lot of DIY and you rarely end up making something cheaper than what's already available on the market. You get the satisfaction of making it yourself, sometimes you end up with a higher quality piece but pretty much never do you save any money. Particularly if you realise your time is worth money.

Re: things only having 16 steps, that's usually an interface design thing rather than a cost saving one. Pots are useless on a sequencer unless you're pointing exactly to the value. There are some that use rotary encoders to get round it like the midibox seq, maybe you should check that out.

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