Is It Just Me?

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AnalogKid
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Is It Just Me?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:31 am

I personally don't understand why many decades old "classic" synths go for thousands of dollars? I have played a Jupiter 8, Jupiter 6, Memorymoog, Oberheim OB-8, and Prophet 5. With what is available nowadays, I wouldn't pay more than $100-$300 for any of these old, unreliable, and (compared with modern gear) very limited synths. I much prefer the sounds and programming power of modern hardware and soft-synths. Okay, I agree that there may be times when you want to create sounds like those of an old "classic" synth. Let's say you want to make a sound like a Jupiter 8. Something like an Arturia Jupiter 8V may not sound just like a real Jupiter 8, but isn't it close enough? There is currently a Jupiter 8 on Ebay with a $6,500 buy it now price. Huh? What? So, an old Jupiter 8 is worth over $6,000 more than a few hundred bucks for a Jupiter 8V? Really? Wouldn't the Jupiter 8V be close enough for over $6,000 less? Not only is the soft synth version more flexible and able to do more than the old Jupiter 8, it's also a lot more reliable. There are two Memorymoogs (talk about a bad reputation for being unreliable) currently on Ebay with asking prices of nearly 5 grand, and someone is asking over 7 grand for another Memorymoog. What? Huh? I just don't understand this. I laugh when I see a Yamaha CS-80 asking price of over 10 grand. Really? 10+ grand for an old, super heavy, notoriously unreliable, and (by today's standards) very limited synth? In my book, no synth sounds that good that it's worth over 10 grand more than a modern synth. Unless you win the lottery and/or have money to burn, why would anyone pay thousands of dollars for one of these old synths? For the life of me, I don't understand this. If I had tens of thousands to spend on music gear, I still wouldn't pay more than a few hundred bucks for any of these "classic" synths. Is it just me? Am I speaking vintage synth blasphemy? Are there others out there who think like I do when it comes to prices for these old "classic" synths?

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:51 am

If you can't tell the difference between even a Jupiter 6 and the emulation... it's not that the world has gone crazy, it's that you simply cannot perceive the difference, or don't attribute any value to your perception of the difference.
Value is subjective. I just guarantee that a large percentage of people, especially talented, skilled professionals, don't blow money on hype. If you can't tell the difference, count yourself lucky, buy a lot of cheap softsynths, and go to town.

Since you've never owned, maintained, or understood the value of any of those vintage synths, I don't think you quite have the authority to gripe about unreliability.

Just because a device is a "synthesizer" does not mean its only value is in comparison to the functionality of the most functional of synths ever made. There are a LOT of values that synthesizers have that do not relate to a tally of functions.

When you care about what exactly is desirable about a CS-80, have any musical understanding of how expressive it is, and EVER play one in person, then you'll understand the benefits of it.
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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:00 am

How do you know that "I've never owned, maintained, or understood the value of any of those vintage synths?" As a matter of fact, that isn't true. I've been playing synths since the early 80s and have owned numerous old analog synths. Also, the "I don't think you quite have the authority to gripe about unreliability" is also not correct. Uh, no one needs to own a vintage synth to know about their notorious unreliability. There are plenty of places online (including numerous examples on this site) where you can read about and know full well the inherent reliability problems with old analog gear.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by visceralvoids » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:12 am

It's the same reasons why classic collectable cars like vintage Buicks (1963 Rivieras for example), Ferraris and Porsches cost a boatload of money. Like vintage synths, their collectors market has a mind of its own. These also require tons of upkeep and have exotic or hard to find parts which makes them even more rare, hence more expensive.

Yeah I don't like the fact that I'll probably never own an Prophet 5, ARP Quadra or Elka Synthex because their high asking price is as much as a house payment but that's what the collector's market has judged their experience of ownership to be worth. There's many other synths out there to keep one busy though.

So the reasons they are so expensive I'd say is:
1) They sound much different than what people are used to nowadays and are revered for their qualities
2) They are pieces of history/music technology history
3) Collectors markets have a mind of their own
4) Maintenance and upkeep
5) Famous users and uses on albums soundtracks etc.
Plus some of the companies like Sequential Circuits and ARP don't even exist anymore.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:47 am

Great answer visceralvoids; very well said. I like your classic cars comparison. As Automatic Gainsay correctly pointed out above, value is subjective. When I was a kid, Volkswagen Beetles were everywhere, and a used one in great shape could be picked up for about $500. Who'd thought that one day they'd be collectors items going for thousands (tens of thousands in some cases). I understand that my perspective on synth pricing is subjective. I personally don't see the appeal of spending huge bucks on synths that frankly aren't worth it in my book. As I mentioned above, I have played many of the old classic analog synths, and they do sound great. However, I would never have the desire to pay thousands of dollars for one, especially with their well known reliability problems. I had an ARP Odyssey for years that I finally sold while it was still working because I read horror stories about how expensive and difficult it can be to hunt down usable parts if components need to be replaced (this was in the early 90s, shortly before the use of the internet became widespread). It just seems hard for me to understand that anyone would spend, let's say, 6 to 7 grand on a Jupiter 8. Start going through the keyboard gear in your mind that you could buy with 6 grand? You could get not just one old, limited Jupiter 8 keyboard, but many brand new synths. Not only that, but I would rather have any one of the keyboards in my mind more than an old Jupiter 8. However, I agree that value is subjective. There are people in this world who will pay tens of millions of dollars for a painting that looks like it was done by a toddler wearing a blindfold.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by CfNorENa » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:00 am

AnalogKid wrote:I have played many of the old classic analog synths, and they do sound great.
It's that simple. That's all there is to it. I have no doubt that some guys are paying top dollar simply in order to own vintage synths as collector's items. But most of us, I suspect, just really, really like how they sound. If you can find me something cheap -- whether new, digital, or soft -- that can sound like my OB-8, Pro-One, or Polysix, I'll sell those machines immediately and work with the cheaper alternative. I just haven't found it yet.

A concrete example: used to own a Mopho, thought it was great. Later sold it, and later still picked up a Pro-One, which I've now had for about two years. Recently I tried out a Mopho in a GC, just to see if it still sounded good to me. Well, it sounded OK, but I think that sonically the Pro-One just destroys it in every way. Not even close, in my opinion. So I'll keep my old, expensive, and unreliable Pro-One for the time being. Because it sounds SO f**k GOOD. Pretty simple, really.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:07 am

AnalogKid wrote:I personally don't understand why many decades old "classic" synths go for thousands of dollars? I have played a Jupiter 8, Jupiter 6, Memorymoog, Oberheim OB-8, and Prophet 5. With what is available nowadays, I wouldn't pay more than $100-$300 for any of these old, unreliable, and (compared with modern gear) very limited synths. I much prefer the sounds and programming power of modern hardware and soft-synths.
Lucky you, you're saving yourself a lot of money. :thumbright:

That said, to get exactly the same experience from the softsynth you need to fork out for a computer, controller keyboard, audio interface and midi knob box for controlling various parameters. You can't just rock up to a gig with the CS-80V installer CD and expect to plug it into the PA and wow a crowd with it. :D

I don't own any of those old synths because I'd rather spend my money on other stuff. I can understand how people value them though, and supply and demand being what they are the price has been pushed up to where it is now.

There is actually a really good side effect from this though; in the 90s when old analogue synths were cheap and abundant compared to now there were pretty much no companies making new analogue synths, modular gear etc. Now that the second-hand price is up higher than the producing and selling a new synth a whole lot of manufacturers have started making synths and modules, which is great! If you could still buy a Pro-One for $400 any day of the week DSI wouldn't have made the Mopho keyboard. The customer always wins in the end.

edit:typo
Last edited by Stab Frenzy on Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:10 am

AnalogKid wrote:How do you know that "I've never owned, maintained, or understood the value of any of those vintage synths?" As a matter of fact, that isn't true. I've been playing synths since the early 80s and have owned numerous old analog synths. Also, the "I don't think you quite have the authority to gripe about unreliability" is also not correct. Uh, no one needs to own a vintage synth to know about their notorious unreliability. There are plenty of places online (including numerous examples on this site) where you can read about and know full well the inherent reliability problems with old analog gear.
I know because of WHAT YOU SAID. If you don't see the value in them, and you're convinced that they're wholly unreliable, as a person who sees the value in them and has owned a tremendous amount of them, I can tell you they are worth it, and what's more, they ARE RELIABLE. As I've said a million times, I've had more modern synths fail than vintage, and I've owned a lot of vintage.

"No one needs to own a vintage synth to know about their 'notorious' unreliability?" If you haven't owned a lot of them, and are getting your information from the internet, that says it all.
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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:57 am

Stab Frenzy, another great reply. Thanks for the input. The observations in your last paragraph are spot on. I can remember menu diving for hours at a time on my new M1 back in 1991 (the first Korg workstation was an amazing idea; I remember seeing a Korg representative in 1990 or thereabouts demonstrate the then new M1 at my local music store). At that time, hunting down old analog gear didn't even cross my mind. In hindsight (which is always 20/20), I should have been on the analog hunt back then, but analog was passe. At that time ROMplers were the new thing (and I could record a bunch of tracks on my new M1). In the days before the internet, we used to have a regional newspaper type publication in which people could place classified ads selling everything and anything. I remember seeing many analog synths for sale at low prices, many for just a few hundred bucks. Out of the synths that I had at various times years ago (Odyssey, Jupiter 6, Moog Source, Micromoog, Juno 60, to name a few), believe it or not, the only synth that I regret to this day not hanging on to was my very first synth, it was a Univox Maxi-Korg with two keys broken off. I think that I paid $150 for it (which was a lot of money for a 14 year old kid to scrimp together; I mowed a lot of lawns). I had that when I was a teenager in the early 80s. I loved that thing. I was in a band at that time, and we did a song by Ultravox called Quiet Men. I played the bass part on this synth. Ah, what memories:

http://www.univox.org/pics/keyboards/korg_maxi.jpg

As you pointed out, I also hope to see more of the current trend of manufacturers creating new synths and modules akin to what was produced in the olden days, with no need to pay 5 to 10 grand for the equipment.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:01 am

As much as vintage synth enthusiasts like to gripe about rising prices, they still haven't exceeded the original 70s/80s prices in most cases. Prophet5s were 3395 pounds, Moog modular systems cost as much as a new car and so on.

Also, there is a reason why soft synth companies spend so much time and money trying to emulate those sounds...

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by AnalogKid » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:15 am

Uh, Automatic Gainsay, please watch this Jean Michel Jarre clip (who I believe can be called quite an authority on analog synthesizers) and try to convince anyone reading this thread that, when it comes to old analog synthesizers, (to quote you) "they ARE RELIABLE."


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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:25 am

AnalogKid wrote:Uh, Automatic Gainsay, please watch this Jean Michel Jarre clip (who I believe can be called quite an authority on analog synthesizers) and try to convince anyone reading this thread that, when it comes to old analog synthesizers, (to quote you) "they ARE RELIABLE."

Tuning is an issue not just with analog synths but also guitars, violins, etc.
Ive seen more shows come to a halt because of laptop issues than osciallator detuning.

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:06 am

GuyaGuy wrote:Tuning is an issue not just with analog synths but also guitars, violins, etc.
Ive seen more shows come to a halt because of laptop issues than osciallator detuning.
I love this, the old school analogue guys are pointing at laptops and saying they're unreliable and the computer guys are doing the same thing about the analogues. :lol:

My personal experience gigging and mixing live shows for the last 10 years or so is that Juno 106s die on stage, Poly 800s go too out of tune to fix with the slider on stage, wall wart power supplies die in bags on the way to shows, audio interfaces pack up and die in the middle of shows, human error causes things to be plugged in wrong on stage, amps blow valves, minikorgs short out all the power in a venue, guitar pickups break when nobody has a spare guitar and software sometimes glitches if you don't know how to set it up right. I've never seen a computer crash on stage and I've never seen software do anything drastic, worst thing I've seen is a little audio dropout.

Everything is unreliable to some degree, it's no reason to write off an entire group of instruments though. :thumbleft:

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by tekkentool » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:40 am

AnalogKid wrote:Uh, Automatic Gainsay, please watch this Jean Michel Jarre clip (who I believe can be called quite an authority on analog synthesizers) and try to convince anyone reading this thread that, when it comes to old analog synthesizers, (to quote you) "they ARE RELIABLE."

Well obviously this authority on analogue synthesizers is just an idiot for not using the CS-80V, or Arp-2600v instead soon as they sound about the same right?

Also I don't see how you're going to successfully argue with his own personal experience, picking out JMJ having an off day with vintage synths is a bit off as an argument, evidently the tuning issues are few and far enough in between to warrant still using all that "overpriced" gear live. :roll:
Items will cost what people will pay for them, if the demand is high enough for objects that to find in fully functioning form get rarer and rarer every day then the cost is justified to those who buy them.

I'm an ALL SOFTWARE guy too...

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Re: Is It Just Me?

Post by krushing » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:53 am

How much is sound worth?

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