Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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stf-ran
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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by stf-ran » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:09 pm

I don't think the prices on used gear is all that high. That's the reason I have so many synths. Other than 303s, 808s, 909s, etc. used prices are still very fair. Example, how can I turn down a perfect TX81Z w/manual for $85? Or an MKS-10 for $65? Sure they might not get used much. But I enjoy having and sometimes playing them. I remember a new D-110 back in the day cost $799. I paid about $175 for a D-110 AND a mint PG-10. Great fun when I miss my old MT-32 which isn't very often. Point being, there's nothing wrong with collecting if it doesn't bankrupt you. I explain to my wife, it could be worse. I could be into golf.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by madmarkmagee » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:55 pm

I think that it is more to do with a paradigm shift or shift in ideas about the worth of things. Back in the 90's or whatever a lot of people had this mentality that old technology = c**p. But now analogue sound is coming back into vogue and most of the progress types admit that digital can not perfectly emulate analogue. You only have to look at how much more new analogue gear you can buy now, then 10 years ago. Another important factor is that used gear, while more expensive then it was, is still cheaper (if you ignore the fact that it often blows up and isn't as technologically advanced) then new analogue gear. (minibrute 1 ocs 1 voice 550, Juno 106 1 osc 6 voices 1000 dollars). It also important to note that Analogue was expensive and has stayed expensive while digital has gotten cheaper.I also agree that it definitely has to do with less stuff coming from housewives with attics to clear out and I also believe that even people who know nothing about synthesizers are now able to understand what they are worth and get the money they are worth due to ebay. I also agree that synthesizers that have no hype and are not particularly rare, but are still good, go for a reasonable price.

P.S, I've often wondered how much a modern Juno would cost retail... decent sound, but pretty basic features and high noise to signal ratio... like the old ones...

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:47 pm

madmarkmagee wrote:if you ignore the fact that it often blows up
That can be hard to ignore when it happens.

Cue 50 people saying how their 30 year old synth doesn't need any maintenance ever etc.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by StepLogik » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:55 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:Cue 50 people saying how their 30 year old synth doesn't need any maintenance ever etc.
:lol:

They always need maintenance if you like your instruments 100% functional. A lot of people are OK with certain functions not working but I never was. Drove me nuts. At any given moment, I always had at least one vintage synth out of commission due to a component failing, battery replacement, etc.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by zoomtheline » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:59 pm

Ebay annoys me sometimes as I can see people being greedy. I just wish I started getting back into synth earlier so I could get my dream synths at a decent price.
As for collecting, I can see myself easily going down that route if i'm not careful but, I will still be constantly writing and recording stuff no matter how much equipment I have.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by pflosi » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:30 pm

madmarkmagee wrote:high noise to signal ratio
:thumbleft: noise in - platinum album out :ugeek:

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by analoglsd » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:04 am

This thread is pretty entertaining. Too many quotes I'd love to reference. Anyway, here's my two cents worth of run-on sentences:

Collecting: If it brings you joy, do it. You don't need to justify what makes you happy as long as it isn't hurting anyone else. As far as people complaining about hoarders, that's just ridiculous. There's no shortage of used synths on the market for sale. Do expect that someone should just hand over their gear to you because you feel more entitled to it?

eBay: Love it or hate it, we've all gotten deals there, even if they're fewer and far between now. I know for me personally, it has allowed me access to all kinds of items I couldn't find locally at the time, and that has to apply two-fold for someone in the middle of Montana. For now, it's the best barometer for used gear prices, as it just reflects what people are willing to pay, and in the end, that is exactly what something is worth, regardless of how many oscillators it has or if it has a multi-mode filter.

Synth Economics: Vintage synth prices are only going to go up, and we all know it. In an earlier post here madmarkmagee touched on how vintage analogs had been undervalued in the late 80's / early 90's and I'm sure that everyone would agree with that. The price hikes we see now are just a market correction. Several other factors will continue to play into rising prices such as:
-the fact that electronic music/production is getting to be more prevalent and popular than ever=more people interested in buying synths=more market demand
-the fact that certain parts/chips for older machines are becoming obsolete=less supply to meet demand
-the historical significance of early synths: This point is more subtle. Synthesizers are a relatively recent development. Their use in popular music spans back a mere 50 years. Unlike other popular instruments such as the guitar, the synthesizer has no historical equivalent before the 20th century. For example, owning an early run Minimoog not only represents a solid investment in a useful and unique musical instrument, it also represents a significant milestone in cultural and technological history.
Last edited by analoglsd on Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by fh991586 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:26 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:
fh991586 wrote:I'm a collector. Simple as that. I like to play a little music, but I can't do much because I lack the will to fully invest myself in this hobby (I have others that prevail).
So you can spend thousands on synths that you don't really use but you can't 'fully invest yourself' in it? I don't understand that situation.
I can't put more time in music unless I remove it from something else I'm already doing. Simple as that. This is the kind of personal investment stated previously. As for the money, I was astonished to see how much I was able to spend in the last years to get all that gear! But I never had the courage to compute the math for my thousands of books/cds/dvds... Still, I know for sure the synths part is well below the worth of my other hobbies by far (if only because I started it very late, not 20 years ago)... Not smoking or drinking is a big help when you have a collector's habit!
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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by EmptySet » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:38 am

I don't consider myself a collector, although I suppose some of my friends call me that. I do play live with a couple bands and record electronic music with old college pals, so my gear gets used, but ultimately I consider myself a synth preservationist. Yes, I love to dream about getting the ultra mondo mega synth like everyone else, but for me, the joy comes in tracking down vintage gear that's broken and bringing it back to life. Sometimes I then add it to my "collection" to play. Other times I sell it (when is it considered flipping? vs. when is it selling?) to give the instrument a new life. If I have a fault, it's that I don't know when to say no. I was almost indignant when I sold my minty Alesis Ion and the purchaser DIDN'T want the original Alesis box it came in. He just tossed the Ion in his trunk with the spare and tire iron and sped off. I still haven't thrown the box out. :(

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by gs » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:07 pm

I have to agree with the statement that eBay CLOSING prices (averaging them) is the best indicator of what a synth is currently worth.

Of course, that price fluctuates from day to day, and there are periodic spikes in price on many synths due to speculator activity that slowly comes back down as soon as earth's gravity (i.e. real economics) brings them back down.

If it weren't for eBay, I wouldn't have my ION, JD-800, Z1 and a few other tasty pieces in my rig, and I certainly wouldn't have paid the relatively low price that I paid if I had to scour the classifieds and/or travel 100+ miles to fetch it.

A lot of people who complain about eBay prices are just people with no patience. If they can't get the price they want with BUY IT NOW they get frustrated. It's an AUCTION site, for chrissakes!
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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by GuyaGuy » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:21 pm

Accessibly has its price. There wasn't much of a chance that you would run into a CS 80 in your local music store in the mid 90s. In fact many of us probably wouldn't know what a CS 80 is if it weren't for eBay, wikipedia, and VSE. Well except those of you who are even older than me! :D

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by Cumulus » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:48 pm

I don't consider myself a collector even though I have accumulated a collection over the years.

As far a EBay prices determining value...the definition of what something is worth is what anybody is willing to pay for it. If one guy in the world wants to pay $X for a particular synth then it is worth $X. Anyone who says the prices on EBay are somehow "wrong" is wrong themselves.

The main beef I have with EBay is that now every schmuck with Internet access now knows what their synth is worth, making bargains harder to come by.

Prices for analog gear could very well go down again if and when they grout of fashion. I am sure there will always be a core of enthusiasts like those of us who bought analog in the 90’s when they were beginning the stuff away but there may very well come a time when pop songs no longer feature analog-ish sounds.

When that happens the prices may drop at least a bit.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by silikon » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:03 am

Cumulus wrote: The main beef I have with EBay is that now every schmuck with Internet access now knows what their synth is worth, making bargains harder to come by.
... Yet a reasonable majority still believe that their bit of kit is both rare and in the best condition you, the intrepid consumer - will ever hope to find despite the numerous missing knobs and "non-performance impacting" missing keys. That it's in such "mint condition", warrants the inflation of the asking price 2-3x reasonable prices.

Also, it takes more effort than many will put forth to actually research before listing their kit. I simultaneously laugh and weep every time I see a listing with "if you're looking at this, you know what it is". Laziness.

...and I apparently have digressed. :?
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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by syntheticsolutions » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:32 pm

This profiteering attitude really annoys me, simply as these amazing synthesizers end up in closets and store rooms waiting to be sold for a large profit. Surely these instruments should be in the hands of musicians that will love and cherish them?

As a result of these economics, I will sadly, probably never get my hands on a CS-80 or 2600 :(

There are places putting insane price tags on these synths inherantly driving the asking price up dramatically.
Replicants are like any other machine, they're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, its not my problem.

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Re: Collecting, eBay and Synth Economics

Post by Cumulus » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:16 pm

One thing I have found is that patience really pays off.

Also, it helps if you aren't too picky. True, I'll probably never find a CS-80 but I got a good deal on the CS-50 so that will have to do. There are Moogs for under $1,000 on EBay. Not a Mini but some of them are comparable.

I wish you all luck in your search.

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