Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by steveman » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:24 am

Wow, so much half-assed speculation in this thread... Yet another 'why can't I have an analogue poly for under $1000 thread..."

Back in the 80s maybe the CPU/memory were the expensive parts, but there was an awful lot more analogue circuitry in those machines. The situation now it almost the exact reverse, it's the analogue parts that really cost. Analogue parts need to be measured exactly/calibrated before being put together on a board - part tolerances are critical. Virtually all the old analogue polys used (what where then) off the shelf ICs for oscillators, envs, filters VCAs, none of those parts exist now. They''d have to be fabbed somewhere - this would be expensive for the small numbers that's be needed. There also seems to be the bizarre idea that designing an analogue poly is somehow a lot easier now??

Analogue Polysynths in the 70s/80s were sold as keyboards not synths, now the only people after these are synth heads, the market is much smaller.

So, tiny niche market (mostly populated by vintage snobs - witness the initial reaction from many to the Andromeda), huge startup costs, and little chance of making much (any) money. M
Also most of those (demanding) potential customers don't seem to be interested in buying new - if this place is anything to go by (" too expensive - I'll wait till they're being flipped on Ebay / C/L..."). Given all this I can't understand why the big boys aren't all over this market :P
volumetrik wrote:The reason why the DSI stuff is so expensive is cos its all done in the US. Materials for such things is equivalent to like 2 computer cases, imho.
Polysynths expensive now? Prophet 5 in 1983 was £3500 my wage was £7k, Prophet 12, lets say £2200?, wage around £40k, not cheap but certainly affordable.

Finally, delusional POTM goes too...
bochelli wrote:Lets be honest China could have kicked out new polysynths cheap as chips anytime, they cant be that dumb, because they know it would not make $$$, thats why apple and others rule the world , dont think apple have not thought about it the smell of cash is always a winner.
:facepalm:

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:44 am

bochelli wrote:To me its down to the cost and almost certain competition , bet your bottom dollar if a poly came out some maker would clone it , the first polys were massive , costly, and some with reliability issues,today not known , mono is the safe bet, also i cant see any poly today offering something new without a trace of past polys, so i feel its not really worth the trouble,these new synths makers are only interested in money i feel the soul died long ago.
Yeah you're right, check out all these videos of these soulless drones just churning out utter c**p that they obviously have no interest in:









Where's the soul? These guys only care about money.

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:14 am

Just FYI I owned an analogue polysynth (DSI Tetra) and ditched it for a Novation Ultranova because of the following reasons:

- The UN is light, analogue components are heavier than digital
- The UN is cheap, I picked it up new for what I sold the Tetra for second-hand
- The UN has a much nicer interface to use than the Tetra, which has a crippled interface for the sake of keeping the cost down. When the sound generation parts are expensive (like analogue stuff is) you have to cut out some other things (keyboard, navigation buttons etc) to keep the price competitive
- The UN is way more flexible, the oscs have many more waveforms, wavetables, the filters are more flexible (no HPF, BPF, notch on the Tetra), the mod routing options are greater on the UN etc.
- The basic tone is almost there from modelling synths compared to DCO synths. The Tetra had a slightly sweeter sound but considering how much I would have to sacrifice to get that slight improvement it was no contest for me

So there's the viewpoint from a musician that appreciates the sound of analogue (I wouldn't have spent a small fortune on my modular if I thought I could get the same results with digital synths/software) but for pragmatic reasons chose a digital synth for polyphonic duties. I'm not saying my reasons are relevant for everybody out there but I'm using myself as an example of why the analogue mono market is bigger than the analogue poly market. I, like a lot of musicians, see polyphonic synths as more of a keyboard instrument than a knobby instrument, the very nature of playing polyphonically means less hands available for tweaking as performance. That takes away some of the virtues of an analogue synth. Also I like a polyphonic synth to be able to have a wide timbral range, I'll sacrifice purity of saw wave sound for the addition of wavetables, dual filters and other ways to morph the sound over time to give me nice polyphonic pads, stacked sounds etc.

Just say in hypothetical land somebody brought out a synth with the Juno architecture; 1 DCO with three waveforms, single resonant LPF, non-resonant, non-modulatable HPF and a single env and LFO, with six voices and a retail price and build quality of the Ultranova. For me (and a lot of other people) the UN would be by far the better synth, the Juno equivalent would only be superior in respect to having the word 'analogue' written on it without being preceded by the word 'virtual'. Sure there would be people who would swear black and blue that it was the greatest synth ever made and had incredible tone just like there are with the Juno, but the majority of the market would choose convenience and features over sound quality. If you don't believe me look at the number of people who run their synths through terrible sounding Behringer mixers. ;)

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by tekkentool » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:17 am

calaverasgrande wrote: All you have to do is spend a little time at a decent sized house/techno/dubstep party to understand that nobody is concerned with parallel harmony in these circles. Excruciatingly so.
Won't somebody please think of the children.
Off Topic
I'll be the first to admit it I have far more use for mono sounds than poly most of the time. I'd also like to point out that there's nothing stopping you from multi-tracking a monosynth into harmonies. Guitarists do it all the time.

Also I'd argue your assessment is probably still off as progressive house in the last few years completely infiltrated every other genre of electro and house, The most successful and critically respected songs always contained immense melodic content, especially since Wolfgang Gartner brought in that whole "dark and evil chords" trend a few years ago....

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by tekkentool » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:27 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:but the majority of the market would choose convenience and features over sound quality. If you don't believe me look at the number of people who run their synths through terrible sounding Behringer mixers. ;)
I would just like to say that I agree with absolutely everything in this post. I would also like to point out it's possible to run 400 voices of sylenth1 and just touch 25% CPU usage on my current rig.

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:29 am

tekkentool wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote: All you have to do is spend a little time at a decent sized house/techno/dubstep party to understand that nobody is concerned with parallel harmony in these circles. Excruciatingly so.
Won't somebody please think of the children.
Off Topic
I'll be the first to admit it I have far more use for mono sounds than poly most of the time. I'd also like to point out that there's nothing stopping you from multi-tracking a monosynth into harmonies. Guitarists do it all the time.

Also I'd argue your assessment is probably still off as progressive house in the last few years completely infiltrated every other genre of electro and house, The most successful and critically respected songs always contained immense melodic content, especially since Wolfgang Gartner brought in that whole "dark and evil chords" trend a few years ago....
Wait what? How did I miss somebody saying there's no chords in house music? :lol:

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by StepLogik » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:41 am

Stab Frenzy wrote: Wait what? How did I miss somebody saying there's no chords in house music? :lol:
:lol:

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by tekkentool » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:52 am

B-but, p-parallel h-harmony guys.

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by StepLogik » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:13 pm

Don T wrote: For example, the high-end audio preamp I designed, the cost of the parts on the main circuit board, including the board (I make them myself), would be about $25.00. Then we get to the "fun" part: The volume control, buying them 10 at a time, I can get them for only $55.00 each (yes, that is a decent discount over retail for this part). Selector switch is about $5.00, the lead-acid battery based power supply is about $55.00 not counting charger. Decent RCA jacks are about $42.00 for six pair. The case runs about $75, since extruded aluminum rack cases are not cheap, but this one is cheaper than most, and looks decent. The switches (2) are about $16.00 together, since they are 4PDT. The two nice aluminum knobs (DAMN it's hard to type "aluminum"). are $8.00 each.
I think the key difference is that the parts you are describing are high quality components bought at very low quantities. The pots, jacks, switches, etc on typical mid-line synths and audio gear are bought in huge quantities. They are cheaply made and are accordingly cheaply priced. I can't imagine the ultra-cheap pots on the SH-201 costing more than a dollar each.

That being said, I completely agree that the hardware costs are a major cost center. Consumer electronics simply don't have knobs and switches anymore so the demand for these components has probably dropped considerably than from the 70's.

Regarding power supplies, you can find tons of external OEM units (line lumps) that can be purchased in bulk for less than $20 each. Many are even less than $10 each. These are high-quality supplies with a 3.3/5VDC rail for the digital side and bipolar 12 or 18VDC rails for the analog components. This is the route that DSI takes in order to save cost and certifications.

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by bhrama » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:03 pm

GuyaGuy wrote:4-legged dogs are more expensive than 3-legged ones, etc.
but not as cool! 8-)

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by Alphacode » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:54 pm

I would like to know how a Virtual analogue synth (like Korg King Korg or Nord lead ) can cost 1200€ when it's mainly software ??

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by commodorejohn » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:24 pm

It's not necessarily "software" per se. They may implement it as firmware on an existing DSP architecture (I think the MicroKorg does,) which is cheap, or they may spring for dedicated circuitry, which does have significant setup costs.

But I don't doubt that there's a sizeable profit margin on the big expensive VAs.
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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by GuyaGuy » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:08 am

Alphacode wrote:I would like to know how a Virtual analogue synth (like Korg King Korg or Nord lead ) can cost 1200€ when it's mainly software ??
How can the Ableton suite cost $700 when it IS only software?! And it doesn't even include an operating system! Or knobs!!

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:10 am

Alphacode wrote:I would like to know how a Virtual analogue synth (like Korg King Korg or Nord lead ) can cost 1200€ when it's mainly software ??
Cause the mainly software is written by actual (non-virtual) hardware human beings who need to get paid for their work. Also it's an actual physical hardware product made up from metal and plastic that gets put in a box and then put on a truck and brought to a shop where a real life human being has to sell it to you.

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Re: Modern monosynth prices VS polysynth prices

Post by Synthacon » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:37 am

Reading a thread about Analogue poly synths that references the Roland Gaia makes my head spin.

The level of knowledge and understanding about both synths and synthesis is at times mindblowing from some of the people on here and the internet in general.

Do some research, learn about your "hobby" then come and have a real debate with out sounding like a fool.
You always want just one more Synth!

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