Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

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Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by noisecomm » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:03 am

with a drink carrier(wave)?
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by garranimal » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:18 pm

feature creep due to "why couldn't they have added x, or at least put y in there.

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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by Blue Monster 65 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:54 pm

As long as it's blue, who cares what features it has?
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by c-level » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:57 pm

bc they know how much you want one and how skint you are...

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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by garranimal » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:12 am

I know this thread is more of a rant than needing a logical answer. However its a good opportunity to think about business economics and resource chain to consumer. Anything built out of discrete components and stuffed in a box (analog stuff) adds up costs very quick. The resistors, caps, chips, wires are all individually very cheap but adds up real quick.

Now most companies use SMT methods to do their builds. I was watching a youtube vid of the machine Dave Smith factory uses. Basically its a machine not unlike a large printer that places and solders mini components to a board super-fast, just like printing out a book report on a laserjet. While the actual build costs are much lower and faster, now you have to maintain a very large and expensive machine. To use the laserjet analogy again, a machine that needs hundreds of different 'printer ribbons' (ie resistors capacitors chips etc). You still need human labor to turn the screws, assemble ribbon connectors, and stuff the guts in a box.

And then finally retailers that actually market and sell things online and stores need to make a profit and pay for overhead. Generally retail markup is 200%. A thing that cost $250 to make will cost the end user $500. This is actually a very simplified model. There are lots of other costs that go into marketing, engineering, quality control, etc. The price we pay at the store is a reflection of all these various processes that bring us all our favorite instruments.

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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by Steve Jones » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:56 am

garranimal wrote: And then finally retailers that actually market and sell things online and stores need to make a profit and pay for overhead. Generally retail markup is 200%.
I think that you will find that music retailers could only dream of a 200% mark up unless you mean guitar picks. The norm is more like 30% and that's before the customer comes in demanding a further 20% off.
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by Kenneth » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:58 am

garranimal wrote:I know this thread is more of a rant than needing a logical answer. However its a good opportunity to think about business economics and resource chain to consumer. Anything built out of discrete components and stuffed in a box (analog stuff) adds up costs very quick. The resistors, caps, chips, wires are all individually very cheap but adds up real quick.

Now most companies use SMT methods to do their builds. I was watching a youtube vid of the machine Dave Smith factory uses. Basically its a machine not unlike a large printer that places and solders mini components to a board super-fast, just like printing out a book report on a laserjet. While the actual build costs are much lower and faster, now you have to maintain a very large and expensive machine. To use the laserjet analogy again, a machine that needs hundreds of different 'printer ribbons' (ie resistors capacitors chips etc). You still need human labor to turn the screws, assemble ribbon connectors, and stuff the guts in a box.

And then finally retailers that actually market and sell things online and stores need to make a profit and pay for overhead. Generally retail markup is 200%. A thing that cost $250 to make will cost the end user $500. This is actually a very simplified model. There are lots of other costs that go into marketing, engineering, quality control, etc. The price we pay at the store is a reflection of all these various processes that bring us all our favorite instruments.
Well said. I'd be interested in watching that video you mentioned about DSI. Care to share?
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by EmptySet » Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:56 am

I know the common thought is that discrete components are expensive and probably labor intensive, but I'm curious to know how commodity electronics parts could be more expensive now than they were in 1980? Couldn't Roland, for example, reproduce a Juno60 clone much cheaper than they did back in the day? It seems like they should have gotten better (ie less expensive) at manufacturing. And they could replace the wooden and metal cases of yesterday with a cheap plastic one. And is it really that expensive to recreate those circuits discretely? They wouldn't even have to pay engineers to design this one. This train of thought has always confused me. Granted, sales might be limited to a niche and maybe that's why they don't do this, but I don't so much buy the argument that it would be more expensive to produce these days. If anything, it should be cheaper.

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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by noisecomm » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:58 am

Wasn't the Juno 6/60 Around $1800 back in the day?

They could in theory, relaunch it with some manufacturing streamlining, but would the custom ICs and such really be cheaper to recreate in an industry that is moving away from maintaining a supply of ICs?

Hopefully, Roland doesn't stick us with teh DCB connection, again.
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:21 am

Steve Jones wrote:
garranimal wrote: And then finally retailers that actually market and sell things online and stores need to make a profit and pay for overhead. Generally retail markup is 200%.
I think that you will find that music retailers could only dream of a 200% mark up unless you mean guitar picks. The norm is more like 30% and that's before the customer comes in demanding a further 20% off.
I see these figures daily, it's my job to write product pages for the webshop. Except during this week with all the new Messe products we don't know retail prices yet.. ^_^ Small accessories are close to a factor 1.7 - 2.1 on the dealer price (ex VAT!), the larger products tend to go towards 1.6, and the sensible bottom looks to be 1.3. For these 1.3-products you'd make a markup of some 10% after you've paid the VAT. The continuity of a music shop is based on large quantities of small thingies.
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by Bitexion » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:37 pm

Korg rebuilt the MS-20 with modern components for less than 1/4 of the price of the old MS-20. So it is of course cheaper to make analog synths now than it was in the late 70s.

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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:40 pm

Of course, now that it's a hype and a legion o' vintage fanatics want one. Was the original MS20 made in a time when Korg just knew they'd sell boatloads of it? Large quantities, low price per piece.
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by silikon » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:47 pm

garranimal wrote:I know this thread is more of a rant than needing a logical answer. However its a good opportunity to think about business economics and resource chain to consumer. Anything built out of discrete components and stuffed in a box (analog stuff) adds up costs very quick. The resistors, caps, chips, wires are all individually very cheap but adds up real quick.

Now most companies use SMT methods to do their builds. I was watching a youtube vid of the machine Dave Smith factory uses. Basically its a machine not unlike a large printer that places and solders mini components to a board super-fast, just like printing out a book report on a laserjet. While the actual build costs are much lower and faster, now you have to maintain a very large and expensive machine. To use the laserjet analogy again, a machine that needs hundreds of different 'printer ribbons' (ie resistors capacitors chips etc). You still need human labor to turn the screws, assemble ribbon connectors, and stuff the guts in a box.

And then finally retailers that actually market and sell things online and stores need to make a profit and pay for overhead. Generally retail markup is 200%. A thing that cost $250 to make will cost the end user $500. This is actually a very simplified model. There are lots of other costs that go into marketing, engineering, quality control, etc. The price we pay at the store is a reflection of all these various processes that bring us all our favorite instruments.
Agreed, but you've (probably inadvertently) left out one phase that is commonly one of the most expensive parts of building really anything (especially electronic gear); research & design (or just design). Many times the man-hours invested into designing and building something new or different will cost more than the total cost of a complete run of whatever device you're discussing. Prototyping, as well as the architects and engineers who design these things don't come cheap, even when you guarantee wristies, and knob tugs a' plenty for the engineering staff. (For the record, I still have yet to get any company to agree to wholesale tuggings to be added to my contract)

I would also be shocked to learn of a 200% mark up. I believe the margins on retail sales are much closer to 20% in most cases. When all is said and done, these companies likely include the cost of the design phase (in some incremental value) in the wholesale price so that they can attempt to make up whatever exorbitant costs happen at that phase... So even if the price of the components are low and it looks like the components and build material account for 50% of the MSRP, there are other things that get built into the cost that one should probably expect to pay.

At the retail level, if you're not blowing many of these things out the door, you're not making huge profits. When you see retailers blowing things out at reductions of 30% or more, they are often "lost leaders" things they lose money on to get people in the door to buy other s**t that's not marked down. (If they're not first marking up the original price some, and then dropping the falsely inflated value down some)
Last edited by silikon on Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by silikon » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:51 pm

Bitexion wrote:Korg rebuilt the MS-20 with modern components for less than 1/4 of the price of the old MS-20. So it is of course cheaper to make analog synths now than it was in the late 70s.
... Because the components are a bit cheaper, and a great deal of the R&D phase was done already. :D
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Re: Why can't they make a new sub- $500 analog synth.....

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:27 pm

Korg just put out two analogue synths for $150 each, do you guys not realise this is a joke thread?

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