PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

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zwegner
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Re: PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

Post by zwegner » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:21 pm

Jabberwalky wrote:So when is someone going to create a database system that tracks all sold items on Ebay and can show a graph? If I knew how...I would. One of you programmers could make a lot of money with this
Speaking as a programmer, this is actually very hard. The problem is being able to classify a synthesizer into a definite category based on just a text description. As an example, I recently got a minimoog on ebay, and as many of you probably know, searching for a minimoog isn't that simple. Do a search for "minimoog", all categories. At this very moment, there are five of them for sale, including one in Australia and one keyboardless version, out of 39 results displayed. You also have voyagers, sample cds, tshirts, mugs, vsts, as well as the odd synth where someone throws "minimoog" in the title so you have to look at it when you are really looking for a damn minimoog.

While it's easy for a brain to sort the garbage out from the goods, for a computer this is no easy task. Narrow the search like this:
1. Narrow the search by category "Musical Instruments". 25 results, all 5 minis still there. Narrowing the category more right now doesn't work, as it loses some results. The program will have to search in multiple categories (synthesizers and keyboard instruments), but ebay won't let you do this so I'll ignore it for now.
2. Add "-voyager" to the search. 13 results, all minis remain.
3. Similarly, add in "-sample -shirt -pc -soviet -arturia" and it's down to 7. There's the 5 minis and then a couple of parts. At this point, there's not much more as humans we can do except add more special cases to weed out each individual part. You're already risking cutting out good matches too. If someone writes "this sounds way better than the arturia", then it's extremely difficult for a computer to know it's really a minimoog.

OK, so this is just a longwinded way of saying it's not easy to classify these. But the technology does exist. It's basically just a bayesian spam filter that needs to be specifically trained for each instrument. But you really need a lot of data to properly train them, and then you need somebody to look through every results and be the "oracle" to say which ones are good.

So now you have a synthesizer-auction-classifying algorithm and it's doing a semi-decent job. But how does it use this information? The price of a synth is based on a lot of things. Serial numbers, condition, service record, current popularity, seller's feedback, shipping, and tons more little pieces of information that humans take into account. You also need to look at auction length, buy it now price, number of bids (and possibly how many different bidders there were), if its being relisted, etc. Then there's the ripoff/bargain anomaly factor. There's also lots of cross-correlation between each synthesizer. You could stop before all of this though, and just make some graphs of prices, but there's many correlations in play that would give a more accurate view of price trends.

:blah5: :blah5: :blah5:
Anyways, it's possible, but difficult. This sort of undertaking might better be taken by some stock market prediction firm.

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killertofu
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Re: PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

Post by killertofu » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:11 am

[edit] nothing to see here... :oops:
Last edited by killertofu on Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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OriginalJambo
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Re: PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

Post by OriginalJambo » Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:15 am

Man this topic has been done to death quite a few times now...
  • There are some ridiculous prices. There are also some reasonable ones.
  • There are some items seem too expensive to many, but are must have due to their classic status, artist association or both. There are also tons of overlooked boards that are, arguably, worth less than they should be for the same reasons.
  • There are collectors. There are players. There are both.
  • There are the ones who will "pay over the odds" for something they really want. There are others who will patiently wait out for that elusive "deal".
  • There are some with disposable income. There are some with families.
  • There may be some that believe a thought-provoking discussion may change all this. There are others who believe eBay should do even more work for them.
Or I could some this up in two (or three?) words - it's subjective. One man's rip off is another's going rate. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

With so many variables, points of view, exceptions to rules and so forth I can only really add this - I'd take a JX over a Juno anyday. :)

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Re: PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

Post by plikestechno » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:13 pm

My thoughts have changed over the past year or so that I've been collecting synths. It started with buying a Poly 800 mkII at a garage sale for $20 and liking it too much to take to Ebay. But coming from collecting records for years and sports cards when I was a kid it's kinda all the same thing.

-I lust less for the classics now because I've picked up similar things. I couldn't afford a Jupiter 8 so I have a JX-10 and programmer that I got with 4 M64Cs for $500 US shipped. The sounds on these cartridges and since have taught me that anything is basically possible with it. I couldn't afford an Odyssey so I bought an Octave Cat SRM. It sounds nothing like an Odyssey but gets me in the ballpark with vintage arps and moogs and it also only cost me $500.Couldn't afford an 808 or 909 so I bought a 707 and Drumtraks for $100 and $150 respectively to trigger my wall of analog drum synths. Does it sound the same? No. But my jones for an 808 is non-existant now. I sold my Waldorf Q because I liked the Yamaha EX5R that I got for $200 way better. The sound quality is miraculous.

-I set prices for what I'd pay for things and stick to it. I always buy things at lower than resale value.

-I do wonder if I should sell things that I got a really good deal on. Even if I like them. Like I love my museum condition Yamaha SY1 with original cover and manual. And I could probably get a $1000 on Ebay for it because it's in perfect shape and you NEVER see them. But I love it too much. It sounds so beefy, so clean, so 70s and has the most amazing portmento I've ever encountered, I could get double what I paid for my 202 but replace it with what? Conversely I sold a Boss PC-2 for $300 US that I paid $30 for. I liked it too but as soon as I needed $300 for something else out it went.

- I don't think auction prices for 70s synths will ever go down. That old magic is impossible to capture in newly built analogs IMHO and the supply is limited. Conversely there are lots of synths that are cheaper than they deserve to be. Buy those.

-Any kid reading "Vintage Synthesizers" or Pete Forrest books will be sorely disappointed when they start hitting the pawn shops and Ebay.

-The best deals are most likely from local musicians and musician friends that need cash fast at some point. And don't know how or don't want to bother with Ebay or shipping the synth.

-At least I don't live in the UK or Europe where prices and supply are really limited.



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OriginalJambo
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Re: PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:08 pm

plikestechno wrote:Conversely there are lots of synths that are cheaper than they deserve to be. Buy those.
My sentiments exactly. :thumbup:


At least I don't live in the UK or Europe where prices and supply are really limited.
We're actually quite lucky in the UK - the prices generally may be a little higher than in the US but there is definitely plenty of gear flying around. h**l, I'd say it's probably in the top ten of countries with the most vibrant second-hand synth market.

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killertofu
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Re: PRICES : the most heated yet absent debate

Post by killertofu » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:23 pm

plikestechno wrote:Conversely there are lots of synths that are cheaper than they deserve to be. Buy those.
A few years ago I passed up many Jupiter 8s in classifieds and on ebay. Some for $1500 or $2000 in pristine condition. I thought they were at the peak of the market (and I didnt necessarily have the cash then) :oops:

Boy, was I wrong. I guess everyone else caught on :)

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