Re: [AH] the analog synth business situation...

From Daryl Posnett
Sent Mon, Jan 4th 1999, 23:35

>> I really don't see why anyone should bother quite frankly. How many
>> people here have bought a brand new Matrix 1000 in the past year? I
>> don't even know any aher's who would consider buying something new when
>> it's equvilent is around used all the time.
>> Matrix 6 and 6rs are still readily available at the same price they've
>> been going for for years as well. (for that matter I've seen used M1000s
>> for $250 more than once).Just because the m1000 is now out of production
>> doesn't make it more desireable or valuable IMO. Quite frankly I always
>> hated the damn things (alhough I can see where others might like them)
>> but either way there are plenty used M1000s and M6s to fill any need I'd
>> imagine.

>My, we're a fidgety bunch here, aren't we?  We're part of the reason why
>there is so little new business in analog synths - no one wants to pay the
>price and  everybody wants a bargain (including me).

I disagree.  The M1000 is not that inovative or wonderful sounding.  In
fact, it was designed at the end of the analogue heyday and featured
marketing ideas that were in demand at the time (1000 presets, need I say
more).  The current crop of new synth designs are aimed at the current
market for analogue synths.  There are several designs that stand out and
that people are willing to pay for.  The Pulse and FR777 come to mind.  The
M1000 just isn't that interesting.  It should no more be a current product
than say a JV-80 or a Korg M1.  Those prodcuts were inovative in their time
but have been surpassed both in feature quality,  and in market

>Two years ago I was frustrated with programming my M6R, and I drew up plans
>for a full blown programmer with knobs and buttons, much more than the
>Access programmer.  I thought I could make some money selling these if the
>demand and price was right.  I had the skills, the resources, the tools, I
>was ready to do it.  And this is what I found on AH: "why should I pay $600
>for a programmer when I just paid $200 for my box?".  So, the project was
>abandoned; the demand was there but it can't be done for the price they

If you based your marketing research on AH feedback I'm not surprised you
lost interest.  We are the cheap geeks, the cheapest there is.  however,
that said, if Doepfer can  produce a knob box with 64 knobs on it for under
$500 and really closer to $400 you should be able to produce an M6
Programmer for something less.  I think the problem you faced has more to do
with the garage company manufacturing limitations than anything else.  It's
very difficult to obtain the cost reductions required to manufacture such a
labor intensive device as a knob laden programmer when you are a very small

Here's an idea for a product that I think would have some demand.  A rack
version of the Xpander that used a PC to program it, much like the Nord
Modular.   Use DCO's like the M6, software envelopes/lfos  like the Pulse,
matrix modulation and analogue filters like the Xpander/M12 (with all of the
modes), 6 voices with external inputs.  Make sure all parameters are
mappable to midi CC and create a cool editor for both MAC and PC that ships
with the box.   It should be multitimbral with dynamic or static assignment.
This should sell for somewhere around $1000.     If it sounded right (like
the Pulse, I mean right like the pulse does, not sounds like the pulse does)
then I think you would find a market among those looking for a good
reasonably priced modern polysynth.

I think the problem with some old products like the M1000 and some new
products like several of the 303 clones is they just aren't inovative enough
to capture the imagination of those looking for such devices.  They are in
many ways just copycat boxes attempting to cash in on a market where there
is high demand and low supply.

>Al Pearlman of ARP said it best: we all love the music business, but in the
>end it proved to be unrequited love.

Al made some stupid marketing decisions, that's what killed ARP, not his
unrequited love for the music business.   I'm pretty sure the folks at
waldorf/Future Retro/Clavia/Jomox/Doepfer/Many Others also have love for the
music business, in fact, if you get a chance to talk to Jered at Future
Retro, you'll know what I'm talking about.