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

From Daryl Posnett
Sent Tue, Jan 5th 1999, 01:51

>>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
>>$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
>>with the garage company manufacturing limitations than anything else.
>>very difficult to obtain the cost reductions required to manufacture such
>>labor intensive device as a knob laden programmer when you are a very
>I'm not sure if I'm misinterpreting this, but Doepfer and (previously)

You were, I don't disagree with what you said.  I was simply pointing out
the limitations of trying to produce a product from your garage may have
more impact on your ability to succeed than any demand for the product.  In
other words, we aren't necessarily cheap because we don't want to pay $600
for a knob box, the price just may be too high and not a good choice for a
small manufacterer to produce.

>The niche that is AH or Doepfer's customers is comparatively small.

Exactly, which is why I completely understand Gibsons choice to drop the

>>>Al Pearlman of ARP said it best: we all love the music business, but in
>>>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.
>On this point, I disagree. (my opinion only)
>Al was an engineer and while it was his company, his vice president David

I really wasn't being specific regarding AL, moreover, I was stating that it
was bad business decisions within his company that sunk them, nothing more.
If they had continued to put out inovative products (for the time) for a
good price they would still be alive today.   They didn't die because the
synth buying public couldn't see the brilliance in what they were doing,
they died cause they pumped out crap products. My response was more a
reaction to what seems to be a typical emotional opinion regarding why
company xxx should produce some product.  It should have nothing to do with
your love for that product unless you don't care about making or losing
money.   I'm not saying you shouldn't put your heart into what you do, or
that you should only sell products that cater to the masses, however, you
should research your market to determine if the demand for your product is
sufficient to allow you to make a profit at whatever level of manufactering
you wish to pursue.

To use the example above, it was determined, somewhat loosly, that the
market wouldn't support a $600 knob box to program the matrix 6.  I would
guess that the market would support a box somewhere in the price range of
$200 to $350 as that is what other used knob boxes sell for.  So, if you
can't figure out how to make an M6 knob box to fit in that target price
range then look for another product.  Don't blame it on unapreciateve
consumers who don't share your love.  We're just making the best decisions
we can make for our own needs. When you look at that equation, what comes to
mind for me is not whether or not the box is worth it, but, can I buy some
other knob laden polysynth for the approximately $850 to $900 investment
required for the pair, and IMHO, there are many choices.   Of course, there
might be a market for a $600 knob box, it's just going to be significantly
smaller.  My other point was that asking AH is not the best way to do market
research for such a device.


>Friend was attributed with much of Arp's poor marketing and R&D later.
>David was a businessman, but not as much of an engineer. In the end, David
>couldn't deliver what he thought he could because his decisions were
>marketing based and not technology based. He ended up having a great name
>like ARP, great clients, but poorly designed products with no cash and no
>time left to fix them.
>Al might have made smaller waves, but may not have drowned so quickly had
>he not had his "Friend".