Originally Posted by Dave Polich
These days, any synth priced at over $5K is dead on arrival.
Is Schmidt making this to amuse himself?
Actually, he DID make it to amuse himself, and he doesn't give a shit what you or I may think. There is only one in existence, and over the course of six years he built it entirely for his own amusement, with no intention of selling it, mass producing it, or ever producing more than the one unit. Friends convinced him to bring it to Messe and then folks began begging him to put it into production and putting it up for sale. He resisted, but after some research into build costs determined that it would cost around $25k each to make a run of 20 units or so. So, reluctantly, and at the urging of boutique synth dealer Geoff Farr, it was determined that if fifteen pre-orders were received that a small production run would be initiated, at which time deposits would be needed.
Bottom line is, he sure as hell didn't come to the trade shows looking for dealers or customers - it was a technical exercise done for his own amusement... But, believe it or not, there ARE those for whom $25k represents a week's worth of income from royalties of TV re-runs, or one-third of the fee for a night spent spinning a DJ set - THESE are the kind of folks who will be on the pre-order list.
These are also the folks who already have the Jupiter-8, the P5, the Xpander, etc., and are STILL looking for something new, fresh, and inspiring.
I spent quite a bit of time playing the Schmidt at both this NAMM show and last year's, and it is definitely a bad mofo - I have plenty of the big old-school analog polysynths, and the Schmidt will absolutely do stuff that none of the grandpappy synths will do - and it doesn't need to be re-capped! Most folks will be fine with a King Korg or a Prophet-12. The Schmidt is definitely in the class of, "if you have to ask the price, it's not for you" - but there's room in the world for the 1970 Hemi Cuda (the Memorymoog), the Nissan Skyline r34 (the Jupiter-8), the C7 Corvette (the DSI Prophet-12), AND the Pagani Huarya (the Schmidt). Not everyone wants to drive a car (or synth) that makes "good financial sense" - some crave exotic machines that push the limits of what is possible with the technology, and the Schmidt is exactly that. It is well beyond the scope of reason and into the realm of passion - beyond "super cars" like Mclaren or Ferrari, and into "hypercar" territory, up there with the Bugatti Veyron (to stretch the automotive analogy to the limit).
I, for one, am pleased that we can choose to spend anywhere between $500 (Minibrute) and $25,000 (Schmidt) on synths.
On Friday I was told (by Thomas, as Schmidt himself was not there) that out of the fifteen pre-orders needed, only two are confirmed (and I am not one of them... yet!) Who is that flush with cash? I don't know, but I suspect one of them has the initials HZ... as for the other... hmmmm. I do believe, however, that a certain rodent-eared EDM artist bought the Fairlight CMI-30a demo unit right off the NAMM show floor for $20k - I was there as they were getting ready to box it up and load it into his assistant's waiting Range Rover.
So there's that....