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Why vintage & hardware synths are a good investment/good idea... MIDI Processors
Old 4th November 2010
  #1
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Why vintage & hardware synths are a good investment/good idea...

Lot's of reasons and lots of "versus" threads, so let's focus on some positives (I also give Yoozer credit for the good idea )

For one, I JUST had a fairly well-known artist remark to me that he felt that while the ITB stuff is very appealing for loads of reasons, he still felt the hardware gave him an "originality" over anyone else.

Even people with the same synth, never sound the same.

(Of course "orignality" is in the player, but he meant just pure sound and vision... enter Bowie heh)

-Andrews
Old 4th November 2010
  #2
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wax808's Avatar
 

Heh, I like the idea of this thread.


I feel that way about my gear for sure. I live in a mid-sized town of about 500k people. Theres not much of an electronica scene here. And no one I've ever seen play live has a weird setup like me. Most people don't know what to make of it and lots of times the guys just stare at it trying to figure it out. I get jealous of the laptop guys sometimes, they have so many tools. If I want to do a compact show it's my MPC, SP-555, and a synth-module, maybe a controller.

As far as spending money on gear is concerned, synths and their brethren are one of the few things I like spending money on. And if you think about it, you are being responsible by doing so. It's not like you are gonna lose out if you buy smart and used. Buy new and you still get most of your monies back.

I've purchased 3 synths in the past 2 weeks, I needed each one really for my setup and it felt great to get them on GS for such a good price. I also bought an LCD TV, and that made me remember what buyers remorse feels like. (Until football is on that is ....)



So yeah, lots of times when a good Synth deal comes up, you can't afford NOT to buy it up. It's an investment, like a savings account but you can play with it or use it to make memories and money.
Old 4th November 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, I am a perfect example of this. In the past year I bought a bunch of small items. $250-600 then cashed some of them in for 1 big ticket item and I am a happy camper! heh I don't think I would have been able to do the same thing with softsynths.
Old 4th November 2010
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Uh, it was more why stuff like a Vari-Mu or a set of high-end converters were good investments instead of adding another synth if you already have 10 of 'm or so.

(but carry on, don't let me ruin your thread )
Old 4th November 2010
  #5
I just got 16 malotki of 400 grams each, for the inserts.
straight as a knife freq response, better seperation, and clean "air".
what more would a slut want?
Old 4th November 2010
  #6
Interesting question. I think it depends on what you do. If you do a lot of production and speed is of the essence, then ITB is the fastest and most efficient way to work. For the musician on a budget it's also a lot cheaper and easier to accumulate a nice rack of quality ITB effects.

For the "artist" who is looking for that perfect sound, or the audiophile hobbyist who loves to play with high-end gear, it's hard to argue against preferring hardware since it does provide the artist with a "signature" sound - a.k.a. the "secret weapon". It also provides the hobbyist with something that won't become obsolete with an operating system change and can be re-sold later. The only bummer is you need to have other gear - i.e cables and a mixer with enough of the right connections to hook everything up, which costs 'mo money.

I, for one, am thrilled that people want to go ITB because you can get great vintage studio-quality outboard gear for really cheap. I picked up a nice Focusrite Green vocal channel for less than $250 and you can find H3000SE Harmonizers for less than $750! That's next on my list.

I was looking at an old Oberheim price sheet and realized that even though prices have gone up a lot for vintage analog synth gear recently, virtually everything costs less today than it cost new, even way back then. An OB8 (and probably the JP8 and Memorymoog) listed for over $4,500 new in 1982. That's over $8K in inflation-adjusted dollars!

I don't know if hardware is a good investment - timing is everything - but it is definitely a more liquid investment than software and it's more fun to play with!
Old 4th November 2010
  #7
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crufty's Avatar
my ilok just broke...laptop slid off the bed, ilok hit bedstand and just like that

so being locked into a 19" stand has its advantages thumbsup
Old 4th November 2010
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Seeing that they can make wireless dongles and USB sticks that only stick out 4 mm, there's no reason that they can't do this too with iLoks.

Even better would be if dongles disappeared from the earth yesterday, but why would you make it painless for legit consumers?
Old 4th November 2010
  #9
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Uh, it was more why stuff like a Vari-Mu or a set of high-end converters were good investments instead of adding another synth if you already have 10 of 'm or so.

(but carry on, don't let me ruin your thread )
Yes heh There is a thread for that too and yes, that subject makes a better point and even what I understood it to be last night (late)... then I lost my mind, don't ask... loooooooooong a$$ day

-Andrews
Old 4th November 2010
  #10
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crufty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Even better would be if dongles disappeared from the earth yesterday, but why would you make it painless for legit consumers?
yeah

i caught the lappy but in the process of the save sacrificed the ilok

DOH

worst part is i have an empty one, but its still 40 bones and send in the busted one to get a replacement
Old 4th November 2010
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
had a fairly well-known artist remark to me that he felt that while the ITB stuff is very appealing for loads of reasons, he still felt the hardware gave him an "originality" over anyone else.

Even people with the same synth, never sound the same.

For me personally this is what its all about too, sure its less hassle to do everything itb, and quicker (usually) but you get something unique when you go the other way. And lets not forget the 'happy accidents' that seem, to me at least, to happen way more frequently with hardware.



.
Old 4th November 2010
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by crufty View Post
my ilok just broke...laptop slid off the bed, ilok hit bedstand and just like that

so being locked into a 19" stand has its advantages thumbsup
A short USB extension cable is a MUST for dongles IMO.
Old 4th November 2010
  #13
Gear Nut
 

i fell in love with live for a quick minute. ultimately as the cpu goes and the software upgraded obivously the said value goes with it. cant really same the same for my metasonix gear or my vostok. software's awesome if your willing to deal with the fact that the program you bought once removed from shrink wrap aint worth squat. decades from now my analog cv gear will still hold value. can anybody say the same for the lastest mac loaded with live 8?dfegad
Old 4th November 2010
  #14
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Fordy's Avatar
You can't get your actually hands on a software synth, and there is no way they will have much of a re-sale value in a few years time.

I choose my synth on the basis that each one brings something new to the table that the other are missing and also sound somewhat different from the others.

But also just as important for me is that I think synths should well just look sexy, like works of art even, something that you just can't wait to get your hands (physically) on! That's really important for me. I just can't 'connect' the same way with a bunch of binary digits in a computer no matter how much of a fancy GUI it has.
Old 4th November 2010
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
software's awesome if your willing to deal with the fact that the program you bought once removed from shrink wrap aint worth squat.
Quote:
and there is no way they will have much of a re-sale value in a few years time.
I see this argument coming up regularly but IMHO - it's purely psychological.

If you're 30+ or so you've probably been raised with the idea that quality costs money and that it's better to spend a lot on something that stays valuable and lasts for 20 years. That's great (it's not so great if you have a gas-guzzling car that's 15 years old and not safe at all anymore, but hey). It's great in the sense that we could use more of that just to save resources; the best savings you can make on what you don't spend in the first place. Furniture, tools, utensils, lots of things you can think of benefit from longer lifetimes.

Computers completely mess with that concept - for them, it's discarded and it doesn't make sense. In fact, you're used to the hardware doing that already; 2 years pass and you have a new phone, 3-4 years pass and you have a new computer because the previous one was getting slow (or even less time than that).

However, the computer is not the instrument; software is. Instruments were expensive, good ones are expensive, investments yadda yadda and the fact that you like to jam out is secondary, this'll last you 2 decades etc. Which means that the psychological factor kicks in; you've been raised with that idea.

At the same time that this thought comes up the actual amount of money you pay for the software is ignored. Synth Squad is $200, and you can ignore the cost for the computer because you were going to have to spend that anyway. Meanwhile you get as many instances as you want. Every subsequent purchase cuts the computer cost further, which is convenient but not terribly important.

So, after say, 3 years that $200 is worth nothing. You've lost $200 over 3 years (it still works, it still runs, but you're not going to get that back).

Let's go back in time and buy a Virus TI. $1700 new. In 3 years, Access releases the TI2, and all secondhand TIs drop to $1200. Sweet - you still have $1200 resale value, but you've lost $500 over those same three years, and worse, that money you spent extra wasn't getting any interest.

So from an economical point of view, complaints about resale value don't make that much sense. However, if you can't ignore the psych factor (and feeling great while making music is incredibly important) then it springs up in its crooked way.

tldr: don't worry about softsynths resale value unless you're called arianclap and buy Nexus with all the expansions.

plus, deciding purely on resale value/writing off is a horrible way to buy synthesizers. You're supposed to enjoy them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
For one, I JUST had a fairly well-known artist remark to me that he felt that while the ITB stuff is very appealing for loads of reasons, he still felt the hardware gave him an "originality" over anyone else. Even people with the same synth, never sound the same.
Yes. But - even then, all the tools you have in your studio (with perhaps very few exceptions) are made on an assembly line, mass-produced. One-of-a-kind only happens with entire modulars (of which the separate modules are not unique; only that particular configuration is) or bespoke stompboxes; it's not worth building otherwise, because it doesn't scale.

I can see that side of the argument. If everyone else doesn't bother with buying device X for a certain task but you are one of the dozen folks working in that genre that do, then you may have an edge - if you know how to use it effectively and have it give your music that bit of magic that others can't do. It's amplified by the fact that if the interface is tactile you're probably more prone to do something crazy with it than if you had to tweak every knob separately, which would again contribute. Don't get me wrong; all of this can safely be filed under "good idea"!

However, I'm wary of devices that give you originality. All someone else has to do is to discover what's being used; if the device is relatively simple in terms of user-interface then figuring out that kind of combination means trial and error for a few days and then you probably have it. Or worse, when you're not telling anyone that all you do is load up factory preset nr. 31 and have a go with that.

The best secrets are the one you keep in your head, not the ones you give away by showing folks pictures of your studio. The hardest secret to give away is your creativity, because even if you were shouting it from the rooftops people'd still need time to understand.

This is why I think it's silly to try to keep secret what someone uses. If you suddenly found yourself in possession of Vince Clarke's entire setup around 1982 you'd still not make "Don't Go" if you never heard it before. That's the beauty of it.

The exception is if you lean on a one-trick-pony, which is probably why the guys behind Cher's Believe had to put up such a cock-and-bull story.
Old 4th November 2010
  #16
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NewSc2's Avatar
 

Gold is a good investment. I'm pretty happy I bought a small amount of AAPL earlier this year, too.
Old 4th November 2010
  #17
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Fordy's Avatar
Personally I hope I never have to sell any of my synths as I'm only concerned about the sounds I get from them rather than what they are worth in years to come heh They are like kids to me (except I would rather sell my 'real' kids than these synths) thumbsup

I never was a kiddie person.
Old 4th November 2010
  #18
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wwjd's Avatar
you can't >>SIMPLY<< turn on a softsynth, and start playing something inspired.
Old 4th November 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewSc2 View Post
Gold is a good investment. I'm pretty happy I bought a small amount of AAPL earlier this year, too.
Gold is only a good investment if the price of gold is likely to go up. Otherwise its a bad investment but one thats not likely to completely screw you because the price of gold isn't hugely volatile.

In the meantime you have to deal with the fact that your money is tied up in an asset that you can't spend as easily as having money so the best investments are the ones which have the least risk and the highest rate of return on investment over the shortest term. In the end you will be exposing yourself to some risk. Your investment may lose value, or it may take so long to see a return that its not worth tying up your money when there are better things you can be doing with it.

If investment opportunity is what you are then theres alot better out there than synths. It only really makes sense to invest in synths if you were going to buy them anyway and whilst your money is tied up, you derive some enjoyment out of the instrument whilst it maintains or hopefully gains value. Otherwise stay away. Especially with really old synths, there are running expenses to consider too so you may still lose money. But unlike things like computers they don't lose value precipitously over time so if you treat them right, you get to enjoy owning and playing a synth and then when you have had enough you can often sell it for close to or the same price you bought it for, so you lose nothing in the long term. In some cases you can even sell up for more than you paid for it after running expenses.
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