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Why can't they build 'em like this anymore? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 15th December 2010
Lives for gear
flat's Avatar
Why can't they build 'em like this anymore?

So I just received my Korg DDD-1 drum machine today.

I tell you, its like a piece of granite. Makes my 707 seem like a wedge of polysteyrene in comparison.

I cleaned it up, had a look inside. Theres absolultley no excuse why they can't make them like this anymore. Thicker plastics, solid shell. It really does make a difference. Sure theres a few scratches, but it feels tactile, has a pleasing weight behind it. It feels like a serious piece of hardware. It feels like it will last another few decades.

I appreiciate that this machine (and others like it) wasn't aimed at the lower end of the market at the time, but still, it can't cost that much more to design these current 'toys' that I have played (X50, Juno G, Microkorg XL etc) to a higher standard surely?

Whats next, balsa wood editions ffs?

I find it amazing that these 80s 'white elephants' will probably still be around 20 years from now, where as todays 'efforts' will be long gone.

Take note manufactuers, quality really doesn't go unmissed. tutt
Old 16th December 2010
Lives for gear
Jim Stout's Avatar
Simple... Money.

btw... the DDD-1 is one of my favorite drum machinesthumbsup
Old 16th December 2010
Lives for gear
flat's Avatar
Originally Posted by Jim Stout View Post
Simple... Money.
But, I'm sure punters would be happy to pay a little extra for say, an added 2mm thick case/chassis and slightly reasonable quality keybed.

btw... the DDD-1 is one of my favorite drum machinesthumbsup
Can't believe it wasn't more popular. Superb features compared to competition of the time. But for me this is the main reason I got it.
Old 16th December 2010
Gear Addict
Jake's Avatar


The "toys" you referenced are not good comparisons to the DDD1. The x50, for example, retails for $700. Using my trusty inflation calculator that equals about $350 in 1985 dollars. As it happens, I bought my first synth in 1985 so I'm pretty familiar with what was on the market around the time the DDD1 came out, and I can assure you that there were no keyboard synths selling for $350 in 1985. Consider this, the DX7 sold for about $2000 when it came out -- that would be over $4000 today!

So basically the answer is, it does cost that much more to build things like they used to.

Oh, and I also love the DDD1, that was the drum machine my first group used!
Old 16th December 2010
Lives for gear
Jim Stout's Avatar
The DDD-1 retailed for $995 in 1987. That was considered affordable back then too. .
Then there was the sampling option and cards.
Old 16th December 2010
Gear Head
Pentachoron's Avatar

As mentioned above, when manufacturing hardware musical instruments/gear on the scales of a Korg or Yamaha, seemingly small cut corners in the process undoubtedly add up to significant savings for the company. Add to that unwillingness of a large percentage of the potential customer base refusing to pay a dollar more than what they consider the legitimate retail cost of sound equipment, and you end up with most everything now manufactured by low paid, exploited workers in China, made of the cheapest possible materials, and suffering from consistently shoddy quality control. Look at what happened to Mackie or Alesis…

Back in ‘87, among the people I knew then that might be considered analogous to many of the forum members here, now, $1000 for a drum machine (albeit a high quality, feature-packed drum machine) would have been considered nearly unattainable. But of course, price is a matter of perspective.
Old 16th December 2010
Gear Addict
JRock's Avatar

Got my DDD-1 from a pawn shop for $120 in 97. I didn't know what I had then. Someone ganked it though I still miss it. It was built tough. Put it next to a Zoom or a DR-XXX. It'll roll right over it and not even notice! Yeah! that's the way they oughta be made. Not this pusillanimous junk they manufacture nowadays!!!stike
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