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Why do modules cost an arm and a leg?
Old 27th May 2018
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by with_joerg View Post
Looking at the prices of modules I frequently do wonder if they are really worth and arm and a leg.
Unless you have a set of the Behringer prostetic clones, I think you might be under estimating the valuie your limbs
Old 27th May 2018
  #32
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Because modular is a niche within a niche within a niche = relatively small production and sales volumes. Undoubtedly if you were to look at the cost of a module simply as the cost of components and chassis...it would appear like you are getting robbed. But truth is if a modular maker can only expect to sell dozens of their product...they have very few units to make up their R&D costs and such in...and most kitchen-based modular builders still probably aren't doing a lot better than breaking even.

Even modern analog synths as a whole (non-modular) isn't really that huge of a market...if it were you'd see all that stuff at every Guitar Center and certainly more than a dozen physical synth/modular stores in the entirety of the US. But most Guitar Centers only have the Microkorgs, workstations, midi keyboards, and digital pianos that actually sell.
Old 28th May 2018
  #33
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Ive got just about all the Random source modules and I've been waiting for the release of the Serge Sequencer 8 XL,
However at 350 euros just for the PCB populated with SMD and Panel i just can't justify that price, id still need to buy all the Pots/Knobs/buttons/Jacks/switches/leds etc.

again i'm "assuming" Ralf could sell these at half the price and still leave a tasty profit, but what do i know?.

I will bare this module in mind incase i find myself in a rare position where i have money to burn.

Old 28th May 2018
  #34
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A follow on from my last post,

been messing about with carts

PCB/Panel from Random source = £328.25
16 x Davies knobs & 25 x thonikon jacks from thonk = £26.02
8 x Special edition switches/8 x lenses/ 8 x nickel switch fitting/ 8 x push button switches / 1x toggle switch from mouser = £49.90
16 x 9mm Alpha pots from Tayda = £18.41

So if i was to build the new Random source sequencer myself it would cost £422.58 (there is still 8x LEDs I've not accounted for)
or you can buy one already built for £525.60.


Build yourself £422.58 Vs buy built for £525.60.

When you factor in time/effort/potential of ruining the build and the price of all your soldering equipment, are you really saving any money doing DIY ?

I feel the only advantage of DIY is the fun/satisfaction of the actual build, saving money is a stupid internet miff.
Old 29th May 2018
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
Because modular is a niche within a niche within a niche = relatively small production and sales volumes.
This is why Behringer's move into synths is such a headscratcher to me. He decided to make an analog polysynth, a couple analog clones, an analog drum machine, and a few modules for the Euro market. ...why? Synth nerds are such a strange choice of group to target when he could dig in deeper with guitarists or at least go after the gap left in workstation synths by Roland and Yamaha's absence. I understand Uli's got a thing for synths, but it seems like a weird time to pursue a vanity project while he's busy moving the factory and acquiring other companies.
Old 29th May 2018
  #36
World domination?
Old 30th May 2018
  #37
Materials are just an indication for the price. Especially in growing markets, the price is set by other factors than materials.
We pay for the whole process of making a eurorack module....
Old 30th May 2018
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
World domination?
That sounds like the bad guy in a James Bond movie
Old 30th May 2018
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMT75 View Post
That sounds like the bad guy in a James Bond movie
Old 30th May 2018
  #40
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It basically comes down to this.

Do you like having all of these modules available for you to buy?

If the answer is yes, then the prices need to be right around where they are. NOBODY is going to undertake this for free. People charge what they need to charge to not only cover their COSTS, but also their TIME, AND their ability to actually LIVE while they undertake these things. This stuff takes a lot of both. Not just per module to manufacture, but prototyping, spending hours that could otherwise be spent at a day job or with loved ones, or doing something leisurely.

People don't get into the module making business because it's going to make them millions of dollars. They do it because they love it. Not even the Don Buchlas of the world are/were getting rich off of modular synths. Some people manage to make it a viable income (think Intellijel, Malekko and MakeNoise for modern Euro examples) but they're still not getting rich. They're probably making in the higher regions of the spread, but probably still not getting rich.

Just because a single module of a run might not cost a few hundred dollars to make, does not mean it's not worth that much, or worth that much to the person who dreamed it up and built it. It has to be worth it to the person doing it, or they aren't going to do it anymore.

Personally, I think it's kind of cool that so many people have jumped right in, and put all this gear out there for everyone. The world of synths would be much less cool without it all.

I work with VERY small quantities, so I don't get price breaks on anything (except actual electronic components that I buy in bulk) so take this with a spoon of salt. But one, single 4U LW format banana panel (just the panel) of 3mm thick anodized and printed aluminum (let's use 4" wide for the example) cost me $55+tax. Then small quantities of Rogan knobs that have to come from group buys or get ordered from Germany or the UK, NKK switches, Cinch jacks, Lumex LEDs and now we're talking over $100 for just a panel and controls. Then there's the PCB, components (I don't skimp on those either, Burr Brown, ADI, THAT, etc.) Just parts, panel, hardware, PCB and now we're maybe $150-$175 depending on the module. (maybe closer to $220-$250 for certain modules). Then say an hour to stuff the panel. Two hours to stuff the PCB. Another two to wire it up. Then maybe another one for testing and calibration.

Granted, it's all by hand, wiring takes time, and it's all in one-two-off quantities.

Of course if you do a run of 50-100 using SMT, you're going to get some decent breaks, but you're also incurring other tooling charges that I wouldn't have, you're buying spools of components, you have to buy large lots of panels, etc. Even though you're getting a discount per unit at those quantities, you still have a much larger up front cost that you have to put down. There are also some components that just don't get all that cheap either even at quantity. Quality switches being a big one for an example. These companies are typically one to maybe five people? Plus you have to pay your people if there is more than just yourself.

No matter what your quantity discounts are, this is not in any way a cheap endeavor.

Edit: And just to be fair, I'll admit that I've moaned about some pricing before. Particularly STS and Buchla, but really, even in those cases, the modules are at least in the ball-park they should be in for what they do, or what they brought to the market that was unique or new especially at the times they were released. I will say that those prices should probably adjust a bit over time a bit, but these are businesses after-all, so they're welcome to price as they see fit. They don't owe us anything other than quality in my view. I saw Random*Source get brought up as an example above. Compare that to STS, and I think you'll find that they're a bargain, and you're guaranteed quality, AND Serge himself gets a cut, which is very cool IMO.
Old 31st May 2018
  #41
Old 1st June 2018
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
Because modular is a niche within a niche within a niche = relatively small production and sales volumes.
I doubt that is still true. Basically all synth builders have modular stuff to offer nowadays, even industry guys like Behringer and Roland joined the craze.

If the market was still as small as it used to be, they wouldnt be all there.
Old 1st June 2018
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
Ive got just about all the Random source modules and I've been waiting for the release of the Serge Sequencer 8 XL,
However at 350 euros just for the PCB populated with SMD and Panel i just can't justify that price, id still need to buy all the Pots/Knobs/buttons/Jacks/switches/leds etc.

again i'm "assuming" Ralf could sell these at half the price and still leave a tasty profit, but what do i know?.

I will bare this module in mind incase i find myself in a rare position where i have money to burn.

I bought an A155 for 170 euros second hand. If the serge look is important to you, change the knobs and the faceplate for another 70 and you are good to go.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
I bought an A155 for 170 euros second hand. If the serge look is important to you, change the knobs and the faceplate for another 70 and you are good to go.
I doubt they are exactly the same, function wise.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
I doubt that is still true. Basically all synth builders have modular stuff to offer nowadays, even industry guys like Behringer and Roland joined the craze.

If the market was still as small as it used to be, they wouldnt be all there.
It's a niche. It's even a niche at Roland.
Compared to any other musical instrument in popular music, modular is a tiny market. The list of mainstream music companies NOT offering modular is much longer than those that do.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I doubt they are exactly the same, function wise.
I only glanced it, but it looks like you need a DUSG in addition to the sequencer to get the same functionality the Doepfer sequencer offers.
Old 2nd June 2018
  #47
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i bought a itellijel metro for like 600€ and a stepper acid for 500 or less. i think this is reasonable. but more a for a seq or equal for like a sq1 "level" seq is not acceptable imo. an sq1 is like 100€
Old 3rd June 2018
  #48
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Just listen to this ... end of discussion.

Old 19th June 2019
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Just listen to this ... end of discussion.

Yep, and Olivier Gillet's comments (as stated in that interview) exemplify my experience as a not-so-new, but still largely unknown designer of boutique analog Eurorack products. i.e... I've thought about throwing in the towel many times and get closer each year.

My experience is that as a designer of products for modular synthesis, it has been very difficult to compete in the Eurorack market. It really is--if not a full-time job, 2 or 3 full-time jobs all wrapped up in one. Especially for a two-person business like ours.

However, sometimes it is all about timing. We came into the market around 2015 and by the time we got some traction going, sales dropped off as quickly as they picked up.

We do have a local manufacture / distributor to do the actual builds/test/calibration/packaging/shipping/etc., so our royalties are expected to be lower than if we were doing this 100% ourselves.

However, the time invested in complex analog design alone can be extremely taxing. Time is the biggest one for us, as I have spent literally (not hundreds), but a few thousand hours on design and research alone. All of this on top of a full-time day job (unrelated).

Again, was never thinking I was going to be able to quit my day job, but honestly, the amount of resources needed to keep this up are vast.

Furthermore, I build to quality (because I'm older and come from the pro-audio service / manufacturing / design background from the last 25 to 30 years).
But quality has diminishing returns as well. Especially today, where so few people actually care about it. That is, being able to truly pay for that level of innovation and quality all wrapped up together.

The market is a moving target, and a fast one at that. My skills don't include DSP, FPGA, CPLD, micro-controller programming at all, since I am have only analog skills (at this time).

The main reason I have remained in Euroack (today) is primarily due to educational reasons. No joke: it looks better on a resume for a tech with engineering skills but no degree. And so there is a ton of value there. If not, I would have most certainly walked away 1 to 2 years ago.

So you might say that some of us are working in a niche within a niche (reiteration of former comments in this thread). The reality of what goes in to designing and manufacturing products, regardless of their volume of sales or industry can be overwhelming indeed.
Old 21st June 2019
  #50
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I now own a few more modules at differing price ranges and bling level. and i feel that they cost about what they are worth usually.

I have some doepfers that were cheap but still good. they make them by the 100ds or 1000ds most likely, then price goes down. and if youre only copying an existing design then it goes down even more.

then we have the e352. its just a dsp with a display and some code running right. but still, someone have to make it, and program it, and then distribute it and so on. and in this case its a one man company.

then we have ssf entitys, that are medium complex and medium size production i guess. yeah then it cost medium.

then we have some oddballs like cwejman/schippmann one man shows more or less, one makes very limited availability and limited edition stuff and the other one makes even less stuff, and then it cost a lot. since they try to make money on this. they try to put out one quality product instead of 20 so so ones.

in eurorack there is stuff for every budget though! you can get deopfer and you can get cwejman and you can anything in between. and even diy kits.
I dont really see any problem here.

One thing i have learned though is diy kits and building/doing stuff yourself is usually a lot more "expensive" than simply buying stuff already finished. since i have a job and get paid overtime.
Old 22nd June 2019
  #51
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interesting subject for me .
i always build my synths ,very little stuff i bought ,but i also offered a service to make 4U synthesizers for other people ,and a friend asked me this - wait ..so you're selling a whole synth for that money it's not just panel ??
i tried to explain to folks that i ask less for my labor ,since i'm from Macedonia but everyone dissmiss my offer as bad quality ,many people asked me what kind of parts i'm using .
so there is this rule in synth makers 5 times the parts cost ,and i don't follow that.
but people .. they really like to pay more , that's for sure . There is prolly some difference between a 500$ module and a cheaper Doepfer one ,but as John Blacet said - you get 80% functionality for 50% price .
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