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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039438 04/18/20 05:14 PM
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10% to 12% SGA may be true for a giant company like Sony, but is quite optimistic for a company developing and selling keyboards into a small/boutique market.

There are several topics wrapped up here:

1. Price - the selling price of the product in the marketplace
2. Cost - the manufacturer's cost to develop and manufacture the product
3. Value - the utility that a product provides to a particular user, compared to the Price

Keyboards that sell for $3k+ tend to provide a lot of performance and features. If a particular customer can take advantage of, say, 75% of those features then the product may represent a good value. If a particular user only requires a small fraction of the features then perhaps it is not such a good value.

Flagship keyboards are costly to develop and appeal to a small segment of an already-small market. Since the audience is small, the cost to develop and manufacture is relatively high on a per-unit basis. Its not uncommon to see some of the technologies from flagship products flow down to less capable/less-costly products in an effort to balance the value equation for a wider range of users.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039443 04/18/20 05:24 PM
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I've wondered how Yamaha could be making money on the Genos. Perhaps the answer is, from a single product standpoint, they aren't. But maybe the R&D and technology that goes into it finds its way into the MODX, which is a cash cow. I have no inside info, just speculating.

All workstations seem overpriced to me because I'm only interested in performance. I tried the Fantom 6 but ended up returning it. As a performance keyboard it was fine, but had I kept it I would have been paying for a ton of features I'd never use.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
ElmerJFudd #3039444 04/18/20 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
The big guys - Yamaha, Roland, Korg - would rather send inventory to be crushed rather than sell it at loss, have to support a product after sale that didn't make any money for them, or set a price point that devalues their brands.

And people wonder why there is very little Yamaha/Roland/Korg gear in my arsenal. There are other reasons.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Stephen S #3039447 04/18/20 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Stephen S
10% to 12% SGA may be true for a giant company like Sony, but is quite optimistic for a company developing and selling keyboards into a small/boutique market.

There are several topics wrapped up here:

1. Price - the selling price of the product in the marketplace
2. Cost - the manufacturer's cost to develop and manufacture the product
3. Value - the utility that a product provides to a particular user, compared to the Price

Keyboards that sell for $3k+ tend to provide a lot of performance and features. If a particular customer can take advantage of, say, 75% of those features then the product may represent a good value. If a particular user only requires a small fraction of the features then perhaps it is not such a good value.

Flagship keyboards are costly to develop and appeal to a small segment of an already-small market. Since the audience is small, the cost to develop and manufacture is relatively high on a per-unit basis. Its not uncommon to see some of the technologies from flagship products flow down to less capable/less-costly products in an effort to balance the value equation for a wider range of users.

I have been talking mostly about the Big Dogs, of course.

Just to clarify. I think a Dave Smith co has tight margins, a humble bottom line.
I don't know for sure, but I think the independent co's are highly passionate.
Not the same as a Yamaha or a Korg [ sales of $300 million - $450 million ?}

I don't see Roland, Korg or Yamaha primarily selling into boutique markets.

Guessing here, I think Korg has sold 40,000 Kronos in 9 years.
While not exact, it doesn't seem boutique to me. More like " pro consumer ".
I believe the MODX to be an excellent seller. Also does not seem a boutique example to me.

And co's do not isolate profit, or run P & L's by specific product , like 2 or 3 models priced over $3000.

They aggregate by 'product group' . A bigger picture. They will slice out a portion of SG&A to their
internal P & L's. Then they roll up these P & L's into the next level up.

I don't know if this makes sense. These large co's have sophisticated internal reporting to manage
their operation.

Last edited by GregC; 04/18/20 05:48 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039449 04/18/20 05:47 PM
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For a long time I have felt that clonewheels were overpriced. My assumption is that it's a (relatively) niche market with enthusiastic aficionados, and that both factors drive the price up. Sort of like premium cigars, I suppose.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039450 04/18/20 05:48 PM
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Ah, the frequent lament of high prices of keyboards (yawn)

After 35+ years of being in this dismal market it comes down to one thing: you get what you pay for.

The consumers put pressure on makers to lower their prices. So to lower prices, the makers used cheaper and cheaper components with shorter life.

Then the consumers complained of gear breaking down. The sad reality is you can't squeeze blood out of a stone. These things are expensive to make. High development costs and high part count add up. To lower prices, cheaper inferior components have to be substituted. You can't violate the math of economics. You get what you pay for.

People point to guitar products and ask why keyboards are much more expensive. Guitars, amps, and effects are much simpler assemblies. Much lower development costs, much lower part count. Apples and oranges.

For 30+ years I have heard the cry of lowering high prices, and I have heard the cry of poor quality of cheap gear. It never ends, and it is a vicious cycle.

You get what you pay for.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039451 04/18/20 05:54 PM
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GregC, we have something in common, I also worked at Sony, 2000-2004, based in Los Angeles. I reviewed all of Sony’s businesses, mainly Pictures, and to a lesser extent, Music & Electronics. Maybe we knew each other back then?

As I’m easily confused I’m going to focus on your header question only. My answer would be that it depends. If you asked the 20 year-old me, I would say either 1) “I don’t know”, because as a young person I was clueless as to pricing and money in general, or 2) “YES!”, as likely everything was overpriced to me back then. But it didn’t matter, I bought top line boards and they took pretty much all my money. Didn’t matter, those boards were what I wanted, I loved them, I used them like crazy and got a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of them.

If you were to ask me now, I would say “I don’t care”. Just get what you want, get what you need, get what you can afford, new or used. Life is too short, go get ‘em and start making great music.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
The Real MC #3039452 04/18/20 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Ah, the frequent lament of high prices of keyboards (yawn)

After 35+ years of being in this dismal market it comes down to one thing: you get what you pay for.

The consumers put pressure on makers to lower their prices. So to lower prices, the makers used cheaper and cheaper components with shorter life.

Then the consumers complained of gear breaking down. The sad reality is you can't squeeze blood out of a stone. These things are expensive to make. High development costs and high part count add up. To lower prices, cheaper inferior components have to be substituted. You can't violate the math of economics. You get what you pay for.

People point to guitar products and ask why keyboards are much more expensive. Guitars, amps, and effects are much simpler assemblies. Much lower development costs, much lower part count. Apples and oranges.

For 30+ years I have heard the cry of lowering high prices, and I have heard the cry of poor quality of cheap gear. It never ends, and it is a vicious cycle.

You get what you pay for.

no argument. But lower price does not always have to equal lesser quality.

The co's could explore new efficiencies. They can drive better bargains from their supply chain .

And these companies can let go of some gross margin.

But of course, thats a crazy idea. And thats my " think different " of the day.

Yamaha, Roland, and Korg can maintain quality of their expensive well established products and lower prices at retail

If they really wanted to.

Heresy !

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
TommyRude #3039455 04/18/20 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by waygetter
GregC, we have something in common, I also worked at Sony, 2000-2004, based in Los Angeles. I reviewed all of Sony’s businesses, mainly Pictures, and to a lesser extent, Music & Electronics. Maybe we knew each other back then?

As I’m easily confused I’m going to focus on your header question only. My answer would be that it depends. If you asked the 20 year-old me, I would say either 1) “I don’t know”, because as a young person I was clueless as to pricing and money in general, or 2) “YES!”, as likely everything was overpriced to me back then. But it didn’t matter, I bought top line boards and they took pretty much all my money. Didn’t matter, those boards were what I wanted, I loved them, I used them like crazy and got a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of them.

If you were to ask me now, I would say “I don’t care”. Just get what you want, get what you need, get what you can afford, new or used. Life is too short, go get ‘em and start making great music.

Thats cool, brother.

My Sony history was with Consumer Products. 1987- 1998. The western zone HQ was based in Redwood City late in the 90's.

So, I knew of Sony Pictures{LA], Sony Music[LA] and the Playstation group in Foster City. But I was not involved in those acquisitions.

I had 3000 Sony customers to financially assess. western US.

Such mammaries ! Ooops. Memories.

Captain Obvious loudly agrees- in the 70's 80's keys were f'g expensive.
In comparison, why am I bit%%ing about todays pricey $3000- $4000 keyboards ?

If they have been actively selling 3 or more years, at a high price, my
financial sense tells me there is room for price reduction.

I am challenger of high prices. I analyze. There is all kinds
of stuff we don't know about the Big Dogs. And we will likely never really know.

Its a game we all are playing. I like facts. I go by #'s
Its a fun game.

BTW, I love the keyboards I play.
I record like there is no tomorrow.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Tom Williams #3039462 04/18/20 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Williams
For a long time I have felt that clonewheels were overpriced. My assumption is that it's a (relatively) niche market with enthusiastic aficionados, and that both factors drive the price up. Sort of like premium cigars, I suppose.

It is a niche market and yet it's been a competitive market for at least the last 20 years. My first clone was an analog Korg CX-3 (bought used at a garage sale). At the time it was the lone clone. By the early aught's several manuifacturers were making them and it's a very apples-to-apples comparison because buyers all measure value using the same reference point. The competition must be keeping profit margins low. They're all pricey, but when compared hauling around the real thing, it feels like such a bargain.

For me, the most important determinant of value is not purchase price but longevity. If I use a keyboard regularly for 5 years, a few hundred bucks difference in the purchase price is trivial. The key is to make good buying decisions so that I'm not trading keyboards after a year or two. That's where this forum has been so useful.


Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039470 04/18/20 08:01 PM
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One thing I didn't see in the premise/original question:

Why or what makes any of the $3000+ boards overpriced?

I think it always comes down to a subjective value judgment for the consumer. While you don't like the old 1970's versus today argument, lets give a more recent one. The Fantom G6 released in 2008 had an MSRP of $3000. The brand new Fantom 6 in 2020 has an MSRP of @ $4000. Not bad for 12 years, and the huge amount of R&D, components and capabilities of the new Fantom compared to the old generation.

Again, whether that's worth it to you is, again, totally on you.

Bit then we get back to the original question: what makes a $3000 flagship board overpriced?
What is the standard? Is it the company should only be able to make xx% profit?
Is it because not everyone can afford one?
Is it because it's not worth it to *you*?

These questions are not meant to be a criticism. Genuinely curious.


David
Gig Rig: Roland A-88MK2 | Arturia Keylab 61 | Mac Mini | Mainstage

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3039474 04/18/20 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
One thing I didn't see in the premise/original question:

Why or what makes any of the $3000+ boards overpriced?

I think it always comes down to a subjective value judgment for the consumer. While you don't like the old 1970's versus today argument, lets give a more recent one. The Fantom G6 released in 2008 had an MSRP of $3000. The brand new Fantom 6 in 2020 has an MSRP of @ $4000. Not bad for 12 years, and the huge amount of R&D, components and capabilities of the new Fantom compared to the old generation.

Again, whether that's worth it to you is, again, totally on you.

Bit then we get back to the original question: what makes a $3000 flagship board overpriced?
What is the standard? Is it the company should only be able to make xx% profit?
Is it because not everyone can afford one?
Is it because it's not worth it to *you*?

These questions are not meant to be a criticism. Genuinely curious.

Hey David. It is opinion. Its an open discussion

I noticed a pricing discussion like this gets a tad emotional.

Lets challenge our assumptions. Think different.

Lets ask questions. Questions are good.

Answers will vary. Not expecting 90% consensus here.

And you and I know we are talking digital samples for electronic keyboards.
And acoustic instruments.

I have made an example of Kronos. 9 years old. $3700.

No, I don't need a new Kronos. I have the original. It's great.

But I can step outside of that.

And its not just from ' my point of view ' about pricing.

I can afford whatever I want.

Since I worked for electronics manufacturers I was close to the inside poop on pricing and margin.
yes, that was some time ago.
I can discuss more if you want to PM.

True, I am for the common man.

I think the proverbial little guy should get the best possible deal. Thats my philosophy.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039497 04/18/20 11:44 PM
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I've been so curious how much r&d is allowed for various higher end keyboards. I wish an industry insider from roland-yamaha-korg-clavia-Kurzweil would shed light on that, it's so opaque. I imagine it's clavia and kurzweil that would be the easiest to understand given their relative thin product lines. The others on this list have HUNDREDS of products thru the years, harder to trace how the money allotments for new developments go.

For example, you have engineers, both hardware and software, that go into a given product. At least in the US, those engineers probably are earning at least $80-$100k a year. If it takes the combined resources of 5 engineers a year to develop a new product, that's a cool +$500k that needs to earned back just for R&D. Big investments for products that are in a relatively small market.

I think Korg and the Kronos is an outstanding example of long term thinking. They didn't have affordable technology in the 90's, but the germ idea of the Kronos was started then in various forms, and then the Oasys developed the concept further, until the Kronos became the mass-market affordable workstation. It took them 20 odd years to get to that point, and it was always where they were going. For a small market, this was good planning.

I often wonder about the lines of communication within a big company as well. Korg Italy, does it have the schematics and full resources of Korg Japan? Particularly with Yamaha, them being the top music retailer, I get the impression that the divisions don't necessarily talk to each other. Though of course the Montage to MODX is an example of where they do.

Personally, I almost never buy new, esp for higher end gear. So a $4,500 NS3 88 is closer to $3,000 by the time I buy it. And that is the beauty of buying higher end, it tends to be a noticeably better build quality, so there's more confidence in buying used.

I'm surprised that there still is so much competition on the higher end boards that tend towards being workstations. It's a lofty field to play in, and there's a lot of really good choices these days. They don't seem overpriced to me, all things considered, it's just the cost of doing business.

What does surprise me is how much piano goodness you can buy in the under $1,000 range, even under $500. Compared to 20 years ago, the keybeds and sounds are very passable these days! Most non-musician consumers are pretty ignorant about this as I explain that a $500 DP is going to be better than APs until you spend $2-4K.

As always, I bemoan having come of age when the transition from analog to digital was going on. It's taken 30-40 years for digital to mature to the point where you have amazing features for a fraction of analog prices.


Randy
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039506 04/19/20 12:49 AM
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I'm not sure I agree. One example I bought my Triton Studio 88 new in 2002 for $5,299 + tax cad. Still have it. Yamaha Montage 88 last year for the same price. Also my Kronos 2 88 similar price. 18 yrs later same price..

Last edited by echo66; 04/19/20 01:07 AM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3039515 04/19/20 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Adan
...I would have been paying for a ton of features I'd never use.
A verbatim quote of what I told a sales person last time I was browsing in a music shop - many modern keyboards offer so many wonderful bells and whistles which I would never fully exploit. The only "keyboard" I've ever spent more than $3K on is my acoustic piano, as it wasn't subject to the same ROI rules I apply to my other music purchases.

As to the titular question - I feel like the answer is in the wallet of the beholder. What's overpriced for me may be incredible value for thee.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039517 04/19/20 02:19 AM
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Too high for whom? For my pocket change, yes; for my planning ability, no. Music gear is essentially indispensable to US, but not to most. Its also not in the same league as the mortgage. I can't speak to any formula that defines when you've made enough profit, so good luck with that one! With the work required to build anything musical, only so many of us could truly understand the parts list, meeting of manufacturing standards (ex: no lead allowed) and vendor payments anyway. It can be as complex as writing a symphony, which it is, in a sense.

That only leaves the moments when the next right instrument speaks to you and does so because you know that you're ready for it. $4k for a new Fantom is a bit of large change, but not for the truly serious. I'd say yes, its worth the price, in part because the GUI is a win. We all know how many times a great engine has been cratered by a stank GUI. This is an example of seeing it done right, IMO.

Its an algorithm involving your level & type of musical activity, existing gear, desire for a sea change, the date of the last time you pulled the trigger on a new item, amount of computer integration and many other variables. If a new instrument still sounds good and no springs have popped out of it after 5 years, those are the two most important markers.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039519 04/19/20 02:20 AM
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Well back in the day a decent keyboard (or as was the case mostly, a pair - my rhodes and JX3p cost me near $3950) cost, say, 3-4k, very expensive when that equated to about 10% of your annual wages. These days the keyboards are about the same in cost - 3-4k (mebbe 5) but our wages, generally speaking are now about 3 times what we were getting then. On a pure income to price ratio, I'd argue that today's buyer has it pretty damn good!


The trouble with doing the job correctly first time, is no-one will ever know just how difficult it was.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
ajstan #3039525 04/19/20 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ajstan
Wh

As for the short-term future, if there is enough excess inventory over the next 3-6 months we will likely see sales/promotions in the form of advertised dealer bundles, deeper discounts via phone, and/or reductions in MAP from manufacturers.

Thank you for reading my O/p and answering the part about the ' next 3-6 months '.

I believe the economic circumstances are going to drive prices down.

we are already accustomed to 15% discount on the 'spot '.
Such as before the holidays.

The MAP reduction is potentially the larger , more permanent force.

I would be surprised if manufacturers sit on the sidelines, and do the standard
incremental stuff to push some sales thru.

Its a mortal business sin to sit on large inventory month after month.

By June/July, we could see the full effect.
Every co needs monthly cash flow. Its oxygen.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
RandyFF #3039530 04/19/20 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
I've been so curious how much r&d is allowed for various higher end keyboards. I wish an industry insider from roland-yamaha-korg-clavia-Kurzweil would shed light on that, it's so opaque. I imagine it's clavia and kurzweil that would be the easiest to understand given their relative thin product lines. The others on this list have HUNDREDS of products thru the years, harder to trace how the money allotments for new developments go.

.

its a good question. Roland, Korg and Yamaha, amortize the R & D over several years. They often re-purpose the features and costs
into other products.

If we had 1-2 years of their financials in US $, we could begin to frame focused questions.

I made the point that I was close to the inside poop on pricing and margin during my employment.
when you are on the inside, seeing the #'s every month, you see the entire business from the inside.
I understand risk/reward from the inside. Its easy to make large mistakes and bad bets.

That gave me a perspective about price and margin, well beyond theoretical.

Nothing I have read here, has changed my assertions.

Factories , the Big Dogs have plenty
of margin to play with. Of course, they worked it, took the up front risk.

The saying, is those that take the risk reap the reward.

Due to NDA's we will not hear , in transparency, from the co 's you mentioned.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039538 04/19/20 03:39 AM
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“Kronos is over priced. Montage is overpriced. The +$2500 Kurzweil models are pricey .”
While I think they will depreciate, in the near term, I still like the Kronos and Montage and Genos quite a lot, and have looked longingly at a few Kurzweils. But then “If you paid too much, you didn’t buy it at...(insert random retailer name)”

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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I haven't read every response but my perspective is that the price trajectory of Keyboards are on a fraction of Moore's Law. It drops every year, but at a level lower than consumer electronics.

The reason that Keyboards of the pre-1980 era were so expensive was Materials + R&D, along with limited demand, which drove prices up into the border between unaffordable and affordable as a teetering point for the potential market.
It was, "Can I afford to take out a loan and still pay my Car and Mortgage payment"

Once LSI and VLSI became mainstream in the 1980's you saw the price of pro keyboards drop into the range of buying a new high end Television.

Now that the price of high end Televisions have plummeted due to Moore's Law encompassing the LCD Display, Keyboards have stayed in the middle of the Moore's Law curve due to the large component of non-electronic materials.

My estimate is that the sound generation SW/HW and the interface Intellectual Property is worth between $500-$2000 and that the Keybed is worth between $1000 - $3000. The sound generation cost follows Moore's Law, but the Keybed doesn't.
Of course, if the Companies and US can figure out a new, and much lower cost, source of source of Slave Labor after after CV-19, my projections could be different for the Keybed portion of the cost.

Last edited by JazzPiano88; 04/19/20 04:31 AM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
miden #3039573 04/19/20 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by miden
Well back in the day a decent keyboard (or as was the case mostly, a pair - my rhodes and JX3p cost me near $3950) cost, say, 3-4k, very expensive when that equated to about 10% of your annual wages. These days the keyboards are about the same in cost - 3-4k (mebbe 5) but our wages, generally speaking are now about 3 times what we were getting then. On a pure income to price ratio, I'd argue that today's buyer has it pretty damn good!

Yes, I can and have thoughts like that to. I make $125,000 per year , thus todays $3000-$4000 keyboard is affordable.

And going back to the 80's, I made 40,000 per year, and I had a daughter/wife, had a huge mortgage, etc etc, etc.
Thats $3950 Roland and Rhodes, ouch, what a struggle, mortgage, taxes due, daughter going to private school,
no extra money, etc

Of course, thats just inside my bubble.

My O/p topic attempted to get out side the bubble of +$3000 gear purchase justification.
Challenge our assumptions, if you will.

A Kronos or Montage or Fantom purchase can roughly be rationalized/summarized;

a} I can afford it.
b] it replaces 3 other keyboards.
c] Its what I like and the features work for me.
d} its a 3-5 year purchase. Amortize the purchase cost
e] back in the 70's, I would have to easily spend $10,000-$20,000 for
the analog equivalent. The digital equivalent and sampled instruments
is ' close enough '.
f} my friends have it. My favorite keyboard player likes it. My band will like it.
g} I can finance it, 24/36 easy monthly payments.

Does this rationalization list miss anything ?

Am I sold now on the $3700 Kronos today ? Or the $3999 Montage ?
Or the Kurzweil Forte at $4999. ?

Last edited by GregC; 04/19/20 02:10 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039661 04/20/20 03:08 AM
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Got my first synth (Roland Alpha Juno) around 1985. Back then, as a uni student, I felt $2000-$2500 was my maximum expenditure, so I got an Alesis QuadraSynth and a Roland JV-1080. Bought a lot of stuff since, always new.
Now, 35 years later, I feel my next synth still shouldn’t cost more than $2500 given the quality available. I do find Kronos overpriced (mainly ‘cause it’s old) and the Montage too (as there’s too big a price gap with MODX). So I’ll wait for the Roland Fantom to reach $2500 or for the next Kronos to arrive at that price point.
Yep, I believe Greg’s right.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Fleer #3039670 04/20/20 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Fleer
Got my first synth (Roland Alpha Juno) around 1985. Back then, as a uni student, I felt $2000-$2500 was my maximum expenditure, so I got an Alesis QuadraSynth and a Roland JV-1080. Bought a lot of stuff since, always new.
Now, 35 years later, I feel my next synth still shouldn’t cost more than $2500 given the quality available. I do find Kronos overpriced (mainly ‘cause it’s old) and the Montage too (as there’s too big a price gap with MODX). So I’ll wait for the Roland Fantom to reach $2500 or for the next Kronos to arrive at that price point.
Yep, I believe Greg’s right.

thanks !

I mentioned Kronos as a stark example as being over priced. I am a 9 year owner and love it but really,
I can step out of my bubble and assert it is over priced.

And some feel Korg is 'milking the old cow' with a different color, a limited edition, etc etc

Another fellow here also felt some stuff was over priced by 20%.

and $4000 for an incomplete Fantom ? RLY ?

I feel strongly that the " Big 3 " have quite a but of gross margin to play with, about 25-30%.

The next 3 months might result in some price changes if economic stress deepens.
That will be a test, IMO

So only 3 of us think these boards are overpriced.

Very interesting to read what people feel about the pricing and this gear.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039680 04/20/20 05:20 AM
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Things will always be priced at some point above the cost of construction and enterprise profitability based on the market's willingness and ability to pay. The number of people who both need, want, and will pay for professional keyboard instruments is low compared to any consumer electronics.

The issue for me is feel is as an instrument. I hope the things like the Osmose, decreasing CNC cost, etc will enable someone to innovate in keyboard expression, and the linkage to the sound engine. Things like the Kronos are amazing - so versatile, they will do anything. But it doesn't feel like an instrument. It feels like a computer, but is remarkably complete for a huge range of potential use cases. There's a reason they don't need to make it better - it is already past the point of adequacy for most commercial music making situations. The NonLinear Labs C15 feels like an instrument, however - it responds well enough that you forget it.

If anything, I'd happily see the price go up if it made better playing (and not for piano, but synth). I've pretty much only bought flagship synths with Fatar's best synth action, good wheels, etc. I am very much looking forward to the Osmose and its potential for expression on a standard keybed. Somewhere with powerful digital getting less expensive, and keyboard innovation, we should be able to move beyond the simple mod matrices to the kind of nuanced, multi-factor timbral changes that acoustic instruments offer. The Yamaha Montage and the C15 share the idea of "master controls" that are mapped to multiple parameters simultaneously in subtle ways. It clearly points to the usefulness of deeper, more sensitive modulation tied to playing controls and surfaces. Somewhere here is the potential for real innovation as an instrument (vs a sound source). The trick is getting the right product manager who insists that the complexity is all managed by the instrument not the end user. The manufacturer should find the sweet spot and optimize for it. But this is risky compared to making a general music timbre generator that "does everything".

But with CNC and digital bits getting cheaper, sooner or later, someone is going to surprise us all with something that none of the big companies have vision to do. It won't have to be cheap, and may need not to be.

But many synths are not played. They are sequenced with many simultaneous mod sources to achieve the rich results the sound engines are capable of. So maybe, they will keep getting less expensive - ala the Korg Wavestate. I'm sure the keyboard is "not awesome" - but for $800 it has huge power. That UI though... sigh... so cumbersome.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039709 04/20/20 02:04 PM
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I wonder how the apparently strong market for used musical gear figures into the pricing of new gear. As someone new to music, I have been surprised by the relatively high price of used music gear - especially the electronics. I suspect that is because used instruments maintain their utility to a much greater extent than most consumer electronics. If someone is willing to pay $2k for a 5+ year old piece of gear that originally sold for $3400, the manufacturer might be crazy to design something new with a lower price point. Plus, it seems like used gear rarely dies and goes away. This market may also be unique in that its consumers have a low tolerance for gear that isn't reliable - so manufacturers strive for reliability. That makes it worthwhile for owners to repair gear when it does break and easier for buyers to risk buying used.

Obviously this is all just my conjecture, but this somewhat unique used gear market must have some effect on the pricing of new gear. Certainly the high value of used gear can make it easier to trade up for new gear, but that may be more than offset by the used market cutting into new sales.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Rustwood #3039715 04/20/20 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rustwood
If someone is willing to pay $2k for a 5+ year old piece of gear that originally sold for $3400, the manufacturer might be crazy to design something new with a lower price point. .

Are people really paying that much, or are you just looking at asking prices? My impression is a lot of sellers are wildly unrealistic in what they ask for 5+ year old digital keyboards. 5 years is a digital generation, and there's so much of this gear around, you'd have to be crazy to pay 60% of new price for that. But there may be eBay stats to support what you're saying.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039730 04/20/20 04:16 PM
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Just my opinion, but looking at the overall consumer market, I feel we get good bang for the buck considering we’re such a niche market. I’m often in awe at the sheer volume of products aimed at us. So the prices, to me, feel like great value.

And in a discussion of this type, it’s hard for me not to consider the history of pricing. I used to have to play with four, sometimes five keyboards and peripherals, representing about $10k in costs, to cover what I can now do (and more) with a Nord Stage 3. Mind boggling when I look at it from that perspective.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039738 04/20/20 05:03 PM
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IMO the best measure of being "overpriced" is determined when you try to sell your board that you bought retail, and find out what it's worth--or buy one of those "overpriced" boards as an open-box or slightly used and see what the difference is from the prevailing retail prices. What I have noticed lacking in recent years is for manufacturers to have clearance prices on boards--especially those that were originally their flagship boards, but are no longer cutting edge in terms of technology. I think the last great deal I recall in that regard were the Kurzweil PC361's, that were cleared out by retailers for under $1000.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039751 04/20/20 06:13 PM
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Synths are cheap. It's the real estate to use & store them that gets expensive! A Kronos 88 at $4k is still a good value - assuming you need that kind of capability. The difference between 9 years ago and now is the mid range stuff has gotten better. So if you don't need the kitchen sink, you can spend less. Just because K has been around for 9 years doesn't mean Korg should just drop the price.

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