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Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
#3039385 04/18/20 01:18 PM
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Getting caveats out of the way:

-I don't work , in any capacity, for any of the large keyboard co's, or software co's, or amp co's, accessories, etc etc.

-Also, I do not work for any music equipment retailer. I have Zero affiliation with any music production co and/or retailer.
I am not a developer of sound programming

IOW, I have no skin in the seller game. Nobody owns me. My 4 cats, yes, but thats not the topic.

Strictly a consumer, just another guy buying stuff now and then.

I know my finance, worked for 3 decades on financial statement analysis for large corps.
Thus, I know the numbers game. I know budgets and understand risk/reward, etc etc.

I personally think, that todays $3000 keyboards are over priced. Especially the co's of such
boards that have been milking the same old cow for 5 years, 10 years. and so on.
I don't see this as pressure to large co's to reduce their
profit margin, lower prices could result in making work life more difficult for worker bee's.
I know corporate capitalism is harsh.

I have a notion that the current health and economic crisis is going to reduce prices.

If these co's see sales slump, month after month, we might see long over due price reduction.
Lets say a 25% decrease.

FYI, I have no success predicting the stock market.

Your turn.. for opinion about todays expensive New keyboard stuff prices. And your sense of what is going down
in 3 months, or 6 months.

Last edited by GregC; 04/19/20 02:23 AM.
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039386 04/18/20 01:23 PM
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Pro boards are cheaper now than ever.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039389 04/18/20 01:31 PM
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I think MODX is priced just about right. Maybe a smidgen high.

Do you have 3 examples for me , on your statement ?

We are talking new keyboards, etc.

Not used.

Thanks

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039395 04/18/20 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
I personally think, that todays $3000 keyboards are over priced. Especially the co's of such
boards that have been milking the same old cow for 5 years, 10 years. and so on.

Ad thats not all, maybe todays keyboard products and other high priced components over
$1500, is over priced.

I'm not impressed by your argument, because you haven't made an argument. You've stated an opinion but provided no support for it. Then, when someone disagreed, you said "ok, prove it," when you haven't even attempted to prove your own thesis.

Certainly you can say SOME keyboards are overpriced compared to OTHER keyboards. That's always going to be true (and endlessly debatable). But to say that ALL keyboards are overpriced begs the question: why are people buying them? And if people are buying them, then by what measure are they overpriced? This gets into theories of economics more so than keyboards.

It's also certainly true that at the beginning of a recession when people are worried about their budgets but there have not yet been price adjustments for stuff like musical instruments, everything is going to seem more expensive. That's not debatable.

I paid less for my Mojo 61 than I did for the Roland VK7 I bought almost 20 years ago. And the Mojo is far better.

I don't remember exactly what a Rhodes sold for new in 1976. Let's say it was $2,000. That's $9,092 in today's currency. My active circuit VV cost around $5,000, and it's better.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
CEB #3039396 04/18/20 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CEB
Pro boards are cheaper now than ever.

Hell I don’t know. That is just the way it is. I’ve bought pro boards for a longtime and they are cheaper than ever. Just off the top of my head .....

Late 70s. Prophet V was a hair under 4 grand.
Early 80s Memorymoog was about 4700-4800
Jupiter 8 5295
Jupiter 6 2995
I think I paid 1850 for my D50 in 1987
Korg 01/w pro was well over 3 grand I think in the early 90s.

The 360 Systems sample player was 5 grand I think ...late 70s early 80s ... whenever it was. I thought it sounded incredible. I would like to hear it today and see how it held up.

Now if use adjusted dollars the things are really cheap now.

Last edited by CEB; 04/18/20 02:47 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
CEB #3039397 04/18/20 02:52 PM
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It is a bit of a silly argument. The beauty of the free market is that manufacturers will sell a product for what they think they can get for it. If the market tells them they're wrong, they'll adjust. If they can't be profitable with the product, they'll dump it and move on. I'm in the camp of the "get off my lawn" folks that think young whipper snappers have no clue how good they've got it with today's keyboard offerings.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3039398 04/18/20 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
Originally Posted by GregC
I personally think, that todays $3000 keyboards are over priced. Especially the co's of such
boards that have been milking the same old cow for 5 years, 10 years. and so on.

Ad thats not all, maybe todays keyboard products and other high priced components over
$1500, is over priced.

I'm not impressed by your argument, because you haven't made an argument. You've stated an opinion but provided no support for it. Then, when someone disagreed, you said "ok, prove it," when you haven't even attempted to prove your own thesis.

d it's better.

Whew, you throw a lot of blah blah around. I did articulate keyboards over $3000. You know them.

But I will provide the Obvious examples. Kronos is over priced. Montage is overpriced. The +$2500 Kurzweil models are pricey .

Thats a fair start. So sorry you weren't impressed or 'sold '. I don't see that as being necessary.

Its essentially about opinion. everyone has an opinion.

Last edited by GregC; 04/18/20 03:00 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039399 04/18/20 02:57 PM
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I think flagship keyboards have always been priced around 20% too high, going all the way back to when I shelled out over $3K for a Prophet-5 back in the early-1980s. That 20%...certainly an individual difference variable...is what causes me the discomfort. If my keyboard purchases were not discretionary I may experience even more heartburn.

With a lot of folks facing economic uncertainty, I would not be surprised if the price of keyboards, along with other high-price items came down considerably.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
mcgoo #3039400 04/18/20 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mcgoo
It is a bit of a silly argument. The beauty of the free market is that manufacturers will sell a product for what they think they can get for it. If the market tells them they're wrong, they'll adjust. If they can't be profitable with the product, they'll dump it and move on. I'm in the camp of the "get off my lawn" folks that think young whipper snappers have no clue how good they've got it with today's keyboard offerings.

I hear what your saying. I know the free market stuff. My post was more inspired by todays circumstances. And tomorrow's.

I no longer hold the sentiment that a keyboard rig of the 70's. { Hammond, Rhodes, Moog, Arp, Leslie, }. was $10,000 back then, so therefore
todays boards are reasonable.

This is 2020. I am way past the 70's for gear comparison

Just my opinion. we can disagree. It does happen.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039401 04/18/20 03:00 PM
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At 63, I owned quite a few keyboards. I could never afford a B3, a Prophet 5, ARP 2600, a Steinway grand. I settled on keyboards like a used Vox Continental, Leslie 825, Farfisa Professional (used,) Arp Odyssey, Fender Rhodes, Juno 60, Prophet 600, DX7, Korg Trinity and Triton, D50. All less than $2000. I even bought a used Yamaha CP70B for my home before hybrid piano existed.

For many current years I've been amazed how people dropping $4500 for a Nord Stage don't bat an eye. I know why Nord lovers will tell me why they're worth it. Sure you can download new samples but for that money I would say the memory capacity should be much higher.

Last edited by 16251; 04/18/20 03:03 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039402 04/18/20 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
Kronos is over priced. Montage is overpriced. The +$2500 Kurzweil models are pricey .

How do you justify that? Back in the early 80's, I was lugging around a CP-70b, Pota-B, Poly 6, Roland Vocoder and a Multimoog. Now I take a Kronos. My 1 kbd rig is infinitely more versatile than the old rig. The old rig cost more, needed more maintenance and the schlep factor.... Good thing I was in my 20's back then!


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Moonglow #3039404 04/18/20 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Moonglow
I think flagship keyboards have always been priced around 20% too high, going all the way back to when I shelled out over $3K for a Prophet-5 back in the early-1980s. That 20%...certainly an individual difference variable...is what causes me the discomfort. If my keyboard purchases were not discretionary I may experience even more heartburn.

With a lot of folks facing economic uncertainty, I would not be surprised if the price of keyboards, along with other high-price items came down considerably.

I can get behind 20% 'too high '. I think thats a fair statement.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039405 04/18/20 03:03 PM
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If I say "I love Bill Evans" and you say "yeah, he's ok but overrated," then we're just sharing opinions and at the end of the day neither one of us is wrong.

But saying all keyboards are overpriced is much closer to being a statement about objective reality, about which you are either right or wrong.

What new products are not cheaper today than yesteryear, after adjusting for inflation and quality? Technology improves, manufacturing improves, labor gets cheaper as more and more people crowd the planet. It's all to the benefit of the consumer.

Arguably, we shouldn't be consuming so much because doing so might create a much harsher consumer environment for our grandchildren, but that's a different topic entirely.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
mcgoo #3039406 04/18/20 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mcgoo
Originally Posted by GregC
Kronos is over priced. Montage is overpriced. The +$2500 Kurzweil models are pricey .

How do you justify that? Back in the early 80's, I was lugging around a CP-70b, Pota-B, Poly 6, Roland Vocoder and a Multimoog. Now I take a Kronos. My 1 kbd rig is infinitely more versatile than the old rig. The old rig cost more, needed more maintenance and the schlep factor.... Good thing I was in my 20's back then!

Like I stated, I feel the 70's prices are no longer relevant. There has been massive changes in efficiency and production in the past 40-50 years. Of course, we benefit from that. I get it.

I am more in the context of todays manufacturing circumstances.

we can disagree. Its ok.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3039407 04/18/20 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
If I say "I love Bill Evans" and you say "yeah, he's ok but overrated," then we're just sharing opinions and at the end of the day neither one of us is wrong.

But saying all keyboards are overpriced is much closer to being a statement about objective reality, about which you are either right or wrong.

What new products are not cheaper today than yesteryear, after adjusting for inflation and quality? Technology improves, manufacturing improves, labor gets cheaper as more and more people crowd the planet. It's all to the benefit of the consumer.

Arguably, we shouldn't be consuming so much because doing so might create a much harsher consumer environment for our grandchildren, but that's a different topic entirely.

I have provided enough info. I see you are now 'rephrasing ' what I said which is distorting and providing flawed analogies to make your argument.

I am going to cool it with you. Thank you for your posts. Its always interesting.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039408 04/18/20 03:13 PM
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The first keyboard I ever bought new was an Ensoniq Mirage back in 1988 I believe. It was $1800. That's the equivalent to $4000 in today's money.

I had around five 3.5" disks for it and would load samples. I loved it.

That same money today gets me a top of the line Kronos with money to spare.

You can spend $1300 on a new iPhone today. You can have three iPhones or a Kronos.

My Roland FR-8X was $5200 five years ago when I bought it new.

I think prices today are fair. If you want you could just buy a really nice controller, Logic X for a couple hundred bucks, and have thousands of free samples at your fingertips. Or a full-blown workstation for $2500.

It's a niche market. I read the posts here and realize I know nothing about keyboards. These guys know so much about envelopes, synthesis, effects, etc. I basically just load up a sample and if I adjust one parameter I think I'm Bob Moog.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039409 04/18/20 03:13 PM
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You get what you pay for. Some people don’t need proline gear. A light truss put a dent in the top of my S90XS. It would have shattered and destroyed a MODX8.

Last edited by CEB; 04/18/20 03:14 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039410 04/18/20 03:14 PM
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Also, there is more competition now than ever. If I want a flagship do it all workstation, I have several choices. Hardware manufacturers have to compete with software.

A couple examples of market adjustments: when the Vox Continental came out it was priced at something like $2200. When people didn't buy it, prices dropped by several hundred. The Korg Prologue price dropped by $500. As long as free markets are working, prices will adjust to reflect perceptions of value.

I'm always interested in how people make (or don't make) an argument. As a personality trait, it's good and bad. A bad part is I sometimes get embroiled in threads I actually have no interest in.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039411 04/18/20 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by Moonglow
I think flagship keyboards have always been priced around 20% too high, going all the way back to when I shelled out over $3K for a Prophet-5 back in the early-1980s. That 20%...certainly an individual difference variable...is what causes me the discomfort. If my keyboard purchases were not discretionary I may experience even more heartburn.

With a lot of folks facing economic uncertainty, I would not be surprised if the price of keyboards, along with other high-price items came down considerably.

I can get behind 20% 'too high '. I think thats a fair statement.

20% 'too high' for what they're asking or 20% too high for what most places are willing to sell it for? It's no secret that 15% discount is pretty common across almost all major brands whether its President's Second Cousin Once Removed From Office Day or not. I think most places want this flexibility in pricing and still make some profit.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Markyboard #3039412 04/18/20 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by Moonglow
I think flagship keyboards have always been priced around 20% too high, going all the way back to when I shelled out over $3K for a Prophet-5 back in the early-1980s. That 20%...certainly an individual difference variable...is what causes me the discomfort. If my keyboard purchases were not discretionary I may experience even more heartburn.

With a lot of folks facing economic uncertainty, I would not be surprised if the price of keyboards, along with other high-price items came down considerably.

I can get behind 20% 'too high '. I think thats a fair statement.

20% 'too high' for what they're asking or 20% too high for what most places are willing to sell it for? It's no secret that 15% discount is pretty common across almost all major brands whether its President's Second Cousin Once Removed From Office Day or not. I think most places want this flexibility in pricing and still make some profit.


Good post and let me clarify further. I am really talking about the " Factories, " who set MSRP, retail pricing. Korg, Roland, Yamaha. Thats the context, for example.

Retailers, have small profit margins so I am not isolating them as a group. AFAIK, the 'big guys ' or the factories mostly dictate retail pricing.

Hope that helps.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
TommyBoy #3039414 04/18/20 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by TommyBoy
The first keyboard I ever bought new was an Ensoniq Mirage back in 1988 I believe. It was $1800. That's the equivalent to $4000 in today's money.

I had around five 3.5" disks for it and would load samples. I loved it.

That same money today gets me a top of the line Kronos with money to spare.

You can spend $1300 on a new iPhone today. You can have three iPhones or a Kronos.

My Roland FR-8X was $5200 five years ago when I bought it new.

I think prices today are fair. If you want you could just buy a really nice controller, Logic X for a couple hundred bucks, and have thousands of free samples at your fingertips. Or a full-blown workstation for $2500.

It's a niche market. I read the posts here and realize I know nothing about keyboards. These guys know so much about envelopes, synthesis, effects, etc. I basically just load up a sample and if I adjust one parameter I think I'm Bob Moog.

This just in:

Apples new iPhone SE is $399

I have answered the ' historical 30-40 year keyboard purchase ' as best as I can. Its opinion. Its mine. I own it, etc.

BTW, I am a 9 yr Kronos owner. Love the Kronos.

Is todays $3700 price too high ?

Absolutely. I know, its my opinion.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Markyboard #3039419 04/18/20 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by Moonglow
I think flagship keyboards have always been priced around 20% too high, going all the way back to when I shelled out over $3K for a Prophet-5 back in the early-1980s. That 20%...certainly an individual difference variable...is what causes me the discomfort. If my keyboard purchases were not discretionary I may experience even more heartburn.

With a lot of folks facing economic uncertainty, I would not be surprised if the price of keyboards, along with other high-price items came down considerably.

I can get behind 20% 'too high '. I think thats a fair statement.

20% 'too high' for what they're asking or 20% too high for what most places are willing to sell it for? It's no secret that 15% discount is pretty common across almost all major brands whether its President's Second Cousin Once Removed From Office Day or not. I think most places want this flexibility in pricing and still make some profit.
20% too high in terms of me opening up the wallet and shelling out the dough. Going back to my $3K purchase for the Prophet-5, $2,400 would have been more within my personal discomfort threshold.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039421 04/18/20 03:56 PM
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No, it's the gigs which should pay more.

(Say it in Principal Skinner's voice.)


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Moonglow #3039423 04/18/20 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Moonglow
20% too high in terms of me opening up the wallet and shelling out the dough. Going back to my $3K purchase for the Prophet-5, $2,400 would have been more within my personal discomfort threshold.

Jeez, what did you expect buying something named Prophet?
facepalm

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039424 04/18/20 04:09 PM
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While some/all of the following thoughts will apply to other types products, I'm specifically referring to pricing of keyboards/modules in this post:

Pricing isn't arbitrary. Lowering pricing for a similar increase in sales volume is a losing proposition, since the discount amount is a 100% loss of net income and doesn't reduce the costs in creating the product or the infrastructure to deliver and support it. Income needs to cover more than the incremental cost of parts to produce a keyboard including R&D, Sales, Marketing, Support, Procurement, Operations, Facilities, Finance, employees, and more.

While there are certainly people that are not good at their jobs and mispricing a product is possible, the entire organization is usually focused on optimizing the sales price and sales volume to match the capacity to build and support a product. If a product is not able to be sold at the necessary minimum price point, then it will likely be discontinued. Price adjustments and promotions are designed to match sales to capacity/inventory. Products are managed both individually and as a portfolio. Some products can be cash cows, while others are loss-leaders to fill a desired niche or drive benefits elsewhere in the company.

The ultimate product delivers a value to an optimal number of customers at the highest profit margin possible and remains that way for a relatively lengthy time period.

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.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039426 04/18/20 04:42 PM
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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.

We see a lot of tech trickle down as processors and other components become less expensive they can remove this or that feature from their IP and offer in a less expensive instrument. However, this always comes with a catch - the build suffers, cheaper less desirable action, lighter weight but more plastic, etc.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039428 04/18/20 04:48 PM
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I worked for Sony for 9 years. I analyzed numerous financial statements there and thru 2010
with other tech co's.

Back then, manufacturers made 40-45% gross profit margin.

Subtract 10-12% for SG&A and the remainder is taxable net income.

Large co's often set up ' reserves ' to shield the income.

I am never concerned about the viability of large established corps.

These co's are tightly managed and highly focused on improving quarterly results.

In addition, they are cash rich. For example , they have 3 or more years of excess cash
to lean on if income tightens up and gross margin declines.

I know this is kind of wonky, anecdotal and in general, but no one should worry about the resources
of well established co's playing in the electronics area. There will always be some exceptions.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
ElmerJFudd #3039432 04/18/20 04:57 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.

tc.

As I stated just above, these co's { maybe not Roland as much} have lots of gross margin to play with.

You are close to the truth, though. If prices decrease by 35-40%, they might just as soon reclaim the inventory at retail.

Its also plausible in that a Yamaha, Korg , Roland wants to protect their partner retailers.

If the product prices fall suddenly , precipitously, the retailer takes a beating, unless the "Factory " price protects
them and their on hand 90 day inventory by 35-40%.

These are mostly our 'assumptions ', no one can be exact about the future.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039433 04/18/20 04:59 PM
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You're talking about products with very high R&D and production costs that selling in the grad scheme of things a small market. So customers to spread the R&D and manufacturing costs over. Which is another reason products in the league don't constantly change, the QA costs are huge and with a hardware product going back to fix things is not cheap and time consuming.

I used to work in the software industry and the OP comments sound like the BS that went on. In the beginning of software world engineering department set the schedule for when thing would be released based on knowledge of the R&D time, QA testing, and manufacturing lead times (back went physical manuals and disc had to be made). Thing would good then and new products were really solid upon release. Then the release schedules got shifted over to the Marketing department because they wanted releases that lined up with peak sales periods. Now Markets did understand the repercussions of a buggy release so they tried to work with engineering. Then things went down the crapper and the bean counters (Accounting department) got control of the release schedules and that is disaster and they still control schedules. They didn't give a dam what shape a product was in they only cared about when they needed the (bogus) numbers needed to be in the books so try and control the value of the stock. You can really tell who controls the release schedule by how buggy a new product is upon release. If it's a mess the finance department is probably controlling the schedule.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039436 04/18/20 05:12 PM
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Back when I was doing financial analysis [ 1980 thru 2010 ] and revenue recognition [ that might ring a bell], the hardware co's and software co's were like apples and oranges.

These days, I believe there is much more integration of hardware/software and more complexity and lots more accounting ' treatment '.

An example of a pure software co I worked for was Wind River Systems.

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.


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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 ?
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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.

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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 ?
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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 ?
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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.


I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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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 ?
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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.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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I believe we were already heading in that direction. Even the price Roland are charging for their new Fantom is an anachronism.
Soon enough, we'll see the most expensive of them sell for not more than $2500.
After all, it's more and more about software, not about hardware.
Even Apple will budge (and already does as the iPhone SE shows).
Let's just hope the special ones (like Sequential) will survive.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039789 04/20/20 07:48 PM
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good you also mentioned the Apple SE.

I mentioned the $399 iPhone earlier. Apple is a smart co
and they have re-evaluated the market- it was due for a value iPhone at a 'fair ' price.

I also agree that the fantom $4000 [ its incomplete] is an example of an obvious ' too high price' .

If the economy slumps over the next 2-4 months, we might see the high prices decrease significantly.
Its unfortunate that we live in such difficult times.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039792 04/20/20 08:00 PM
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My hunch is that coming out the other side of this, business will learn some hard lessons about the infancy of supply chain globalization. I think companies have generally approached supply chain decisions in a very 1.0 kind of perspective driven primarily by unit cost, and that the next shift to 2.0 will be toward risk mitigation through diversification and redundancies.

Couple that with the possibility that big ticket discretionary spending may be cratered for a few years coming out of recession, and it's possible the "high price flagship / then trickle down" model used by a lot of manufacturers becomes less-welcome in the marketplace.

Unknown how they'll respond, but I'm guessing several will.

I believe there's a reasonable chance (although, perhaps not a short-odds chance yet) that many sectors, including music technology, will be forced to innovate and change. And whenever a business sector is forced to innovate, respond, react and change, there will be winners and there will be losers.

Personally, my answer is unequivocally, "Prices are too high for me." But that because almost all of my desire for new music gear purchases has evaporated. My thinking has been influenced by some of the threads here (like the Neon Vines threads), asking me to reconsider what's necessary to make music and why I want to make music in the first place. Couple that with the reminder how quickly external factors can affect income, cash position and liquidity, and hold that up against the retail price of new keyboards, and the desire for yet another piece of music equipment is exposed to the bright light of perspective.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039803 04/20/20 08:56 PM
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TimWat makes some good points about globalization 2.0, but it triggered reactions from having seen so many dystopian sci-fi shows that quite often postulate that a major shift happens in this century, within 20-60 years. Whether it's climate catastrophy, big companies / oligarchs taking over government or whatnot- my point is that we may well be in a golden age and we don't know it. Technology has matured to the point where we have somewhat-affordable music tools / toys that are miraculous and a total bargain compared to even just 50 years ago. From this perspective, it's not whether the +$3k boards are affordable, it's how much time we have left in this bubble, this era.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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My guess is that in the next 5 years we'll see more high end controllers that are seamlessly integrated with either a laptop or an ipad, and that'll be more than half of the high end market, but coming in at closer to $1,500-$2,500.

Companies like Korg and Roland who already have lots of apps, will develop a platform for the iPad. Only apps that meet a particular standard that Korg / Roland dictates will work with the controller, and the integation will be flawless, hopefully to the same reliability as high end boards have now. No need for AUM or Camelot Pro to make individual apps work together. And hopefully not just with Korg / Roland apps, it'd need to be open to any music making app that meets the standard.

With my limited experience, at this point I'm not eager to develop a controller/computer system. I want something that comes close to the integrated hardware/screen size/advanced sound engine of todays top boards.


Personally I'd love such a development. For example, there'd no longer be so many compromises in keyboard action, you'd find a controller that fits your needs, for $1,000- $1,500 less than todays top boards, and be more capable and future expandable than anything on offer now.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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Originally Posted by Fleer
I believe we were already heading in that direction. Even the price Roland are charging for their new Fantom is an anachronism.
Soon enough, we'll see the most expensive of them sell for not more than $2500.
After all, it's more and more about software, not about hardware.
Even Apple will budge (and already does as the iPhone SE shows).
Let's just hope the special ones (like Sequential) will survive.
Yes, and for all the people burned by Roland with the Fantom G, etc., making parts unavailable for older boards, etc., many people would not be inclined to trust Roland to have follow-thru, even with a top-of-the-line board


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039818 04/20/20 10:08 PM
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I am cautious about 'predicting the future ' because I am not directly aware of anyone who has that ability
or has a large degree of accuracy.
I agree it could be all about software and platform integration.

FWIW, I suck at predicting the stock market, for example.

Anyway, I think its difficult enough to predict the next 2- 6 months.

That was part of my focus in my O/p,
what is lining up , economically, and the impact that might
have on Roland [ $4000 Fantom ], Korg [ $3700 ] Kronos,
Yamaha Montage [$3999].

2 folks did respond to that part in my O/p.

If anyone else has an opinion, on the next 2-6 months, I am interested.

Last edited by GregC; 04/20/20 10:22 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Devnor #3039836 04/20/20 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Devnor
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.

That is a fair point about asking price vs selling price, but I've seen sales well above 50% of retail. I just did a quick Ebay search and found a used Mojo Dual with the trolley bag that sold for $1800 plus shipping in February. You can get both new at Sweetwater for under $2700 delivered (when they start receiving stock again).

Edit: Looks like that sale fell through because the seller re-listed it - or listed another one just like it. This may not be the best example, but I've been looking for a used Mojo 61 and they seem to consistently sell for $1100 or more ($1499 retail), but the only sale in the Ebay history I see now is an open box for $1295 plus shipping from a music shop in NYC.

Last edited by Rustwood; 04/20/20 11:50 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039855 04/21/20 01:38 AM
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But who is number 1 ? ...
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First off, I’m not going to do another take of “Once upon a time we were all grateful to pay $4k in early 1980s dollars for a Prophet or an OB we then lugged to the gig barefoot in the snow uphill both ways and on good days it actually stayed in tune so don’t complain about a Kronos that's $4k in today's dollars now get off my lawn.”

It’s certainly true that in real dollars, hardware synths, stage pianos, workstations, organs, and other keyboards are giving us more functionality than ever before. It’s also true that on the customer end, it can be frustrating to see a product line in the $3-4k range squeezing everything it can out of roughly the same development platform for five, seven, or more years. I don’t really have an argument about whether or not modern keyboards are too expensive, but I present a few factoids that should factor into defining what “too expensive” means.

Over the past let’s say three decades, our expectations about what any technology product should do for the money have shifted to being set by the pace of mainstream consumer devices: computers, smartphones, etc. This was not the case in the first golden age of synthesizers, when we tended to evaluate products sui generis and by what they would enable us to do. The pace of consumer R&D is in turn driven by sales that are exponentially greater than any product in the music instrument and pro audio industries.

For example, the Korg M1 is widely recognized as the best-selling synth in history. It sold approximately 250,000 units new. A quarter million. That’s it, and it’s a milestone that’s still part of the corporate culture if you work at Korg. Before that the Yamaha DX7 held the title at around 140,000 units. By contrast, Apple shipped roughly 36.4 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2019. This enables sourcing parts at volume discounts the M.I. industry can’t even begin to dream of.

Hardware keyboards have tight profit margins. To account for the entire chain — from sourcing parts to engineering to manufacturing to distribution to marketing to retail fulfillment — the rule of thumb for determining the price of a new instrument is 4x to 5x the bill of materials. If M.I. companies came out with new-and-improved models at the pace of iPhones or Samsung Galaxies, keyboards would be significantly more expensive. (Love ’em or hate ’em, Behringer is an outlier that seems to be trying to rewrite this equation. I don’t want to get into a debate about their business ethics here, but I would guess that their prices aren’t solely due to appropriating existing I.P. Something about supply chain and manufacturing efficiencies is definitely going on.)

Music software that runs on consumer devices has also raised our expectations, and is a less involved to develop because there is no bill of materials. Some instrument hardware makers have turned this into an advantage to give us more for our buck. Most rackmount digital mixers, for example rely on an iPad or Android tablet as the control surface, and while pianos like the Casio Privia PX-S3000 don’t require a connected app, one is available that makes controlling the thing a lot deeper and more convenient. The Yamaha Clavinova CSP is designed around the assumption you’ll plop an iPad on the music rack as the control panel. Why transfer the cost of a touchscreen to your customers (again, at 4x to 5x) when tons of them already own one?

Okay, that’s a bit of an aside, but the point is that there is a disconnect between our current expectations and the realities of manufacturing hardware for a comparatively small market. It may sound like I’m just shilling for the manufacturers here, but that’s not my intention. I would also caution that if sales slumped, yes, we might see blowout prices on existing gear, but R&D of newer, shinier, more powerful stuff would decrease.

Don’t get me wrong. “Too expensive” is a perfectly legitimate description of the frustration of a talented, aspiring gigster looking at a flagship instrument whose price is more than the credit limit of all their plastic combined. I was that guy well into my 20s, and when I got a $1,500 loan in 1995 to buy a used Kurzweil K2000 — my first real upgrade since my DX7 — it was a BIG deal. To them I’d say that a company's mid-market offerings, e.g. MODX vs Montage, offer most of what matters about the flagship version for half the price or less. In the case of Yamaha I say this with particular confidence as I reviewed one, then the other.

If there’s anything resembling a takeaway from all my rambling, it’s that musicians on a budget should begin with what they want to do and what sounds they want to make. Whether it’s a slab workstation or a MIDI controller and the instruments that came with the iPad version of GarageBand, something exists within your purchasing power that will be realistic, expressive, and impressive across multiple sound categories (synth, organ, orchestral, piano, Rhodes, etc.). And I don't think that was nearly as much the case even just 25 years ago.

Last edited by Stephen Fortner; 04/21/20 05:12 AM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039865 04/21/20 02:46 AM
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Now those are profoundly interesting musings, Stephen, thank you indeed. These are amazing times for starters.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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https://www.yamaha.com/en/ir/publications/pdf/an-2019e.pdf

Yamaha corp 2019 financials.

Go to page 100, for Yamaha's P & L

gross margin is 42 % of sales . A very healthy figure.
SG& A is 29% of sales. Which seems high. The notes suggest an outlier contributing to SG&A

Operating income is 13% of sales. A good result.

I know. Most say ' so ? ". And Reading these reports is wonk-ish.

While this is obviously big picture consolidated, the organization is successful.

The Musical Instrument division is 65% of Yamaha's Sales or sales 'pie'.

This might support my assertion that these co's have a healthy margin operating style.

Last edited by GregC; 04/21/20 03:36 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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They're worth what somebody is willing to pay. Econ 101.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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https://www.kaijinet.com/jpexpress/default.aspx?f=company&cf=financial_statement&cc=7944

I am hesitant to analyze Rolands 2014 statements. Aged info, and I recall some re-org they did.

Anyway, FWIW , Rolands margins were stronger than Yamaha's , in the above post.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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OT but I think relevant. I started learning about computers when that had 386 chips. By the time I bought my first computer companies were at the end run of pushing 486 chips in their computers. I ended purchasing a Gateway 2000 with a 486 but have no fair for future cause it is upgradeable to a Pentium chip before long. I bought it and did spend the money to upgrade eventually to a Pentium chip. What wasn't told to me was that the busing architecture was not as wide so I would never get the full potential of the Pentium chip. So, looking back of that experience I think I was tricked into buying old technology that seemed like it would be just as good as the newer version.

I remember thinking about Korg advertising how revolutionary their Oasys keyboard was suppose to be but it didn't seem to stay around once Kronos hit the market. Then there's Nord. Yeah, you can upgrade sounds but what do you know, Nord comes out with new models with newer memory and other advancements that get owners to loose money on deprecation and upgrade.

I'm not an engineer or really know what I'm talking about so please correct any misconceptions I might of left. I no longer have faith in any company that boasts their product is upgradeable.

I would love to see Yamaha make the Avantgrand upgradeable since all that is needed is new sound generation. I would dream of day that they offer me a new sound generation that rivals the best VSTs out there. I mean I already have the action and the amplifiation.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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With regard to the Yamaha and Roland financial reports cited, yes, great research about how the companies are doing overall. I’d like to point out, though, that these reflect the performance of the entire companies (well, the Yamaha one looks like just the musical instrument company, not Yamaha Motors). Given the thread topic, I was focusing on the manufacturing costs and profit margins of keyboards — in particular, slab keyboards meant for professional studio and stage use. Being the largest musical instrument maker in the world, Yamaha makes a lot of other things that have different margins, such as school band instruments, pro orchestral acoustic instruments, grand pianos, home digital pianos, guitars, commercial audio consoles, and so on. I can't give you chapter and verse here, but all those figure into that 42% gross margin. Similarly, I’m guessing Roland’s numbers reflect their business across all the instruments they make, not to mention their video and DGA (printers, 3D printers, etc.) divisions. Within the “stuff you’d buy at GC or Sweetwater” subset of Roland, I’ll tell you a secret: The V-Drums positively carry everything else in that category on their shoulders margin-wise.

The sorts of keyboards we take to the gig and prop on an X-stand are, in business terms, the young Harry Potter living underneath the stairs of any company that makes them alongside other, higher-margin items. And in terms of resources allocated to design new stuff to a certain price point, any sane company is going to expect each business unit or product category to earn its keep. I’m shooting entirely from the hip at this point, but it ain’t like Yamaha is going to subsidize synthesizers with saxophones. A double whammy is, again, our expectations: Synth enthusiasts and early adopters are always on the lookout for more-better-different, so the whole field is R&D intensive even as its sales are tiny. (I’m not saying it’s bad to be that way. I’m totally that way. What the heck else am I here for?) That's not necessarily true of the customer who simply wants a nice, high-quality electric guitar or acoustic piano with which they connect emotionally.

Sidebar: 16251 mentioned the Korg Oasys. IMHO it was a case study in folks not being willing/able to pay for the project studio Orgasmatron we all wanted in 2005: Multiple synthesis engines? Multi-track audio hard disk recording built in? Then-huge touchscreen? Stephen Kay's generative KARMA stuff? It was a freakin’ baby Synclavier, only a lot newer and cheaper and more NCC-1701D than 1701A. Still, it only sold 3000 units worldwide and was discontinued after four years — because it cost eight grand. Korg smartly realigned most of its technology into the Kronos, which had form factor, materials, and pricing in line with market-standard workstations ... which, of course, are still considered expensive.

Anyway, tweet version of main point: Manufacturers may indeed have healthy margin figures to report, but electronic pro keyboards are almost certainly not the main thing driving that.

Last edited by Stephen Fortner; 04/21/20 05:34 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039914 04/21/20 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
I am cautious about 'predicting the future ' because I am not directly aware of anyone who has that ability
or has a large degree of accuracy.
...
Anyway, I think its difficult enough to predict the next 2- 6 months.

That was part of my focus in my O/p,
what is lining up , economically, and the impact that might
have on Roland [ $4000 Fantom ], Korg [ $3700 ] Kronos,
Yamaha Montage [$3999].
..
.

In a free world where people have fun and markets thrive in peace, there's a different economy than the social behavior of people awaiting partaking in a world dominion scheme with their peers. I have no idea what those high end workstations (not exactly the same kind) are going to do, price-wise. Artificially priced is a part of that type of products, in normal competition, I guess people would find those items priced way high for hot electronics products. Then again, that's not entirely what they are, just a little utterance of those manufacturers indicating they understand innovation should be part of their business, but there isn't that much of it there, I think.

The jazz coming together in electronics for musical instruments is destroyed by the modernistic commie way of driving everthing grand down to the level of whoring "awesome" (bit different pronunciation..) but actually meaning " look at me taking this tech scene for a ride". Good electronicists don't like that and prefer to work in freedom, without an everlasting need to keep clients of their products and gadgets and stuff in between on the straight and narrow as if they're politicians where in fact they like to play around with their interesting analog and digital strife.

Software appears to be a dead end without digital signal processing expertise that actually goes somewhere, sound-wise. I just got my fast windows 10 pro PC to get to windows update 1903 IIRC just to run a certain program, and the amount of hoops and nuisance is a good indication of the idea of software engineering having come to a full drag indeed, there's that spirit that quite killing, too. So a lot of musical stuff that gets 'discussed' often essentially I don't think is going to acquire more momentum no matter who does procuring, by now.

I do believe there's great music and a good feel about advanced, complicated, and high tech instruments possible, but the people with the important knowledge simply haven't invested that in IT cubilce people or a bunch of deluded new age power greedy b*tches, unfortunately for the world.

So I feel those instruments aren't bloated as far as that they can make *some* music and have *some* appeal to but nerd and pro musicians, but who needs top notch musical tools in terms of winning certain competition tools. Maybe the Commodores needed a Prophet 5 to make new hits in the 70's ? Possibly Jeam Michel Jarre would be creatively stuck in the early 80s if there weren't any samplers with bigger memory coming out ?

Seriously...

Theo V

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039918 04/21/20 01:20 PM
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its great posting with you Stephen. I know the #'s are the mixed bag of everything.
It would be ideal to find the internal reporting of the keyboard groups, for example.

Just the same, its fact that the Musical Instruments Business is 65% of Yamaha's
entires Sales 'pie '.

Thus my reasoning , is that group is the primary driver
of gross margin and SG & A and ultimately, operating income.

To clarify, for everyone, we are talking factory, the manufacturer, not retail.

Retail is razor thin or close to it.

What I know about these organizations is that there is a variety of internal bonus incentives
to maintain performance , hit goals and exceed annual business targets.

Teams and individuals are incentivized to not only increase sales, but to achieve profitable
sales, to increase gross margins, to decrease costs, to strike better deals with supply chain.

There is significant internal competition to be the rock star of achievement, to stand out,
to be recognized by your peers at the annual sales event, where top performers are called
on stage , for over performing, being the best, while 500 peers are cheering you, recognizing you, etc

I would be surprised if the internal keyboard group was motivated to achieve razor thin, tight margins,
lets say a little better than break even. From my direct experience, with electronics co's, its all about
top line sales, improving margins year over year, and driving down costs.

Last edited by GregC; 04/21/20 03:34 PM.
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3039920 04/21/20 01:38 PM
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Fun posting with you, Theo.

The philosophy of music production is a big deal.

A variety of marketing tactics and sponsoring. Often, lots of noise.

And lots of imitation. Co A does this. Co B comes along, and says "nice, but my co does it better "

I like all the competition in music production. The 3 Big Dogs, the boutique keyboard cos, the app creators, the Keyscapes,
the platforms guys [ Ableton] , the various VST entrepreneurs, the interesting start up alternative co's like Roli.

There is something for everyone. At almost any price.
Note my O/p was not about " cheapest best music production rig '.

I was mostly picking on the Big Dogs with their Flagship pricing.
Especially, if the gear is mature in the marketplace for some years.

we can respectfully disagree what the Big Dogs ' could ' do.
If they were motivated to do so.

Maybe we will see a pricing change in that flagship/premium space over the next 2-6 months.

Its been locked in for some years.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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Profit margins matter if you're buying stocks. If you're buying a keyboard, the profit margin by which it was made is irrelevant. You won't have that information, and even if you did, you can't use it to bargain with the retailer.

The statement "X is too expensive" only is meaningful if you add "compared to "Y." "Y" can be a number of things, such as: production costs, historic cost, your budget, or costs of alternative ways to achieve the same goal.

For me, the most interesting "Y" variables to talk about are the ones with the largest subjective component. Is a workstation too expensive given what you can do with a midi controller and software? Fascinating subject, but everyone will have their own answer depending on their requirements. And all those answers are true and valid.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3039931 04/21/20 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
Profit margins matter if you're buying stocks.
I would expand this to "the expectation that future profit margins matter...".

For example, Amazon became HUGE because investors believed in their future potential.


(formerly waygetter)
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3039937 04/21/20 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
Profit margins matter if you're buying stocks. If you're buying a keyboard, the profit margin by which it was made is irrelevant. You won't have that information, and even if you did, you can't use it to bargain with the retailer.

The statement "X is too expensive" only is meaningful if you add "compared to "Y." "Y" can be a number of things, such as: production costs, historic cost, your budget, or costs of alternative ways to achieve the same goal.

For me, the most interesting "Y" variables to talk about are the ones with the largest subjective component. Is a workstation too expensive given what you can do with a midi controller and software? Fascinating subject, but everyone will have their own answer depending on their requirements. And all those answers are true and valid.

Disagree on a few points you made. Here is why:

Knowledge is power.

Being analytical and scrutinizing #'s , understanding whats what , is a sound skill to have
and apply not only for a keyboard purchase but all purchases.

When you as a buyer, convey business knowledge to the seller, it can be effective.

Example- I bought my Kronos 9 years for $2975. My retailer made 8% on the sale.
We then had a productive conversation on the Korg margin.

IOW, showing knowledge/scrutiny of all the #'s led to acquiring more knowledge.

It can be explained as a healthy curiosity of whats going on the behind the scenes.

This is the way I operate. Its time well spent IMO.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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Originally Posted by waygetter
Originally Posted by Adan
Profit margins matter if you're buying stocks.
I would expand this to "the expectation that future profit margins matter...".

For example, Amazon became HUGE because investors believed in their future potential.


digressing from the topic, as we often do. I worked for Sun Micro. we sold Amazon its server platform
1995-1997.

I thought Bezos was a little crazy with his ' vision' back then. He is crazy brilliant as most of us know.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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The challenge for the big hardware workstations would be to

* Do stuff a computer doesn't do (low latency, reliable module connects), or PC software somehow magically doesn't get tuned to do well, ever, possibly through a lack of knowledge

* Supply significantly more power than a computer manages to harness, Dsp power, Fpga power, dedicated device power

* Provide interfaces and software components which do not easily or at all become available for PC users

So is the extra service and power and sound or the high end workstation competative with lower ranking keyboards and all kinds of Windows/Mac/Linux software plugs? Some people suggest in the end it might be a matter of sitting on some secret software modules and build a PC in a keyboard with the most exclusive wood polish.

I thought it was a good question Greg, where the who high end market is going, and, honestly I believe the real hidden leadership is a lot of engineering power never getting used to make an Open Source (now, I didn't necessarily see free) Kronos OS for a generic Linux PC with some Xilinx U50 Fpga board on it's PCIx, maybe at some point there will be better access to Dsp power that can produce A level digital sound, I'd like that.

Real analog isn't tuening into someone who knows what they're doing making a $1000 form accurate board with cheap Smd's sounding like a CS80, and maybe that's fine. Maybe we don't want a Montage, but an SY999!

T.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
RandyFF #3039961 04/21/20 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Randelph
Technology has matured to the point where we have somewhat-affordable music tools / toys that are miraculous and a total bargain compared to even just 50 years ago. From this perspective, it's not whether the +$3k boards are affordable, it's how much time we have left in this bubble, this era.

If things are priced high, wait for a sale. Got a new 88 K2 few years ago Black Friday for $2250 from PAS. Seemed like a reliable board aside from keyboard problems which I did encounter, returned and got a new replacement with no issues.
Another view of time left in this bubble is denying yourself something per your life expectancy. I've tuned pianos for old people who love piano in beautiful homes with enough resources playing on a beater at the end of its life.
I tell them why deny yourself. Go get a new piano. As the saying goes you can't it with you.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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Originally Posted by re Pete
[quote=Randelph]
Another view of time left in this bubble is denying yourself something per your life expectancy. I've tuned pianos for old people who love piano in beautiful homes with enough resources playing on a beater at the end of its life.
I tell them why deny yourself. Go get a new piano. As the saying goes you can't it with you.

I agree with you sentiment. Its a segueway, philosophically, from the O/t.

Using myself as an example, I am 67. Having a great time with music.

I figure I will keep rolling along, improving slightly for another 10 years.

Just the same, its a life habit to be careful , and not throw Benjamins around just because
I have it and/or I might die next year.

IOW, I think understanding one's life time horizon is a useful internal discussion.

Plus, its not all about me and what I want today.

Have a wife and a household
and other non music financial goals to consider.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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I only regret purchases I made way back in the day that the electronics failed and made them useless. Including amps. 2K on a Arp Omni hurts thinking about it since I had it 'fixed' more than once and don't know what to do with it besides some other junk laying around.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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Seems like the prices have always been around what they are now. So it's possible considering inflation that even the more expensive boards are cheaper than they used to be.

I recall as a teenager going into a music store and having a Korg Polysix just cause my eyes to bug out and my jaw to drop. I ended up with a Moog Rogue LOL...that Polysix was WAAAAYYY out of my price range at the time, want to say it was well over 2,000 bucks. My first "real" keyboard was a Roland JX-10, which was over 2K in the mid 80s when I got it.

I started buying used (from Guitar Center years ago) and the deals are great...however, I've had some issues with a couple of used keyboards, and these days I would go new. I sort of regret my MODX7, I go back and forth between thinking it's one of the best boards ever and not liking it smile Right now it's more on the "don't like it" side since I have to use it as a controller for my software, and the action is the worst thing about it.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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My focus was on the recent flag ship boards by Korg and Yamaha and Fantom.

I find it interesting that Kronos has held steady with its $3700 price for 9 years.

" " Yamaha " " " $3900 price for 4 years

" " Roland Fantom was priced at $ 3999 when announced last October.

Last edited by GregC; 04/21/20 08:13 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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IN EE there's often talk of a oligarchy for leadership. Yamaha is a bit of an exception as far as I know, and the musical instrument market has been a target, some people ought to have fuzzed.

T

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3040003 04/21/20 08:57 PM
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Buying used gear has its advantages.

In the last 48 hours, I sold two keyboards (XW-P1 & MS-20 Mini) at attractive prices and hopefully made both new owners very happy. Both sold on eBay in a few hours. Neither keyboard had much value to me and making someone else happy was worthwhile.

I'm probably not the only person to do that.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
SteveCoscia #3040013 04/21/20 10:16 PM
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depends on the keyboard.

I am not sure I would buy a used Kronos for $2300-$2800 on eBay.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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A few years ago I bought a brand new Kronos-88 for $2600. I don't know why anyone would pay that much for a used one.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Nathanael_I #3040029 04/21/20 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
A few years ago I bought a brand new Kronos-88 for $2600. I don't know why anyone would pay that much for a used one.

Used Kronos prices on eBay prices are generally over stated/unrealistic IMO.

very good price you worked out if it was factory sealed- A stock

Was Korg still offering the 2 year warranty ?

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on New Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3040049 04/22/20 01:17 AM
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Perhaps a question should be "Are prices on new keyboards too low?"

Seems from a lot of the commentary, that the value from the newer generation of boards is pretty high, yes? Perhaps there's another way to measure the value? Such as what's the value per hour of playing?

Take a $4,000 board - - Let's say between practicing, rehearsing, recording, gigging, etc etc, you play the board for 500 hours a year (random estimate), and you hold the board for 2 years. Therefore, over 2 years, the board cost you $4/hour to play. And for every subsequent year, the overall cost per hour gets lower and lower, and the value per hour gets higher and higher.

With this very scientific and precise data driven methodology, it's now clear and unmistakable. The prices on new keyboards are too low.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3040051 04/22/20 02:16 AM
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I think that today's keyboards are a bargain.

I paid $150 in 1965 for a used, beat to heck Wurlitzer 140 EP. I worked 272 hours @ 55 cents an hour flipping hamburgers to pay for it.

Got a new Gibson G101 organ in 1967 for $995. I worked 603 hours @ $1.65 an hour laboring in the steel mills to pay for it.

When you compare the technology advances over the past 50 years, the value you receive for you dollars is unbelievable.

Duane


Korg PA4x76, Turbosound ip500 Tower Speaker System
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3040062 04/22/20 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Adan
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.

Street price on the Genos was as low as 4250US late Jan. What you are paying for is what is in there--well worth it if that's what you like. As you know, it has an incredible range of genre acompaniment, and the most polished platform to date to employ them. 32 MIDI channels, it's no hardware slouch, though the montage is light years ahead for sound design. Far from perfect or even cutting edge from hardware standpoint, but in it's niche today, nothing comes close. Euro sales were good, and it's widely employed---or was--by travelling one man bands especially in east europe.

I do lust for one, and someday I'll get one, unless a better product appears in the Genos category, which is affordable.

The current economic outlook is so bleak I'd expect the prices on everything to drop dramtically within months, and we will have to loose some makers, I fear.

I have bought a number of keyboards in the last 18 months which I think were good values: Numa Compact 2x, Deepmind 12, I bought new, each under 600US. I use both often. But the used market is very ripe, and getting riper----unfortuneatly. When the DAWs took over around 2005, the king of hardware synths---you could argue----was the Access Virus TI, which adjusted for inflation, in 61 note form, was more expensive than the Genos.

In late January, before our new world began, I was lamenting the lack of at least one extra timbral on my otherwise lovely DM12, and my attention was drawn to the "Virus", presaging perhaps, the current nightmare. I bought a 61 note TI for 1100 US, used of course, and it is my "precious" at the moment, though I am far from knowing it well. For that money I got a fantastic VA, updated with wavetables, formants, grain oscillators, superb effects usable by all my sound machine, a build to put BMW to shame, and the best electronic keybed I have seen, excepting my Hammond, which can't do velocity anyway. 16 channel Multitimbrality, nothing has been built to exceed it's overall performance, at least than I have seen. Certainly there are synths better at one trick or the other. It plays fine with Logic, but I prefer to use without a computer...for now. I use the last of Linn's line, the MPC 1000 to sequence, another unsurpassed electronic instrument. I spend enough time helping clients with computers, or using them for media and research. I don't enjoy using them for playing music. Sometimes I weaken when I see state of the art orchestration using the super expensive sound libraries---those "beyond genos" sounds and articulations. But at my 62 years I need to make better chops while I still can, and the synth/sound design world is a terrible distraction. OK the RD-8 is useful, and I have layered pads and E-pianos like I never dreamed. Still last few weeks I'm working out acoustically, for the most part.

My 1984 Young Chang U121 is playing better than ever--I'm tuning it myself and it has finnaly settled into A440, after I unwisely pulled it up from around A430 were it was quite happy. I could replace it for about 1200.00 It's as good as any U1 in both sound and action. I bought it new and it has hummidfier. I have not played the blonde RT3 in several weeks, but two new shelter cats are keeping the mice out of it and two big Leslies which are much overdue for exercise. My isolation is crowded, LOL. Today I heard Rachmaninoff....himself at around age 20 from serveral 78rpm victors, recorded without electricity, in near new shape, from the old family collection, I'm digitizing to the MPC1000. After some slight tweaking in the mackie mixer, surface noise is minor, and the sound is unbelievable. I had a old SL-1200mkII modded by KAB for 78rpm (variable) and I got two decent, ortofon, and Stanton 500mkII, cartridges for some cheap but good 78 needles. Nobody has heard the 1000+ 78s for about 60 years. Alot of virtuosos on keys and organs...and little production in the way. My shelves are now full of many hundreds of printed works for piano and organ that were bought by the same nameless ancestors who spent a small fortune on the records. I do read, so that is another boon. I'm not swimming in dough, but I feel rich, which is embarrasing when I know people are going nuts en masse at the moment.

Worse, my 2016 electric mountain bike came out of winter storage displaying a large crack in the frame. Haibike gave up trying to replace just the frame, which has a 5 year warranty, and a 2020 All Mtn 2.0 is due to show up before the week is out, at no cost. I had no plans or money to replace the bike, which has reduced my auto mileage by 80% in the last four years. For all this undeserved good fortune, in a such a true crisis, I expect a stroke or some other terrible fate at any moment.

Are keyboards too expensive? They were not at the end of January. I would not want to try to sell one now. For me the Genos is still "down the road" likely something I will buy used. But I will have to be out of everything to ask for my deposit back on....



I pray they can pull it off while I'm still kickin

Last edited by uhoh7; 04/22/20 05:57 AM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3040063 04/22/20 05:11 AM
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Wow, the sound design is coming along very well indeed. Very much looking forward to giving the Osmose people the rest of the money!

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3040084 04/22/20 12:57 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?....


Not overpriced for everyone.

Maybe for more people now because of the pronounced income gap, and the destruction of the middle class through offshoring jobs.
Still....for the lucky few, almost no price would be too high.
But that's a discussion for another forum.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3040085 04/22/20 01:18 PM
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while mostly everyone sees the the $3000-$4000 flagship purchase from their own internal rationalization { can I afford, do I make enough $, my rig from the 70's/80's was +$10,000}, the premise was to get outside of that bubble. Think differently. Scrutinze your purchase decision.

My premise is that Yamahas, Korg's, and likely Rolands has very healthy gross margins on these boards. The financials also support that the co's are doing extremely well selling these boards

I know what I think or what I am proving won't reduce the pricing strategy. I understand the 'free' market, know there are dozens of low cost jchoices.

In general, I think its useful, to know, and independently scrutinize where your $3000-$4000 is going.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3040106 04/22/20 03:07 PM
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As long as I get my value out of these boards, I'm fine with the manufacturer making healthy profit margins. Its been suggested elsewhere synths should get cheaper because the component costs go down over time or at least, people think they do. The difference is they aren't selling components..they are selling the super wizbang workstation X. I'm not buying an Intel Atom computer, I'm buying a musical instrument.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051792 06/30/20 01:05 PM
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Yamaha[ who did a deal], Korg, Roland setting the same price ?

Go figure.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Devnor #3051797 06/30/20 01:19 PM
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Agree. I went through a long phase of bad electronics breaking down one way or another and afraid to buy anything electronic from 70's on. Got tired of going to repair shop. Bought a POS amp called a SuperNova once. Drove it twice 100 miles to Brooklyn where they made it, 2 attempts and even they couldn't fix it. Had a tin can with oil in it to give a wierd leslie effect. Bad speakers too. $600 down the drain.
The 2K on the broke Arp Omni hurts. Lot of bread for me back then.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051822 06/30/20 02:50 PM
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I purchased my Yamaha Motif ES7 in 2001 for something around $3K. I've gigged with it, sequenced a lot of songs on it and still play it today. It is in perfect condition with only a few scratches on the rail under the keybed. It has served me well and should continue to do so. If I threw it in the trash today, it cost me $150 per year to own it. It's brought me tremendous joy and fulfillment.

Yes, the new flagship boards are in the $3-4K range and yes, that's a lot of money. The manufacturers are doing what they're supposed to do- make as much money as possible. I don't blame them since they carry all the risk.

People have choices now, with trickle down versions of current keyboard tech at reduced prices. Choice is great, the market speaks.


Kurzweil PC3X, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Bif_ #3051823 06/30/20 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Bif_
I pu

Yes, the new flagship boards are in the $3-4K range and yes, that's a lot of money. The manufacturers are doing what they're supposed to do- make as much money as possible. I don't blame them since they carry all the risk.

s.

Missing a key fact which many here don't care about.

Manufacturers are supposed to set prices and MSRP independently

And based on actions and the settlement their hands have been slapped.

Now, if you are fine, with manufacturers setting MSRP in a coordinated manner, in the marketplace, that's your call.

I understand all the 'rationalizing ', but there are some folks that scrutinize the #'s and the coordinated activity.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051828 06/30/20 03:13 PM
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Greg,

I think that's a different topic from "are prices too high" Take the MSRP issue out of the equation, and I fully concur with Bif_ .

Put it back in the equation, and I still agree. As you said, I am one who doesn't care how they arrived at the MSRP, nor to I try to figure it out. Heck, it may cost Roland $15 to make the $3200 (street price) Fantom 6. So? I will either go for it, or not, based on my own criteria. If it's more than I can afford at this time, I am not going to complain that "it's too expensive", even if I know how much gross profit Roland is making.


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

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051829 06/30/20 03:13 PM
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Many of the instruments that I own do not have an immediate competitor in their price category for an equivalent level of features.

Many instruments that I do not own, I did not buy because I was fine with rolling my own sound with a controller and software plug in and didn't need to buy a keyboard for the purpose.

Most of the stuff I buy is for fun and enjoyment and supporting my hobby. A lot of my friends spend their fun money on golf trips, a Harley Davidson, jet skis, restoring muscle cars, etc. By comparison, keyboard gear is a BARGAIN compared to some other hobbies. (Like the cost of maintaining and operating a little weekend boat) I like to throw my fun money into owning the latest flagship keyboards and home studio gear. My life.


Yamaha U1 Upright, Roland Fantom 7, Roland Jupiter X, Kurzweil Forte 7, Viscount Legend Live, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2, Arturia V Collection 7, Komplete 12 Ultimate
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3051841 06/30/20 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
Greg,

I think that's a different topic from "are prices too high" Take the MSRP issue out of the equation, and I fully concur with Bif_ .

Put it back in the equation, and I still agree. As you said, I am one who doesn't care how they arrived at the MSRP, nor to I try to figure it out. Heck, it may cost Roland $15 to make the $3200 (street price) Fantom 6. So? I will either go for it, or not, based on my own criteria. If it's more than I can afford at this time, I am not going to complain that "it's too expensive", even if I know how much gross profit Roland is making.


Hi David, I am ok with disagreement

Here is how the dots connect;

Roland Korg Yamaha have equivalent products

They ascertain what the market will bear for a niche, lets say work stations [ or performance synth or whatever]

All 3 arrive at the closely the same MSRP in the marketplace, $3200-$3900 for the keyboard, depending on key size.

Of course, they will strive to set MSRP where the co's can achieve very high profit margin.

Thats the nature of corporations- to financially benefit owners/shareholders.

The issue is as I see it, is there is suppose to be 'price competition ' with equivalent products.

That theoretically results in lower prices. Lower prices benefit the consumer.

Competition and lower price , not higher, is the intention behind the laws.

I understand that you do not care how MSRP is 'determined '. Thats your prerogative.

There are parties that do scrutinize the activity.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051862 06/30/20 05:31 PM
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I find no fault in what you are saying either.

However, it makes me think that perhaps you think a company manufacturing widgets should have a cap on how much gross profit they make.

What should the manufacturer's margin be on their product sale to the retailer? Then forgetting MAP for this exercise, what margin should the retailer get on the sale to the end user?

Company X wants to see a 30% profit. Cost of goods to make the widget is $1000 So quick math. 100-30 =70 $1000/.7 = $1428
retailer wants 20% profit. Cost = 1428 / .8 = selling price to consumer $1785.

Yes, a very simple example. Which leads back to my original question. Where to "We" cap the manufacturer? Do "We" say, "you're only allowed to make xx% per unit"?

Thanks for the good discussion.

Last edited by EscapeRocks; 06/30/20 05:31 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3051877 06/30/20 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
I fi

Yes, a very simple example. Which leads back to my original question. Where to "We" cap the manufacturer? Do "We" say, "you're only allowed to make xx% per unit"?

Thanks for the good discussion.

Hi David, competition , in theory , is suppose to manage pricing.

Competition protects the consumer was a mantra.

Back in the days of covered wagons, the 80's. ,, " Competition is King " here in the US.

But that has shifted for various reasons - PM me if you want my take.

Back to you

How much gross profit a corp makes is going to vary, because there cost of material acquisition is going to vary.

They can shift some internal costs to gross margin or to SG& A. Lots of financial accounting stuff.

etc etc etc

Thus I don't believe its practical/possible to arbitrarily ' control ' the internal margin of corps/manufacturers.

As we can see, UK authorities take an active view on manufacturers.
To benefit their consumers.

Each country has its own oversight. Some are active. Some do not.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3051897 06/30/20 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
I find no fault in what you are saying either.

However, it makes me think that perhaps you think a company manufacturing widgets should have a cap on how much gross profit they make.....


It's not one company. It's collusion between several companies to manipulate the market - price fixing.

And about the fines - they're paid with the money they get from us through sales.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051913 06/30/20 08:44 PM
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Any company that wants to race to the bottom on price is playing a fools game. Selling more widgets at lower margins only works to a point. Many things are sold with a 'volume discount' but there's a point where buying more doesn't lower the price.


Originally Posted by GregC
Competition and lower price , not higher, is the intention behind the laws.

Is the intention of the laws to spur competition, and therefore lower prices, or are the laws to prevent price gouging? I always thought it was the latter.


Kurzweil PC3X, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051926 06/30/20 11:06 PM
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Its too hypothetical to discuss how businesses ' should ' operate, and how they 'price'.

I ran my own business for 10 years so I have a good handle on 'profitable pricing '

It really begins with 'smart purchasing ' and inventory mgmt.

Plenty of books and chapters on having a successful business.

if you want to understand the role of Anti Trust laws, its best to read sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/antitrust-law.asp

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051932 07/01/20 12:06 AM
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On the original question, I suppose some keyboards are too expensive for me, anyway. I've not bought a flagship at $4k (thinking rompler) ever. I have spent that much on a laptop that more than exceeds what a rompler can do. So I guess somewhere in there is my judgement that there isn't enough value. I did buy a Kronos at $2600, brand new, A stock, and then decided to stay laptop after all. (I sold the Kronos for what I paid for it). So there was a price at which I would buy a Kronos. But a whole lot less than $4k.

I have bought more than one synthesizer at $4k. Small volume, boutique kinds of things. Also not commodity pieces, but unique items. John Bowen Solaris, Non-Linear Labs C15.... that kind of thing.

I do wish that the best digital piano actions were more accessible. I never want the fancy home cases or built in speakers. I don't need the internal modest quality samples of the stage pianos. So I do overpay for things like the Nord Grand just because I like the action. And I guess I've justified that to myself - there isn't a choice if I want to play really nice weighed actions. My fingers like what they like.

But I guess in the end, they charge what they charge because enough will pay, and they have their whole product lines tiered, and segmented to get the most out of the market. I notice how successful the MODX is. I bet they sold many more of them than the Montage. I know for me, the MODX would get the nod. I'm sure I'd hate its keys, I don't need the samples, but the synth side is pretty strong... And I have LOTS of other keyboards to play the MODX from - it would go in a rack across the room.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Nathanael_I #3051939 07/01/20 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
On the original question, I suppose some keyboards are too expensive for me, anyway. I've not bought a flagship at $4k (thinking rompler) ever. I have spent that much on a laptop that more than exceeds what a rompler can do. So I guess somewhere in there is my judgement that there isn't enough value. I did buy a Kronos at $2600, brand new, A stock, and then decided to stay laptop after all. (I sold the Kronos for what I paid for it). So there was a price at which I would buy a Kronos. But a whole lot less than $4k.

m.

to be clear, I used $3000 as a mid point, like a general talking point.

When we dive into details, we know 88 key versions are the most expensive, $3799 , etc etc. 61's are cheaper.

I know Kronos well-- you didn't state your key size.

Thanks for joining this lively topic.

Money is important.

Knowledge is power.

It can be a benefit when buyers/customers get behind the scenes and understand the data and the #'s.

Last edited by GregC; 07/01/20 01:29 AM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3051957 07/01/20 02:50 AM
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I guess GregC was right all along. Companies maysuggest an SRP or RRP but not enforce or incentivize them. And retailers are allowed to sell at bottom prices.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052053 07/01/20 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
I know Kronos well-- you didn't state your key size.

88 note

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052055 07/01/20 06:43 PM
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I feel like Kronos and those high end gear would be better off at 75-90% of the original price. Now that’s a deal I wouldn’t turn down! I think stuff like Kronos, Nord Stage, and Montage are way overpriced, and same with arranger keyboards with any sort of good programmability like the PSR-s series or Genos.

Last edited by Music Bird; 07/01/20 06:43 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Music Bird #3052069 07/01/20 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Music Bird
I feel like Kronos and those high end gear would be better off at 75-90% of the original price. Now that’s a deal I wouldn’t turn down! I think stuff like Kronos, Nord Stage, and Montage are way overpriced, and same with arranger keyboards with any sort of good programmability like the PSR-s series or Genos.

Thank you for your post. I fully agree with you.

It is interesting, there are 5 of us that have the same conclusion about the particular over priced keyboards by the top 3 manufacturers.

I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.

I am referring to my gross margin analysis of Yamaha as sufficient proof of a large amount of headroom on pricing.

A 25% price reduction would not ' hurt ' their operations, it would not affect R& D over the next 10 years, the planet earth would not spin back wards, the universe would stay intact.

We don't need to ever worry about Korg, Roland or Yamaha. We don't need to go back 20,30, 40 years ago on pricing examples.

We could demand what is fair. If we choose to. Etc etc

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052080 07/01/20 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
[

I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.
We could demand what is fair. If we choose to. Etc etc

Objectively I agree with you on the big three being able to reduce by 25%

My question then becomes subjective:

Why should they? What is "fair"?
Then once you determine what "fair" is how do you demand it? Vote with your dollars.

Even after that, if the company is selling the number of units they want to sell at a given price, what is their incentive?


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

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052084 07/01/20 08:51 PM
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I thnk the flagship prices serve a purpose for new R&D - product design, system architecture, software development, testing, etc. There is up-front investment to create these where they don't exist and all of the risk is on the company. Early adopters and loyal customers will pay a premium to get the newest gear that uses this R&D. These manufacturers understand that they will exhaust pent up demand and early adopter customers and will have already been planning to trickle down their technology into less expensive forms, packaging and pricing. That's why you have your Montage and then MODX, Kronos and then Krome (and other derivatives of Kronos engines), Supernaturals and FA, Forte and PC4, etc.

The manfuacturers also put their v1 products out before they are done. It usually takes a couple of releases of firmware updates to stabilize the product, fix bugs and complete the feature specs. This all helps to actually reduce risk to manufacturers, get revenue in sooner and reduce risk, which ends up benefitting the customer who will ultimately get more for less when the releases advance and features trickle down.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052088 07/01/20 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.

I am referring to my gross margin analysis of Yamaha as sufficient proof of a large amount of headroom on pricing.

A 25% price reduction would not ' hurt ' their operations, it would not affect R& D over the next 10 years, the planet earth would not spin back wards, the universe would stay intact.
I'm trying to follow along, but I'm not sure how that would work. What am I missing?

If MSRP is $4,000 and the sale price to the distributor is at 25% of MSRP ($3,000), then a 42% gross sales margin for each instrument would be $1,260 (42% of $3,000). With SG&A taking up another $870 (29%) that leaves $390 in income (13% of $3,000) per $4,000 MSRP board. How does the math work to drop the MSRP by 25% ($1,000) and everything is OK?


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052095 07/01/20 10:12 PM
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Pro keyboards have been ~$3000 here in Australia since the 1980s.
When I left school, the hot keyboard was the DX7, which was IIRC $3195.

Makes a Nord Stage look cheap doesn’t it?

I’ve often wondered if the price point in musicians minds has kinda been at the same level for decades.
Wasn’t a B3 about the same back in the 1960s? That was as much asa house back then.

Keyboards are cheap. Problem is our income hasn’t really gone up, hell I can do gigs today for less than I made back in the 1980s.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
ajstan #3052098 07/01/20 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ajstan
Originally Posted by GregC
I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.

I am referring to my gross margin analysis of Yamaha as sufficient proof of a large amount of headroom on pricing.

A 25% price reduction would not ' hurt ' their operations, it would not affect R& D over the next 10 years, the planet earth would not spin back wards, the universe would stay intact.
I'm trying to follow along, but I'm not sure how that would work. What am I missing?

If MSRP is $4,000 and the sale price to the distributor is at 25% of MSRP ($3,000), everything is OK?

not sure where you got that. Sale price to distriibutor ?

did you know Korg USA is a subsidiary of Korg Inc [Japan] ?

https://www.korg.com/jp/corporate/englishinfo/

Last edited by GregC; 07/01/20 10:28 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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What about a 75-90% price reduction? I know it sounds like a lot, but it makes sense to me.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
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I picked up a new, fully warrantied, on display ES110 for 25% off of the normal $700 price. The unit had barely seen any action, this being covid-19 time, and I also didn't receive a box. However, from this same outfit, he would have given me a brand new, unopened box with a brand new board for the same price. I also don't have any return privileges

Which leads me to believe that the dealers margin is somewhere around 35-40%.

Which surprises me. I don't know how things work with retail that has products that can go from $100 to $6,000, like Yamaha, and that's not even their high end stuff like consoles. Does their $100 board have a 20% dealer margin, and their $6,000 genos has a 50% margin?

I'm surprised that there isn't an online seller like ProAudioStar, but even leaner, who don't offer returns, only exchanges. But even if they could consistently sell their products for at least 20% off, they wouldn't be able to advertise them at that price.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
RandyFF #3052104 07/01/20 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyFF
Which leads me to believe that the dealers margin is somewhere around 35-40%.

Which surprises me. I don't know how things work with retail that has products that can go from $100 to $6,000, like Yamaha, and that's not even their high end stuff like consoles. Does their $100 board have a 20% dealer margin, and their $6,000 genos has a 50% margin?

I'm surprised that there isn't an online seller like ProAudioStar, but even leaner, who don't offer returns, only exchanges. But even if they could consistently sell their products for at least 20% off, they wouldn't be able to advertise them at that price.


Hi Randy, I can only focus on the flagships of the 3 Big Dogs.

When I purchased my Kronos 88 from a dealer in the Midwest , they showed me their invoice from the Korg Disti.

The dealer/retailer made 10% of the sale price to me. This was 9 yrs ago.

10% is skimpy, as in very small profit margin.

Somewhat related,, GC doesn't carry Kronos on the floor. The assumption is they
can't generate enough profit margin on a sale.

when I call around to buy a 2nd Kronos, Factory sealed A, from well known retailers,
they stick to MSRP. $3899.

when I try to negotiate, they steer me to a return, or a refurb. Or whatever they call it.
I do not want a Kronos B stock.

Last edited by GregC; 07/01/20 11:04 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3052106 07/01/20 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
Originally Posted by GregC
[

I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.
We could demand what is fair. If we choose to. Etc etc

Objectively I agree with you on the big three being able to reduce by 25%

My question then becomes subjective:

Why should they? What is "fair"?
Then once you determine what "fair" is how do you demand it? Vote with your dollars.

Even after that, if the company is selling the number of units they want to sell at a given price, what is their incentive?

I knew you would jump on my post.

Thank you.

Yamaha or Korg makes $850 on the sale of a Montage or Kronos to you.

I am a man of the people, the regular guy, the working stiff, the person who just
does his best to pay his bills every month.

Thus, I think, in my perfect world, Yamaha or Korg REDUCES their profit margin
of the sale by $400. And the corporation makes $450 on the sale.

The sale price is suddenly reduced by $400

what a diabolical idea , some might say.

I happen to side with the working guy who would be better off
with the extra $400.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052107 07/01/20 11:31 PM
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Several issues come into play when considering a new flagship KB besides the initial investment.

1.Paying gigs are no higher than what they were back in the 70's.

2. Paying gigs have dried up, big time, Its very difficult to spend 3 to 4K on a workstation these days unless you are not relying on bar gigs or some private parties to pay for your new KB. These days, the cost of a new KB comes out of YOUR pocket. Shop around for the best deal you can find and suck it up.

3, What is described as a "workstation" today is not a workstation in my opinion. Back when the Yamaha ES8 was introduced back in the early 2000's, that KB had a 16 track recorder, and a sampler. Taking a sample of a sound that is not available. I played classic rock songs for years using those features in order to play live as a 1 man band. I got jobs at clubs and parties where the people that were doing the hiring did not want or could not afford to pay a band. Also, they wanted to get up and dance to the music. An issue is that bands priced small clubs and parties out of the customer base.

Another issue is that bands were usually too loud for a small to medium size room. I heard this complaint all the the time.

The KB manufacturers eliminated the 16 track recorder AND the Sampler in newer models. The reason? They wanted musicians to use a DAW via a computer instead. This adds additional cost to the formula, additional complexity to song creation, and things that can go wrong on a gig. I can't tell you how many Posts I read on various musician websites that complained that the DAW didn't record after touch and other features that came with the KB.

Finally, a DAW and a computer means you have to spend the time learning the USER INTERFACE in order to get it to do what you want it to do. That took too much time away from the PRACTICE I needed in order to play professionally. I did not have the NEED for a DAW to make rock songs, and I did NOT have the time or the patience to deal with learning everything I needed to do to make the system work. No Thank You.


Mike T.

Last edited by MikeT156; 07/01/20 11:41 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052117 07/02/20 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by Adan
Originally Posted by GregC
I personally think, that todays $3000 keyboards are over priced. Especially the co's of such
boards that have been milking the same old cow for 5 years, 10 years. and so on.

Ad thats not all, maybe todays keyboard products and other high priced components over
$1500, is over priced.

I'm not impressed by your argument, because you haven't made an argument. You've stated an opinion but provided no support for it. Then, when someone disagreed, you said "ok, prove it," when you haven't even attempted to prove your own thesis.

d it's better.

Whew, you throw a lot of blah blah around. I did articulate keyboards over $3000. You know them.

But I will provide the Obvious examples. Kronos is over priced. Montage is overpriced. The +$2500 Kurzweil models are pricey .

Thats a fair start. So sorry you weren't impressed or 'sold '. I don't see that as being necessary.

Its essentially about opinion. everyone has an opinion.

Kurzweil has always had high prices on their equipment. But look at what you get today from them compared to their original K250. That was well over $12,000. You had to buy an expensive Mac to save user samples. It only had 12 not polyphony, mono sampling, and no built-in effects.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052159 07/02/20 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by ajstan
Originally Posted by GregC
I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.

I am referring to my gross margin analysis of Yamaha as sufficient proof of a large amount of headroom on pricing.

A 25% price reduction would not ' hurt ' their operations, it would not affect R& D over the next 10 years, the planet earth would not spin back wards, the universe would stay intact.
I'm trying to follow along, but I'm not sure how that would work. What am I missing?

If MSRP is $4,000 and the sale price to the distributor is at 25% of MSRP ($3,000), everything is OK?

not sure where you got that. Sale price to distriibutor ?

did you know Korg USA is a subsidiary of Korg Inc [Japan] ?

https://www.korg.com/jp/corporate/englishinfo/
The distributors and retailers need to make money too. What part of the sale price are you attributing to profit for them? Regardless of any number you use for distributors and retailers, manufacturers with a 13% margin (your number, not mine), can’t afford to reduce price by 25%.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
ajstan #3052174 07/02/20 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ajstan
Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by ajstan
Originally Posted by GregC
I have no doubt. Korg , Roland and Yamaha can easily afford to reduce their flagship MSRP by 25%.

I am referring to my gross margin analysis of Yamaha as sufficient proof of a large amount of headroom on pricing.

A 25% price reduction would not ' hurt ' their operations, it would not affect R& D over the next 10 years, the planet earth would not spin back wards, the universe would stay intact.
I'm trying to follow along, but I'm not sure how that would work. What am I missing?

If MSRP is $4,000 and the sale price to the distributor is at 25% of MSRP ($3,000), everything is OK?

not sure where you got that. Sale price to distriibutor ?

did you know Korg USA is a subsidiary of Korg Inc [Japan] ?

https://www.korg.com/jp/corporate/englishinfo/
The distributors and retailers need to make money too. What part of the sale price are you attributing to profit for them? .


You seem to overlook that Korg USA is a subsidiary of Korg Inc { Japan ]

Why is that significant ? Korg Inc owns most or all of the stock of Korg USA.

Subsidiary accounting is complex. Your '25%" profit in this situation is pure assumption.

Since assumption is your starting #, and largely speculative, I cannot comment on how you play thru the #'s.

There is excellent efficiency by having subsidiaries like Korg USA to handle distribution into the channel.

Korg is a smart, and well run, and successful co. That is a way of saying very profitable.
Like or even more than Yamaha.

I wouldn't lose 1 second of sleep of Korg taking on ' market risk' . They know exactly
what they are doing, and I believe they are tightly managed, and highly focused on their
bottom line. Same with Yamaha as their financials prove.

Last edited by GregC; 07/02/20 02:44 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052184 07/02/20 04:00 PM
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Dude, you're all over the board here. Based upon the information you've provided, it's total nonsense that Korg, Roland, and Yamaha can "easily afford" drop their MSRP pricing by 25% and not have it hurt their operations or affect R&D. Run the numbers any way you want, it doesn't work. Even if 50% of MSRP was profit to the manufacturer (a ridiculously, unrealistically high number), cutting MSRP by 25% would result in the manufacturer having to produce, sell and support at least twice the number of units to maintain the same amount of profit - which no responsible business would do. If you can't understand that concept, then it's useless to continue the conversation.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052187 07/02/20 04:28 PM
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Hmmm.....

Back in the day, I paid around $2K for a CP30, around $2300 for an SK30, $600 for a Rhodes, $500 for a Moog Rogue. My Motif runs circle around all of them and has a form factor that's svelte by comparison. The Rhodes was neat but only made one sound (or a few variations with pedals and Dyno My Piano conversion). My Motif has dozens of Rhodes sounds. I could go on with this reasoning but everyone already knows all this.

I'd love to pay $1 for a Kronos, but that doesn't make sense. What about $1000?? That doesn't make sense either. Using the argument that the flagships should all be $400 less doesn't make sense either. It's arbitrary. Sure, I'd love to save $400 (crap, I scour the web to save money on everything I buy).

The reality is if all those boards were $400 less, I don't think it would make 2 cents difference in how many they sell. Those that want the features won't be turned away by $400. Those that want features and a lower price will go for the value products (MODX, Kurz PC4, etc.).


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
ajstan #3052204 07/02/20 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ajstan
cutting MSRP by 25% would result in the manufacturer having to produce, sell and support at least twice the number of units to maintain the same amount of profit -

LOL

The old "we'll make it up in volume" mantra ....


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052205 07/02/20 05:45 PM
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This sounds like a Gearslutz thread --

Why is the Moog One $6,500 and the Behringer Model D $300?


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052206 07/02/20 05:47 PM
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With competition as fierce as it is, niche products with low total sales volume and high R&D costs, I think high end keyboards are priced reasonably.

The only other possible answer is that one entity owns Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Casio, etc. and they are a gravy-sucking pig. I left Behringer out since they ride on the backs of previously done R&D for the most part and ARE gravy sucking pigs. Plus you could probably beat a pile of Behringer keyboards into rubble with a Korg Triton and the Triton would still work.

If one of those companies could sell an innovative and ergonomically satisfying top tier keyboard for less than the competion, they would already be doing it. It's called "eating their lunch."

If Korg could "eat Yamaha and Rolands lunch" they would. The others would do it as well.

It really is that simple...


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
jeffinpghpa #3052211 07/02/20 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffinpghpa
This sounds like a Gearslutz thread --

Why is the Moog One $6,500 and the Behringer Model D $300?

I don't mind the posts debating the various points, or non points , if you will

Owners care deeply about their instruments. Its an extension of them.
I am an artist, too, I get it, feel it.

I also believe its useful to be scrutinizing on what we spend our $3000-$4000 on.

There is considerable behind the scenes with the 3 Big Dogs.

Which is why I believe we should challenge our thinking.
Go where you haven't gone before, IOW.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
KuruPrionz #3052212 07/02/20 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With

If one of those companies could sell an innovative and ergonomically satisfying top tier keyboard for less than the competion, they would already be doing it. It's called "eating their lunch."

If Korg could "eat Yamaha and Rolands lunch" they would. The others would do it as well.

It really is that simple...

You should remind yourself that Yamaha sits on the Board for Korg Inc of Japan

They have a very close business partnership. IOW, they do not 'surprise ' each other.
I suspect there is coordination.

Roland also seems to mimic flag ship pricing.

I tend to think the 3 Big Dogs are friendly in their shared business endeavors.

I don't see any ' lunch eating ' to use your phrase, between the 3 Big Guys

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052215 07/02/20 06:40 PM
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I personally would want to spend up to $250 on a Kronos or Montage, I don’t understand how it doesn’t work that way.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052216 07/02/20 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With

If one of those companies could sell an innovative and ergonomically satisfying top tier keyboard for less than the competion, they would already be doing it. It's called "eating their lunch."

If Korg could "eat Yamaha and Rolands lunch" they would. The others would do it as well.

It really is that simple...

You should remind yourself that Yamaha sits on the Board for Korg Inc of Japan

They have a very close business partnership. IOW, they do not 'surprise ' each other.
I suspect there is coordination.

Roland also seems to mimic flag ship pricing.

I tend to think the 3 Big Dogs are friendly in their shared business endeavors.

I don't see any ' lunch eating ' to use your phrase, between the 3 Big Guys

Gotta love conspiracy theories!!!1 laugh

I guess there are multiple interpretations possible. I see it with camera companies recently as well, although there is considerable "lunch eating" going on and smaller companies are throwing in the towel.
Or, as my brother (who spent his life in tech) says "At the cutting edge, there is bleeding."

So, why haven't companies from India or China introduced ground breaking new synths with high quality builds at low, low prices?
Seems like quite a few are buying the Hydrasynth and not because it is cheap, it is not. It offers potential that others are missing, ergonomics and possiblitlies.
R&D is not cheap. It isn't going to become cheap. How many 88 key Motifs do you think they sell? I'm guessing not many, cost per unit is high.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052217 07/02/20 07:02 PM
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I've often wondered about r&d, at US prices. Most tech pros in the US are pulling down $80-120k a year, so if you have the equivalent of 2-3 years work by top engineers, you'd have to pay off $200-300,000 just for r&d. Must be why they recycle so much code, sounds, etc.

If you don't want to spend $3-4000 for a board, don't. It takes more time and patience, but B-stock, refurbs, lightly used, etc., can typically get you 20-30% off. And being higher end boards, they're usually not built so cheaply, they last longer. And if you're willing to deal with the uncertainty of buying used, no warranty, you sometimes can save up to 50%. I figure that if I've saved that much money on a purchase, then having an out-of-pocket repair is not so bad, esp if it doesn't happen.

Last edited by RandyFF; 07/02/20 10:36 PM.

Randy
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3052221 07/02/20 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
I've wondered how Yamaha could be making money on the Genos.
.

The answer is simple, because buyers are stupid.

Who in their right mind buys a Genos when for the $6000 cost of a Genos they could buy a Korg PA4X and $1800 worth of other kit.


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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052227 07/02/20 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
There is considerable behind the scenes with the 3 Big Dogs.............

Which is why I believe we should challenge our thinking.
Go where you haven't gone before, IOW.

GregC,

I'm actually Greg C as well (same first name and last initial as your user name).

I enjoy discussing a lot of things here at Keyboard Central and this thread has been interesting.

I have no way of knowing what could be happening with the Big 3, maybe nothing, maybe they're guilty. I get you think they could charge less. Not sure how challenging our thinking, etc., is going to change anything with the Big 3 or what they charge.

Where are you going with all this?


Kurzweil PC3X, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052230 07/02/20 08:27 PM
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The making money problem is tech's don't rule the ideas that are needed to make great synthesizers, even though of course these are electronics and digital signal path designed technological machines. So you can pay a tech what ever, just like IT-ers they're not necessarily going to give you results you want just because of their technical know-how, it's a matter of the right sound dna, and the various theoretical foundations necessary, which goes in the direction of science and of course a thorough understanding of musical elements that go in the high grade records.

The unwillingness of technical people of a number of persuasions to expand their musical horizons probably doesn't help much either, so it ends up as business politics for some of the important musical instrument players, which doesn't result in a great desire to betray the heritage of great musical instruments and marvelous productions.

Theo V.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Bif_ #3052237 07/02/20 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bif_
Originally Posted by GregC
There is considerable behind the scenes with the 3 Big Dogs.............

Which is why I believe we should challenge our thinking.
Go where you haven't gone before, IOW.

GregC,

I'm actually Greg C as well (same first name and last initial as your user name).

I enjoy discussing a lot of things here at Keyboard Central and this thread has been interesting.

I have no way of knowing what could be happening with the Big 3, maybe nothing, maybe they're guilty. I get you think they could charge less. Not sure how challenging our thinking, etc., is going to change anything with the Big 3 or what they charge.

Where are you going with all this?

Hi Bif.. where am I going ? Is your question, correct ?

You quoted it... challenge our thinking ...

I think knowledge is power.

Last edited by GregC; 07/02/20 09:57 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
KuruPrionz #3052240 07/02/20 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by GregC
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With

If one of those companies could sell an innovative and ergonomically satisfying top tier keyboard for less than the competion, they would already be doing it. It's called "eating their lunch."

If Korg could "eat Yamaha and Rolands lunch" they would. The others would do it as well.

It really is that simple...

You should remind yourself that Yamaha sits on the Board for Korg Inc of Japan

They have a very close business partnership. IOW, they do not 'surprise ' each other.
I suspect there is coordination.

Roland also seems to mimic flag ship pricing.

I tend to think the 3 Big Dogs are friendly in their shared business endeavors.

I don't see any ' lunch eating ' to use your phrase, between the 3 Big Guys

Gotta love conspiracy theories!!!1 laugh

h.

It really is that simple

Its all a big hoax ! wink
[j/k]

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
RandyFF #3052241 07/02/20 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyFF
I've often wondered about r&d, at US prices. Most tech pros in the US are pulling down $80-120k a year, so if you have the equivalent of 2-3 years work by top engineers, you'd have to pay off $200-300,000 just for r&d. Must be why they recycle so much code, sounds, etc.

Agreed. Yamaha published a group picture of the Montage team when it was released. I counted 50 heads. That's just staff at Yamaha Japan and didn't include developers, marketing or manufacturing people in other countries. I don't have a way to estimate staff size for Genos, but the Genos UI is a complete re-write just like Montage.

Yamaha's current keyboards are based on a new generation tone generator/effect integrated circuit -- the SWP70 -- which first appeared in a mid-level arranger, the PSR-S970. Yamaha spreads the cost of chip development across all affected products: arrangers, synthesizers and digital pianos. Yamaha also have their own integrated circuits specifically for lower end keyboards. They also share the SSP2 mixing/effects IC between Steinberg UR, digital mixers, Reface DX/CS and Montage/MODX. All of this chip development adds to non-recurring costs and, of course, the price.

As to Genos, retailers advertise Genos at $6,000 in the USA. That['s the "Minimum Advertised Price" or "MAP" which is set by Yamaha in the retail agreement. "Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)" is $6800 USD. Neither MAP or MSRP run afoul of U.S. law. Nothing forces a retailer to actually sell at either MSRP or MAP. "Open box" is one way around MAP, BTW.

The recent action against Yamaha, Roland, Korg, etc. is initiated by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Anti-competition laws, of course, vary across countries and economic zones. Quoting the CMA release "All of these companies have been fined for implementing resale price maintenance (RPM) designed to restrict retailer freedom to set prices online by requiring their musical instruments to be sold at or above a minimum price." That's the difference between "suggested" and "required."

Genos is kind of orphaned in the U.S. Most units are sold by independent retailers -- not SW, GC and the rest of the usual suspects. I bought from an independent retailer and paid around $4,000. I compared against Nord Stage, for example, and the prices are ball park. Yeah, there's apples vs. oranges, different use cases, yada-yada, but Genos and Nord Stage are "premium" offerings.

Sorry for the length and detail (tl:dr) -- pj

Blog: sandsoftwaresound.net

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052243 07/02/20 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
It really is that

Its all a big wink
[j/k]

Yep. Just go buy a decent MIDI controller, a mid-range laptop and stuff it with cool plugins. There is where the bang for the buck lives...

Simple.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
pjd #3052245 07/02/20 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pjd
Originally Posted by RandyFF
I've often wondered about r&d, at US prices. Most tech pros in the US are pulling down $80-120k a year, so if you have the equivalent of 2-3 years work by top engineers, you'd have to pay off $200-300,000 just for r&d. Must be why they recycle so much code, sounds, etc.

Agreed. Yamaha published a group picture of the Montage team when it was released. I counted 50 heads. That's just staff at Yamaha Japan and didn't include developers, marketing or manufacturing people in other countries. I don't have a way to estimate staff size for Genos, but the Genos UI is a complete re-write just like Montage.

Yamaha's current keyboards are based on a new generation tone generator/effect integrated circuit -- the SWP70 -- which first appeared in a mid-level arranger, the PSR-S970. Yamaha spreads the cost of chip development across all affected products: arrangers, synthesizers and digital pianos. Yamaha also have their own integrated circuits specifically for lower end keyboards. They also share the SSP2 mixing/effects IC between Steinberg UR, digital mixers, Reface DX/CS and Montage/MODX. All of this chip development adds to non-recurring costs and, of course, the price.

As to Genos, retailers advertise Genos at $6,000 in the USA. That['s the "Minimum Advertised Price" or "MAP" which is set by Yamaha in the retail agreement. "Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)" is $6800 USD. Neither MAP or MSRP run afoul of U.S. law. Nothing forces a retailer to actually sell at either MSRP or MAP. "Open box" is one way around MAP, BTW.

The recent action against Yamaha, Roland, Korg, etc. is initiated by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Anti-competition laws, of course, vary across countries and economic zones. Quoting the CMA release "All of these companies have been fined for implementing resale price maintenance (RPM) designed to restrict retailer freedom to set prices online by requiring their musical instruments to be sold at or above a minimum price." That's the difference between "suggested" and "required."

Genos is kind of orphaned in the U.S. Most units are sold by independent retailers -- not SW, GC and the rest of the usual suspects. I bought from an independent retailer and paid around $4,000. I compared against Nord Stage, for example, and the prices are ball park. Yeah, there's apples vs. oranges, different use cases, yada-yada, but Genos and Nord Stage are "premium" offerings.

Sorry for the length and detail (tl:dr) -- pj

Blog: sandsoftwaresound.net

Yeah, this discussion makes me think of the smaller companies, like several in Italy, that have to compete with the big boys and girls. It must be daunting to even consider, what with all the years of brand recognition and IP the larger companies have.

I'd heard Yamaha rolls their own chips, and I wonder if they're the only ones who are at large enough scale and diversity to afford what must be a tremendous up front cost. Any ballpark of the r&d and manufacturing expenses involved? But yeah, the Kronos uses a tiny Atom CPU! It literally pays to be on top of the heap!

+ 1 with Biggles on wasting money on the Genos when the Pa4x is 1/3 cheaper and arguably a better board. Once again, you trust a brand you know. My sister who grew up playing piano wants to buy a console piano, and of course Yamaha is her first choice, partially because they're the most available in music stores to be tried out, but also cause she knows the brand.

Another thing to consider- there's probably more leeway for companies to boost prices in the upper end of the market. If you're in market for a TOTL board, a few hundred dollars probably won't make or break a buying decision difference. Whereas in the lower end of the market, I'm guessing that Yamaha floods the market with cheapie keyboards as a way of building brand recognition, and in that end of the market, $10-20 can make a big difference in saleability. So perhaps we need to consider their full range of products to understand where they deliver bang for the buck vs luxury/features for mucho bucks.

Last edited by RandyFF; 07/02/20 10:58 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
KuruPrionz #3052251 07/03/20 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by GregC
It really is that

Its all a big wink
[j/k]

Yep. Just go buy a decent MIDI controller, a mid-range laptop and stuff it with cool plugins. There is where the bang for the buck lives...

Simple.

OMG, why didn't;t I think of that 9 years ago !!!
{{smacking my forehead }}

OMG, why hasn't every recent Fantom, Montage, MODX and Kronos owner done just that !!! ??

Award Winning Post material wink

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
KuruPrionz #3052253 07/03/20 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by GregC
[quote=KuruPrionz]With

Iys

Gotta love conspiracy theories!!!1 laugh

I.

Did you inform the UK Govt' that its a 'conspiracy theory ' ? wink

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/...-millions-after-breaking-competition-law

“Yamaha was granted total immunity from fines for being the first to bring the conduct to the attention of the CMA”.

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052324 07/03/20 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by GregC
Hi Bif.. where am I going ? Is your question, correct ?

You quoted it... challenge our thinking ...

I think knowledge is power.

I get what Bif_ is asking. What is the end game besides having this knowledge? A lot of us in this thread have agreed with your objective statements about the big 3's pricing.

Yes, knowledge is power. What is it you would like us to do with that power? Not buy the Flagship boards unless they are drastically reduced in price?
Protest outside their headquarters demanding "fair" prices?

So, yes, the educating on the company's pricing structure and methods is a good exercise.

In the end, it comes to the subjective value of any item to the consumer. Arbitrary (and ridiculous) example: Company sells a product for $3000 that costs them $100 to make. The company has no problem moving that product at that price. Everyone knows (all consumers) the huge markup of the product.
Some consumers will say "absolutely, this is worth it to me, I will buy it at that price." Other consumers will say "no way, that's way overpriced, I won't buy it"

Both are okay. That's why we have choices. Fairness should not play a part in this.

There are MANY things out there I'd like to have that are a bit out of my reach or comfort level to buy, price-wise. Many of those things have huge profit margins and I know it.

I do not lament the fact it's not for me to buy at this time, nor do I think it's unfair.


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

Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3052360 07/03/20 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
Originally Posted by GregC
Hi Bif.. where am I going ? Is your question, correct ?

You quoted it... challenge our thinking ...

I think knowledge is power.

I get what Bif_ is asking. What is the end game besides having this knowledge? A lot of us in this thread have agreed with your objective statements about the big 3's pricing.

Yes, knowledge is power. What is it you would like us to do with that power? Not buy the Flagship boards unless they are drastically reduced in price?

Protest outside their headquarters demanding "fair" prices?

.

LOL

David, too funny.

Yes, I am going to ride around town on my bike today, and shake my fist at the sky and yell:

" Prices are too Damn High ! "

I think you are wise enough to see that us musicians/artist have certain similarities and interesting differences on how we function
and proceed in life.

So , I cannot tell you what to do with more knowledge. I can't tell Bif.

What you do with more knowledge is on you.

Or maybe some don't want to be bothered with more complex
or financial details.

Or maybe you and Bif and others already know it all
in regards to the 3 Big Dogs. I really can't say.

My intuition isn't always on.

I know exactly what I will do with more scrutinizing of the 3 Big Dogs and their high
pricing. I will continue studying these 3 co's for one.

Whenever I make a purchase, I have steps that I follow.

It involves extra work, more time.

Some here might say " I don't need to do that, no time for that '.

But who givesaShit what I do ? Thats my bubble.

if folks agree, and I see 5 or 6 on this topic, that have said so, that's
also cool.

Hope this clears up your questions. Thanks.

Last edited by GregC; 07/03/20 06:10 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052381 07/03/20 06:30 PM
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Well, perhaps you should be railing at the capitalistic system that creates hard-to-bear markups. A tremendous amount of competition is simply eliminated because fledgling companies don't have the capital to stick it out for years and years to develop a product and their name recognition. It creates a built-in advantage, even monopolies as a result.

The solution is simple: socialize all music instrument companies and you'll be the president to make sure there's capital enough for promising new companies, and the prices of the established companies are based on fair profit margins!

Last edited by RandyFF; 07/03/20 06:35 PM.

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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
EscapeRocks #3052396 07/03/20 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
Yes, knowledge is power. What is it you would like us to do with that power? Not buy the Flagship boards unless they are drastically reduced in price?
Protest outside their headquarters demanding "fair" prices?
.

I'm surprised this thread is still going given there is no practical advice in it. My wife and I have bought lots of stuff over the last several years: cars, bicycles, kitchen appliances, solar panels, bathtubs . . . the list goes on and on. Raising a family and changing houses 3 times entails a mind-boggling array of large item purchases. If you buy one big item a year and can take your time, maybe you can try to factor profit margin into your decision. For us, and I think for most people, there just isn't enough time in the day.

In the end, profit margin is just one factor among many. What matters most is the value of a product to me.

I'm sure GregC has a response to this, and this discussion will continue to go round and round in circles.


Gigging: Yamaha YC61, Crumar Mojo 61, Moog Subsequent 37, Yamaha P121
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Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
Adan #3052409 07/03/20 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
Originally Posted by EscapeRocks
Yes, knowledge is power. What is it you would like us to do with that power? Not buy the Flagship boards unless they are drastically reduced in price?
Protest outside their headquarters demanding "fair" prices?
.

I'm surprised this thread is still going given there is no practical advice in it. My wife and I have bought lots of stuff over the last several years: cars, bicycles, kitchen appliances, solar panels, bathtubs . . . the list goes on and on. Raising a family and changing houses 3 times entails a mind-boggling array of large item purchases. If you buy one big item a year and can take your time, maybe you can try to factor profit margin into your decision. For us, and I think for most people, there just isn't enough time in the day.

In the end, profit margin is just one factor among many. What matters most is the value of a product to me.

I'm sure GregC has a response to this, and this discussion will continue to go round and round in circles.


Asked and Answered.

See my post reply to David/Escape Rocks.

If there are any questions, personal or otherwise, PM me.

Considerations/cicumstances will vary from person to person, therefore I am willing to discuss a situation you or anyone might have.

Last edited by GregC; 07/03/20 10:24 PM.
Re: Sort of OT: Are prices on Keyboards, etc , too high ?
GregC #3052822 07/06/20 09:15 AM
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I live off the grid easily on solar, although I have thought about adding a few small roof-mounted windmills and unless you count getting up and washing them off every 6 months or so maintenance has cost me $0 over 2 and a half years Although he uses over 4 times the amount of power I used even when I was on the grid.


Just enjoy my life, people and you.
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