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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.

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