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Are vsti reducing the value of vintage instruments?


Gary75

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Some people think investing in cars, property etc is better than putting it in the bank. Musicians may like to collect instruments sought after, in the hope that they will retain and appreciate in value.

 

I have some cash to invest, and initially thought of combining pleasure and investment rolled into one by buying a few pieces of classic gear.

 

But I'm starting to think that this may not be a good idea. As the software emulations become increasingly more refined, I get the feeling, cheapness of software and practicality is going to drive the vintage price down. Great if your looking for an instrument and give no thought to future value, but maybe not so good if your wanting investment as well as owning and playing your

coveted gear.

 

The Hammond market is drying up in the UK, console prices not fetching anywhere near what they had. I'm not too into the synth scene but I suspect this may follow suit at some point.

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Some people think investing in cars, property etc is better than putting it in the bank...

Musicians may like to collect instruments sought after, in the hope that they will retain and appreciate in value.

 

...I get the feeling, cheapness of software and practicality is going to drive the vintage price down...

 

 

I would suggest that people value things that are 'classic', whether it be cars/ houses/ instruments, or anything else...

 

The rarer they become, the more the demand for them is!

 

 

My first keyboard was a Vox Continental (bought for £80), which eventually rotted away in my garden shed -

 

& was eventually taken to the local tip.....

 

 

I've seen them going for close on £2000 in recent times :facepalm:

 

 

My opinion is that you invest in something and it gives you pleasure too, that can only be good, yeh?

 

 

You only live once - make it the the most enjoyable you can, rather than worrying about things :crazy:

 

 

 

 

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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I've seen the value of the old Korg Polysix increase 250% in the last few years. This is for a one without the MIDI update installed. With MIDI they can go higher. And the Polysix is more of a minor vintage versus say something like the OB8, Prophet 5 or Minimoog (but I love mine!)

 

The flip side of this of course is maintenence for these old beasts which can be rather pricey depending on which synth it is. But I agree if you derive pleasure from them, that's where their true value lies.

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

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I don't know that I see VSTi's hurting vintage gear value. If anything it may boost it, as it heightens awreness of them.

 

The way I look at it is, VSTi's allow me to have pieces I otherwise couldn't have. I'm not going to spend $5,000.00 for a mint CS-80. There are too many other things that my money would have to go to (like kids' college tuition). However, if I can enjoy a pretty darned good emulation of one, with full MIDI implementation and zero maintenance issues (and zero weight!!!) for a few hundred bucks, well, I don't think my kids' tuition will be in danger of going unpaid.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

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Instruments (like art) are a bad investment, unless you include your personal value in owning them.

 

Unless you make an unusually lucky pick, it won't increase in value nearly as well as a mediocre stock portfolio. And if you're lucky, you'll do a lot better picking good stocks than vintage instruments.

 

But to answer your question: yes, both VSTi's and good modern digital keyboards are making vintage instruments far less valuable, since now they're only desirable to collectors and vintage keyboard geeks: they're no longer necessary to cover the particular sound for the typical keyboard player.

 

IMHO, a better good cheap investment is, if you can judge piano quality, is to watch Craigslist for old big-harp upright pianos, especially from the 1920s - 1940s (the heyday of the American upright). Many are available for free if you move them, or for a very small cost. And many are really great pianos, if you can overlook the poor action dynamics.

 

These beauties are being destroyed right and left since they have virtually zero value today, thanks to digital pianos that are decent, inexpensive, and convenient. As they get destroyed, the good ones that remain will go up in value, and may even someday become collectors' items. But, do you have 50 years to wait? ;) Who cares? They're great pianos!

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As much as I love old organs and Leslie Speakers you have to remember they were mass produced. The market is flat now but no VSTi will never replace them, at least for me.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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The current global recession has been cited as the reason the price of collectables has tanked - whether it's art, Victorian furniture, or Les Pauls.

 

Vintage synths seem to be bucking the trend, but I think that's mostly due to a certain forum (Gearslutz) hyping anything analog and old to the point that many young keyboard players just starting out may actually think that they can't produce anything of value unless it's done on a vintage synth.

 

B3s - I dunno. Here in the Pacific Northwest, they definitely aren't flying off the pages of Craigslist anymore. According to Sound on Sound (I just looked it up) over 250,000 were made and I'll bet that a good number of them are still up and running. So simple supply and demand may be a factor here.

 

I wouldn't be buying a B3 as an investment.

 

I might buy gold as an investment the way things are going.

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IMO, VSTis are not reducing the value of vintage instruments. However, I do believe a combination of reasonale facsimiles in digital instruments along with VSTis has diminished the desire to collect and use vintage instruments.

 

Out of curiousity, musos will continue picking up vintage gear for nostagia and/or to get hands on experience but I seriously doubt there will be a major movement back to it.

 

The gains and tradeoffs in emergent technologies will continue to trump the care and feeding required to maintain the past.

 

In general, I think planned obsolescence has changed the way folks value anything. Everything is disposable nowadays. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Since VST's (at least some of them) "emulate" the real thing, I think it's fair to say that both VSTs and vintage stuff will continue to play in different leagues. People who want the sound of vintage stuff (purists maybe) will continue to buy them, and happy to give them regular maintenance, without complaining. OTOH, people with limited budget will be more than happy to use VSTs and romplers. It's just about personal preference.
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I'm not going to spend $5,000.00 for a mint CS-80.

 

Certainly you're not. Because they go for more like $12,000. :)

 

There will always be those that want the real thing. Are acoustic pianos less valuable because we have digital pianos now? Yes, DPs are getting really good, but they still don't replace a really great acoustic piano, imo. VB3 is the best B3 emulator on the market, but it still doesn't have the soul of a real B3 (it is really close, but sitting down at a real B3 is a whole different experience). Arturia's CS80v doesn't sound like a CS-80 much at all. Clavinet is one of the easiest sounds to emulate but nothing beats playing the real thing because of how the keyboard feels and how it responds to your playing.

 

Case in point: After my enormous rig was torn down at the Harvest Gathering this past weekend (see my thread Gig Gear Pron), another band was setting up their stuff to the side of the stage. The keyboardist had an XK3, a Leslie 3300, a real clavinet E7, Moog Voyager, and a Roland RD700. Nice rig! He could do everything that rig does with a couple controllers and a laptop, but let's not forget the importance of the interface and the sound of moving air! :)

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True collectors value condition and certain model years.

 

Condition is what makes a certain Superman worth more than all the rest. Grading services help because they can say 'one of the best 5 known to be in existence' and command 100X the price of an average grade.

 

A perfect 1950s B3 will always be the King of Hammonds for Collectors.

 

We see the same with Sequential Prophets--a perfect Rev 2 is the collectors item. The Pro One and T-8 sell for much less but are second in collectability followed by Rev 3s. Most of the rest doesn't much matter including the 10 and the VS.

 

As long as there are rich young musicians who are infatuated with Vintage the stuff will appreciate.

 

Keeping Vintage stuff going is another story. Automobile refurb and restore is a big specialty business. Will there be custom electronic runs for classic synths?

 

I have my doubts about non-tube gear and getting the circuit boards and chips in 50 years. As some say art collections are a rich man's game as much of it doesn't appreciate and sometimes the bottom falls out.

 

 

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I'm not going to spend $5,000.00 for a mint CS-80.

 

Certainly you're not. Because they go for more like $12,000. :)

 

 

I stand corrected! $12k is still less than a year's college tuition, so unless I win a lottery or something, I'll have to stay virtual. I do have some vintage goodies, and I know all too well that the real thing is better, but, at some point in life you have to draw the line.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

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Don't buy vintage synths. In 60 years some grand child of yours will be giving them away for nothing :)

But -really- i don't think instruments are a good investment. Leave them for what they're designed to do -music- and buy gold. It's expensive, but apparently it never looses its value.

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Like art, you are better off buying a vintage instrument because you really want it, as opposed to any perceived investment value. Not so sure about Gold these days, sure it is up now but it has proven to be as volatile as any other investment possibility. Maybe consider real estate, given how low the values are at the moment.
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Actually, the most stupid VSTs are the ones mimicking old analog gear. Not in the way they sound (that would be an achievement) but in the way they look: put a Minimoog under a steamroller and you get that kind of stuff.

 

Your vintage analog gear is never going to be "replaced" by any software emulation, and in my opinion the only interesting softsynths are the ones offering something truly different and innovative at a reasonable price for the masses.

 

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I think they're actually INCREASING the value of vintage instruments, as they are introducing more people to those sounds, who might otherwise not have been aware of what those old analog beasts might be capable of.

 

The VST's are the "gateway" drug to Real Analog Synths. :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

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My Selmer Tenor Sax has increased 300% in value in the last 15 years. Better than my house!! It just depends on the demand, because the supply will always be less.
Kurzweil PC3x, Nord Electro 3, Nord C-1, Casio Privia PX-3, Yamaha DX-7, Korg Polysix, Moog Taurus 3, Yamaha Motif XS (rack),Ventilator, QSC K12, K10
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Actually, the most stupid VSTs are the ones mimicking old analog gear. Not in the way they sound (that would be an achievement) but in the way they look: put a Minimoog under a steamroller and you get that kind of stuff.

+1 Bazillion (incidentally, my favorite softsynth to emulate the Yamaha CS-80 sound is not the one that looks like it!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think there might be something to the original thesis, at least for me. Bear in mind I've never owned or regularly played vintage instruments, and although I've always been attracted to the idea of having heaps of vintage instruments around me, each time I come across one of those beasts for sale, I rather not buy them.

When a friend of mine sold parts of his incredible collection (Rhodes Mark I, Clavinet, Hammond M103, Leslie, ARP Solina), I passed. My thinking was kinda like this: if I bought a Rhodes, I'd rarely gig with it because I hate the schlep and maintenance. But for 1000 or more Euros (that's what the ones in good shape go for around here) at my current life situation, I just can't justify an instrument solely as a studio piece. Soundwise, current emulations come close enough for my personal tastes, and for live use, I'm happy with what my red fleet can do.

So I went with Komplete 7 for half of the price. :-D

I think with developing technology vsti will more and more become an alternative to the "real thing", even for purists.

It's not a clone, it's a Suzuki.
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I think it was Liberace who said, "An old piano is a bad piano".

 

Maybe our gear is like cars. The vast majority simply depreciate and die. Only a very few will become collectibles. But there are far more people who drive and care about cars than there are keyboardists who would treasure a hand-signed Theremin.

 

As far as decorative value: almost none. Check out prices for 100 year old accordions.

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Unless you can fully service and restore an instrument yourself I cannot see keeping it as an investment. Need for service is why I got rid of my Model D and why I don't keep old keyboards for anything more than sentimental reasons. And yes, with the improvement in both VSTis and digital keyboards my desire for old instruments or expensive replicas has faded.
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I've always been attracted to the idea of having heaps of vintage instruments around me, each time I come across one of those beasts for sale, I rather not buy them.

 

Soundwise, current emulations come close enough for my personal tastes...I think with developing technology vsti will more and more become an alternative to the "real thing", even for purists.

Same here.

 

Nostalgically and if I were younger, I'd have a room full of vintage gear. Realistically, I don't have enough time to get anything out of the investment.

 

The current crop of hardware instruments are good enough to satisfy my desire to play and hear facsimiles of vintage sounds.

 

I've heard and played very good VSTi's but haven't gone in that direction because I can still feel that few millisecond disconnect i.e. latency. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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The Hammond market is drying up in the UK, console prices not fetching anywhere near what they had. I'm not too into the synth scene but I suspect this may follow suit at some point.

 

It is like that with a lot of things. When something swings back in vogue prices skyrocket. Eventually things level out.

 

The only piece of vintage gear I would consider spending big $$$ is the ARP Chroma, but only because I'm a HH-head.

 

On a different note, I played the new Rhodes for the first time today. If prices were equal, I would take that over a vintage one. It feels much better to me.

 

 

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It would be hard for it to NOT feel better than the vintage Rhodes sitting at our local Guitar Center. :-)

 

Isn't that why Chick Corea chose the Wurly instead, due to better keybed feel?

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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I've heard and played very good VSTi's but haven't gone in that direction because I can still feel that few millisecond disconnect i.e. latency. :cool:

 

VST and AU are not the only ways to experience real good vintage emulations.

If you´d check out some devices for Scope SP platform, you´d recognize the disconnection/latency is gone, it´s zero,- and it is improved sound quality in addition.

 

Minimax, Prodyssey, Protone and Profit are awesome vintage analogue synth emulations as are John Bowen´s ZARG devices (but more DSP hungry).

Even the B2003 Hammond emulation is great, this including the rotary sim, percussion and C/V.

 

I´m speaking by experience, owning some originals, VSTis and Scope platform software and DSP card.

 

But as always w/ software, the hardware UI is missing, but that´s the price too keep it small and lightweight for traveling.

 

A.C.

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What Al said, and also speaking from similar experience. :-)

 

There is also the Use Audio version, after the split in Creamware. Not as advanced as Bowen's stuff or current SCOPE based hardware/software, but a great buy. I sold my Plugiator to someone on this forum once I bought the Real Deal(s), but haven't followed them since, so don't know how that company has progressed.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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