AW: RE: (2) DIY Digital Scanning ... and MS-20

gstopp at gstopp at
Mon Feb 26 17:54:54 CET 1996

     On 2/24/96 "J.D. McEachin" <jdm at> at ccrelayou wrote:
     >To me, the decision to build or buy depends on the uniqueness of the 
     >item to be built, and cost in time.  My time is very valuable to me, 
     >so puttering it away building a keyboard makes NO sense whatsoever.  
     >I'd rather spend my time building something novel sounding than 
     >reinvent the wheel.
     You make a valid point. However permit me to play the devil's advocate 
     to your devil's advocate, and say that you did neglect to factor in 
     the price that is assigned to "contribution to personal knowledge and 
     experience". How does one attach a price to that? Remember, we *are* 
     talking about a hobby here.
     But it's not that simple - the topic is a very deep one, actually. 
     Recently my car needed work. I looked under the front, and sure enough 
     the idler arm bushing was shot. Now I am perfectly capable of 
     repairing anything on a car, and in fact I think it's fun, but I took 
     it to the shop. I was totally willing to pay somebody to do it, 
     because I factored in parts procurement, labor, laundry costs, kitchen 
     sink cleaning, cost of band-aids, etc. My old car-repairing hobby has 
     dwindled! I never thought this would happen.
     But just then I said that "I am perfectly capable of repairing 
     anything on a car" - this is no longer true! I am powerless in my own 
     garage if confronted by an electronic engine parameter control module 
     thingamabob failure.
     In the same way much of synthesizer technology is running away from 
     us. So in order to keep up I think it may be good for hobbyists to 
     pursue back-breaking digital implementations of fairly mundane 
     functions. Knowledge is power.
     - Gene
     gstopp at
     p.s. however if I were to make a poly keyboard right now I would do it 
     differently than the current thread suggests...

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: AW: RE: (2) DIY Digital Scanning ... and MS-20
Author:  "J.D. McEachin" <jdm at> at ccrelayout
Date:    2/24/96 7:21 AM

On Wed, 21 Feb 1996, Haible_Juergen#Tel2743 wrote:
> >I think I missed something somewhere.  Please, tell me, WHY are you
> >building your own keyboard scanner, when MIDI keyboards can be had so 
> >cheaply (you may have a few laying about)?
> Similar question: Why should anybody build a MS-20 filter, when there are 
> so many MS-20's around?
My estimates may be off, but here's a cost analysis:
Cost of MS20 - US$500
Time to build MS20 filter clone - 4 hrs 
Hourly rate - $125
Cost of used MIDI keyboard - US$100
Time to build polyphonic cpu scanned keyboard - 100 hrs 
Hourly rate - $1
Building the keyboard seems like a complete waste of time.  BTW, having 
recently written polyphonic voice assignment code for an analogue synth, I 
can tell you that 100 hrs is a very optimistic estimate.

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