[sdiy] Random design, was Re: When vintage stuff comes as an ideal....

Olivier Gillet ol.gillet at gmail.com
Sat Jun 14 17:42:07 CEST 2014

This is a weird theory. Does it imply that for every 808 or MS20 or
S950 on the second-hand market there are dozens of them in landfills
which did not have the right combinations of components going off

I'm curious to see some evidence - examples of synths which can sound
dull or awesome depending on component variations, how this problem is
handled on the second-hand market, how this brings a new dimensions
for second-hand pricing in addition to reliability...

I'm not denying the existence of variations among units of a classic
analog synth. Variations are there of course. But I believe they are
not large enough to push one synth out of the desirability zone. An
808 kick will sound different from unit to unit, but not enough to
remove the desirability of an 808 kick.

> I haven't touched on the subject of items acquiring cult status, which can skew survivability

You should, because I believe the "fitness function" at play when we
talk about vintage synths surviving the "test of time" is dominated by
a function of whether some subculture has found anything
popular/interesting to do with this bit of gear.

What makes a Minimoog survives is not that this particular instance is
sonically superior to other Minimoogs, it is just that it is an
instance of a design considered superior to other synths.

> Nowadays gear falls into one of three categories:
> ...
> c) it doesn't have "killer sound" and never will.

Four categories indeed:

d) Cultural changes will occur, that will redefine "killer sound" in a
way we hadn't anticipated. The item doesn't have "2014 music
landscape's killer sound" but will have "2024's killer sound".

You don't have to randomize a design for this to happen. It just has
to be put in the hands of as many musicians as possible.

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