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Where did all the old manufactures go??

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Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Kolakube » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:37 am

Just wondering. What ever happened to Akai and Emu and Roland etc etc?

How did they ever get muscled out of the game.

Take Akai for EG. I know Akai now make bits and pieces for Ableton Live but they let Kontakt steal the market from under them. Could they not have had the foresight to see sampling was going to go software and come up with something using there legendary brand name to crush NI??
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby DePulse » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:34 pm

Akai started developing a virtual S-sampler but stopped the project before it was finished. Today Akai seems more interested in making controllers than actual synths and samplers.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Dave B » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:00 pm

Akai were a small, but fairly innovative company that found well designed ways to bring technology to the masses. Which means that their margins would have been quite low. When margins are low, and you are a division of a large company, and the sales don't meet expectations - expect the dreaded axe to fall...

E-Mu got absorbed into Creative. And the same thing happened. Arguably, they were asset stripped for their sounds and reputation to bolster Creative's sales. Creative were just another company in the low cost, high throughput space - which wasn't where E-mu were at. And again, the axeman cometh and 'restructures' things...

Roland still make hardware. It's the same hardware (but in a shinier box) as they have made for the last twenty years.. but they do make it. And it is one of their core busineses.

Korg still make hardware. It sounds like drivel, but as long as it goes 'whizz', 'whoosh' and 'zing' then people still seem to buy it no matter how bad it is.

Yamaha still make hardware. And pianos. And motorbikes. I think that they even make toilets!

How did the former 'bigger boys' lose out? Simple - pure evolution. They weren't fast enough to adapt and didn't drive the innovation. Emu had the Z-plane filter that was stunning but ended up crippling it to be an 'ordinary' filter. Shame. Akai thought that they didn't need Roger Linn and, by a bizarre coincidence, just re-released the same product over and over again - with a spectacular failure along the way. Not enough money went into _finishing_ products, so those of us in the know went elsewhere. Shame.

What I like is that the likes of Dave Smith, Tom Oberheim, Roger Linn, etc have finally managed to bounce back as a 'cottage industry' which actually _has_ been a quick response to the market. And they have some clever ideas. Even dear old Uncle Bob was riding high when he sadly went to the great studio in the sky.

Which is nice..
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby hollowsun » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:08 pm

DePulse wrote:Today Akai seems more interested in making controllers than actual synths and samplers.
The MPCs are samplers and they sell shitloads of them!

There simply is no market for a rack mount sampler any more... not since the S5/6000 which was probably Akai's last great sampler. Despite the benefits of a hardware sampler (solid, reliable, portable, (arguably) better sound quality, etc.), you simply cannot sell one in sufficient numbers when competing with software samplers that are just a few hundred quid (or even free!).

The 'old' Akai's folly was the Z-series samplers. A lot of investment and time spent but they just didn't sell. Which meant no money coming in (other than MPC sales). After the S5/6000, people waited to see what fantastic new sampler would be next ... and were greeted with something that had a smaller screen, fewer outputs and looked like a plastic Tonka toy ... and was more expensive than the S5000! The exodus to s/w samplers was complete!

Of course, there are still people around who prefer hardware samplers and disk recorders, etc., (myself included) but it's a small number of people, a niche market and nowhere near enough for a product to break even, let alone make a profit.

In today's day and age (even more so in times of recession) manufacturers have to make what sells and these days, it's controllers for the software people use now. The 'new' Akai (owned by Numark) have all the skill, know-how and engineering and manufacturing resources to build a fabulous new hardware sampler but it's a pointless investment because it simply wouldn't sell in the quantities required (in fact, it might not sell at all!) and they'd be in trouble again!

Sad but true.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Zukan » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:03 pm

Emu tried to compete on the virtual stage with the Emulator X soft sampler and the Proteus VX module vsti.

However, lack of WMD support and CPU intensive code relegated the Emulator X below the competition.
Thir converter was also not the friendliest to use, whereas Kontakt's multi format import worked much better.

Creative's mauling of Emu killed it dead in it's tracks and Emu is simply a platform for Creative product sales even though the X series are still supported. However, it's Creative's soundcards, controllers etc that do the main biz.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby hollowsun » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:10 pm

Zukan wrote:However, lack of WMD support
Could Hans Blix not find any then?

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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Zukan » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:51 pm

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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby MarkOne » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:57 pm

Zukan wrote:Emu tried to compete on the virtual stage with the Emulator X soft sampler and the Proteus VX module vsti.


I still think the Emulator X is a fine sampler. It is really easy to actually sample stuff and build multisamples, it's looping tools are fabulous, and it's synth engine has some glorious filters.

But it is a processor hog, and of course, because Creative are the parent, there isn't a mac version (which is why I left it behind).

I still have a fully loaded EMU PK6 with the vintage ROM, the Ensoniq ROM and the Siedlaczek orchestral ROM, though to be honest that board doesn't see much action now.

On the Akai front The combination of the MPC5000 (which has the hardware sampling engine straight from the Alesis Fusion) with it's V2 multisampling capability, and the MPK88 controller would probably be an awesome hardware workstation - But not terribly cheap.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Zukan » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:18 am

MarkOne wrote:
I still think the Emulator X is a fine sampler. It is really easy to actually sample stuff and build multisamples, it's looping tools are fabulous, and it's synth engine has some glorious filters.



No question about that at all. Add the best soft sampler mod matrix as well which blows Kontakt out of the water. However, for the reasons I outlined, it is sadly never used on my PC.

I helped with the beta testing of the X and we pointed out the cpu drains and WMD problem from the outset.
It is a shame because not only did it have the best feature sets it also converted and read the eos format quite easily. The filters, sample editing functions and mod matrix are still better than anything out there.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:11 pm

The PC only nature of the Emulator X always put me off getting it. I still have an E-Synth "classic", but it doesn't see much use, although I still think it is a great synth. It got left behind a bit when I got Battery on my Mac and accumulated other hardware synths, but I really should get it back in to my set up properly.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Chaconne » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:19 am

Two of my most loved and used bits are Akai. I have a nice reel to reel, and an S950. Its funny to think that obviously the latter meant the end of the former, yet obviously they did not quite see that hard disk recording would mean the end of samplers! I'm sure they did in a way but the momentum of big companies must be hard to stop.
Shame, liked the design of their stuff. They should make sure the MPC series can compete with things like the machinedrum, maybe they do, I should look into them 'cos sometimes I miss sequencer and sampler fun.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby Kolakube » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:20 am

Hallowsun,

Yeah I understand why akai wont make another hardware sampler.

WHat I dont understand is how they let Kontakt come in and basically steal the industry standard title from under their noses. Surely Akai could have progressed the S6000 into software?

I dont see NI Kontakt making a loss any time soon.
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Re: Where did all the old manufactures go??

Postby vinyl_junkie » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:27 am

kolakube wrote:Hallowsun,

Yeah I understand why akai wont make another hardware sampler.

WHat I dont understand is how they let Kontakt come in and basically steal the industry standard title from under their noses. Surely Akai could have progressed the S6000 into software?

I dont see NI Kontakt making a loss any time soon.



Because Akai were at most if anything a hardware company ;-) They were backwards and like most of these hardware companies when they try and develop their own software it's almost always crap…can you imagine a virtual S-3000 lol no thanks. I say thank you NI, Emagic and Steinberg hehe Look at apple, they are clearly a hardware company, they want to sell you their shiny new boxes..I-Tunes wasn't theirs, Logic wasn't theirs, the Mac OS graphical user interface wasn't theirs what they did was smart and brought all these small companies and refined the products and in Logic's case lowered the price thus making buying a mac even more eye catching. If Akai would of brought out NI or even collaborated THEN I think you would have had a great product but to develop a software product from the ground up is not easy
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