Wow, let me put on my tweed jacket, sit down in a comfy armchair, light up my pipe and get all philosophical. 1) Are synths of a certain type/caliber/complexity/ability reserved for certain types of users/uses?
Nope...certain synths are only reserved for those who have $$$$ in their pockets. Price is the single biggest barrier to users. How many posts have you seen on teh webz about "is there a cheaper alternative to <name some expensive gear here>
?" Do you think people that could afford 303s and 808s went out and bought Volcas instead?
If you can afford it, go for it. I was once (like all of us) poor and had to choose my purchases very carefully. I remember saving my pennies to buy my first synth...it was a stretch at $450 (used)...and being so excited once I had it.
Having an "arsenal" or "collection"? C'mon, I was lucky to have just one! Even today I don't own a lot of hardware synths because of the cost (see #2).2) Do you consider this when looking at future purchases?
Not sure exactly what you're asking here, but my #1 concern is can I afford it
. Although I gig as a bassist, synths are just a hobby for me so they have to earn their keep.
I've been buying and selling synths for over 25 years now. If I don't use it a lot, it's gonna get sold. There's some I've sold when money was tight and later repurchased only to sell again. I draw a fine line between what's essential to what I want to do and what 's just a guilty pleasure.3) Do you check the alignment of a particular product in relation to your chosen genre(s)?
I'd say the opposite, I avoid instruments that are too focused on a particular genre. I want an instrument that can handle any style I feel like exploring.
For example, I don't do "dance"...I have owned a few grooveboxes but flipped them all after finally realizing that step sequencing bores the hell out of me. Wobble basses, risers, hoovers, supersaws, etc. are an immediate turnoff. 4a) How important are live-song-making product demos as selling points?
4b) Compared to sound-cloud links or a patch by patch roll through?
They are only important for instruments I cannot try before I buy. I miss the good old days here in the USA of small music stores where you could go in and try out various synths. Today Guitar Center has driven most of them out of business and if GC doesn't have it on the floor, I can't try it out. I had to wait two years before my local GC had a Kronos on the floor to try
That's insane!5) Does the preset amount (high or low or no patch memory) influence your purchase?
I want preset memory but the number of factory presets is meaningless to me. If it has at least 128 user patch locations, I'm all set. More is convenient but not mandatory.
a requirement is being able to access 100% of the functionality without a computer. Been there, done that.6) Does who else uses it matter? Like if it's already popular for your intended genre?
I could care less! I have a long history of picking underdog instruments. For example, I bought an SQ-80 20 years before they became hip. I bought it because I thought it sounded great and the feature set (8 track sequencer with tape synch and floppy disk backup) was unique at the time. Today people only buy them because they are cheap and have an analog filter.
My interests in music are wide, so I need instruments that can emulate pianos, organs and drums just as much as I need synthetic sounds. I look for a core instrument that covers all my needs, then if I can afford it I'll add instruments that handle a particular niche better. My core has always been a workstation because it can still do the job even if I have to ditch my computer and analog synths.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.