Questions to ask Yourself Before Buying a Vintage Synth
If you love vintage synthesizers and have enough money to never worry about an empty wallet or bank account, then you could obviously build up quite a formidable collection. Unfortunately, for most people this isn’t feasible as synths are expensive and you can only stretch your budget so far. Of course, you could always just throw caution to the wind and buy whatever synth you want and deal with the consequences later, but this is definitely not a very smart course of action. Instead, there are a couple of very important questions that you need to ask yourself before sealing the deal on your next big vintage synth transaction.
What Is Your Budget?
The first thing you need to consider before buying a vintage synth is the size of your budget. Determining your budget will enable you to work within it and prevent you from overspending and putting yourself in a financial predicament. There are some affordable vintage synths available on the market, but if you have your eye on something rare, then the costs can rise dramatically. Buying a vintage synth is nice, but having to explain to your significant other why you can’t go on holiday anymore this year because of your purchase is a different story.
Do You Have The Space For It?
Even if your budget can accommodate that vintage synth purchase, can your home? A lot of older synths are not exactly compact and you don’t want them gathering dust in storage because you don’t have any space to set them up properly. Space is also an issue if you buy a lot of gear as they can quickly start to take over your home if you are not careful. It is also quite easy to damage some of the older synths if you store them improperly, so it is vital that you don’t just have enough space for your synths, but enough space to do so properly.
What Do You Want To Do With It?
It is easy to get caught up in the virtues of owning a rare or unusual vintage synth when browsing the internet and reading synth forums. However, you also have to ask yourself what do you actually want to do with the synth. If you want to use the synth for creating music or making recordings, then it might be worth the investment, but if you simply want to buy something for the sake of owning it, then you might want to reconsider. Owning a vintage synth is great, but if you are simply curious about messing around with one, it might be cheaper to opt for a soft synth first to make sure it is something you really want or need.
How Committed Are You To Learning?
Unless you are already familiar with vintage synthesizers you might find that some of the older models have pretty steep learning curves. If you are committed to putting in the time needed to tame these beasts, then it might be worth the investment. However, if you are simply going to throw up your hands in frustration and buy something easier after a few tries, then you’ll definitely regret your purchase.
Have You Done Your Research?
It is no use simply reading about all the great features of a particular vintage synth and not also familiarizing yourself with its flaws too. There are a lot of problems that are quite common to certain synth models and doing a bit of research before making a purchase will enable you to know what to look out for. For example, the Juno 106 is notorious for issues with its filter chips while the PolySix can go haywire from battery leakage. Be sure to check our database, the comments, and the forums to see what other owners have to say about the synth you have in mind. Knowing what the Achilles heels are of the synth that you want to buy will decrease the odds of you buying a dud.
Can You Try It Out First?
Unfortunately, it isn’t just useful to do your research before buying a vintage synth, you should also be able to try it out first. There’s nothing worse than paying an arm and a leg for a synth as well as shipping only to find out that it isn’t quite as pristine as the seller promised. Getting your money back in such a case can be a hassle, so save yourself the headache and opt for something that you can inspect personally. You might have to wait a little longer, but for expensive synths it can spare you a lot of headaches.
Can I Fix It?
Even if you do manage to find a vintage synth that is in pristine condition the odds are good that something will go wrong at some point. If you are not comfortable with delving into repairs yourself your only other options may be to try and find someone to fix it or replace it. Knowing how to fix a synth yourself will be an advantage, but even then you might have trouble to find certain parts.