Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

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trashjohnson
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Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:05 am

TL;DR: Why do powered cases cost so much?


I am not an electrician or an engineer and I have very limited electronics DIY experience so I pretty much have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to hardware. This is a question not a complaint:

Are powered eurorack cases too expensive or are they priced correctly?

I have a business background and am more privy to supply/demand, pricing models, etc. Many posts have posed questions about the high prices of modules and my understanding is that we pay a premium mainly because of small batch production and unique products. These "high prices" are in comparison to standalone synths from major manufacturers that generally have more functionality for comparatively less money but cannot be modified to the same degree as individual modules and frequently do not have the same level of uniqueness. This is a reasonable and fair explanation in my opinion. This is a generalization and not what this post is about; I just want to provide context that I can appreciate higher prices for niche hardware.

With that in mind as well as the understanding that tech products always cost more than the sum of their parts, are the prices of powered eurorack cases reasonable for what they provide? I am not talking about hand built wooden or custom designed cases which fall under the category of artisan products and can charge more according to art/craft sales models. I am asking about doepfer low-cost cases, arturia rackbrute, 4ms pods, intellijel palette, make noise skiffs, etc. Similarly, is the uZeus priced reasonably? Even DIY cases come in above $200 as far as I can tell.

From my perspective of hardware ignorance I pretty much just see low-cost boxes with a power adapter going for $200-$500+ and this seems to me like an industry wide up-charge. Am I wrong? Is it more difficult to produce these than I understand?

Thanks for taking a look

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by rhflame » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:14 am

I don't really understand why they are so pricey either. But I've been super tempted by the Behringer go case. I've been looking at cases used locally. But none compete with it as far as I can tell

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:20 am

Don’t spend thousands of dollars on modules and skimp on a case. Just, don’t.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am

https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:31 am

lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
That link is broken for me/I may not have access to that post

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:32 am

Considering that (as a rule of thumb) one should commit to spending at least 10% of their synth module budget on proper power supply and distribution systems, the prices of most powered cabs are right in the ballpark. However, I'm still not happy with 90% of the power supplies that are included in such systems. That is the subject of an entirely different conversation, I'm afraid to disappoint. On that 10% thing ... if you're willing to spend several thousand dollars on costly modules, it makes little sense to spend as little as possible to power them. Protect that investment, figure on spending at least 10% .. better yet 20% .. on just the power supply and power distribution system ... better power cables, better power supply, better distribution. Think of the power system as the most important "module" in your modular system.
5U MODULAR NORMALIZING PROJECT (for your entertainment) viewtopic.php?t=78836&highlight=
.. given the choice between conformity and self respect, I choose the latter.
.. dominion - noun: control or the exercise of control . power . possessed and controlled domain . sovereignty . having dominion over the world . supreme authority . absolute ownership . power . authority . jurisdiction . control . command ... power ....... power .......... power.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:37 am

trashjohnson wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:31 am
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
That link is broken for me/I may not have access to that post
Sign up for that group, as there is a lot of knowledge there.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:39 am

lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:37 am
trashjohnson wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:31 am
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
That link is broken for me/I may not have access to that post
Sign up for that group, as there is a lot of knowledge there.
What is the name of the group? I just see a generic content not available page

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:39 am

trashjohnson wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:39 am
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:37 am
trashjohnson wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:31 am
lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
The Muff Wigglers

That link is broken for me/I may not have access to that post
Sign up for that group, as there is a lot of knowledge there.
What is the name of the group? I just see a generic content not available page
The Muff Wigglers

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:40 am

Try clicking the link after you’re approved for the group. Should see it then.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Bartimaeus » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:41 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:32 am
Considering that (as a rule of thumb) one should commit to spending at least 10% of their synth module budget on proper power supply and distribution systems, the prices of most powered cabs are right in the ballpark.
be careful, this gets close to circular thinking. that rule of thumb is just to teach the inexperienced that cases are expensive. it's not a reasonable reason for them to be expensive.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:44 am

Bartimaeus wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:41 am
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:32 am
Considering that (as a rule of thumb) one should commit to spending at least 10% of their synth module budget on proper power supply and distribution systems, the prices of most powered cabs are right in the ballpark.
be careful, this gets close to circular thinking. that rule of thumb is just to teach the inexperienced that cases are expensive. it's not a reasonable reason for them to be expensive.
Exactly.

I agree it's a no-brainer to pay what is necessary for a good case to support your gear but I'm just a little skeptical that money is ultimately being spent efficiently in term of physical case quality, construction, and hardware components. As far as I know there's no way around it currently but it's absolutely necessary.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:48 am

trashjohnson wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:44 am
Bartimaeus wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:41 am
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:32 am
Considering that (as a rule of thumb) one should commit to spending at least 10% of their synth module budget on proper power supply and distribution systems, the prices of most powered cabs are right in the ballpark.
be careful, this gets close to circular thinking. that rule of thumb is just to teach the inexperienced that cases are expensive. it's not a reasonable reason for them to be expensive.
Exactly.

I agree it's a no-brainer to pay what is necessary for a good case to support your gear but I'm just a little skeptical that money is ultimately being spent efficiently in term of physical case quality, construction, and hardware components. As far as I know there's no way around it currently but it's absolutely necessary.
Well, then both of you build your own cabinet and power system worth owning and THEN tell me how "circular" that thinking is. Complain complain complain ... without understanding what it is you're buying or what it takes to build a cabinet with power. Especially if it is done properly.

If we're gonna complain about things costing more than they are worth, and boycott things one feels are not worth the salt, then one will own nothing. Nothing. Value is being placed on the sum of the components used. Value is not being placed on the end result or the labor involved or the fact that it's either ~those cabinets~ ... or it's nothing. Build your own, get a real world first hand understanding of what it takes to build such a thing, then re-evaluate how you feel about all of this.

Enjoy your morning discussion, folks. :)

:lol:
5U MODULAR NORMALIZING PROJECT (for your entertainment) viewtopic.php?t=78836&highlight=
.. given the choice between conformity and self respect, I choose the latter.
.. dominion - noun: control or the exercise of control . power . possessed and controlled domain . sovereignty . having dominion over the world . supreme authority . absolute ownership . power . authority . jurisdiction . control . command ... power ....... power .......... power.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Bartimaeus » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:55 am

i'm not saying 10% is right or wrong. i'm saying that "rules of thumb" are not the cause of something being true, they are a byproduct.

don't tell me that something is true because someone taught you a rule of thumb. explain the underlying reason for the rule of thumb.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Sinamsis » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:57 am

Cases are expensive. Period. Unless you slump on power. Even then, distro boards, rails, hardware, power inlet etc all add to price. Add the time to construct it. And the time spent learning how to do these things. No most cases seem pretty cheap compared to the investment of building your own (I’ve built many of my cases). If you are a bigger manufacturer and can buy in bulk, or even better manufacture your own distro boards etc, you might cut back on the expenses. But you assume other expenses like building the infrastructure to produce these items. Add to that the time spent in customer support for the inevitable modules that might be incompatible for one reason or another, or quite frankly user error. No they’re pretty well priced. Some are a damn steal.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by lootacow » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:06 am

Yeah, I think people are always gonna complain unless they build one themselves.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by desolationjones » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:09 am

Good points above. Also: Modules need a pretty big margin to be feasible at the low volumes that are sold. How many cases are sold per module sold?

I buy sheet metal assemblies of equivalent complexity and low volumes (100-200) all the time and it's like $200 usually. No one wants to tool up for a small order so now your processes are all more labor intensive. Less up front cost in exchange for higher unit cost. You see few examples of mfgs that have made a capital investment up front for tooling, and those cases are sometimes cheaper but they've got to amortize the tooling cost into the case so it's not a big savings unless they plan on selling a ton (Old Intellijel 4U, TipTop Mantis, and of course Uli's Mantis clone).

Now you've got me wondering about the old Intellijel 4U extrusion. I wonder if it was discontinued due to issues with the die?

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:10 am

I'll add this one more reply ... and I'm being very sincere here, this is not sarcasm or taking some cheap shot. If the powered cabinets that have been cited by the original poster of this thread are perceived as "too costly" by them, I think a very fair question that has been generated is "then what do you consider fairly priced?". Please be articulate, replies such as "just don't charge as much" aren't very helpful toward moving the discussion.
5U MODULAR NORMALIZING PROJECT (for your entertainment) viewtopic.php?t=78836&highlight=
.. given the choice between conformity and self respect, I choose the latter.
.. dominion - noun: control or the exercise of control . power . possessed and controlled domain . sovereignty . having dominion over the world . supreme authority . absolute ownership . power . authority . jurisdiction . control . command ... power ....... power .......... power.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by 3hands » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:17 am

I have a home made case. Synkrotek power bus, sliding nuts (which I hate), wood. Parts were 400 dollars. When I add the 20 hours of labour time, even at Canada’s 14 dollar an hour minimum wage to cut, assemble, stain, mount power supply, power bus boards, vector rail, it would cost 680.00 Canadian. Think about that when you slump down 450 bucks on a Mantis. Rex Coil is correct. Build one, and see for yourself.
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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:22 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:48 am
trashjohnson wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:44 am
Bartimaeus wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:41 am
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:32 am
Considering that (as a rule of thumb) one should commit to spending at least 10% of their synth module budget on proper power supply and distribution systems, the prices of most powered cabs are right in the ballpark.
be careful, this gets close to circular thinking. that rule of thumb is just to teach the inexperienced that cases are expensive. it's not a reasonable reason for them to be expensive.
Exactly.

I agree it's a no-brainer to pay what is necessary for a good case to support your gear but I'm just a little skeptical that money is ultimately being spent efficiently in term of physical case quality, construction, and hardware components. As far as I know there's no way around it currently but it's absolutely necessary.
Well, then both of you build your own cabinet and power system worth owning and THEN tell me how "circular" that thinking is. Complain complain complain ... without understanding what it is you're buying or what it takes to build a cabinet with power. Especially if it is done properly.

If we're gonna complain about things costing more than they are worth, and boycott things one feels are not worth the salt, then one will own nothing. Nothing. Value is being placed on the sum of the components used. Value is not being placed on the end result or the labor involved or the fact that it's either ~those cabinets~ ... or it's nothing. Build your own, get a real world first hand understanding of what it takes to build such a thing, then re-evaluate how you feel about all of this.

Enjoy your morning discussion, folks. :)

:lol:

As I stated in my opening,
"I am not an electrician or an engineer and I have very limited electronics DIY experience so I pretty much have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to hardware. This is a question not a complaint:

Are powered eurorack cases too expensive or are they priced correctly?"

Not a complaint. Genuinely curious about what aspects of cases contribute to the price, which may be cheap for what it is for all i know.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:24 am

I did my best to preface the question at the core of this thread but it looks like it's been lost to a few people.

I am not complaining
I never said they are too expensive
I am simply seeking insight from more knowledgeable people into the components and work that goes into constructing cases.

Let's all be friends :)

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:27 am

desolationjones wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:09 am
Good points above. Also: Modules need a pretty big margin to be feasible at the low volumes that are sold. How many cases are sold per module sold?

I buy sheet metal assemblies of equivalent complexity and low volumes (100-200) all the time and it's like $200 usually. No one wants to tool up for a small order so now your processes are all more labor intensive. Less up front cost in exchange for higher unit cost. You see few examples of mfgs that have made a capital investment up front for tooling, and those cases are sometimes cheaper but they've got to amortize the tooling cost into the case so it's not a big savings unless they plan on selling a ton (Old Intellijel 4U, TipTop Mantis, and of course Uli's Mantis clone).

Now you've got me wondering about the old Intellijel 4U extrusion. I wonder if it was discontinued due to issues with the die?
Thanks! This is what I was looking for. Sounds like it falls into a similar category as the modules of being small manufacturing volumes. I hadn't considered the complexity of the construction and I think I underestimated manufacturing costs for raw materials in low volumes. Also there may be tiny intricacies that need their own unique tools not widely available.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by trashjohnson » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:35 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:10 am
I'll add this one more reply ... and I'm being very sincere here, this is not sarcasm or taking some cheap shot. If the powered cabinets that have been cited by the original poster of this thread are perceived as "too costly" by them, I think a very fair question that has been generated is "then what do you consider fairly priced?". Please be articulate, replies such as "just don't charge as much" aren't very helpful toward moving the discussion.
Without any knowledge or understanding of what goes into making these cases I thought $100 for a cheap 84hp 3u skiff and maybe $200-$300 for a 104hp 6u. I do not think they SHOULD cost that much; that was just my first impression but I think that's because I'm used to mass produced goods. From what I've gathered the current prices that are around x2 that initial estimate are not actually unreasonable for a number of factors mentioned in this thread. Furthermore, my observations about module pricing and size of eurorack companies lead me to believe pricing and margins of cases are probably pretty reasonable.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by DukeOfPrunes » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:03 pm

My take on all this is a lack of economies of scale due to low demand and erratic supply due to smaller size manufacturers. We have to remember that modular synthesis is still a niche market even though to us participants, it doesn't necessarily seem that way. I can't remember how much time I've waited for this or that module to be available and Covid has made this an ever more magnified phenomena.
Last edited by DukeOfPrunes on Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are Powered Cases Too Expensive?

Post by casciato » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:05 pm

lootacow wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
https://m.facebook.com/story/graphql_pe ... M2NzEwMzM5

Read this thread, it’s the exact same question you asked
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