Scott wrote: ↑
Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:44 am
This is one of those things that perplexes me, whether modular or microphone. Especially the latter. Neumann microphone created one decades ago that everyone wanted. They sold lots of them despite the price. And they discontinued it. Now even more people want that mic and the only way to get it is through the rare used market OR you have to buy its modern replacement which is not quite the same.
There can be a bunch of reasons, but some that occur to me:
* Some of the inputs got discontinued by other parties. For example, Doepfer's original A-111-1 "High End VCO." It used a CEM chip that stopped being available, and then Doepfer couldn't make any more of those modules and had to discontinue them.
* Changes in prices. Every time I place an order for the Lumberg jacks I use in most of my products, the price per jack is a penny or two higher. If nothing else changes, the profit per unit of products I sell using those jacks will gradually erode over time. Other parts may experience sudden jumps in price instead of a gradual climb. Some day I may have to raise the prices I charge my customers; but if B-------- starts releasing cheapo substitutes for my products I might end up feeling forced to decrease my prices instead. There comes a point at which this sort of thing ends up meaning it doesn't make sense for me to sell a given product at all; maybe people still say they want to buy it, but they will only really do so at a price I can't afford.
* Changes in demand. Some of the costs of keeping a product available are things that do not decrease when the rate at which they're selling decreases. So it can be that although the product is still selling some
units, it's not selling enough
units to be worth continuing to produce.
* Changes in the world affecting the product. Vactrols and RoHS, for example. When the product is illegal to sell, discontinuing it becomes a significant possibility.
* Interaction among products. For example, the CA-series integrated circuits, which were made on production equipment that was obsolete long ago. Even if there were still a lot of people wanting to buy CA3080 chips, demand had dried up for most other products from that production line and the profit from CA3080 chips alone wasn't enough to cover the costs of keeping it running, keeping enough employees who could operate it, etc.
* Customer demand for new products. Look at all the "Substitutes for such-and-such module in 2020
" threads here. People demanding "in 2020
" products aren't buying so many products from 2000, and manufacturers may not be able to support both.
* Correcting mistakes, applying lessons learned, and replacement with a new improved version. I designed my Leapfrog VCF as a hobby project, to build for myself and then release as plans-only DIY (make your own boards, source your own parts). In some ways it's not well-suited for commercial production; for instance, there's an annoying adjustment procedure. I could design one today that would be better-suited to being a commercial product, using what I've learned in the years since the original release... but it would be enough different from the original design that I'd want to give it a new name and number. Then it might make sense to discontinue the first one. In the best case, if a product gets discontinued and replaced this way, it'll only be when everyone agrees that the new version is better. But especially in audio, there will always be a few who wish for the old version. Look at the Intellijel Dixie (which I think was already mentioned in this thread) - despite some worthwhile new features in the new version, lots of people still want the old version just because it was smaller.