Looking to invest in a synthesizer

So far I’ve pretty much settled on the Roland Juno G but I would like some feedback for anyone with synth playing and buying experience.

I’ve been to Sam Ash and tried this one out in addition to a few others. I’m not looking to spend more than a grand (though I’ve accepted that in addition to the price tag I’ll need an amp, stand, case, etc.) and it’s important to me that the synth I invest in has a large sample of traditional instrument sounds, which this model has.

What I’m really wondering is what the average shelf-life of a synthesizer is. If I take care of it, will it last me 20, 30, 40 years? I’m looking for something that will hold up in the long term.

So does anyone have experience with this particular model, or have any other important tips?

I’m a synthesist and collector of vintage synths, so maybe I can help here.

As far as the shelf life goes, it depends on how well you treat it. There are synths out there that are 40+ years old and in perfect condition. I own a Roland Juno-1 I bought in 1985 that’s still in great shape.

If you’re looking for a good all-around synth with traditional instrument sounds under $1000, then the Juno-D would be a good match. There are probably others out there that would be just as good, too.

If you can visit a store in person, try out the Juno and any others in your price range and ultimately let your ears decide.


Adjusting the VCO on this one over to IMHO.



Fight my ignorance here: How is investing in a synthesizer different from buying one?

Is there an active secondary market? Do these things regularly sell for more than their purchase price? Being electronic devices, do they not tend to become obsolete as technology improves?

I used the word “invest” instead of “buy” because I’m really hoping that this will be something that lasts me 30 or 40 years, and also because I plan on committing a lot of time towards learning to play well. So I’m looking for the best possible quality for the amount I’m willing to spend.

I sold my Moog for more then I bought it for.

They become obsolete in some ways, but the electronics in these devices are unique to brands and models - meaning if you want to get a particular sound, you need the right model. Older synths are very popular because they have a deeper, warm sound to their filters.

The golden age of synths are over IMO. Every few years a new model will come out that is impressive, but we won’t get many more “classics” out of hardware synths. I hope I’m wrong.

Soapbox Monkey: I don’t have an impression for you about the Juno G. I’ve not had time to sit behind one for more then a few moments.

I’m fond of Roland gear. Out of my 24 synths I have 8 Rolands - mostly synths but a couple samplers. They’ve all held up will. I bought a D-50 new in the 80’s. It’s been on stages, dropped, abused, and it still works great. Roland makes pro gear for musicians. It should last.

Something you might want to consider, depending on the music you play, is a weighted key keyboard or a full 88 key keyboard.

We’re actually entering a new golden age of synth hardware, but it’s all coming from the boutique analogue market. The Dave Smith Evolver is already a modern classic, and his just-released Prophet 8 will undoubtedly be a future classic. The Synthesizers.com Modular Synth is a thing of beauty (I own one!) and an improvement on the classic Moog-style modular synth, and there are a lot of amazing and quirky things out there like the Analogue Solutions Vostok and so on. We’re truly in a new golden age of hardware…it’s just not stuff you’ll find at your local guitar center.

Yes and Yes. More recent gear doesn’t typically sell for more unless it’s especially rare. Older gear can sell for considerably more than its original price.

Not really. Some things might fall out of favor, but as long as it still functions, someone will put it to use. For example, back in the mid 1980s when digital synths were all the rage, people were dumping their older analog gear for ridiculously low prices. A lot of this older gear was purchased by younger and poorer folks who used it to create music in the budding techno scene. Fast forward to the mid to late 90s and now people are tired of the digital synths and those older analog synths are all the rage. Really trendy “must have” items can go for ridiculously inflated prices. That TB-303 or TR-808 that someone picked up for $50 in 1988 is now selling for $1200+ and the DX-7 that was originally $2500 in 1983 is now going for $250.

Absolutely! Especially true for modular synthesizers, which have seen a big comeback since 2000 or so. There are more manufacturers now than there have ever been. I have a medium sized Blacet/Wiard/Metalbox modular.