Synhouse logo

Postnote 10/29/2010: Original MIDIJACKs are still shipping, finishing labor on these units has gotten up to 5-6 hours/each, hence the further price increase.

Synhouse 2010:
A Word About MIDIJACK Production and Availability

The Original MIDIJACK is presently in stock, but has sold out 1-2 times per month for most of the last few years. It isn't that the MIDIJACKs sell in such giant quantities, it is that they
don't sell in high quantities (that is, when compared to most mainstream consumer electronic products like cell phones---the MIDIJACKs sell like hotcakes compared to all other analog synth MIDI systems combined) and it is very expensive to do continued production runs, a problem worsened by so many of the original vendors (circa 1999-2000) having gone out of business since MIDIJACK production started in 1999.

The factory that does the robotic assembly of the MIDIJACK surface mount technology printed circuit board isn't there anymore. The reformed company that moved to another location and doubled the assembly price that Synhouse pays also isn't there anymore. Twice the price! Robots must be a greedy bunch. The liquidated and reformed company is in yet another place and will almost surely charge more, but at least they know the Synhouse design and should be able to make the assemblies exactly the same as before.

The company that made the laser-cut stainless steel solder stencils isn't there anymore.

The company that made the Synhouse screwdrivers went out of business.

The Synhouse Original MIDIJACK was, and continues to be, a product that is 100% made in USA, despite the near-impossibility of doing that in 2010.

None of the components were purchased from companies in China.

No labor services were obtained from China.

Synhouse purchased the components from various companies in the US and Japan, and those companies made them in various other countries:

The PC board and wires are made in USA, not China.

All three stages of assembly are also done in USA, not China.

The connector housing and contacts were made in Japan.

The adjustment trimmer and high quality tactile switch (the same parts used in the 80s Alpine car stereos) were made in Japan (but if ordered just 6-12 months later, they would have been Chinese made, as the production was moved from Japan to a new Chinese plant).

The resistors (including the tricky resistor networks that help miniaturize the MIDIJACK) were made in Taiwan.

The capacitors were made in Taiwan, Japan, and (mainland) China.

The integrated circuit chips came from the US and various other countries. The pathetic US trade laws that have led to 12.5% unemployment in California and over 15% in other states don't even require disclosure of the exact country of origin, a list of 21 countries that they might have come from is all that is required by law.

Not manufacturing a new electronic product in China was a difficult choice in 1999, but is an almost impossible choice in 2010.

When 90% of the production capacity moves out of a country and goes to the place with the lowest labor cost in the world, the remaining 10% isn't the lowest priced 10%, it is the highest priced 10%, and it becomes a handful of tiny niche vendors who continue to raise prices all the time, because they are no longer making any cost-sensitive consumer electronics at all.

Almost everything being made in the USA now is a low volume, high-priced medical device, military device, or a pre-production prototype of a product that is being designed here for manufacture in China. In ten years, this change in the industry has added 100% to the MIDIJACK assembly costs.

If Synhouse is to continue producing new products, components and services will need to be sourced from China for the first time.

It hasn't happened yet, but it has quickly gotten to where there is no other way.

The remaining subassemblies from the original big production run of Original MIDIJACKs (PCBs dated 2000 which were actually made in 1999) was rounded up and mostly completed in mid-November 2009, the last few were finished and stocked a week later, and after that it isn't certain if there will be more Original MIDIJACKs made or not.

Synhouse has other products coming and other services that are fully occupying the few available company resources, and producing a big new run of Original MIDIJACKs would be very expensive. It looks like there might be a way of doing a few hundred more pieces without too much trouble or expense after the existing stock runs out, to use up some existing extra parts, but after that, it will be a huge investment to start it up again. Business and the whole credit market has changed and the MIDIJACK product line has to pretty much pay for itself in real time now, not later, and with current revenue, not other capital.

For now, the price will be raised little by little shortly by a few tens of dollars (to $130-$200) as it gets down to the last ones and new ones are still months away, due to the excessive labor required to finish the end of the run in small quantities.

After that,
if more Original MIDIJACKs are made, the price should settle back down to somewhere in the $129-$149 price range.

The price is still $159 for the moment, but don't stock up more than you need, as the warranty/support period (90 days) might time out before you cut open the bag.

Good luck with your projects.

Analog User Support

Copyright 2010 Synhouse Multimedia Corporation

Back to Synhouse front page