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
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
The company that made the laser-cut stainless steel solder stencils
The company that made the Synhouse screwdrivers went out of
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.
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
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
the last few were finished and stocked a week later, and after that it
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
MIDIJACKs are made, the
price should settle back down to somewhere in the $129-$149 price
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
Good luck with your projects.
Analog User Support
© 2010 Synhouse
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