Is The New Tenori On Orange $300 Overpriced?

orange-tenori-on

Earlier in the month, we brought you the news of the new Yamaha Tenori On Orange, aka the TRN-O.

The TRN-O is an entry-level version of the Tenori On, offering the same basic musical functionality, but using orange LEDs, stripping away the backlighting LEDs and using a basic white plastic case.

Yamaha has not officially announced the pricing for the new Tenori On Orange, but the pricing is reported to be £649 in the UK and $699 in the US.

Nobody seems to want to state the obvious on this, so I will. If these prices are correct, the Tenori On Orange looks like it’s $300 overpriced.

tenori-on-orange

The Tenori On Orange doesn’t have the sex appeal of the original Tenori On.

It looks like Yamaha cheapened the materials and stripped away features to make the Tenori On Orange less expensive, rather than trying to design a new version that would meet the lower price point in an elegant way.

The market has also been flooded with matrix controllers in the last year. While most of them don’t have the minimal chic appeal of the Tenori On, they do have larger buttons and a more functional design. And, while the Tenori On is a matrix synth rather than just a matrix controller, many would consider the built-in synth capabilities limiting.

If Yamaha would introduce this at US $400, they’d have a device that could compete with things like the Novation LaunchPad or the Livid Ohm64 or the APC40.

The original Tenori On has never seemed to find its mojo, despite fawning coverage in both the music press and the general press. The Tenori On Orange at $699 isn’t going to fix that.

I’d like to see the original Tenori On priced at $699 and the Tenori On Orange priced at $399. At those prices, Yamaha could sell these en masse.

If the reported Tenori On Orange prices are correct, though, expect to see Yamaha announcing price cuts in a year.

What do you think? Does the Tenori On’s unique design justify its price? Or does Yamaha need to sharpen its pencil if they want to start selling these things?

via CDM, MusicRadar


32 thoughts on “Is The New Tenori On Orange $300 Overpriced?

  1. I agree 100%. I'd rather program 4 Launchpads and save a few bucks. And as far as matrix type controllers/sound modules go, someone will make a cheap, well featured one soon.

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  2. I agree 100%. I'd rather program 4 Launchpads and save a few bucks. And as far as matrix type controllers/sound modules go, someone will make a cheap, well featured one soon.

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  3. Yamaha has always had a history of overpricing its stuff but this is just stupid. $699 for what is essentially a musical toy?

    I will pass.

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  4. Mark good points – and I'm jealous about your new toy!

    The Tenori On DOES have a lot going for it – but it doesn't have the mojo that the monome or even the LaunchPad already has. It doesn't have a community making it more valuable.

    The pricing is a barrier to a lot of people.

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  5. All these types of button controllers are extremely expensive for what they really are… Launchpad has a reasonable price only if you compare it with the others. If you see it just as another controller it isn't cheap at all…and it only uses buttons…

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  6. All these types of button controllers are extremely expensive for what they really are… Launchpad has a reasonable price only if you compare it with the others. If you see it just as another controller it isn't cheap at all…and it only uses buttons…

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  7. I own an APC40 and will be using Max for Live with it in the near future. Might even get a Launchpad down the road. I did however just buy a Tenori-On White. I bought it for visual live perforamnce, becuase it runs stand-alone asn an "Instrument" on batteries, and it will integrate back into Ableton Live. I don't want to get into a religious disucssion about controllers here and will instead post more details on reasons I bought on my blog – but I just wanted to put it out there that I actually own a Tenori-On so I can comment from first-hand experience.

    The announcement of Orange pushed to me to buy, and buy White. The introduction of Orange signals future support for Tenori-On product line (new firmware coming out in Jan). Two key features are missing on Orange – 1) battery power 2) lights on the back. Now that I've used White, I have to say that the machined case is pretty awesome. Bottom line white is pricey, orange is way more expensive than I expected.

    By the way, Tenori-On does supported a basic ability to load 48 samples allowing you expand the pallete when you are not using it as a controller.

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  8. I own an APC40 and will be using Max for Live with it in the near future. Might even get a Launchpad down the road. I did however just buy a Tenori-On White. I bought it for visual live perforamnce, becuase it runs stand-alone asn an "Instrument" on batteries, and it will integrate back into Ableton Live. I don't want to get into a religious disucssion about controllers here and will instead post more details on reasons I bought on my blog – but I just wanted to put it out there that I actually own a Tenori-On so I can comment from first-hand experience.

    The announcement of Orange pushed to me to buy, and buy White. The introduction of Orange signals future support for Tenori-On product line (new firmware coming out in Jan). Two key features are missing on Orange – 1) battery power 2) lights on the back. Now that I've used White, I have to say that the machined case is pretty awesome. Bottom line white is pricey, orange is way more expensive than I expected.

    By the way, Tenori-On does supported a basic ability to load 48 samples allowing you expand the pallete when you are not using it as a controller.

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  9. Mark good points – and I'm jealous about your new toy!

    The Tenori On DOES have a lot going for it – but it doesn't have the mojo that the monome or even the LaunchPad already has. It doesn't have a community making it more valuable.

    The pricing is a barrier to a lot of people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  10. Mark good points – and I'm jealous about your new toy!

    The Tenori On DOES have a lot going for it – but it doesn't have the mojo that the monome or even the LaunchPad already has. It doesn't have a community making it more valuable.

    The pricing is a barrier to a lot of people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  11. Price isn't the issue. The issue is Yamaha squandered an opportunity to open the system when revving the hardware. All they had to do was add USB and support a decoupled LED/button protocol. Then you have everything the Tenori on is AND it functions as a $699 monome 256 (less than half the price) How is that not a total win for Yamaha?

    In a way, I'm glad they didn't, as monome can still enjoy the benefits of offering the only open button matrix controller beyond an 8×8 grid. I can't help but feel Yamaha is either incompetent, or simply too stubborn to acknowledge software development beyond their borders.

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  12. Price isn't the issue. The issue is Yamaha squandered an opportunity to open the system when revving the hardware. All they had to do was add USB and support a decoupled LED/button protocol. Then you have everything the Tenori on is AND it functions as a $699 monome 256 (less than half the price) How is that not a total win for Yamaha?

    In a way, I'm glad they didn't, as monome can still enjoy the benefits of offering the only open button matrix controller beyond an 8×8 grid. I can't help but feel Yamaha is either incompetent, or simply too stubborn to acknowledge software development beyond their borders.

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  13. Yeah, I've often wondered how much attention Yamaha pays to the outside world. But when you're an 8000 lb gorilla, I guess you don't have to listen to anyone if you don't want to… (except maybe Naomi Watts, and we all saw the sad consequences of that for King Kong.)

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  14. Yeah, I've often wondered how much attention Yamaha pays to the outside world. But when you're an 8000 lb gorilla, I guess you don't have to listen to anyone if you don't want to… (except maybe Naomi Watts, and we all saw the sad consequences of that for King Kong.)

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  15. I was so excited when I heard the announcement of a cheaper tenori on, I have wanted one since its release but just could not afford it. Then when I saw the price I was flabbergasted. What's the point of making an affordable version thats not affordable? That is, at least for tan average joe like myself with a family to support and very limited disposable income? Very frustrating to say the least.

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  16. I was so excited when I heard the announcement of a cheaper tenori on, I have wanted one since its release but just could not afford it. Then when I saw the price I was flabbergasted. What's the point of making an affordable version thats not affordable? That is, at least for tan average joe like myself with a family to support and very limited disposable income? Very frustrating to say the least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  17. "While most of them don’t have the minimal chic appeal of the Tenori On, they do have larger buttons and a more functional design"

    I was actually surpirsed when I unboxed. Then unit was like 20% smaller than I thought it would be after seeing it in pics and videos. I actually think the smaller buttons really work well as the insrument was clearly desgned to be held with both hands using the thumbs and fingers to using function buttons plus reach inside to hit "LED" buttons. This being the case the smaller buttons allow for a smaller matrix so you can access a more buttons with thumbs and fingers on either hand. For me, the design is quite impressive when using the Tenori-On as an instrument.

    I agree that as a controller, bigger buttons with bi-directinoaly feedback to DAWs with an open system is preferred (APC40,Launchpad,…).

    One advantage of pre-configured control schemes like APC-40 (assuming you don't remap) and Tenori-On is that the learning curve is quite short. With both of these products time from setup to being productive and creative was extremely short for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  18. "While most of them don’t have the minimal chic appeal of the Tenori On, they do have larger buttons and a more functional design"

    I was actually surpirsed when I unboxed. Then unit was like 20% smaller than I thought it would be after seeing it in pics and videos. I actually think the smaller buttons really work well as the insrument was clearly desgned to be held with both hands using the thumbs and fingers to using function buttons plus reach inside to hit "LED" buttons. This being the case the smaller buttons allow for a smaller matrix so you can access a more buttons with thumbs and fingers on either hand. For me, the design is quite impressive when using the Tenori-On as an instrument.

    I agree that as a controller, bigger buttons with bi-directinoaly feedback to DAWs with an open system is preferred (APC40,Launchpad,…).

    One advantage of pre-configured control schemes like APC-40 (assuming you don't remap) and Tenori-On is that the learning curve is quite short. With both of these products time from setup to being productive and creative was extremely short for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  19. "While most of them don’t have the minimal chic appeal of the Tenori On, they do have larger buttons and a more functional design"

    I was actually surpirsed when I unboxed. Then unit was like 20% smaller than I thought it would be after seeing it in pics and videos. I actually think the smaller buttons really work well as the insrument was clearly desgned to be held with both hands using the thumbs and fingers to using function buttons plus reach inside to hit "LED" buttons. This being the case the smaller buttons allow for a smaller matrix so you can access a more buttons with thumbs and fingers on either hand. For me, the design is quite impressive when using the Tenori-On as an instrument.

    I agree that as a controller, bigger buttons with bi-directinoaly feedback to DAWs with an open system is preferred (APC40,Launchpad,…).

    One advantage of pre-configured control schemes like APC-40 (assuming you don't remap) and Tenori-On is that the learning curve is quite short. With both of these products time from setup to being productive and creative was extremely short for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  20. I own the original Tenori-On and I agree the Orange is way overpriced (the white Tenori-On was overpriced too). I think they removed the wrong stuff. Not having batteries i think is half the reason the Tenori-On is awesome.

    People that say "i could just get a monome/launchpad/thing for $xx" are totally missing the point of the Tenori On. It is not a controller. WIth the the monome et. al. you need a computer and software to even make a sound. The Tenori On is a stand-alone matrix sequencer and synth. You can make a song with just the Tenori On or control 16 channels of external midi.

    If you are all software, the Tenori-On is not for you. If you external synths that need sequencing, or like having a portable synth/sequencer to throw in your bag, then it is for you.

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  21. Yes, they arent´t cheap, and the hardware is from low qualitiy even on the original one… but for me, it´s worth the fun i have with it!

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