September 21, 2013

The Next Episode...

by Chris Randall

The first production run of Audio Damage modules is officially sold out, at least as far as we're concerned. We've sold the entire production run to Analogue Haven, Alex4 (which is a European distro company started by SchneidersBuero), and EquionoxOz. We've pulled the trigger on the second production run, and will have more backplanes in early November. When this second run shows up, we're going to introduce at least one more new module. Possibly two, but not likely.

Simultaneously, we've begun development on a more powerful CPU/RAM backpack that will enable us to make much more sophisticated modules (think a pretty much full-featured Replicant or Dr. Device in hardware). This will take some months, as these things go, and we'll discuss the feature set here and get some input. We made every attempt, and were largely successful, at keeping the initial Euro release secret. But now that the cat's out of the bag, we'll be pretty open about what's upcoming, unless it's a case where spilling the beans would mean opening ourselves up to competition. However, something like Replicant is an advanced case study in DSP in a Euro context, and is difficult to pull of without starting with an existing DSP library tailored to the task, so I'm not too worried about that. If someone else could have done it, they already would have, since it's such an obvious effect for the Euro environment.

Now, this is not to say that we'll only be releasing DSP-based audio effects. We have plans for several different things, now that we have a WORKFLOW, and finally I get to my point, such as it is. Adam is on the way to Japan, and I'm in charge, and when that happens, my imagination runs wild. (Every time he gets back from Japan, I spend the first three days interrupting his tales of travel to tell him about The Next Big Thing I thought of while he was gone.) One of the things I'd like to think about is a desktop synth.

Now, there is no shortage of desktop synths. One could make the argument that market was all full up. But one could (and in fact did) make the argument that all DAWs come with a delay, so why make one? We built a pretty nice business on that concept. So...

Now, this wouldn't have to be a digital synth (like, say, the MeeBlip -> Blofeld range of devices.) We have strong analog chops up in here. My question is this: if you were presented with a new desktop, a little guy, what would you like to see that you haven't seen before?


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Sep.24.2013 @ 10:51 PM
The Waldorf Pulse 2 looks very attractive at first glance- I assume the ADSynth will do something very different?

Sep.25.2013 @ 7:24 AM
One of the Shruthi community members came up with an "XT" variant, which added a bunch of knobs for more direct access and control. It's gorgeous: link []

FWIW, the Shruthi-1 is a fantastic little synth - lots of mod routing options, two LFO's, and well thought out OSC section (plus a sub-osc and noise). Someone has also created a nice editor in Max that does two-way communication (loading all the parameters of a patch into view).

Now, can you buy one off the shelf from Mutable Instruments? No, but I've had two built for under $400, which seems perfectly reasonable considering how much I use them. Just so we're clear, those were standard, non XT versions.

Sep.25.2013 @ 8:37 PM
Duke Fame
@joshua-s: $400 each, assuming?

CR thinks the desktop Evolver is epic-fail, but it is Made In The USA in a bullet-proof metal case.

Sep.25.2013 @ 8:50 PM
Duke Fame
I think my post might have sound confrontational and I didn't mean it that way. I hope AD goes with metal.

Sep.25.2013 @ 9:19 PM
Chris Randall
I don't think it is epic fail. Just not for me. As for the case, that depends on the price point we're shooting for. If we do something that competes with, say, MeeBlip, it's gonna be in that price range and plastic. If we do something with a bit broader purview, it'll be built and priced accordingly.

That said, we're just getting our manufacturing chops. Gonna take some time and thought anyhow. The 70-odd comments here collectively describe every desktop synth ever made, a few that couldn't possibly be made, and some really good ideas to chew on.

But it's a year (or more) away. First up are a couple more effects for our little platform, while we work on our big platform that will be the backbone of the Replicant hardware (and others, as-yet undecided, but there's no fucking way we're _not_ doing Replicant, seeing how it's our best-seller, and nobody has even come close in Euro.) A stand-alone has different challenges than a Euro module; I wouldn't say "harder" as such. Just different. And we'll have to explore those. Someone I greatly respect in this business told me the other day that the wise course of action is to start small, with your eye on an ultimate goal and developing products that take you towards that goal. I think that's good advice.

So, don't expect us to poop something like the Waldorf Wave or some such out of the chute. We'll probably start at a much more traditional place and work our way up. When we release a plug-in that is a commercial flop, all we hurt is our pride. If we release a real instrument that is a flop, we're out several tens of thousands of dollars, and we don't have that to lose. So, that's how it's gonna go.


Sep.26.2013 @ 6:53 AM
@Duke. Yeah, under $400 each. When they're under auction at the 'bay, a fairly stock Shruthi can go for under $300 USD. In my case, I specified the exact display and LEDs and such. Not the highest quality pic, but here it is: link []

Sep.26.2013 @ 5:53 PM

you guys see the Aleph from Ezra Buchla and Brian Crabtree (monome)?

link []

link []

Sep.26.2013 @ 6:30 PM
I especially think the Aleph must be amazing since it goes to 24/192!!

At any rate, looks interesting.

Sep.26.2013 @ 7:57 PM
So does the foray into hardware mean the end of plugin development for the foreseeable future?

Sep.27.2013 @ 10:13 AM
Any time monome releases something, I'm confronted with just how reticent I am to spend money. I can see where the quality of what they make isn't cheap, but I know I am.

The Aleph makes pretty good sense for them. They've made these controllers, why not make a music brain to go along, especially if it frees their future business from the maniacal whims of Apple/Microsoft/Steinberg/Ableton/etc. But for me, DSP things live or die on content, all the "high-resolution, optical encoders" in the world are just so much artisinal pickles otherwise. So it's kind of wait and see, could be awesome, could be just a fetish object for the cult.

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