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MU vs MOTM is the VHS vs Beta scenario
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Author MU vs MOTM is the VHS vs Beta scenario
alternating.bit
MU won, but it doesn't mean it is the better format. Just as Betamax was a better format in both quality and compactness, we all know how MOTM has a more robust structure and a slightly slimmer width. *sighhhhh* MOTM is beautiful, but sadly in terms of accessibility / distribution it somehow lost the battle. Does anyone know why? Was it Dotcom that caused this?
Thalassa
I think that there are few reasons why MU won the battle

- Nostalgia over Moog format
- Ready made modules and systems from Dotcom
- Dotcom Prices

And also there are few reasons why MOTM lost the battle :

- Price MOTM from ST were much more expensive than dotcom even in kit form
- MOTM born as a DIY format and not all synth enthusiasts and musicians wants to build their own instruments.
- Esthetics ( a personal opinion ) : the MOTM grid and the absence of graphics make the modules look too similar and in my opinion ugly.

I do agree that MOTM is far better in mechanical design. Everything would be much easier if MU format follows any industry standard for hole placement , panel width etc. I'm almost sure that will be a lot more case manufacturers and designs because you could use standard rails . Sometimes as designer in MU format I feel my self a bit trapped in the module width. There are modules that are too dense for 1U but too simple for a 2U design. It would be great to have something in the middle. In Eurorack is much easier, you add a couple of hp and you are good to go.
Ranxerox
Much discussed in other threads. At the outset (way back in Texas), Paul Schreiber and Roger Arrick were prospective business partners, who developed differing modular philosophies, and subsequently parted ways.

While Schreiber's designs were classier, they rested heavily on DIY sales. Arrick was able to leverage his existing manufacturing business to reduce costs on ready-made modules and systems (soon leading to better revenues), while his marketing benefited from his panels being more akin to the Moogs Of Yore, and from having his brand name one in the same with his URL.

In a nutshell.
Just me
I've tried MOTM. With every module looking the same it was impossible for me to use in dim lighting with my old eyes.
There is s reason the flaps, landing gear, throttle, mixture and prop controls have different shaped knobs in an airplane!
josaka
been a bit done to death in this topic..
I do love the rough finish of those bridechamber MOTM panels and not a fan of the .com metal edges creating lines everywhere..
but as mentioned by pablo the black characterless monolithic look of a wall of MOTM is also a bit unimaginative(see hordijk modulars too)..
I do quite like the look FSFX is going for and AC design.. modern but still retaining some funk.
Rex Coil 7
Deleted ... just more of my overly windy nonsense so I took it down.

(unsubbed ... too many threads)

seriously, i just don't get it
ppkstat
Thalassa wrote:

- Esthetics ( a personal opinion ) : the MOTM grid and the absence of graphics make the modules look too similar


This is actually one of the main reasons I chose MOTM against any modular format.
alternating.bit
Ranxerox wrote:
Much discussed in other threads.

josaka wrote:
been a bit done to death in this topic..


How many times do people come here and ask the same question only to be followed by JIR's detailed explanation and photos all over again? lol
Maybe I just felt my VHS vs Beta analogy was a new angle.

Sorry

Also I don't have the uniformity problem with Oakley modules... just the Synthtech ones.
josaka
.com won because roger did it properly.. not really rocket science..
go and buy all the bits they turn up .. plug them up and you are off..
MOTM is nerdy airfix type carry on.. which has fans but a small percentage compared with buy n go off the shelf modules. (who wants to build a power supply really?)
also some good youtube videos really helped a lot of people..
alternating.bit
Ironic though that I'm not a DIY person at all, nor have I built ANYTHING. I just had to pull resources together. Plus there used to be a few more options (Bridechamber, Freestate, Krisp1) but now it looks like just Synthtech and resales.

Either way, my love for MOTM hasn't faded, I'm just saddened by what happened. Just like Sony always making poor marketing decisions and trying to control the market - I still clung to minidiscs for as long as I could lol.
Faustgeist
Alas.... my kingdom for moar MOTM . .

alternating.bit
...is that one of those Eurorack modules? t3h 8@nz3r@t3d Miley Cyrus
Faustgeist
Eurorack, no.

Unicorn, yes.

https://web.archive.org/web/20120704034651/http://www.synthtech.com/m6 00_spec.pdf
MrNezumi
I think MOTM's undoing was largely due to it being so damn good. Call it ugly, nerdy, geeky or whatever you want, but for a while it sold and sold well. It sold well because it was extremely well designed and used nothing but quality parts (assuming you bought the kit or pre-built modules from Paul). People weren't afraid to pay for quality and I don't mean just well off boffins. I still don't understand the science/math behind the modules despite Paul giving wonderful explanations in the manuals and I still don't have a lot of money nearly twenty years later. But I am glad I got what I could when I did.

Ultimately it was Paul's inability to produce at the level that the people wanted it. Assembly times took longer and longer, new stuff rolled out late because there was a fair amount of demand. SynthTech was a one-man (or three) garage operation. Paul had a well paying job that he (understandably) wasn't willing to give up. Assembly was perhaps his biggest problem. And by Switching to Eurorack he solved that problem. I don't know what his books look like, but since the company is still rolling along and has put out some popular modules I'm not sure why he is seen as a bad businessman.

Yes, Paul made some mistakes and it is a bummer that it caused the end of MOTM as a truly viable format, but I don't think he has anything to be ashamed of.
ranix
I purchased a large Dotcom system primarily because of Roger's videos on Youtube and partially because synthesizers.com responds promptly and unambiguously with a quote upon request. Purchasing from other manufacturers is more difficult, but worth doing for one or two modules that are important to me.
suitandtieguy
Moog format is the alpha and the omega.
josaka
ranix wrote:
I purchased a large Dotcom system primarily because of Roger's videos on Youtube and partially because synthesizers.com responds promptly and unambiguously with a quote upon request. Purchasing from other manufacturers is more difficult, but worth doing for one or two modules that are important to me.


yep this is the tale of the tape.. reputation and accessability are the key.. I have 2 8 channel mixers left out of all the .com I bought initially (aprox a 44size set up.) but without the .com gateway it would have been a lot more difficult.. I now have Synthwerk/hordijk/Mos-Lab/Corsynth/Stroh/Krisp1/Oakley/SSL /Frequency Central/Moon/MegaOhm/LWSS/FSFX.. and it has mostly been a journey of joy and discovery..

hopefully be adding another 22 shelf to my 110 spaces (for the mostly Stroh MOTM stuff I have(to create space!)) and buying a couple of the upcoming Frequency central Roland 100 osc + a Dove WTF osc some happy nerding(PM me if you are selling and FM Aid !) a .com mixer ++ ..also still would like a metropolis in my life ! ..anyway enough about me.. smile off to have a fiddle smile
johny_gtr
I still use MU modular system as a versatile mono/duo synth. Like aesthetic and ergonomic but also have euro system for live performances and things that can't be found in MU (or will cost twice)like Magneto, Marbles, Stages.
Synthbuilder
Just to add that the MOTM format, at least the one I use, is still alive and well. All my current modules are designed with the MOTM format in mind. That said, my modules often took large liberties with the MOTM grid and I was criticised by some back in the day for doing so. I wasn't keen on the near identical module design so each Oakley module was designed to look a little different from any other.

Krisp1 still supplies Oakley in the K1 format which adheres to the same physical size modules, mounting and power specifications as MOTM.



Modcan's B series was also MOTM sized - although Bruce used a slightly different power connector. Either connector is better than dotcom's one though which is too small and uses very thin wires.

But I can see the way the market has gone. MU does indeed look good, especially Moon's stuff, and the wider width in the double width modules gives a lot of front panel space to make some very useful modules. If Roger had come out with the goods earlier I would have made all my modules MU format from the start (although I would have used a better power connector).

Thankfully, many of my modules are single width and translate reasonably well into the single width MU format. This is less true of my double width designs where that extra space is begging for other things to be added.

That said I think I'm done with designing new MOTM only modules. The one I'm currently designing is for both formats - it's not a single width module though. And after that I think I'll do some double width MU modules depending on how well this new one sells.

I don't think MU killed off Synthesis Technology's 5U output. That was Eurorack. With Euro Paul could concentrate on making just a few module designs, rather having to keep a whole portfolio of modules, and then sell them to the masses. I think Paul said at the time when he was selling both formats he was selling 100 Euro modules to one MOTM one. As a business it was clear what direction he should be taking.

Tony
alternating.bit
Synthbuilder wrote:
All my current modules are designed with the MOTM format in mind. That said, my modules often took large liberties with the MOTM grid and I was criticised by some back in the day for doing so. I wasn't keen on the near identical module design so each Oakley module was designed to look a little different from any other.

we're not worthy Tony Allgood hath spoken! I have no regrets for regurgitating an old topic as I was accused of doing so. It's like when people who have a common interest hang out they tend to repeat subjects and enjoy the discussion regardless, plus every now and then some new idea may pop up.

Almost half of my remaining MOTMs are Oakley and perhaps I can say that I've just ordered one of the last made to order units from Paul as he is building a dual noise filter from the last panel he found as we speak. In the meantime, I'm still living the MOTM dream. Of course I like both formats but MOTM will always be my favorite.

josaka
an old photo of the Stroh MOTM section + MOTM korgasmatron II (mr Drakes build smile ).. destined for the MOTM shelf





on a side note I have a few modules from that photo Tony posted of a MOTM system.. the ADSR's and Quad VCA.. smile
fac
If MU vs MOTU is the "VHS vs BETA" of the modular world...

does that mean eurorack are DVDs ? cry
josaka
alternating.bit
fac wrote:
If MU vs MOTU is the "VHS vs BETA" of the modular world...

does that mean eurorack are DVDs ? cry


Only if you feel Eurorack is an obsolete format, as DVDs now are.
Synthoholic
HDDVDFTW
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