[ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Blacet, Metalbox, Synthasonic, PAiA and the rest.... a frac frenzy!

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diophantine
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by diophantine » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:50 pm

Looking forward to seeing what becomes of this!

Will post more when I'm back home and not on my phone, but just want to point out that there may be licensing issues with putting the VCO and MiniWave in other formats.

With the VCO it is a bit unclear from Grant's post here: http://search.retrosynth.com/ah/search/ ... -v0403.219

With the MiniWave I seem to recall John saying that he had the rights for Frac format, while Malekko had the rights for Eurorack (hence the Megawave).

Agree with what others have said: keep stuff in Frac, and put the more interesting & unusual stuff in other formats according to interest...
I do hope the original Frac panel designs are kept as they are iconic, but having narrower ones also available certainly wouldn't hurt.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by chachi » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:55 pm

IIRC the two oscillators on the 300 Borg are also the Terry Michaels design. is he still around?

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by diophantine » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:35 pm

chachi wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:55 pm
IIRC the two oscillators on the 300 Borg are also the Terry Michaels design. is he still around?
Probably his design, but maybe the original EN version, rather than his later design that Blacet used.

I assume Terry is still around, he'd be 66.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by Acid Mitch » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:00 am

Please try to keep the frac format going. The Blacet modules make a great system to work with. I think keeping the Blacet modules in production as the core of the system but adding some more contemporary kinds of modules with panel layouts to match the Blacet modules would be a good idea. That way current users get new stuff to keep them interested and it would help attract new users
I’d rather see efforts made to keep current and also potential users interested in Frac instead of converting the best modules to other formats and reducing the need for Frac.

And congratulations :yay: :tu:

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by revtor » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:33 pm

Licensing rights??? Since when does that matter in the synth world?
(Playing Devils advocte here..)

Ethics aside, switching formats how is permission need for that in any way? (But please keep it frack!!)
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by diophantine » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:59 pm

revtor wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:33 pm
Licensing rights??? Since when does that matter in the synth world?
(Playing Devils advocte here..)

Ethics aside, switching formats how is permission need for that in any way? (But please keep it frack!!)
Since SynthCube actually acquired the rights to Blacet (and MFOS, etc.), it would seem that they do indeed care.

And if Blacet Research only had permission to produce someone else's design in Frac, that's quite straightforward!

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by KSS » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:00 pm

synthcube wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:57 am
Update as of 1/15/20
3) Asking your input to what's next for Blacet: We are proud and humbled to be adding John Blacet's great work to the synthCube portfolio. We are actively seeking your input -- what's next? Older products that could be refreshed and brought back? Blacet designs ported to other synth formats? Etc.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Reading the other replies scares me some. Several points, but lets start with this one.

I hope you don't dismiss the strength of John's vision in maintaining the Frac width's standard. IOW, modules with space for actual use, which he upheld throughout his life. Frac didn't die out because of its panel size, it died out because of its depth. And a second factor was the reality that when John Simonton -designer of the frac standard- put those damn mounting holes so far into the faceplate. Why did this factor in the equation? Because one could not fit what was possible in a euro module into a frac unit. Euro has a max PCB of 4.4" Frac has a max of 4.25" That full .150" isn't always used in Euro, they choose smaller to deal with 'edge case' cases. I can remember multiple times when trying to design a frac/euro module where this small distance made the difference in what was possible. And what was possible in Euro was not possible in Frac due to this bad decision by John S.

But still it was ultimately the depth that did it in, as Euro grew and transitioned to parallel PCBs and Frac with its deep cases could not-did not make the change soon enough to preserve its market share. Of course those of us who'd known Blacet for many years understood the depth-width was worth the work flow and the sound.
But it became harder and harder to resist the fashion changing tide. And that cry of too wide is deafening still. Ignore it. As John did also.

John was already making these changes to parallel PCBs and I'd say that's one of the highest priorities. Get all the classic modules converted to parallel PCB; stacks if necessary. And I don't mean those listed in the prior replies, but rather ALL the 'basic' Blacets. Because while the odd ones certainly deserve the praise, the true strength of Blacet is the Core grouping. The VCO, the EG1, VCA, VCF, etc. ALL blacet modules have the mark of the artist's hand, those subtleties which are not blaring out, but there for those who take the time to look.. and see.. and hear.

Failure to recognize this would be a huge loss. Change the depth and leave the rest TF alone.

If-when porting to Euro, please, please please! resist the cries to make things smaller. That! will be one way to keep John's legacy truly alive.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by mamonu » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:58 pm

KSS wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:00 pm
synthcube wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:57 am
Update as of 1/15/20
3) Asking your input to what's next for Blacet: We are proud and humbled to be adding John Blacet's great work to the synthCube portfolio. We are actively seeking your input -- what's next? Older products that could be refreshed and brought back? Blacet designs ported to other synth formats? Etc.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Because while the odd ones certainly deserve the praise, the true strength of Blacet is the Core grouping. The VCO, the EG1, VCA, VCF, etc. ALL blacet modules have the mark of the artist's hand, those subtleties which are not blaring out, but there for those who take the time to look.. and see.. and hear.
parallel boards are a good idea. 16HP / 2FU modules when they fully use the panel are always welcome.
I also agree about the basics.
Making shalower modules will make them relevant to Bugbrand systems a bit more again.

yet another hint for SuperVCA.

It being discontinued is really a bummer. I do want one :cry:

I would not worry too much that Blacet will be the next 2HP tho.
I think that synthcube appreciates John's legacy too.
Last edited by mamonu on Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by Rob_C » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:19 pm

KSS wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:00 pm
...I hope you don't dismiss the strength of John's vision in maintaining the Frac width's standard. IOW, modules with space for actual use, which he upheld throughout his life. ...
A comment: Use-ability is not unique to Frac or Euro or Moog or anyone. It is a choice made by the the designer. Cram everything in, or don't. Any designer can choose to make modules that are wide enough to be easy to use. That was John's design choice, and a good one. But any module designer can do it. Frac's module sizes are 1.5 inches wide or multiples of that. That's why there are no Frac modules barely wider than a 3.5mm jack, as in some Eurorack modules. The Frac rail mounting hole spacing doesn't accommodate something like that.

I don't see Synthcube redesigning Blacet panels for Frac. But someone like Greyscale could easily make Euro panels for Blacet modules. It's mostly a simple 1/8" change in height, and adding or subtracting width for the Euro standard and new mounting holes (there are a few other details that I am leaving out). Instant Euro-Blacet. However, why would anyone START a system in Frac if Blacet is available in Euro?

A discussion of Frac could go in a thousand directions, so to bring this back to the topic, a nice addition to the Synthcube / Blacet line would be a return of the single rack. Affordable, and easily stacked when you want to expand. And bring back the Blacet PSCONN2, which is ideal for the single rack with nine power connectors.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by KSS » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:56 pm

Rob_C wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:19 pm
It's mostly a simple 1/8" change in height, and adding or subtracting width for the Euro standard and new mounting holes (there are a few other details that I am leaving out). Instant Euro-Blacet.

So Synthcube is in an interesting position to influence the market with the consequence being: why would anyone START a system in Frac if Blacet is available in Euro?
So seems we're in agreement that Blacet's UI should *not* be redesigned into a smaller -narrower- form. Glad you see that. 15HP is typical Blacet anyways. The singles would be either 7 or 8HP; 1.4" or 1.6". 5.06 in height, vs. 5.25 for frac. 3/16" difference actually since frac has no rail lip to accomodate. The once strongly held belief that all Euro should be even HP widths is largely in the past.

While any designer 'can' choose large, it's certainly not unknown that there is great pressure in the Eurorack world for ever smaller-narrower-modules. It's seen multiple times in this very thread. Hence the desire to push back against this in my post. FWIW, I was a Blacet customer before Frac was even invented by John Simonton. I'm on solid ground believing he'd prefer not to see his modules cramped into what he would consider unusability.

The biggest detail you're leaving out is the 15V Frac vs. 12V of Euro. Sometimes that's an easy nut to crack, sometimes you lose something important in the translation.
You are exactly right that moving Frac into Euro is often a simple thing. My point was that the decreasing sales of frac had to do with depth constraints and the panel layout limits presented by the reverse of Euro into frac, with the mounting hole locations especially in the way. This is not fantasy, I know of modules which were originally designed for dual use, and later became Euro only due to these limitations. The reason to emphasize these reasons for the sales decline of Frac is so that said decline is not used a reason to abandon Frac in favor of Euro. Make them shallow, and Frac can see growth again. Especially if bolstered by frac cases also shallow. The 4ms pods are an ideal model for this new Frac case type. They could even be designed to ship flat and be folded as in the 400 by Teenage ?

Agree with your last statement. Once all Blacet is ported to Euro, there's no reason for anyone to START a system in frac. Other than those who prefer the legacy circuits and headroom advantages of 15V, which is at least real, even if not absolutely necessary.

And I hope Synthcube will always support those who supported John in his lifetime by purchasing modules that did *not* fit the Eurorack market whims.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by chachi » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:34 am

seems to me the only way to go parallel is SMD. but i have held frac modules up to a 4ms pod and the panels fit but of course the holes are wrong and the boards too deep. but you could use VHB for modules that have parallel boards and they would work. i often wish i could “pod” the hex zone.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by chachi » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:37 am

chachi wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:56 pm
just noticed blacet.com is back up, are you guys actively taking orders?
still curious...

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by mamonu » Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:32 am

mamonu wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:59 pm
my 2c

Blacet ones I would want and get in a heartbeat in frac format?

1FU Window Comparator
Binary Zone
SuperVCA
frac panels for the E350/E340 at the least or again full F350/F340 on sale
(other Synthtech modules that have MOTM connector too are gagging for a frac panel)
MiniwaveExpander

cherry on top? :omg:

O&C in frac/15V
its easily doable and some companies in Buchla/4U formats with the addition of a small board already have the luxury of that.

O&C in frac/15V in 2FU is seriously something I still think about a lot. A lot of functionality . open source design. Black :omg:
Temps Utile as well.
Getting some successful and tried and tested Euro Modules over to the the dark/black side :hihi: would be nice.

Something i did not add above was...

Improbability Drive with the mods (quantiser switch etc) already done.
If that is not possible a 1 FU Sample and Hold module.
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by Dave Kendall » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:45 pm

@ synthcube
Great news - nice to see Blacet designs living on. Please consider making bare PCBs available for some of the product line.
"Everything in moderation, including moderation"

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by KSS » Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:09 pm

Dave Kendall wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:45 pm
@ synthcube
Great news - nice to see Blacet designs living on. Please consider making bare PCBs available for some of the product line.
YES! +1

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by Adam-V » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:34 am

This is indeed marvelous news. John's legacy deserves to live on as does the frac format. I find the ever increasing number of euro manufacturers cramming as many knobs (or just pot shafts even) into smaller and smaller panels really annoying and I tend to find those modules unusable. That being said, a little bit of John's brilliance spread across the euro universe can't be a bad thing.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by arrmcbain » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:14 am

:blacet: :sb:

Great news. Thanks Synthcube for ensuring that these designs will live on. I have been keen for a while now to extend my frac system with more VCO 2100s and EG1s (TEM looks amazing) and Super VCAs (any chance of a reboot?). [edited for tone and accuracy]

Euro Blacet in black would be cool too, but I’d also be grateful to see redesigns in frac format to reduce the depth of the modules. Maybe SMD DIY?

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by Delepathy » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:28 pm

construct09 wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:29 am
Banana frac please :bugbrand: :blacet:
Seconded. I'd buy it!

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by okiikahuna » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:29 am

he Mixer-Processor is a great design and very handy. Ive got two that I ported to eurorack myself a few years ago and they get used in just about every patch. I think everybody needs one or two in their rack. Seems to do well running on my Doepfer power supply. I would also like to run my Dark star Chaos from the Doepfer supply. Any chance you could sell an adapter cable? Blacet's site used to say they could provide them, but I could never manage to figure out how to order one. They were easy enough to make before I lost the use of my left hand,which makes soldering kind of difficult now. So I'd really like to buy one, if you guys might make them available for purchase.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by synthcube » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:11 pm

Thank you all for the feedback etc!

We are happy to report that the vast majority of John's inventory and items have made their way from the west coast here, and although we have not unpacked and organized it yet, it's safely here under our roof.

Not to be goofy about it, but much like we did with the Ray Wilson MFOS stuff when it got it,we are treating this stuff with a bit of history and reverence. What someone might think of as a junk soldering tool is actually the iron that John himself used for assembly repairs etc. That's pretty cool.

From a practical standpoint, our short term goal is to get everything unpacked, sort the inventory, make things available again, and reorder where we need to, to replicate the Blacet webstore stock. At the same time we will keep working thorough the plans for re-working older modules, new formats for existing modules etc... and we value your input.

please keep the feedback coming
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by uniqview » Fri May 22, 2020 12:09 am

I was certainly saddened to hear of John Blacet's passing. Honestly didn't know that, until I found the news here. I've had several, but honestly small, though really good interactions with Synthcube. Given this, and the very great diversity of their offerings, they sure do appear to be a good home for the Blacet assets.

I'm a fan of Frac Rack because the size in all dimensions, esp. PAiA's enclosures, offers significant space for advanced functionality, but also space for a good user experience (UX). There is certainly more space in Moog and traditional Synthesis Technology modules (and similarly-sized others), and phone jacks are a really nice way to patch. But the amount of physical space required to build a studio system is much larger than Frac Rack. By the same token, I'm am no fan of Eurorack. I certainly wish no ill will to those who do like it at all. But I find the much smaller controls, and usable space a very much off-putting UX. The smaller panels are also harder to see for someone that now needs glasses to read front-panels, computer screens and books. Frak Rack fits the bill: modest space, but a lot of room, legibility, and readability. Easy to use. Separately, as an analog circuit designer, I'm also a non-fan of ±12V supplies. I very much prefer ±15V supplies for analog. There are also potentially even higher voltages of great value for some alternative circuit designs.

I'm not inimical to Synthcube "porting" Blacet designs to alternative formats, but I think what the market needs is true competition to Eurorack: an alternative that cannot be ignored. Expanded not diminished Frak Rack presence: interesting designs, excellent functionality, and an architectural coherence. IMHO, Blacet was one such offering. That facet alone is worth preserving, by Synthcube. I am hoping there will be other Frak Rack offerings too, for all the reasons I illuminated.
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by Severed head » Fri May 22, 2020 12:18 am

synthcube wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:57 pm
Kent wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:37 am
Hells, yeah! Please increase the reach by offering Euro format to the product mix. Blacet designs should be more widely appreciated.
we could not possibly agree more :guinness:
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by indexofmetals » Sat May 23, 2020 3:23 am

construct09 wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:29 am
Banana frac please :bugbrand: :blacet:
I second that. and if the modules could be shallow so they'd fit in bugbrand type cases.

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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by mamonu » Sat May 23, 2020 6:58 am

an idea that no frac owner will complain about is to also use some of the frac-ears real estate for passive utilities like that atten-multiple module.
or even other suitable ones.
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Re: [ANNOUNCEMENT] synthCube acquires Blacet Research

Post by indexofmetals » Sat May 23, 2020 7:18 am

for frac cases, maybe some collab with Bugbrand on cases as they squeeze in 11 spaces.

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