Future for Cwejman?

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Future for Cwejman?

Post by transferpoint » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:19 am

I've waited a few weeks to post this, because I know I'm risking being insensitive by asking this. I have the utmost respect for Wowa's incredible work and I always planned on buying his modules.

Does anyone know, is there a future for Wowa Cwejman's company? Any statements as to whether a family member or other partner might continue the business?

Again, I know some will find this question insensitive and self centered, I acknowledge that. It's just something I wonder about each day.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by msegarra » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:33 am

Not self centered at all it’d be his legacy I’d hope they’d continue in some form

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by mdoudoroff » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:41 am

Seems like the big challenge is finding a way to manufacture the modules to the same standards without him personally at the center of it.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by transferpoint » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:57 am

mdoudoroff wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:41 am
Seems like the big challenge is finding a way to manufacture the modules to the same standards without him personally at the center of it.
For sure, I totally get that. You can't just hand the schematics over to anyone and expect a Wowa Cwejman quality result unless the builder is on that same spectrum of genius. I know Rex Probe did this with Serge designs through Sound Transformation Systems. Rex is a bit of a legend in his own right, audiophile and obsessed with the quality of his work. But I suppose that's some wishful thinking on my part.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by GeneralBigBag » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:13 am

I think ACL could make modules that live up to the Cwejman reputation.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by Dragonaut » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:35 am

I think it’s a bit soon yet to know anything. I don’t really expect to hear anything until late in the year but you never know.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by mdoudoroff » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:42 am

GeneralBigBag wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:13 am
I think ACL could make modules that live up to the Cwejman reputation.
Perhaps, but can they scale? And would they want to?

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by Kent » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:47 am

I've worked audio manufacturing for decades. I've owned a few Cwejman modules and can appreciate the high quality.

There is nothing mysterious or unobtanium in the modules that bore the Cwejman name. The ones that I've used have been well-engineered and well-designed products that were not built to a low price. He chose expensive potentiometers and other important parts.

The magic was in the designs and dedication to quality. All of the parts were made by others and I'm betting that much of the assembly work was farmed out to contractors. Even if not, there is nothing in them can't be precisely duplicated at a 100 production houses.

A licensing deal or sale for the properties can easily be transferred to another conscientious owner. This happens all the time for much more sophisticated products.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by GeneralBigBag » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:46 am

mdoudoroff wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:42 am
GeneralBigBag wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:13 am
I think ACL could make modules that live up to the Cwejman reputation.
Perhaps, but can they scale? And would they want to?
I was just speaking to the quality of their work.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by oldenjon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:09 pm

Kent wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:47 am
I've worked audio manufacturing for decades. I've owned a few Cwejman modules and can appreciate the high quality.

There is nothing mysterious or unobtanium in the modules that bore the Cwejman name. The ones that I've used have been well-engineered and well-designed products that were not built to a low price. He chose expensive potentiometers and other important parts.

The magic was in the designs and dedication to quality. All of the parts were made by others and I'm betting that much of the assembly work was farmed out to contractors. Even if not, there is nothing in them can't be precisely duplicated at a 100 production houses.

A licensing deal or sale for the properties can easily be transferred to another conscientious owner. This happens all the time for much more sophisticated products.
I did a res-4 modification very recently, one of the more expensive cwejman modules. The pots and jacks were the same low cost parts that are in most eurorack modules. The op-amps were all TL074, cheap matched pairs, cheap trimmers, etc. The only potentially expensive parts were the custom jack nuts, silk screened panel, switches, and THAT VCAs (8 total) but even those things can be cheap in economies of scale.
Last edited by oldenjon on Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by Kent » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:13 pm

Oh, I believe it all. There is nothing extraordinary in the majority of parts.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by listentoaheartbeat » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:20 pm

Since Maho Cwejman has been running the business with him, I believe there will be continuity.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by oldenjon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:26 pm

transferpoint wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:57 am
mdoudoroff wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:41 am
Seems like the big challenge is finding a way to manufacture the modules to the same standards without him personally at the center of it.
For sure, I totally get that. You can't just hand the schematics over to anyone and expect a Wowa Cwejman quality result unless the builder is on that same spectrum of genius. I know Rex Probe did this with Serge designs through Sound Transformation Systems. Rex is a bit of a legend in his own right, audiophile and obsessed with the quality of his work. But I suppose that's some wishful thinking on my part.
I think manufacturing would be pretty straightforward honestly. I don't think the calibration procedures would be difficult for a competent tech or engineer to figure out. The glorification of Rex Probe is a little weird. He mostly threw expensive op-amps into existing designs, which doesn't really bring the circuits to a modern standard. He seems a blowhard salesman more than anything.
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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by fortyfiverocks » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:28 pm

transferpoint wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:19 am
I've waited a few weeks to post this, because I know I'm risking being insensitive by asking this. I have the utmost respect for Wowa's incredible work and I always planned on buying his modules.

Does anyone know, is there a future for Wowa Cwejman's company? Any statements as to whether a family member or other partner might continue the business?

Again, I know some will find this question insensitive and self centered, I acknowledge that. It's just something I wonder about each day.
Image


I think they will continue.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by Raymond » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:49 pm

Maho said that they are taking 3/4 weeks off few days after his passing. So I guess we’ll know soon enough. I have no idea if she will continue to take care of the company like she did, or even if she wants to, but that’s true that I am wondering about the modules which were currently in production. It is a little bit selfish to think about that as I am on the waiting list for some of them but anyway. We’ll wait and see.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by Gringo Starr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:45 pm

transferpoint wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:57 am
Rex is a bit of a legend in his own right, audiophile and obsessed with the quality of his work.
Totally agree. STS is still where the bar is set in the world of Serge IMO. Insanely priced but as top-notch as it gets. Wowa Cwejman clearly had the same mindset.

My guess is that Maho keeps it going and does it right.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by transferpoint » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:51 pm

Kent wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:47 am
There is nothing mysterious or unobtanium in the modules that bore the Cwejman name. The ones that I've used have been well-engineered and well-designed products that were not built to a low price. He chose expensive potentiometers and other important parts.
I used to believe that until I personally watched Rex build part of a serge panel. My friend who is also on this forum took me with him to meet Rex and pick up his Serge panels a few years back and Rex showed us his process while chatting a bit.

Rex would have baskets of parts in front of him as he built and he would test each series of chips exhaustively, first one by one, then in pairs, then as a group. I watched him measure extremely slight differences between the components. He might have just been goofing off to entertain me, but I suspect this is his day to day. He was extremely selective about which (of from what I would call the exact same) component actually goes into a panel. Then he did the same with power supplies, but I think that's fairly common.

I think there is a difference between a Wowa or Rex and an employee building a thing. Could be wrong.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by transferpoint » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:56 pm

fortyfiverocks wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:28 pm
I think they will continue.
fortyfiverocks, This is very encouraging. :)

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by acgenerator » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:44 pm

mdoudoroff wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:42 am
GeneralBigBag wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:13 am
I think ACL could make modules that live up to the Cwejman reputation.
Perhaps, but can they scale? And would they want to?
Cwejman wasn't exactly mass production outfit either...

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by oldenjon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:06 pm

transferpoint wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:51 pm
Kent wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:47 am
There is nothing mysterious or unobtanium in the modules that bore the Cwejman name. The ones that I've used have been well-engineered and well-designed products that were not built to a low price. He chose expensive potentiometers and other important parts.
I used to believe that until I personally watched Rex build part of a serge panel. My friend who is also on this forum took me with him to meet Rex and pick up his Serge panels a few years back and Rex showed us his process while chatting a bit.

Rex would have baskets of parts in front of him as he built and he would test each series of chips exhaustively, first one by one, then in pairs, then as a group. I watched him measure extremely slight differences between the components. He might have just been goofing off to entertain me, but I suspect this is his day to day. He was extremely selective about which (of from what I would call the exact same) component actually goes into a panel. Then he did the same with power supplies, but I think that's fairly common.

I think there is a difference between a Wowa or Rex and an employee building a thing. Could be wrong.
STS Serge is maybe not a good comparison because the circuits are all based on parts that were commonly available and cheap in the 70s and 80s ( E.g. LM3900s, slow op-amps with large offsets). 0.1% tolerance resistor, matched pairs, precision op-amps etc. are cheap and/or common nowadays. The VCFs in the Serge filters were discrete, but nowadays R*S uses THAT2180 that don't require trimming.
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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by transferpoint » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:55 am

oldenjon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:06 pm
STS Serge is maybe not a good comparison because the circuits are all based on parts that were commonly available and cheap in the 70s and 80s ( E.g. LM3900s, slow op-amps with large offsets). 0.1% tolerance resistor, matched pairs, precision op-amps etc. are cheap and/or common nowadays. The VCFs in the Serge filters were discrete, but nowadays R*S uses THAT2180 that don't require trimming.
Solid point!

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by slumberjack » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:27 pm

At least someone is going to buy the company in the end. I mean for the most sought after synthesizer modules since a decade there is a future. We'll see...
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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by trickness » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:14 pm

I don't mean to be negative, we are all just speculating, but given how exacting and fairly peerless Wowa was, why would there be any assumption that production of his modules would persist after he is gone? Could the designs be licensed - maybe depending on his wishes (and if he even made plans for that). But would they be produced and serviced at the same level of attention to detail? If it was so easy to do this, why did really nobody else produce anything like his designs when he was alive, especially as there are iterations of iterations of designs of nearly almost everything else in euro, and his were always crazy rare and crazy expensive 2nd hand?

I'd love to be able to continue to buy Cwejman designs, but only if they are made available with no compromise, as they were when he was still here. Getting parts and schematics are one thing; having the integrity to build them exactly as he would wish gets a little harder once it's not one designer's vision driving everything. I'd rather no more modules ever get produced with the Cwejman name on them than the quality goes down a notch.

There were Modcan threads for YEARS talking about the Quad LFO & Dual Delay were about to go back into production, and it was all wishful thinking. Sometimes things just end.
Last edited by trickness on Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by transferpoint » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:46 pm

trickness wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:14 pm
I don't mean to be negative, we are all just speculating,
Yeah, I don't think anyone said we weren't speculating. Also, Maho Cwejman said she'd make an announcement after a period of time. Which would presumably end the speculation.

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Re: Future for Cwejman?

Post by oldenjon » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:50 pm

trickness wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:14 pm
I don't mean to be negative, we are all just speculating, but given how exacting and fairly peerless Wowa was, why would there be any assumption that production of his modules would persist after he is gone? Could the designs be licensed - maybe depending on his wishes (and if he even made plans for that). But would they be produced and serviced at the same level of attention to detail? If it was so easy to do this, why did really nobody else produce anything like his designs when he was alive, especially as there are iterations of iterations of designs of nearly almost everything else in euro?

I'd love to be able to continue to buy Cwejman designs, but only if they are made available with no compromise, as they were when he was still here. Getting parts and schematics are one thing; having the integrity to build them exactly as he would wish gets a little harder once it's not one designer's vision driving everything. I'd rather no more modules ever get produced with the Cwejman name on them than the quality goes down a notch.

There were Modcan threads for YEARS talking about the Quad LFO & Dual Delay were about to go back into production, and it was all wishful thinking. Sometimes things just end.
Wowa was an accomplished analog circuit designer, he deserves credit there. There are plenty of skilled analog designers in the game, but maybe not as many with the experience and vision of Wowa. That has everything to do with his particular skillset and aesthetic. On other hand, there isn't much wizardry in the production of the modules, especially in this day and age. The circuit boards look like they are populated at the factory, with maybe a few parts soldered by hand afterwards (tempcos etc.). These parts were very noticeable on the module I serviced. The designs are well established and as I said before, there's not really any reason to expect that the modules couldn't be produced to the same standard they were when Wowa was alive.
Whether that will happen or not is an entirely different matter. I think we're waiting to hear from Maho about the future of Cwejman. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that production will continue.
Last edited by oldenjon on Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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