Market normalization - ModularBid

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gminorcoles
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Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by gminorcoles » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:18 pm

Here is an idea. You might hate it but the intention Is to factor out the majority of modular synthesis that duplicates, echos, repeats the features of modular across products, and players’ setups. I don’t know much about modular, I only own a few modular and semi modular pieces.

So the site is like Modular Grid, except instead of a virtual matrix of product names, you create a matrix of features, including bespoke ones thst you describe with text and specs,

Then makers bid to supply a built modular rig that fulfills your specs. This has the potential to smooth out issues of scale, in a way similar to the pc component supplier model from the 90s onward.

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bentoncbainbridge
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by bentoncbainbridge » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:29 pm

gminorcoles wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:18 pm
... like Modular Grid, except ... you create a matrix of features
Then makers bid to supply a built modular rig that fulfills your specs.
ModularGrid.net already supports search by features.

I'm not sure I understand the 'build to specs' idea. In this model, am I to specify the sound quality or image style that I want? (I'm a video synthesist)
Subtle qualities of tone and touch make a synth or module desirable.

Not all features are implemented equally well in all modules. The best (oscillator/filter/VCA/etc.) is a favored topic here on Muffwiggler Forum.

Personally, I'm trying to escape the 'standardization' of the imPersonal Computer.

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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by gminorcoles » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:47 pm

The frictional costs are too high. The costs of duplicated effort are needlessly high.

Making a list of things to buy is different then submitting a specification of your desired system and inviting builders to offer a system at competitive cost thst hopefully sounds better or as good as the other builders. Bespoke or unique features get the highest margin.

This already kind of happens but in a very jerky jerky and halting way, I have no romantic attachment to hifi components, I want a good balance of features, cost, sound, and configurability, and I am not afraid of scale.

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bentoncbainbridge
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by bentoncbainbridge » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:30 pm

I doubt this system would yield us a Benjolin. Nor would I know to seek it out. Hi-fi and lo-fi both appeal, but how do you spec the desire: 'astound me!'?

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ATW
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by ATW » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:08 pm

I think I understand what the OP is talking about. something like ‘modular lessons’ to help coach folks through a basic understanding of modular, and map music goals to a sensical modular grid plan.

or a workshop with an experienced modular/rig consultant who can guide the client to make specific choices around their goals, including modules and signal flow ideas. Factoring in stuff like budget, space, the rest of the gear they might want to integrate with, etc.

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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by sduck » Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:59 pm

I want a module that goes "wwwwhhhhoooooo-aaaa-ooouuuuuhhhh" instead of the opposite like everything else. And with less robot farts.
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mskala
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by mskala » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:14 pm

I've played occasionally with ideas for an automated system builder based on a constraint solver, with rules like needing so many VCAs per oscillator, and configurable parameters for emphasizing different kinds of patching, emphasis on low cost or specific functionality, fit within a given number of rows and HP width, etc. The user specifies some requirements and preferences and then it tries to design a system to suit. That's pretty near to what I think the original poster is getting at. I have some code still lying around that did run last time I looked at it, but it's been more than a year since I last looked at it. As I recall, it was fun to play with and it sometimes produced reasonable-looking results, but would need a fair bit more work before I'd be willing to show it to others. I found a serious bottleneck in annotation - marking up each module in its database with what needs it serves, so that the solver can intelligently fit that module into a proposed design. It's quite difficult to both figure out just what data is needed per module, and attach all that data correctly, and that must be done well or the solver is at sea as far as making useful recommendations.

But despite the technical challenges I think that an automated approach is more likely to be successful than trying to have vendors "bid" system designs, with human participation, to potential buyers who aren't seriously likely to then go ahead and buy the systems in question. As a vendor, the number of serious proposals I'm willing to spend time preparing, per actual sale that would pay for that time, is quite limited. But an automated generator can serve huge numbers of potential customers without caring much whether they actually buy. Once it's built it doesn't take much money to keep it online, so it seems a lot more economically viable. Getting the loop between "I put in my requirements" and "I see a system that meets those requirements" down to a few seconds instead of needing to wait for a round trip with a human, also makes it very much more interesting for users.
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Pelsea
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by Pelsea » Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:35 pm

That’s how it was done in the 80s. Anything over 2k$ had to be competitively bid so I’d design a system and someone in purchasing would send the specs to Buchla, Serge, and Big Briar. That’s how I wound up with a Synton.

I doubt any manufacturer would be interested in this scheme. It takes time (= money) to design a system, and why do it if only one in ten results in a sale. Retailers might offer this as a value added service though. In the 70s you could give Bernie Krause (Moog), Ed Rudnick (Emu), or Don Buchla a call or drop by their shop for a long talk. I’d bet current dealers that have a storefront have someone like that on staff.
Last edited by Pelsea on Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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KSS
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by KSS » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:36 am

I just posted in another thread about a gap which could be filled by a Zoom style interaction with a gear rep. There it was for a single module session, to ease the distance bwtween what non-specific YT vids and online words could do for an individual purchaser. An up-the-service-level distinction a dealer could choose to offer. I suspect an expanded version is the modern update to what Pelsea described.

@mskala
re: "Once it's built it doesn't take much money to keep it online". No, but it's not a static thing. And that's where the real time will be spent ongoing. Those correlations need to be done for each new module appearing. I wouldn't wish that job on anyone. As you've correctly said, that work would need to be *much* more involved than what MG already has to do to provide only the basics. I can hear the complaints already. Why didn't your program-service give me details on so and so's new 'whizbang' instead of the 'wowzit'?? IMO you were wiseto drop the project.

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mskala
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by mskala » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:07 am

KSS wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:36 am
re: "Once it's built it doesn't take much money to keep it online". No, but it's not a static thing. And that's where the real time will be spent ongoing. Those correlations need to be done for each new module appearing. I wouldn't wish that job on anyone. As you've correctly said, that work would need to be *much* more involved than what MG already has to do to provide only the basics. I can hear the complaints already. Why didn't your program-service give me details on so and so's new 'whizbang' instead of the 'wowzit'?? IMO you were wiseto drop the project.
I haven't permanently dropped the project - it's still on my list, just not at a high priority. Ongoing maintenance is certainly part of the cost of having such a thing online. Even during the few months I was writing the first proof-of-concept I had to deal with modules in my database being discontinued and needing to find replacements for them. However, I don't think the maintenance is prohibitive because it's not ModularGrid and it doesn't need to cover the entire universe of available modules. I was envisioning it as a sales tool to put on my own Web site and fill some of the role of the human sales staff I don't have, in showing potential customers ideas for things they can do. In that context it only needs to cover, and to have maintained updates for, my modules and enough others to be able to put together a nice variety of systems. That's a much smaller maintenance load.
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KSS
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Re: Market normalization - ModularBid

Post by KSS » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:08 pm

Ah.. Yes. Scope-limited like that -to your own modules- is a whole 'nother thing.

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