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want opinions about Doepfer-compatible/Eurorack modules
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Metasonix Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author want opinions about Doepfer-compatible/Eurorack modules

metasonix

Was planning to start making Euro-compatible tube modules for next year.
I want to ask around about what people want to see, and I do read every serious suggestion.

One thing I do keep hearing: complaints from many Euro modular owners. They want to buy a new module--but it doesn't "exactly match" the rest of the modules in their system. They want all the modules available to look the same. Supposedly, some of the lesser Euro module makers have trouble selling a module that's black or some other color, other than plain anodized aluminum with black lettering. "If it doesn't look like a Doepfer, I won't buy it." Yes, it seems lame, but a LOT of people assemble large modulars primarily for appearance!

This is a big problem with Euro, MOTM and dotcom. Less of a problem for Frac Rack owners, they don't care so much as long as things are cheap...

On the other hand, I'd like to have yellow color panels. It would look kool. And my stuff would really stand out. But I do need to sell them, and if people won't accept Metasonix yellow, fine, they won't be yellow.

Opinions are welcome.


Mojoman

Alright.....I will add more later but.......
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MAKE THESE!!!!!!

And for the record - I would prefer the yellow. I am one Eurorack guy who wishes someone would make something that looks different!


pristak

I actually like having modules that look different in my case. I come from a punk background and like a bit of a fucked up mismash look.

But... I've noticed the same thing about many folks. They want everything to look the same. Maybe you could do yellow modules and have plain gray as an upgrade. Another thing I've noticed is that those who want everything to look the same also have more money to spend.


thermionicjunky

If you were to produce new designs in Euro, it would probably break my resistance to Euro. I could argue both sides of the appearance issue. Refusing to conform may help strengthen the appeal of the other non-conforming manufacturers. Having Metasonix next to Harvestman, MFB and Cwejman may help ameliorate the anodized aluminum or something else dichotomy, but it may just make matters worse for you. I am continually amazed at the superficiality of gear whores.


sgnhh

I too think a yellow panel would be awesome.


Muff Wiggler

i sort of think it would be a small tragedy if they weren't yellow

and this alone WOULD have pushed me to Eurorack......but I just got there anyway thanks to those cheap cheap cases on ebay, so yeah, I'll buy some for sure Eric.


tragedybysyntax

yellow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

can you please PLEASE PLEASE ERIC MAKE A TM-1 IN EURO??!?!?!?!???~?!?!??!?! Jesus I can't wait...... wink


metasonix

Well, someone on the "Modular Synth Panels" Yahoo group said:

"I sold some of my second-hand blue oakleysound modules in the MOTM format on ebay and lost a ton of money, many people were put off by the 'non-standard' format and told me so.
Also the Harvestman has now changed his much cooler black/orange design to the silver deopfer style, I presume for this same reason."

This is exactly what Scott from Harvestman told me at NAMM this year. Shawn at Analogue Haven also says as much.

On the other hand, Cwejman refuses to make his modules look Doepfer-ish. And his stuff is selling VERY well.

Thanks to all for your opinions. So many people have expressed a preference for yellow, I'm seriously leaning in that direction. If some nerd demands Doepfer-looking panels, I could offer silver FPD panels for extra cost. (Or just email them the damn FPD file and let them make their own.)

In fact, I don't actually see a lot of preference for one modular panel size or another, from actual end-users. The most requested format in my experience is: "guitar pedal, with real bypass, and CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. Dood. Got any weed, dood?" And it OF COURSE has to run on a 9-volt battery.

That's not gonna happen. It's made of TUBES, people. This is one reason, among many, why I curse at guitarists so much.

You've seen Ken Stone's tube VCA?
http://www.cgs.synth.net/modules/cgs65_vca.html

You can make a primitive VCA out of those battery-radio tubes. But not much else. They have too little gain for resonant filters or preamps. They're usually microphonic as hell. And I have no idea where he found a stash of 1J24 subminiature tubes. They are no longer made, and are already getting scarce as hell, even in Russia.

I will NOT use subminiature tubes, of any type--because they are disappearing rapidly. The "common junk" TV tubes I usually use will probably never run out, because so damn many of them were made.
Subminiatures were specialized types, seen only in costly stuff like military electronics and hearing aids.

(You know the 6021 submini tubes Zvex uses in his Nano amp? Ten years ago, when he started making those amps, surplus 6021 tubes were a drag on the market. Millions came out of DRMO military surplus channels. Nobody wanted them, they were the most commonplace thing. But thanks to the Nano, today even Zachary Vex himself is going around begging people for 6021s. Not because they're being used up, nope....because people found out they were being used in a popular product, they HOARD the tubes....so, the price went up, and Zachary, they guy who made the tube famous, today has to pay premium prices for an otherwise "junk tube".)

Most tube module designs I am looking at.....will almost certainly need +5v power. Amps of it. To run all the damn tube heaters. That will piss a few Doepfer fans off, Doepfer power rails have provision for +5v but rarely use it. No choice--all Eurorack synth cabinets have limited power supply capacity, even the really big ones.

I can do a simple preamp/VCA module that runs off existing +-12v, using 26A6 pentodes. But most of the designs I'm looking at will need +5 to run heaters on 6.3v tubes. (I run them a little cold deliberately, to maximize lifetime.) NO choice.

Yes, I can do a TM1 circuit. Eventually. Need to start small first.
Hopefully I can cram two tubes and all support circuits onto a 110-mm square PC board. That size would fit either 30HP Euro, or triple-wide Frac panels. It might (barely) work. Okay?

If someone complains that the module doesn't physically match the other brands, I can always get rid of that person by pointing out how much power the Metasonix tube modules pull. They'll REALLY complain about that. Do I want such fools as customers anyway?

This business has some really sucky aspects. Not all fun and joy. very frustrating


Roycie Roller

I have to agree with others. I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want a splash of colour in their synth. If i could, my synth would have lots of colours. You hear it all the time -"Oh the lettering isn't right" or "If i buy Wiard i want to make sure all the panels are the same colour, otherwise i might not buy it at all."
As is said- The synthesizer is behind the panel!
At least if you stick with yellow the fussy types will more than likely buy TWO so it at least looks symmetrical!


MrDys

I'm a big fan of the idea of charging extra for silver panels.


felix

holy crap, Eric you are the man!

Personally, I too love the yellow. Not only does it make it stand out from other products, but it also screams "this thing is your worst nightmare pussy-boy!"

To be honest though, I would imagine you would loose sales because they didn't look "euro".

I rather like consistency in the look of my system too, but I've come around. The Harvestman modules look rad against the Doepfers and Plan Bs. I love the way the Livewire knobs and silkscreens stand out, and I have one of the black ModDemods (before he made silver) and I actually love the contrast of the black against all my other modules.

Most importantly, these differences really do a great job of setting the attitude of the module, which the metasonix yellow does so well.

Good luck Eric, and bring on the Euro!!!


Kwote

i don't need exact uniformity and looks are low priority but i've grown to like the black of the frac a lot. i also really like the rean knobs with grey pointers and davie's knobs that you see on wiard, bananalogue, etc.

anyways, when i had a buncha knobs with different colors it just looked too clownish to me. kinda uninspiring. i do find the look of gear to be kinda part of the art as i used to do a ton of drawing growing up. the black panels, white lettering and grey pointers on black knobs just looks slick to me.

but a couple standouts doesn't bother me a bit. i think if every panel was way different it would bring back that clownish aspect i'm not feeling but i doubt that'll happen unless i diy a buncha stuff that way.

i think bbob had a buncha diy with straight up colorful graphics on all his panels and that shit was real fresh. made his modular look like a painting with sound capabilities. so sick.

anyways if you ever go frac let us know. i'd love to have some tube based modules and i'm just not a guitar pedal guy. i'm a modular freak.


Muff Wiggler

Kwote wrote:
i'd love to have some tube based modules and i'm just not a guitar pedal guy. i'm a modular freak.


Metalbox Tube VCA! It's frac, it's awesome, it's tube, there ya go. I love mine. I consider it more of a wavefolder than a vca. It folds so nicely.


Kwote

Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
i'd love to have some tube based modules and i'm just not a guitar pedal guy. i'm a modular freak.


Metalbox Tube VCA! It's frac, it's awesome, it's tube, there ya go. I love mine. I consider it more of a wavefolder than a vca. It folds so nicely.


oh i know bro. and it'll definately see it's way into my system. but that's just one module. i'm sure Eric will have a nice variety of modules as all his stuff is tube based.


Soy Sos

Yeah, I kind of think the whole matching knobs/matching panels
thing is pretty pointless. No offense to those who go for that type
of thing. The nice thing about having a modular with different
manufacturers is the sonic variety it brings. If those companies
are also into the idea of adding an artistic or unique visual
slant to the front panel design of their products I say go for it!
I don't own any Metasonix stuff now and don't have any purchases
planned in the near future. But something as trivial as the color
of the module would have no bearing on buying one. I'm mainly
concerned with function and price. Any way I thought the whole
point of Metasonix was this shit is kick ass and fuck you if you
don't like it. razz


MrDys

Just to clarify what I wrote above, I would not be someone who would buy these "bonus priced" silver panels, I'm just fond of the idea of charging folks for their conformist anal retentive tendencies.


Jari Jokinen

I would prefer neutral look (and module names).


sandyb

personally i couldn't care what colour any of my modules are - as long as they sound good/have good functionality.
but - keep in mind you're preaching to the converted here to a large extent.
i have a feeling that there are a lot of people out there who do really care about uniformity in their system and it may mean more modules sold if they are silver or at least have a silver option at minimal or no extra cost.
looking forward to adding some yellow to my euro system!

sandy


Muff Wiggler

sandyb wrote:
keep in mind you're preaching to the converted here to a large extent.


this is a really good point. While this forum is so far polling about 90% in favour of the yellow, for some reason I have a feeling that the membership here is not totally representative of the buyers-at-large. In fact I'm almost certain that it isn't. I don't want to generalize due to the diversity of interests and opinions here, but I think as a trend you have people who are already open to companies that want to bring something to the table that is very different from what everyone else is doing.


SewerBadger

Hello Eric,

My 2 cents worth based upon the assumption that you will be keeping your Eurorack designs inline with the existing Metasonix Sonic Ass-raping Philosophy.

• People know what they are getting into when they are weighing the option of buying a Metasonix product. Keep 'em yellow. It's practically a trademark at this point.
Scott (The Harvestman for those not paying attention hihi )was just launching a whole new brand of audio molestation and had many battles ahead of him in launching the company. I'm guessing that he had to choose just which battles to wage in terms of the uphill battle of getting the ball rolling. Metasonix has been around a while and people expect something different.
• The type of customer that 'must' keep the look of their rack homogenous is probably a minority of those considering Euro-format Metasonix Audio Torturing devices.
• People can always add one Euro-rack for all of the modules that they want that don't conform to Doepfer's Industrial Design Aesthetic.
• Metsonix gear in any & all formats would, hopefully, translate into more sales as the drug (Yellow Sonic Destruction) would be available in the poison of their choice. Rock on. I'd buy some.
• Instead of optional metal panels, you could go the cheaper route and order a shitload of silver lexan overlays with or without adhesive backing.


thermionicjunky

Read this from Eric on the Doepfer list: "A VCO is in the works--I have a new circuit that produces a really nice sinewave, clippable to a square wave, with a very wide pitch control range--much wider than the thyratron VCOs we've made to date. Linearity looks good and it might have V/octave CV control (if I can cram it onto that little board). Same circuit can be modified slightly to be used as a bandpass filter. Also plan eventual versions of the TM-6 filter, TM-1 waveshaper, a VCA/distortion using remote-cutoff pentodes, and possibly other things."

I think that V/octave response would attract more people than silver panels, but it still may be worth it to offer a silver option. It sounds great to me anyway.


helitron

Hi,

a big fat yellow module with hot tubes sticking out wont hurt any doepfer modular aesthetics. it would even make it look better.

hel (eurorack junkie)


a100user

Yellow, yellow and more yellow.

Eric if you make them silver you are diluting the brand.

I for one love colour in my modular and wish there was more of it. It also helps my ageing eyes find what I'm looking for.

I did ask on the Doepfer forum but I'll ask here as well. With the tubes extending out from the panel how hot do they run? Do I risk constantly singing my hands or melting patch cables?

If you make them, buyers will come, to paraphrase a well know movie.

David


governor blacksnake

Kent wrote:

• People know what they are getting into when they are weighing the option of buying a Metasonix product. Keep 'em yellow. It's practically a trademark at this point.
Scott (The Harvestman for those not paying attention hihi )was just launching a whole new brand of audio molestation and had many battles ahead of him in launching the company. I'm guessing that he had to choose just which battles to wage in terms of the uphill battle of getting the ball rolling. Metasonix has been around a while and people expect something different.


Hey All,

I originally planned black/orange panels for the Harvestman line, but my panel manufacturer couldn't offer a decent price on spot color anodizing. So, the Harvestman panels are silver for reasons of economy. Fortunately the high contrast helped out the current panel geometry in terms of identifying functional blocks in low-light environments. I certainly wasn't going to stay with the FPE line art stuff... looked like ass and was twenty times as expensive. At least I got some great knobs out of that whole adventure.

My vote goes for yellow Metasonix panels, with plenty of anal rape.

-Scott


metasonix

Thanks all. Nice to see someone cares enough to answer.

No, the tubes won't get hot enough to melt patchcords or burn your fingers.
At most, they will get a little too hot to hold with your fingers for extended periods. So don't hold them.

Convective cooling is critical here, thus the exposure. If they were enclosed in a cabinet they would run hotter.

That VCO circuit is a really cute thing. I found it in a 1964 textbook. It was called a "tuneable amplifier", even though it doesn't even provide any gain, in fact it attenuates the input signal a LOT. Control it with a 5C3 Vactrol, and it makes a strangely linear VCO.....I didn't expect that!

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