I think compromises to your (Pugix's) idea are key. I should say that when I was first starting out in 5U, someone started that "what's wrong with 5U" thread or whatever it was called and I made an ass of myself for blaming other manufacturers not complying with what I had come to think was standard -- MOTM sizing. Now that I've been schooled, and started plunking down to support MOTM, Mu, and Modcan A, I realize that I sort of don't care which one people support, as long as they are electrically compatible and near-indestructible.
I do think that the splintering of the format has likely done a lot to deter potential adopters. I very nearly didn't jump in because it seemed too difficult, and sometimes, when I am faced with building a rack, I still feel this way! For this reason, I am very tempted to say, why not go Modcan A? It's basically the same as what you're looking at, only... banana, which IMHO is great.
Still, assuming you're not interested in that, I'd like to see the following things in your new format:
- panel thickness should come down. they are clearly expensive and heavy to a bit of excess. But of course, they should NEVER flex. I think most of us go 5U to feel more comfortable -- and safer.
- agreed, those MU ears are silly and heavy too
- now that I said all that, the weight is not my primary concern. I am strong and heavy racks fall less often, I think. So if you skimp on these weight factors, it should really be to save money (on shipping too).
- brown seems a little silly but I don't really care. If I got a vote, I'd say, that Oakley blue is killer, and Modcan white is gorgeous, too, so I have faith that you could make another color scheme that rocks. But brown does not sound
- pot supported PCBs sounds a little silly to me, too. I want my modules to feel tough. But you're the expert, compared to me -- if you can make it work, then do so, and save me some money, too! XD But it had better be reliable.
- the small pot thing I am not really excited about, but I'm not completely antagonistic either. It is definitely less good to tweak my Modcan A stuff. But then I can also fit at least twice as much functionality into a Sixpac. But at a certain point you have to wonder, why didn't I just go Euro?
- for gods sake make sure your mounting holes line up vertically with something
(Mu might be safest). That way, at least vector rails and wooden cases in some format will still work.
Honestly, I am waffling like hell. I think it's a "if you build it, they will come" scenario. 5U guys may seem intolerant of stuff like off-brand panels and non-Moog knobs, but looking around I see a couple dozen guys here who are supporting Mu and Modcan and MOTM already, so I think, if you build something enticing, orders will come, and if you can be more price-competitive while remaining rock-solid, then even more orders will come! Your modules already sound great, like what I would expect out of Bridechamber. I'm surprised there's not more support for a cheap(er) 1U sequencer! Must not be enough noobs in the house today. Have faith in that product, you seem to be a brave and ingenious designer with great associates! Just look at Wiard 300, what a foolish-seeming
And of course, don't make the PCBs incompatible if you should decide to abandon ship.
...sorry for the tldr.