the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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deke
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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by deke » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:12 pm

I used to work for a large IT company and a group tried to implement UI standards. Some were good and based on good usability, but it soon morphed into a little den of tyranny that often stifled innovative ideas.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by daphnid » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm

22tape wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:22 pm
Anyone who has run a small business knows how annoying and entitled customers are. The customer is NOT always right. In fact, they're almost always wrong.


Anyone who buys anything is entitled to have an opinion about it and discuss it. We're on a forum dedicated to discussing eurorack modules, remember. I understand there are annoying customers and clients in any business, but thinking about the people who buy modules as customers rather than users seems to rhetorically diminish the module to a product rather than a tool. If you make a tool, and "almost all" of the users you hear from are using it wrong or complaining about something, the tool probably has design problems. No one is really wrong about how they would like a creative tool to work, and saying "well, build your own module then" comes off as childish and defensive. Most of the (very talented) musicians I know do not have the required education or financial means to do such a thing. Not sure how that's not obvious to everyone. If you won't deign to consider common user suggestions about a design that is meant to be used by large number of people because of stubborn "designer intentions" then I'm sorry but you're a bad designer. Especially when many of your competitors have managed to successfully implement the very same suggestion.


There's a funny apologist nature I've noticed among the online eurorack community that I haven't quite seen anywhere else, and a kind of take it or leave it attitude from many manufacturers. No other user base of any type of technology seems to be as accepting, even downright defensive, of objectively poor design details. I get that a lot of technology needs to ship with beta firmware because companies don't have the means to do years of testing before release and there's a known risk of being an early adopter. But if that's going to be the case why wouldn't you make it so the user can easily update the thing? Thousands of users can do years worth of testing within months, and allowing them to easily update firmware iterations seems mutually beneficial. And if you bought anything other than a eurorack module and it completely fried itself because you plugged it in backwards would you be ok with that?


Not all modules with merit are paragons of design. Far from it. Eurorack is a limiting format in many ways. Most companies don't have a ton of capital to invest in R&D and user testing, and there seems to be a "size war" going on, further complicating its inherent design restraints. There are a lot of brilliant circuits out there with shitty interfaces, and there are a lot of small details that can go into a design (like many listed in the OP) that can increase user friendliness. And who doesn't want to make a user friendly module? Seems like it'd be good for business.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by windspirit » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:07 pm

Id like to put something out there about the boxed headers - one of the most "esteemed" Euro manufacturers with really high engineering standards intentionally keys their cables in the opposite direction of the unofficial standard. Not only that but a lot of people make their own IDC cables and not everyone knows how to do it right and cables get swapped between modules all the time. Id prefer the end user take the couple of extra seconds (or minutes if you unscrew the panel) to visually check which side has the red stripe and then if they make a mistake hopefully the reverse power protection will prevent any harm.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by 22tape » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:53 pm

22tape wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:22 pm
Anyone who has run a small business knows how annoying and entitled customers are. The customer is NOT always right. In fact, they're almost always wrong.
daphnid wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm
Anyone who buys anything is entitled to have an opinion about it and discuss it.
I agree. I actually wasn't talking about discussions/opinions on forums, I was talking about having a storefront and customers being confrontational.
daphnid wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm
We're on a forum dedicated to discussing eurorack modules, remember.
For sure, but I wasn't speaking specifically about Eurorack customers. I was talking about small businesses in general.
daphnid wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm
There's a funny apologist nature I've noticed among the online eurorack community that I haven't quite seen anywhere else
+1, at least from what I've seen here on Muffs.

But I'm fairly confident that there is a segment of "mainstream" Eurorack buyers who whinge at manufacturers without even reading the manual.
Last edited by 22tape on Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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daphnid
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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by daphnid » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:12 am

@22tapes sorry I wasn't trying to pick on you specifically, just using that quote as a spring board to rant :omg:

A lot of those points were referencing previous posts.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by lisa » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:26 am

daphnid wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm
If you make a tool, and "almost all" of the users you hear from are using it wrong or complaining about something, the tool probably has design problems.
Not if many of them have different complaints.

A rather common criticism is that X should have been added. This has nothing to do with design problems. It has everything to do with feature creeping, disguised as pointing out ”a missed opportunity”.
New modular track with a ton of FM cross modulation and drum synthesis. 🔥


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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by 22tape » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:41 am

daphnid wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:12 am
@22tapes sorry I wasn't trying to pick on you specifically, just using that quote as a spring board to rant :omg:

A lot of those points were referencing previous posts.
No way, I wanna :slapfight:

:hihi:

No worries!

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by daphnid » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:07 am

lisa wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:26 am
daphnid wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm
If you make a tool, and "almost all" of the users you hear from are using it wrong or complaining about something, the tool probably has design problems.
Not if many of them have different complaints.

A rather common criticism is that X should have been added. This has nothing to do with design problems. It has everything to do with feature creeping, disguised as pointing out ”a missed opportunity”.

Yeah I'm mainly referencing the OP, which are all pretty common requests/criticisms. The "worst" customers are often the loudest, but if a bunch of people are screaming for slotted mounting holes or power protection, maybe you should consider it.

Feature creep is real and can be a problem. I guess to release a competitive new module at this point you have to add features or shrink the size if you're not adding anything particularly new to or novel in terms of functionality/topology. Things like the SSF ZPO and Filter 8 are a few great examples of relatively small size and deep feature set modules that retain a tolerable level of playablility (imo) but yeah, I don't think designers should feel pressured into adding the kitchen sink just to appease demanding users.

22tape wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:41 am
daphnid wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:12 am
@22tapes sorry I wasn't trying to pick on you specifically, just using that quote as a spring board to rant :omg:

A lot of those points were referencing previous posts.
No way, I wanna :slapfight:

:lol: :help:

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by tuj » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:09 am

Lux A Turner wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:21 pm
Is it too late to veer back on topic for a moment? I'd just like to add...

THOU SHALT LABEL THINE MODULES WITH LEGIBLE FONTS.
Actually this is a really good one. I can think of one party who is *consistently* culpable of this violation (cough Tony...).

Greyscale has a business largely because of the nonsensical MN panels. I get they are trying to encourage experimentation but I would just like to know what "!!" actually does and things like that.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by Kattefjaes » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:14 am

daphnid wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:19 pm
There's a funny apologist nature I've noticed among the online eurorack community that I haven't quite seen anywhere else
Yep, about both manufacturers and dealers. People tolerate a lot of really poor service that they normally wouldn't. Being told you should be "grateful" for service so bad it actually misses minimum legal standards by a fair margin is always good times.

(Also, yes, feature creep can make things cluttered. It can also be an artform. Peoples' exhibit "A", the Disting mk.4. Gloriously overstuffed, cryptic, and positively batshit-crazy. You couldn't have too many things that dense per system or you'd lose your mind, but daaaaym.)

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by dooj88 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:46 am

peachesandbacon wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:30 am
SLOTS NOT HOLES!

Exactly this.
If I see one more hole on a Make Noise module that ends up creating a tiny gap between my modules, I'll lose it!
this is really the only one i have asked why all manufacturers dont do
mosorensen wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:28 pm
How about: "Thou module shall accept audio at 20V pp, but its output shall only be 10V pp, and it shall not clip in normal use (cough ... Three Sisters)"?
> but muh quirky nonconformism

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by aliensmoke » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:59 am

THOU SHALL NOT MOUNT DEEP PCB'S PERPENDICULAR TO THE PANEL.

How deep are we talking here? Asking for a (2HP) friend.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by moremagic » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:17 am

nobodys said anything about having the jack field at one end and the knobs at the other? am i the only one who dont like reaching through a dozen cables to reach a knob when it could be out of the way?

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by Jumbuktu » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:30 am

moremagic wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:17 am
nobodys said anything about having the jack field at one end and the knobs at the other? am i the only one who dont like reaching through a dozen cables to reach a knob when it could be out of the way?
:tu:

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by raccoonboy » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:50 am

luketeaford wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:08 am
I disagree with almost all of these, but I wouldn't buy a module that I know not to be protected against accidental patching of power and outputs to outputs etc. Even though I am careful, it is pretty easy to make mistakes (not so much connecting modules, but when patching or doing things with stackcables that would constitute patching an output to an output/using mults as a mixer however briefly. I am very uncareful when I unpatch 40-50 cables quickly.
Do you know any companies that don't protect against this?

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by luketeaford » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:50 pm

raccoonboy wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:50 am
luketeaford wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:08 am
I disagree with almost all of these, but I wouldn't buy a module that I know not to be protected against accidental patching of power and outputs to outputs etc. Even though I am careful, it is pretty easy to make mistakes (not so much connecting modules, but when patching or doing things with stackcables that would constitute patching an output to an output/using mults as a mixer however briefly. I am very uncareful when I unpatch 40-50 cables quickly.
Do you know any companies that don't protect against this?
I think the Ciat Lonbarde Plumbutter can break if some of the outputs are patched in unexpected ways, but I know it's not eurorack... and I wouldn't want to repeat that some modules aren't protected without proof-- no sense in scaring people off!

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by deke » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:55 pm

If you want to know what’s best for customers, you study what they do, you don’t just ask them. Famous quote of Steve Jobs about people not even knowing what they want until they see it. Also, there was a somewhat well known study where they measured which user interface was most efficient and usable. Then they asked users to pick which interface they preferred and only half selected the most efficient interface.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by Yes Powder » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:45 pm

The thing about the modular synth market is that even though it’s a piece of technology, at the end of the day it’s still a musical instument. And what makes for a good musical instrument doesn’t necessarily follow what makes a good piece of cutting edge computing technology.
Case in point, I really like Danelectro guitars — something that the Fender, Gibson, or PRS contingent really turns their nose up to. Why do I like them? Well, their bodies are made of masonite, and their pickup design is about as simple as physically possible, with very low output and no humbucking configurations on most models to boot. But for me, I find there’s something irresistibly charming about the way they play and sound. Others may disagree – and it’s their right to, but its limitations are what I find to be charming, and therefore inspiring.
If a module manufacturer manages to find a customer niche even though it doesn’t follow all of the Commandments, maybe there is something else intangible about the design that draws people to it.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by daphnid » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:27 pm

deke wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:55 pm
If you want to know what’s best for customers, you study what they do, you don’t just ask them. Famous quote of Steve Jobs about people not even knowing what they want until they see it. Also, there was a somewhat well known study where they measured which user interface was most efficient and usable. Then they asked users to pick which interface they preferred and only half selected the most efficient interface.
In the case of the OP though the customer has seen it, and knows what they prefer. It may not be a 100% consensus but most of them are hard to argue with. Like who doesn't want a good manual? Who doesn't want power protection? Who doesn't want a module that's easier to mount? Who doesn't want a module that's easy to update?

Also, if some interface is more measurably efficient or "usable" (vague term that's hard to quantitatively test for) it doesn't mean it's intuitive or inviting. Engineers are bred to think in terms of efficiency, which doesn't always make for a great interface. That's why we now have so many UI/UX designers in computing and technology. Typing commands into a CLI shell is (mostly) way more efficient than rooting through folders, opening programs, and clicking on tabs to find whatever function you need, but it's way less intuitive as a beginner or if you don't have all the commands memorized.

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Re: the Eurorack manufacturer COMMANDMENTS

Post by ersatzplanet » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:20 am

These are like the other famous "commandments" in that some of them will always be broken when it is convenient to do so.
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