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How is COTK?
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Author How is COTK?
Synthoholic
I tried searching for a review before posting this. Is it pretty safe to order from COTK if you live in the USA? I have heard of long delays. Can anyone comment on the current state of the company?

All that I can say about their customer service is that he did answer my email when i asked him a tech question.

Im considering their Fixed Filter Bank over the dotcom FFB. Im also considering their trigger delay, I just want to be sure that noone is having problems getting what they order.
sandyb
read this thread - should help.

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25745
JohnLRice
There are a lot of discussion around about how COTK is to order from but most of them are buried in threads with titles refering to product announcements or people (like me! Mr. Green ) showing off when I get a new module! Since this thread is specifically asking about the COTK ordering experience, I'll compile all of my relevant data here.

Please note that these are my personal experiences with Club Of The Knobs. Your own milage may vary! 8_)


Off the top of my head impressions:

Request to order: Excellent (often same day and less than a week)

Getting Invoiced: Excellent to Frustrating (less than a week to almost never? While I have been invoiced within days of placing an order, often there is a month to several month wait and one time after many months of waiting when I inquired about an order I was told they thought I had lost interest and sold the modles to someone else! I'm not sure but this could have been a communications problem on my end since I was running fairly agressive spam filtering at the time. They made me some more modules though so I still got what I had ordered!)

Request For Status Updates: Excellent to Frustrating (less than a week to never? It seems that the first time I've asked for an update on when an order is going to be ready or if it has shipped I get a quick response but if i ask the same question again I'll sometimes either get a response or that particular email goes unaswered. I get the impression that if they are waiting on parts to complete an order and have told you so once or they shipped your box and have told you so once, they don't like to take the time to answer the same question again with the same answer. This is all just my assumption but it seems if they don't have anything new to tell you, they don't bother responding.)

Time To Receive Order After Payment: Excellent to Reasonable (less than three weeks to maybe as much as 6 weeks. People should keep in mind that shipments to me are being sent from Portugal to the Northwest United States and usually sent via standard postal service etc.)

Request for technical support: Excellent (often same day and less than a week. If I've had any questions on modules I've purchased new or used or don't own yet I've always gotten a quick responce)


Just the facts:

C1670 Ensemble Generator
Ordered on December 17th 2008
Invoiced and Paid for on December 22nd 2008
Received on January 8th 2009

Shipping Charge for C1670: 25 Euro



C915 Glissando
Ordered on August 4th 2009
Invoiced and Paid for on February 25th 2010
Received on March 3rd 2010

C961S Gate Sequencer
Ordered on August 15th 2009
Invoiced and Paid for on February 25th 2010
Received on March 3rd 2010

Shipping Charge for C915 and C961S: 35 Euro



C1660 Phase Processor
Ordered on September 6th 2009
Invoiced and Paid for on June 6th
Received on July 9th 2010

C964 Ratchet Sequencer
Ordered on February 20th 2010
Invoiced and Paid for on June 6th
Received on July 9th 2010

C911A Dual Trigger Delay
Ordered on April 9th, 2010
Invoiced and Paid for on June 6th
Received on July 9th 2010

Shipping Charge for C1660, C964 and C911A : 36 Euro




C1650 Extended Rhythm Controller
Ordered on August 21st, 2010
Waiting to be invoiced . . .
Shipping Charge for C1650: ?? Euro



C951 Arpeggiator
Ordered January 25, 2011
Invoiced and Paid for on June 27th 2011
Received on July 6th 2011

C1680 Delay
Returned for repair March 7th, 2011
Invoiced and Paid for on June 27th 2011
Received on July 6th 2011

Shipping Charge for C951 and C1680: 30 Euro
Synthoholic
Thanks, Guys.

Well, looks like Im going to take the dotcom FFB off my list.

What about quality compared to the dotcom stuff? THe only thing that I can compare my q119 to is the 921a Moog module I had, and the Moog stuff I own. I felt like I almost accidentally pushed an LED out of the panel when I was installing my q119. THe dotcom module feels pretty fragle compared to the Foogers. Is the COTK stuff built a little more durable?

The Dotcom FFB with the outputs takes up 5 spaces and is more expensive than the COTK FFB with outputs. Anyone ever compare the sound of both vs the quality?


Thanks again!
bwhittington
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5858
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18572

Synthoholic wrote:
The Dotcom FFB with the outputs takes up 5 spaces and is more expensive than the COTK FFB with outputs. Anyone ever compare the sound of both vs the quality?


hmmm.....

At current exchange rates, the COTK FFB is about $100 more than the Dotcom FFB set, not including shipping (another $50-75?).

As to quality, the Dotcom stuff works and they have an unassailable service record, though the number one complaint about their FFB is its attenuated outputs. COTK . . . personally, I wouldn't recommend anything too complicated that might rely on careful calibration (Ensemble Generator, Frequency Shifter), but his more basic stuff seems to be fine.

Cheers,
Brian
wutierson
My experience is not as good as I expected, basically with how professional he seems. I thinks that the ordered product, a 921 oscillator, was good as I expected, but the order process wasn't good as desirable.

First only 1 email was replied, the no response from him.. eek!

Months later I try again:
The replies were short, and no intention to comment more than the exact what I ask, so I must ask for all details every mail, to be sure that his business and his products are ok, an no problem will appears with my buy.
Finally he send me the paypal request, I paid, and the oscillator arrives safely by postal service to Spain (we're neighbor countries)

A months later I was trying to order the FFB and the Voice Coding Processor, but the communication was very slow, only few words from him, and the last email he never replied me.
I felt bored at the end! Dead Banana
I felt no professional style, like he doesn't interest in it. So strange.

It's my experience only, I don't know if he did the same with other buyers.

Sad, because the stuff looks good.
drewtoothpaste
I have never gotten an email response from COTK, so I've never purchased anything from them/him. It's not a company if he can't be bothered to sell anything to customers.

I've received prompt responses from any email I've sent to Paul@MOTM and Roger/Margo@synthesizers.com, but they run actual companies with products that aren't imaginary.

Admittedly I will not enter into a business relationship if the first step involves begging the other party to take my money.
wutierson
One day during a conversation with a synth manufacturer, I comment my experience with COTK and he said that he still doesn't know why people still interested in his products, not by the build quality, but by the business experience, contact, information... like it finally occurs in my case.

Maybe some other people have a great experience with COTK, but it's not my case, even the COTK modules looks great.

If anyone have the key to save the communication problems... only he knows.
essex sound lab
My situation is pretty well documented, so I'll just summarize it quickly.

- Checked that the modules I wanted were in inventory and asked for approximate ship date. Prompt, friendly reply and link to a video of his stuff. Indicated 2 weeks for delivery.

- Invoice was late coming, had to ask for it a couple of times. Delivery date pushed out to 3 weeks from invoice date.

- Paid up front, as he requested, since items were indicated to be in stock.

- Took a few months to actually receive the items, during which I experienced weeks worth of unreturned emails, "will ship this week" promises, etc.

- Modules arrived with the wrong power connectors (I'd specified, and he had confirmed, Dotcom power connectors).

- Promptly shipped an adapter board...received it about a week later.

A nightmare? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Several months to receive items I'd paid for up front due to being "in stock" and exceedinly poor communication isn't something I enjoy. And while he somewhat resolved having sent modules with the wrong power connectors, I'm now restricted to placing them in the same cabinet regardless of their function. As a result I don't typically use two of them.

Given the other choices out there, I'd prefer not to deal with the guy. I just don't need the heartburn.

I'm sure I'll now get the hate mails that I receive when I talk about this, saying that "lots" of people are sick of hearing my "negativity". seriously, i just don't get it
Ranxerox
My experiences with COTK have been similar to John L Rices'.

My first order was for two reversible mixers - that one went OK. I currently have an outstanding order for a C961S and a noise generator - I was told the invoice would probably come in October, but no dice. No response to follow-up emails from me (yet). Still, I haven't handed over any money, so there's no risk to me.

Still, Kazike isn't scammy, and his products are excellent. His comms is extremely flakey - that's a deal-breaker for some people. The price of standing on principle regarding a-grade service is that sometimes you miss out.

On the other hand, I'm not an impatient sort of person, and my modular has come together piecemeal over a period of many months so I'm content enough to wait.
bwhittington
Ranxerox wrote:
Still, Kazike isn't scammy, and his products are excellent. His comms is extremely flakey - that's a deal-breaker for some people. The price of standing on principle regarding a-grade service is that sometimes you miss out.


I agree that with your observation on flaky vs. scammy, which is an important distinction. The catch for me is service. It's not like the COTK modules out in the filed have all been problem free, and moments like Kazike's handling of Alastair's Ensemble Generator issue raised my eyebrows at the thought of shipping cost alone.

My thought there is to personally stay away from some of the more complicated modules. Of course, as I timidly consider placing an order with COTK yet again, I've also considered scheduling a spring trip to Lisbon and telling Kazike that I will purchase anything on my list in person at that time that he has in stock. But I think Lisbon is lovely in the late spring and happen to have frequent flier miles to burn, so that probably isn't everybody's solution, "win-win" as it might be.

Cheers,
Brian
bwhittington
essex sound lab wrote:
I'm sure I'll now get the hate mails that I receive when I talk about this, saying that "lots" of people are sick of hearing my "negativity". seriously, i just don't get it


Seriously? sad banana
essex sound lab
bwhittington wrote:
essex sound lab wrote:
I'm sure I'll now get the hate mails that I receive when I talk about this, saying that "lots" of people are sick of hearing my "negativity". seriously, i just don't get it


Seriously? sad banana


Yeah.
JohnLRice
essex sound lab wrote:
bwhittington wrote:
essex sound lab wrote:
I'm sure I'll now get the hate mails that I receive when I talk about this, saying that "lots" of people are sick of hearing my "negativity". seriously, i just don't get it


Seriously? sad banana


Yeah.


I don't see why, seems that you laid out your experiences and feelings fairly and honestly, nothing to hate about that! Hug
Ranxerox
essex sound lab - I don't see a reason for you to be concerned, after all you are relating your experiences regarding COTK in a thread asking people to relate their experiences regarding COTK.

I have in the past gotten cheesed off with certain people giving unsolicited - and in my experience unwarranted - advice to swear off certain manufacturers entirely, in threads that are innocently enquiring about this or that module.

None of us want to see these sorts of threads devolve into tedious Mac vs. PC-style slanging matches.

So lets assume that if the OP is asking for personal experiences with a given manufacturer, then its fair game for us to all air our grievances? But in any other context it's more akin to defamation, and should be discouraged?
bwhittington
Ranxerox wrote:
So lets assume that if the OP is asking for personal experiences with a given manufacturer, then its fair game for us to all air our grievances? But in any other context it's more akin to defamation of character, and should be discouraged?


Defamation of character, in a legal sense, requires the statement to be false, so I disagree that sharing one's personal experiences in any context constitutes defamation.

I don't have any problem with you sending hate mail to discourage whatever it is you personally don't like, but I don't agree with you in terms of making that the accepted etiquette.

Cheers,
Brian
Ranxerox
Bwhittington - I've never sent hate mail to anyone, so I don't know what you're on about.

I have modified my post to state 'defamation', which I believe is a more suitable description. Are you a lawyer in your spare time, by any chance?
Ranxerox
Actually, forget defamation / libel / slander or whatever.

If you are content to be the sort of person that takes every opportunity to relate your negative experiences in relation to a manufacturer, regardless of the context, or whether you are asked for it, then there is a better word to describe you - a whiner.
bwhittington
Then I suppose I should restate my remark by saying that defamation, in a legal sense, requires the statement to be false. One does not need to practice law to understand legal concepts, but, yes, law is an interest of mine.

On "hate mail," I only meant that in a general sense I support your right to express your views publicly/privately, politely or not. But as I have clarified my opinion and this is a topic I care very little about, I'm going to withdraw myself from this discussion, as I'm kind of seeing the way it's sliding.

No disrespect intended, just stating my view.

Cheers,
Brian
Synthoholic
Let me clarify:
My email experience was with MOS-LAB...sorry for the confusion there (my confusion their modules look so similar).

I also stupidly didn't consider the exchange rate (GO DOLLAR!)

And wow shipping...heh isn't worth it. By the time you order several things youve bought your ticket to Lisbon in shipping.

Thanks everyone for your experiences.
JohnLRice
Synthoholic wrote:
And wow shipping...heh isn't worth it. By the time you order several things youve bought your ticket to Lisbon in shipping.
From my experience shipping charges have been very reasonable! 8_) I updated my list to show what I was billed for shipping for the three different packages I've received from COTK. The total in US$ is less than $150.

If someone knows where I can get a (safe) roundtrip flight from Seattle WA USA to Lisbon Portugal for only $150, I may just have to go visit Kazike for a nice lunch! . . . and maybe travel to France to meet Seb at Mos-Lab and then up to Germany to visit with Gert at Moon! hyper That would be a sweet vacation, a European tour of 5U modular synth manufacturers! applause
nerdware
Trans-atlantic shipping is expensive, whichever direction it goes. In my case, it's been US->UK. If/when I order from COTK/MOSLAB/Moon, I'd expect the shipping to be significantly smaller than when I order from the US, as it should be by land only instead of air and land. There may also be advantages to ordering within the EU. My orders from the US have entailed an additional 2 week delay in customs.

Shipping within the UK is barely worth counting, either in cost or time. hihi
Nicholas Neal
Any new updates on COTK service. I am probably going to go with 5U but I have yet to order anything. It seems that the eurorack stuff is so much cheaper, but man I can't help but drool over the 5U modules. From what I've heard of both the 5U seems much more robust, maybe its just the different styles when it comes to the people that get either format but I can't peel my ears from the 5U. I just need to do a blind hear test.

So MOS LAB, COTK, and MOON all seem really freakin nice, but is it worth the extra mile?

I really want some COTK, am I being foolish here?
whitewulfe
Nicholas Neal wrote:
Any new updates on COTK service. I am probably going to go with 5U but I have yet to order anything. It seems that the eurorack stuff is so much cheaper, but man I can't help but drool over the 5U modules. From what I've heard of both the 5U seems much more robust, maybe its just the different styles when it comes to the people that get either format but I can't peel my ears from the 5U. I just need to do a blind hear test.

So MOS LAB, COTK, and MOON all seem really freakin nice, but is it worth the extra mile?

I really want some COTK, am I being foolish here?


Pricing varies wildly between manufacturers in both eurorack and the two main 5U formats (MOTM and MU). One could easily say that Eurorack is more expensive than MU by comparing Cwejman to dotcom, or the other way around by comparing Doepfer with Moon's sexy sequencing gear. From what I've noticed, utilitarian or bread&butter items tend to be priced similarly in either format.

As for which one is more robust, once again such is dependent on manufacturer. My only experience so far is with dotcom products, so I'm not really able to comment on such, but in general, it seems most companies produce products that are generally reliable so long as you don't try and use them in the dishwasher or in a burning inferno.

The main difference is size, and availability of modules. There is no denying as to just how many different modules are available in the eurorack format (especially insane, digital, let's totally fuck shit up stuff), however there is still a decent variety within MOTM as well as MU. As for size, in the same amount of space one can fit two rows of MU fitted into racks (a total of 16 MU), one can fit three 84HP rows (252HP total). How many modules you could fit into the eurorack setup would differ depending on the manufacturers used, but it is likely that more modules could be fitted into the same amount of space taken up on one's desk.

There comes a downsize to the compactness of eurorack, at least for some people. A number of manufacturers have tried to cram as much as they can into the tiniest space possible, and this has the possibility of leading to cramped spaghetti mess of cables when in use, not to mention the fact that a number of controls tend to be sandwiched closer together, so adjust one control has the possibility of adjusting another whether you want it to or not.

In short, I wouldn't consider it foolish to go with COTK if that's one wants, but I would recommend picking up several basics from dotcom first so at least one's modular is capable of making sounds. There are a few items I would love to pick up from COTK myself, but I want to get a few more bread and butter items before going for more of the exotic stuff.
Firechild
I will add some more input later,but my first impressions...
I ordered my COTK system in January or so but wanted delivery in late June and it arrived in late August so not that bad, two months late, no problem we are talking boutique stuff here grin

However soundwise I would say it is is one of the best I have heard. Maybe the best, very impressed actually. The sound reminds me VERY much of my ARP2600 with moogfilter actually, which is a great thing.
The snappiness of the envelopes and VCA´s, the warmth and "fatness" in the oscillators...wow. Filters great.
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