Serge Business Model

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

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chrisso
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Post by chrisso » Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:53 pm

Really?
You can put an NTO next to two PCO's in a M-odule, or you can put an NTO next to a Filter or Wave Multiplier in a custom panel (of old), but if you wanted to offer individual NTO's and PCO's in the same way someone like Mark Verbos can offer a standalone 258, you need to re-engineer the entire system?

And yes, I know it's a dead debate, I just haven't thought about it for a while and the way Buchla kind of reinvented itself with the 200e, or even Oberheim with the new SEM, made me wonder why STS had pretty much stuck with the same business model all these years.

Of course I know the answer too.... it's because Rex wants it that way.
My feeling is that a lot more people would be discovering the best of Serge if it wasn't that way however.

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Post by aetherpulse » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:10 pm

Chrisso wrote:
And yes, I know it's a dead debate, I just haven't thought about it for a while and the way Buchla kind of reinvented itself with the 200e, or even Oberheim with the new SEM, made me wonder why STS had pretty much stuck with the same business model all these years.


I think they may have stuck with the same business model all these years because it's worked all these years.

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Post by chrisso » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:15 pm

As the business model is the domain of a private individual, we'll never know what might have been.

I think my point on that would be, making and selling fewer Serge panels because people can't or wont pay the entry price doesn't make the Serge system a better system (by dint of exclusivity), it just makes it a less used, or less popular system.

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aetherpulse
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Post by aetherpulse » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:27 pm

Couldn't the same argument be made about Buchla not using volt/octave for it's vco's?

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Post by bartlebooth » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:37 pm

chrisso
I think my point on that would be, making and selling fewer Serge panels because people can't or wont pay the entry price doesn't make the Serge system a better system (by dint of exclusivity)..
No one is saying that it does.

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Post by chrisso » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:42 pm

I guess this is what made me say that:
panda30y wrote:When I told Rex I spent 40 minutes trying to find his phone number he said he was happy to hear that. That's sortof the market that Rex is after, and he's doing well from what I understand.
Incidentally no fault of panda30y who was just reporting the conversation.
Why would you make it harder for people to buy your product?
One legitimate reason would be that you are already making as many of the product as you can (logistically).

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Post by chrisso » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:53 pm

aetherpulse wrote:Couldn't the same argument be made about Buchla not using volt/octave for it's vco's?
Interesting point.
There are solutions to that of course.

As I said, I think Buchla and serge both live at the esoteric, expensive end of the market.
The obvious difference is that recently Buchla redesigned the old 200 system into the 200e, built an informative website and attends trade fairs. Buyers can start with a two module powered boat (@ $300) and there are seven modules priced at $1000 or less, not counting the clones. Individual 200e modules are already being swapped and sold on forums, and you can even return them 'Modules (in perfect condition, and in current production) may be traded in on other modules at any time and with no restocking charge. So try them out - if you don't like it, trade it in.'

What is STS doing better?

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bartlebooth
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Post by bartlebooth » Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:54 pm

I guess this is what made me say that:
panda30y wrote:
When I told Rex I spent 40 minutes trying to find his phone number he said he was happy to hear that...
yeah, I can see why you thought that but I'll bet Rex was just yanking his chain a little bit. :hobbes:

(sorry, I couldn't resist the hobbes emoticon).

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panda30y
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Post by panda30y » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:02 am

Well Rex justified it along the lines of "I know only people who are really serious actually contact me." Perhaps I should've included that. :hmm:

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Post by suitandtieguy » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:07 am

something i'd like to point out is that while it's very easy to observe the way Rex is doing things and come up with ways we think would work better, there is no denying the fact that if you buy an STS system in 2009 it is pretty much going to be identical to what you would have bought in 1982.

that means a lot. i think it's something people should cherish and engage as long as it lasts.

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Post by 2012 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:08 am

chrisso wrote:Really?
You can put an NTO next to two PCO's in a M-odule, or you can put an NTO next to a Filter or Wave Multiplier in a custom panel (of old), but if you wanted to offer individual NTO's and PCO's in the same way someone like Mark Verbos can offer a standalone 258, you need to re-engineer the entire system?
.
not realy ,mabe just the NTO,its 2 pcbs, most single sided but they r very dence,but a dence double side re-design would made the pcb more compact,btw u just have to add the NTO add on board to any PCO to morph it into NTO

u could only take the NTO wavemorph part yes,thats only 2 ic's in fact..

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Post by chrisso » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:25 am

suitandtieguy wrote: if you buy an STS system in 2009 it is pretty much going to be identical to what you would have bought in 1982.
In 1982 it was cheaper and was built to customer module choice.

Also, I've seen a lot of die hard Buchla owners saying they think many 200e modules are an improvement on the similar 200 series model.

Anyway, it's just a talking point. Not to be taken too seriously.
I'm not about to change Rex's business plan, nor am I about to buy any more Serge.

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smitty
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Post by smitty » Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:45 am

Can we change this thread to "I don't like Rex's business model". :cry: :cry: :cry:

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Post by b3nsf » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:32 am

when I was ordering my M-panels, I also asked for custom modules and extra features.... Rex patiently answered why this isn't feasable...

1. module selection balance
2. promptness and quality at decent price

It's for our own good... our smart buys are probably sonically weak:
lets say you want a best of serge m-panel with a PCO, wave mult, VCF Q filter and a ÷N and all for 1500$

the problem with this is that your going all meat and no potatoes... This setup is what your brain tells you is important and your overlooking the subtle beauty that lies in a well balance patch. If you patched those 4 things together you'd get one "sound" with no complex modulation or dynamics. It's not enough supporting blocks to achieve what you really want..

By putting the NTO and PCO together with the ÷N, and the mix pro, you have two oscilators a sub-oscilator and a way to mix them together normal or subtractive... Or this could be setup up for feedback, or timing clocks
that are related to each other in cool ways...

Rex uses a massive spreadsheet with just about every amazing patch ever made tested for what modules are used most.. This is how he paired up the M-series...

flash forward to the wave proc M-odule and Quad slopes: what is waste here?

The ring mod is also a really nice VCA, one that has two voltage control inputs and two knobs to scale the controls plus the signal input... that's tons of control for a VCA and it sounds great for this and ring mod..

This ring mod in VCA mode enables the mixer block to function as a feedback loop, the feedback never materializes if patched without the vca...

having two DSG's and scaling buffers together is so planned out, you can literally smell the bone soup being brewed by the monkeys in the forest.

patch all four SG's in loop to oscillate, then cross mod two of them using the variable VC in's, now cross mod the other two with the first two, now scale buffer one then go into the 1/volt in on another, repeat for the other... sooo much shit going on at this point and its all variable! now change all the knob positions, flip some switches!! you are now clinically insane!!!

Now what's wasted and what's calculated I ask you?



The time it takes to complete an order is why things are streamlined the way they are at STS... I got my TKB drop-shipped from portland oregon by Nick "TKB Master" Liebrecht, the package arrived 13 days from the day I phoned Rex.... and he was in the middle of moving. not bad at all! :hail:
its like saying you experience michaelangelo because there is a picture on your happy meal
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Last time I checked there was nothing Vanilla about old Chi- Acid....that shit's Chocolate as it gets.
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Post by chrisso » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:55 am

b3nsf wrote: It's for our own good... our smart buys are probably sonically weak:
That's nice.
Suddenly the guy who sells us the synth knows best how we make our music.
Sorry I don't buy that, and neither do the other modular companies who do let the customer choose.

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NV
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Post by NV » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:55 am

b3nsf wrote:Now what's wasted and what's calculated I ask you?
I thik if you are starting from scratch it is very difficult to have wasted space in a smaller Serge system. However, let's say you already own several M-Class panels, or you already have a modular of another format and wish to augment it with Serge panels. As mentioned earlier, if you already own a Wilson Analog Delay M-Class and decide you want to add a Frequency Shifter, well you'll have to pay for another $1,350 delay whether you want it or not. If you sell the Wilson panel then you've lost out on a mixer and a DSG. I'll spare the rundown, but there are a number of examples that could end up yielding some frustration as a system grows.

Ultimately beyond everyone's points, I think the end result comes down to this:
chrisso wrote:Of course I know the answer too.... it's because Rex wants it that way.
Rex runs things a little oddly, and that is of course his choice as owner. Realistically the M-Class series is probably the closest to a "true" modular approach that STS will provide. But I think it is very difficult for people to honestly deny that they would find it useful to be able to add a delay to their setup without $1,000 of other things they may already have, or a single ADSR without $1,100 of additional control options.

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Post by chrisso » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:09 am

Of course I agree.
That's how this topic came to mind.
If you are like me and own several different banana based systems, being able to add the best of Serge has real appeal. The fact you have to conform to someone else's configuration kills that idea stone dead.

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Post by confusional » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:33 am

Redacted.
Last edited by confusional on Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kirk Degiorgio
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Post by Kirk Degiorgio » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:40 am

are there going to be more M-panels than the current choice? There are currently no panels offering the very useful CVI CV Interface (for hooking up other modulars and MIDI-CV converters with good visual feedback).

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Post by panda30y » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:08 am

Kirk Degiorgio wrote:are there going to be more M-panels than the current choice? There are currently no panels offering the very useful CVI CV Interface (for hooking up other modulars and MIDI-CV converters with good visual feedback).


Yes, I know Rex has said there are quite a few more M-Class panels to be released.

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Post by BananaPlug » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:26 am

bradleyallen wrote:...man up and contact that person directly... or simply move on and give your custom to someone else.
Because I have some panels from the 80s and 90s, custom work is no longer offered, and M involves duplicating things I have, my system's been expanding in the Modcan direction. I'm tempted to make DIY panels for my Serge in order to pare it down to something a bit more focused but that raises all kinds of questions.

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Post by b3nsf » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:49 am

what is wrong with some duplication?

what you end up with is enough balance between the core elements and the supporting ones....

you can always use more DSG's (TGO SSG DTG) because they can be used in like 10 different ways....

If you broke apart to the cellular level some of the other manufacturers modules, you'd see duplications also... but with them all pre-configured for only one function, and your happy about that??? :doh:
its like saying you experience michaelangelo because there is a picture on your happy meal
--shreddoggie
Last time I checked there was nothing Vanilla about old Chi- Acid....that shit's Chocolate as it gets.
--Kendall Station

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NV
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Post by NV » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:38 am

b3nsf wrote:what is wrong with some duplication?

what you end up with is enough balance between the core elements and the supporting ones....

you can always use more DSG's (TGO SSG DTG) because they can be used in like 10 different ways....

If you broke apart to the cellular level some of the other manufacturers modules, you'd see duplications also... but with them all pre-configured for only one function, and your happy about that??? :doh:
I'm not sure what other modules you may be referring to, but a built-in ringmod in an oscillator or built-in comparator in an envelope isn't the same as a quantizer with a built-in VC Timegen Clock, /N Comp, and two ASRs. Breaking something down to the cellular level isn't a functional approach to the issue.

Besides that point, there are some functions that some people simply do not use enough to warrant having two. Some people want 6 mixers in their system, others only need one. Some people want all the filters they can afford, others prefer two or three. It's easy to say that duplication isn't an issue in a smaller system which could use two of everything it has, but as systems get larger you find that another smooth/stepped generator or clock may just be adding clutter rather than increasing functionality depending upon your use of the system, and some people would much rather that space be devoted to something of which they don't already have several iterations.

It's just a difference in modular approaches, and I can respect that. I can understand STS and your appreciation of the preordained system approach, and I can understand that for others it doesn't quite fit into the scheme of things in the same way a less structured approach might.

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Post by b3nsf » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:09 pm

Just curious:

What would you want in a M-sized module?

If I could have any combo it would be:

Pre-amp detector, mix pro, ÷N, Q VCF, and frequency shifter

I figure you could input a guitar and start melting peoples faces immediately!!
:bananaguitar: :deadbanana: :deadbanana: :deadbanana:
its like saying you experience michaelangelo because there is a picture on your happy meal
--shreddoggie
Last time I checked there was nothing Vanilla about old Chi- Acid....that shit's Chocolate as it gets.
--Kendall Station

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Post by HexEnduction » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:13 pm

I hate the fact that when I go to In n' Out they won't sell me a pizza. They need to seriously reconsider their business model. :razz:

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