other Solaris hardware ideas

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John Bowen
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other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:23 pm

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to do a sort of 'marketing survey’ here, since I don’t have gobs of money to hire out a research firm (or whatever bigger companies do).

I’d like to find out what level of interest there would be in the following additional Solaris products:

1) A keyboard less “expander” type, a la the Oberheim Expander. Complete front panel with all displays, but probably without wheels, joystick, ribbon, and obviously, keyboard.

2) A small 1 u rack idea, with no front panel at all - just power On/Off, Volume control. Would need a decent software editor.

3) A 1 or 2 unit rack with a small display on it, possibly with a keypad as well.

4) A tabletop style with only 1 graphics display on it, and only the 10 knobs below that display for editing.


Obviously, pricing for each of these would probably be the first thing people would ask. This depends on how many I would need to build of each to satisfy the interest.

So, please fell free to post your responses here - include the price you think you’d pay for the unit as well, and let’s see what the general mood of the Solaris community would like to see most!

Cheers,
John Bowen

Octupole
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Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:47 am

Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by Octupole » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:26 am

Hello John,

this is a great thread. While our beloved Solaris is being brought to perfection by the joint efforts of Jim and you, you are looking further into the future. Great :-)

Here are my personal thoughts about your proposals.

Options 1 and 4 would probably have non-Solaris owners as target audience. Full (or slightly reduced) comfort of the great user interface without keyboard at a (probably reduced price) yould be interesting for a good part of the Synth community.

Options 2 and 3 would probably target current Solaris owners looking for an extension of their Solaris (like me). Option 2 would be along the lines of the former Waldorf WaveSlave, which was (to my knowledge) a mere voice expansion to the Waldorf MicroWave (1). Option 3 would probably offer a bit more comfort due to the display.

Option 2 would be interesting for me, if MIDI multi mode would be implemented, and if the unit could not only be controlled by a decent software editor, but also by a "standard" Solaris acting as "master". (I am aware of the fact that the implementation of Multi-Mode is not at all trivial.) Plugging a Solaris "slave" as voice expansion to my "main" Solaris, while controlling everything via the main unit, would be really really cool. I would be willing to pay 1500 US$ for a 1 u ten voice expansion, and 500 US$ for each ten voices more - i.e. 2500 US$ for a voice expander with 30 voices and full Multi Mode, being controlled by a Solaris master ... just dreaming ... :-)

Just my two Rappen.

Best regards, Manfred

John Bowen
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:17 pm

Octupole wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:26 am
Option 2 would be interesting for me, if MIDI multi mode would be implemented, and if the unit could not only be controlled by a decent software editor, but also by a "standard" Solaris acting as "master". (I am aware of the fact that the implementation of Multi-Mode is not at all trivial.) Plugging a Solaris "slave" as voice expansion to my "main" Solaris, while controlling everything via the main unit, would be really really cool. I would be willing to pay 1500 US$ for a 1 u ten voice expansion, and 500 US$ for each ten voices more - i.e. 2500 US$ for a voice expander with 30 voices and full Multi Mode, being controlled by a Solaris master ... just dreaming ... :-)
Except for the MultiMode function, what you describe is already happening now - I have a Solaris keyboard running a prototype 1u rack Solaris in this fashion. MultiMode will require quite a lot of work, as it adds a new object type with its own set of parameters and so on.

-john b.

kristijanf
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by kristijanf » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:09 pm

I would avoid 1u option with editor due to constant daw development.

one screen desktop version would be my prefered option with somewhat limited possibilities,
filter section knobs, envelope knobs and waveform knobs.
so, unit based more on presets ready for some tweaking than complete programming synth.

I am a composer, not a programmer, so i get idea with good patches, which i edit.
Programming takes too too much time for me.

Additionally, if even possible, instead joystick on the rack, maybe very small x-y screen like on Roland V-synth??

david
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by david » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:43 am

John - great hardware ideas:

However, I think you should also consider ongoing software development as a product source for you.

There are so many happy owners, and I think we would pay to fund ongoing programming upgrades. It would be great if you raised some capital to keep taking software development forward to OS to 2.0 and beyond!

Multi-sample objects
Easy sample loading (perhaps via a vst editor)
Midi-Control mode: Using knobs for midi-cc
Programming display board for modern LCD/OLED upgrade :)

Would new hardware design take resources away from software development?

If so, is the current Solaris exactly where you want it to be?

kristijanf
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by kristijanf » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:56 am

I generally think Solaris is sonically more powerful machine than P06, so for desktop version of Solaris, i would give slightly more than for P06.

david
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by david » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:46 am

John,

Regarding the hardware choice:

Option 1 is clearly the answer:

The UI of the Solaris is a big part of its magic. Taking away knobs and screens is not the right plan.

Also, do you really want to spend all that time re-designing the hardware interface to work with just a few knobs?

That doesn't sound fun. Pull off the keyboard and call it a day. Solaris Xpander.

If it doesn't have the (epic) hardware control interface, the Gearslutz crowd will likely also "cry VST" Keep the knobs and screens, you designed one the best hardware interfaces of all time, keep it.

Once again, adding to existing Solaris, software updates, hardware board updates (analog filter expansion! just kidding. not kidding? :)) is a good thing to do. Keep building for and selling to existing Solaris owners!!!

Also, regarding option 4, I can see a "cut down" version of the hardware maybe at some point, obviously a lower end of the market, blofeld type product. But then with a "cut down" option 4 you have more (and different type of) buyers, lower price point, more aftermarket support, etc.

cgoodhines
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by cgoodhines » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:15 am

Ditto. I loved my Xpander back in the day. I MIDI'd it to my Matrix 12 and it was like no other.
The Solaris would look good in this 'cabinet'. Especially in White!
It in a way, resembles the Xpander with the LCD layout.

John Bowen
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:01 am

david wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:46 am
John,

Regarding the hardware choice:

....If it doesn't have the (epic) hardware control interface, the Gearslutz crowd will likely also "cry VST"
indeed :-)

John Bowen
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:07 am

Seems like there’s only 4 of you reading this topic! That’s a little disappointing after 2 weeks. Anyone else have an opinion??

david
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by david » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:20 am

John Bowen wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:07 am
Seems like there’s only 4 of you reading this topic! That’s a little disappointing after 2 weeks. Anyone else have an opinion??
Perhaps owners don't regularly check this forum, but I'm sure they will want to help . So..Three options:

1) Send an email or survey out to all Solaris owners. You will get alot more feedback. An annual Solaris owner survey is an idea.

2) Post the question on Gearslutz/Muffwiggler (and hold your breath). You'll get good feedback for sure, prob not all of it positive :mrgreen:

3) A regular email update newsletter to all owners, with latest forum posts.

synthwalker
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by synthwalker » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:36 am

As far as Solaris is already a kind of investment, I would only go for a blackbox -10/20 voice expander driven from Solaris front panel in Sysex with Midi overflow. It would be a waste of money (and maybe long-term maintenance) to have 6 more screens and 42 more encoders. Because I'm already a Solaris (very happy) owner, what I need is more polyphony and more multi chanels (I want to use those 8 outputs).
I guess that for none Solaris owners, the other options could be interesting, especially the Xpander-like one.
I don't like the idea of a VST plug-out driven from software, unless this could work as described in my point #1.

So my Solarex would have the audio board with 10 voices, all inputs/outputs, Midi, USB, CF, power in/out (to share the Solaris PSU if possible) and basta... no KB, screen, wheels, joystick, ribbon, push-buttons, encoder (ok for a volume pot and why not a Midi activity LED). Option for adding a second voice/input/output board in the box.

John Bowen
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:56 am

synthwalker wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:36 am
As far as Solaris is already a kind of investment, I would only go for a blackbox -10/20 voice expander driven from Solaris front panel in Sysex with Midi overflow. It would be a waste of money (and maybe long-term maintenance) to have 6 more screens and 42 more encoders. Because I'm already a Solaris (very happy) owner, what I need is more polyphony and more multi chanels (I want to use those 8 outputs).
I guess that for none Solaris owners, the other options could be interesting, especially the Xpander-like one.
I don't like the idea of a VST plug-out driven from software, unless this could work as described in my point #1.

So my Solarex would have the audio board with 10 voices, all inputs/outputs, Midi, USB, CF, power in/out (to share the Solaris PSU if possible) and basta... no KB, screen, wheels, joystick, ribbon, push-buttons, encoder (ok for a volume pot and why not a Midi activity LED). Option for adding a second voice/input/output board in the box.
Well, this is pretty much what the prototype 1u rack is, exactly. You have the separate outputs from there, so you don’t get voices out of the same main keyboard, of course - you just have to mix them externally, like with all other separate hardware. We thought to make this product some years ago, but there’s really been no demand at all, not to mention that we didn’t have SysEx fully functioning :-)

So, what price would you expect for this, Eric?

jb

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