Interest for a SOLARIS desktop version ?

Discuss John Bowen Synths - Solaris

Would you be intersted in a desktop version of the Solaris for 60% of the keyboard price

Yes
29
60%
No
19
40%
How many unit would I be able to put on the top the keyboard version ;)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 48

Tiitu
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Post by Tiitu » Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:18 pm

Definitely yes - as an Expander. But, you cannot actually say definitely no for either, because both would be useful for different kind of needs. The Xpander type of version would ofcourse be nice, if you don't have room for the keyboard. It could be 25% cheaper, like in case of the Prophet'08.

Lothar Lammfromm
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Post by Lothar Lammfromm » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:05 am

I would prefer an expander. One big Keyboard is enough for me. Even with the "shining" which comes from the solaris a simple klangbox wouldn't sell good (i suppose). Without knobs there is too less "sex" left for the product.

On the other hand: Lots of encoders and knobs would make an expander projekt expansive and cost inefficient.

So here is what i would prefer: I would like to have an expander with a big display (like the central solaris display), two rows of 8 rotary knobs and 8 knobs -> which can be used as a step sequencer. Additionally some switches and knobs.

Something like that. You can edit the solaris-exander with your pc AND you have an expander which also can be used as a step sequencer.

The marketing idea is, that the announcment and the selling of the expander shows different (!) qualities of the solaris to the customers. As a result more people get aware of the extraordinary possebilities of the solaris.

(if a solaris expander would be designed with step sequencer possibilities maybe a second midi out to control other midi devices were great)

As price target for an expander i would see 1.600 Euro as resonable - or same price like the solaris keyboard with doublling the polyphony and multitimbrality.

And, if i could give a real advice (the things i already said are more or less pure fantasy and wishful thinking):

It would be really helpful to get much more *simple* audio demos.

(I have to apologize for my bad english)
---
i have to learn to improve my abilities

SHARCRASH
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Post by SHARCRASH » Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:59 am

Hello all,

I can understand that some people might be interested by a desktop/rack version because of their budget or because of space. I'm in that case. But with the number of screens and knobs available on the keyboard version, for sure it must be an incredible joy to control that synthesizer. If a desktop/rack is planned, an important aspect will be to think carefully about that user interface for a reduced panel size. The Waldorf Q/Q rack is a good example. Its keyboard version has a tremendous amount of controlers and the Q rack has half less but has still an enjoyable user interface.

I've checked the present user interface architecture and here is my suggestion for a desktop/rack version. I've noticed there are 4 synthesis modules that use a row of 5 knobs with an LCD. Then come 2 sections of 10 knobs with an LCD for each for the EGs and the general complex synthesis parameters. First, It would be great to compile the OSC, LFO, Mixers & filters modules into one 1st section because they have the same layout of those 5 knobs + 1 LCD and then create an access knob to get into the desired synthesis module, so 4 knobs. Second, create another section for the 10 knobs + 1 LCD synthesis modules and of course an access knob for each. That would be already a great start to save some space, i think. I would give more suggestions if i'd know more about the synthesizer... I know this wouldn't be easy though because this instrument has such a developped synthesis architecture but it would anyway be a outstanding challenge.

Suggesting a plugin editor isn't a good advice, in my opinion, unless the machine is 100% independant (all its features available in the machine) and this plugin is just considered as a nice bonus. As Hans Zimmer stated, the point is to build an instrument that lasts and is timeless. Computer products aren't timeless because they demand such a big support for updates and compatibilities and sooner or later the support is dropped to go forward on other products.

I wish a good luck to John Bowen! I'm following his machine very closely because, architecture wise, it is a monster and in extra the sound seems to be top notch! I'll go for a blue version with dark costum side panels. :wink:

John Bowen
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Post by John Bowen » Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:34 am

Hi All,

Obviously I do have everything fitting into this '5 knob wide' configuration, and one of the first things I thought is that we could put all the sections as more Pages in the graphic display - we have 8 Page buttons across the top of the graphic display, and what we discussed in the beginning was to add a Shift button to the left of these, so that we could have a total of 16 Pages represented. The only difficulty then is to handle the several function buttons such as MIDI Clock, No Track, Retrigger, etc. , but these probably could fit in the graphic display, then using the knobs to acts as switches.

So, yes, this would be the way we would go for a tabletop box - but first the keyboard has to be produced, and sold, and hopefully I sell enough to finance such future projects. I can tell you such an expansion box won't happen anytime soon!

cheers,
John B.

John Bowen
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Post by John Bowen » Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:37 am

SHARCRASH wrote:...Then come 2 sections of 10 knobs with an LCD for each for the EGs and the general complex synthesis parameters.
The 10 knobs for the EG section are going to be reduced to 5, with 3 more Page buttons added across the section, so that there is EG1 through EG6 (Amp Env).

konkrete
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Post by konkrete » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:17 am

A desktop unit with a built in step sequencer would be stunning, and would also open up another market. The techno crowd are always crying out for a "serious" alternative to the "Groovebox" (ugh).

On the current design, most of the screen-plus-knob interface sections are similar to one another. This suggests that you could use a single screen-plus knob unit and have a set of buttons for flipping which section you are editing. I was always against this kind of design until I owned an Elektron Monomachine, which is a joy to program. I imagine the Waldorf Blofeld is also probably pretty easy to use too (although I haven't tried one yet), although it lacks the sequencer so it isn't a stand-alone unit.

As long as the screen is informative and each edit page is just a single button press away, it really doesn't affect workflow at all --- in fact I think it even works better sometimes than a huge array of knobs. I think a very usable version could have a single large screen, about ten knobs and an array of buttons. That would give you small footprint with only a small compromise to the interface, and if you can add a step sequencer you're onto a winner.

This is the most exciting synth in years --- please consider making a stand-alone desktop version (i.e. one that doesn't need to be connected to a MIDI keyboard to make a sound).

John Bowen
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Post by John Bowen » Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:39 am

konkrete wrote:....On the current design, most of the screen-plus-knob interface sections are similar to one another. This suggests that you could use a single screen-plus knob unit and have a set of buttons for flipping which section you are editing. ...
Yes, as I said in my comment above....

-john b.

aeon
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:32 am

Post by aeon » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:21 pm

I have no interest whatsoever in a module with a reduced user interface.

To me, the Solaris design intent is clear - it is the maker's realization of a digital synthesizer of superlative audio quality and power as well as a user interface that serves to control that digital synthesizer, and give the user a pleasurable and ergonomic experience in doing so.

I've been waiting for someone to make a truly powerful digital synthesizer with a user interface to match (knowing it would be expensive!) for a long time.

I would prefer all efforts, resources, and inspiration be directed toward the Solaris itself, and not have it suffer in any way, shape, or form due to the needs of another product.

Let the Solaris be a success first.


cheers,
Ian

fizzydiodes
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Post by fizzydiodes » Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:45 am

. most studios are quite small but have 7-8 foot ceiling ? so go up i say . . . 12ru rack . . .i have basically had to do this , go up and have walls of stuff . . . i can see it will be hard john and i personally think your keyboard interface is spot on - would be great to just try and stack upward instead of longways but then you probably have a load of redesign work ! with that in mind i am not against a totally downsized micromodule of the solaris . . . maybe a few encoders and 1/2 u rack . . for me your synth will be about creating sounds that modulate themselves . . . it feels like i would do deep programming on this and evolving sounds that dont require so much hands on stuff like - lets sweep the filter . . .a small micro solaris would require good pc / mac control software ( the key thing ) for actaully creating the sounds . . . i guess thats a possibility.Hands on control etc is great and lovely but what is more important for me is actually having the sounds available , if i have a choice between no solaris due to space or a small module with no control then i will take the module just so i can have the sounds as thats really what i buy synths for - what they sound like . . .your already onto a winner with the sound john . . . i would like that sound in my pallete for making music even if it means using a pc editor to program sounds.

SHARCRASH
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:46 am

Post by SHARCRASH » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:56 am

aeon wrote:I have no interest whatsoever in a module with a reduced user interface.

To me, the Solaris design intent is clear - it is the maker's realization of a digital synthesizer of superlative audio quality and power as well as a user interface that serves to control that digital synthesizer, and give the user a pleasurable and ergonomic experience in doing so.

I've been waiting for someone to make a truly powerful digital synthesizer with a user interface to match (knowing it would be expensive!) for a long time.

I would prefer all efforts, resources, and inspiration be directed toward the Solaris itself, and not have it suffer in any way, shape, or form due to the needs of another product.

Let the Solaris be a success first.

cheers,
Ian
You don't, but many others do, i guess pretty well... No worries anyway! John Bowen said that he will first dedicate all his efforts on the keyboard version. I quote: "but first the keyboard has to be produced, and sold, and hopefully I sell enough to finance such future projects".
What I admit is that such deep synthesis architecture will be a bit harder to program on a downsized desktop/rackable unit (let's say a 4 or 5 RU version). But it's not impossible.

Again about the VST editor/controller, if there will be any, it should just be an addon, not a tool to access parameters unavailable on the machine's interface. I have an Access Virus TI and i'm really deceipt that the designers didn't integrate, (yet?) its programmation on the machine too!

HUROLURA
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Post by HUROLURA » Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:58 pm

Hey John,

An XITE-1 hardware module dedicated to run the SOLARIS software would be either the "ENGINE" model or an expansion for the SOLARIS keyboard without the need of new hardware design ...

Am I wrong ?

CheerZ
CheerZ

stardust
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Post by stardust » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:38 am

sounds reasonable in my ears....

John Bowen
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Post by John Bowen » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:40 am

The new XITE box just announced by Sonic Core cannot act as an expansion to the Solaris keyboard, but I am currently running the Solaris plug-in to beta test it, so it's not impossible to think that way.

The current plug-in version is still using the older Scope modules, of course, while the keyboard has brand-new proprietary algorithms that are highly refined and updated. There will probably be some cross-over after they add some of the Scope modules to the keyboard, but these are primarily going to be in the FX department.

It is possible in some future time that we make an agreement to offer the keyboard Solaris software as a plugin for the XITE box, but there are some issues that would have to be addressed, i.e. certain routines would still need to be re-written. Also, most likely the plug-in price would be higher than the current Scope Solaris version.

-john b.

rhodeschroma
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Post by rhodeschroma » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:37 am

I can see where everyone is coming from looking for a rack version. I think if I had the choice, I would stick with the version that had the full UI (If a reduced UI set was being considered for the rack/expander/tabletop model)

I am very anxious to see the Solaris engine operating with maximum control and ease of use in the keyboard version as initially intended. After John has the code and feature set nailed down - consideration of the expander version would be great.

I have pre-ordered the solaris and, even though I have NO room left whatsoever in my main room, I am planning a switch out with another piece until (when and if) an expander comes along and I can have the Solaris keyboard into a more out-of-the-way location.

J

- MZ -
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Post by - MZ - » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:41 am

I would prefer an expander version of the Solaris to a keyboard version.

But : no compromise on the synth engine, no compromise on the user interface, just the same synth without a keyboard.

An expander version would have several advantages :
- every musician could chose a master keyboard with the action he prefers (personnally, I prefer to play on a Roland master KB with piano action, and when I need a synth type KB I use my faithful EX5 (76 keys) as a master KB)
- when used intensely on stage, a keyboard wears out much more than the synth itself ; a master KB is easier to exchange than a built-in KB...
- no accumulation of useless keyboards in the studio when you have a lot of gear and limited space...
- no need to pay for a KB when you already have a good master KB
- it could be released quite quickly since it would use the same hardware and software as the kb version

And it would look like an Oberheim Xpander 8)

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