31 July 2017
Being the first in infrequent updates from the lab.
So, Foxfield Instruments launched into the world. Exciting! And now we keep going.
The current products are selling well over at Thonk. So well, in fact, that the UtiLFO is already out of stock. Don’t worry: there will be a Thonk restock coming soon. That’s part 1 of keep going.
Part 2 of keep going is new products. I’ve got lots of prototypes kicking around my 1U row – some of them you might have seen on the Foxfield Instagram account. I’ve recently been working on which of them to take forward, and in what order. Some of that work is just “getting them working” – but that’s not where prototyping ends. Once they’re working, I need to stick them in my instrument and live with them for a bit. Do they behave how I’d like? Are they musically useful? What would make them better?
I went down to Brighton Modular Meet at the beginning of July, with a row of prototypes to show, and that also helped confirm some of my suspicions. It was great to meet up with fellow synth players and module designers and chat to them about their music and process. Here I am, pointing at something:
I also spent the Saturday at Brighton helping James from Nobots run a soldering workshop – teaching a small room how to build one of his SMD DIY modules. Great to see so many people take on SMD and discover that it’s really not as hard as the rumours suggest!
So: those new things.
Nothing is set in stone, yet, but I think I know what the next four products are. Three of them are 1U tiles; one is a standard 3U module. The three 1U tiles have all been teased a little: FOX006 is design complete, definitely well-received, so that goes into the process of finalising the panel, BOM, and costing it up. FOX007 has a good first prototype – I’m investigating a few tweaks to that, and then pushing that into the ‘productionising’ phase. FOX008 also has a good first prototype; it required one bugfix, and that’s gone into a revised design along with a new feature. It’s probably the most complex of the tiles, and one I want to spend a little bit longer playing and testing before it heads to production.
And then, further down the list, are all the “maybes” and “don’t knows”. But for now, that’s easily enough to be going on with.
Oh, and to wrap up: after some busy weeks of building and designing and fixing websites and launching, it was good to sit down with the synth and just play. Here’s a short piece I recorded, built around the String/Organ mode in Rings, and featuring some Foxfield Tiles as clock-source (Gearbox), modulation (UtiLFO), and a prototype mult-thing (“Desmond”)
Happy music making.