Archive of the former Yahoo!Groups mailing list: MOTM

previous by date index next by date
  topic list next in topic


From: "Paul Schreiber" <synth1@...>
Date: 2000-06-03

Since the "cat is out of the bag" as we say in Texas (meaning it has been
I will comment below. WARNING: this is the ∗ONLY∗ comment I will EVER make
on this
subject. Everybody clear on this?

And if you want to comment, fine. Just don't expect a response back. And
delete the message portions
not referenced so everyone doesn't get copies of the this entire text.

When I went on-line just selling CEM chips, Roger Arrick called me up very
excited. Euless, TX is
only 5 miles from here (there are 6 small cities inbetween Ft Worth and
Dallas, Euless is one of them).
Even though he is a "hobbiest drummer", he has a long tinker's history in
synths. PAiA, Electronotes,
the whole routine. His degree is in Chemistry, so he is not formally trained
in EE (this is ∗very∗
important to me personally. See comments later).

We got together and had a long discussion. He is a 'domain name camper': he
has bought about 50
names hoping to sell them (and I do have a problem with thoses people, too).
But personally, he came across
as nice and pleasant. He wanted to collaborate on designing a modular, since
he owned and
was ∗absolutely convinced∗ that having this particular domain name would
cause everyone to visit (sort
of like or or I do agree, to a ∗certain
point∗. I think it's 85% "cute" and 15%

As we talked, it was evident that he had spent many hours think out his
strategy: build with a Moog modular
panel copy and use low-level Electronotes/PAiA electrical designs. I
immediately rejected this on 2 grounds (pun):

a) I didn't want current Moog owners thinking these were exact replacements
(they use different power)
and besides, I think that is sacred ground (another pun)

b) I didn't agree with his electrical designs/price point (really in the
Doepfer area)

It was evident as we talked over the next weeks that he has a common problem
with non-degreed people
trying to design these types of analog circuits (no offense to anyone out
there, but you asked my opinion
and you're gonna get it!): quickly they hit a "brick-wall" in understanding
the subtle stuff that analog
design, and in particular synth circuits, require. They try to "brute-force"
it: having walls of old HP
test equipment give them confidence that this will help. It doesn't (I use a
scope, a $200 DVM, a freq counter
and a cheap-o function generator). They spend hours and hours poking around
without results.

But the main "problem" I have with Roger is that 1 year ago, he told me the
robotics were his main business
(he has a nice office/lab with 5 full-time employees) and he was "just
screwing around" because like me, he
had a life-long dream "to build a great modular".

But as you can see, he has turned it into a real business. So, he has gone
from friend to foe, as it were.

Now, this may seem petty and childish on my part. Maybe so. But also ponder
this: I have sold Doepfer
over 200 CEM3340s so they can continue building VCOs to sell AGAINST ME. But
Dieter has never
given me any greif, in fact he has been nice to me (because he ∗has to∗ !).
Also, what fun is it to be
in business without competition (I guess one would have to ask Bill Gates).

new potential
business and my growth stalls, then I start worrying about my $20,000 in
parts inventory.

Why worry? He uses cheesy designs, the pots are the cheapest he could find
∗surplus∗, and he even
posts his own review on (and I have a problem with that,
too). Because I worry about
future customers. You have to admit, his site is well done, the modules do
look good, but look at the prices.
He is sell assembled stuff below my kits. I ∗detest∗ Wal-Mart, but I shop
there because the prices
are 30% less than drugstores.

So, I lump him in with Doepfer (although Doepfer uses slightly better

I do wish things had turned out different. I was exciting for me to find a
fellow synth lover close to home!
And I will be the first to say he is not "evil incarnate". Our dreams just
fell on seperate paths.

But this is like your best friend stealing your girlfriend. Well, that's the
∗emotion∗, anyway.

As others pointed out, there are indicators that should raise flags (no
phone #). But he could add one.

He does have a nice keyboard with CV/Gate outs (uses Yamaha DX-7 actions he
bought surplus for $40ea)
and the case really is sold walnut (one thing he does have I wish I did is a
full-blown machine shop with
about $50,000 worth of stuff, including a plasma arc cutter. Cool!). I
cannot say how they operate: he uses
12-bit DACs with hand-selected voltage references. Note that commercial
MIDI-CVs use 16-bit DACS.

And yes, the stuff is real: he has 100s of these modules built, tested and
ready to ship. Yes, he has a nice
3x8 analog sequencer.

So read the following carefully.


I don't tell people how to integrate Doepfer into a MOTM system. If you want
to do it yourself, and
post it, I ∗don't care∗. Is Blacet in this arena? NO! In fact I want
MOTM/Dark Stars, too!

The bottom line: I support MOTM. MOTM only exists if there is a customer
base. Dilution of the base
will cause the MOTM to fail. Serge has lasted 20 years because there is a
steady stream of business. Same
with me. As long as there is support (and I still say I have the BEST
customers of any company, ever)
I will continue.

I'm sure you think I'm over-reacting. OK, so I'm over-reacting.

One last thing: I fully expect this discussion to stay HERE and DIE QUICKLY.

Paul S.