Reason SSL Mixer Hardware Controller

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jul 2019

jjrh wrote:
21 Jul 2019
Glad to see you back!

There is no reason you can't release everything, schematics, software, etc. Totally open and under a opensource licence (which license is another topic) while at the same time selling kits, fully assembled stuff, PCB's, etc. My suspicion is very very few people will opt to clone a git repo, order the BoM, get a PCB made, assemble it all and flash the firmware. The few who actually do that will most likely turn around and contribute back to the project.

If you're not interested in 'profiting' from this and really just want to have this thing exist and a community created around it, having folks take the work and sell kits, etc. isn't a bad thing providing they respect the license and release the source code, schematics, BoM, etc (assuming it's not under a BSD style do whatever you want license)

This is exactly how stuff like REPRAP (3d printers) Arduino, midibox ( http://www.ucapps.de/ ), mutable instruments ( https://mutable-instruments.net/ ) Turris (https://www.turris.cz/en/ ) etc. exist and I'd argue are a huge factor in their success. It's not like having cheap Arduino clones hurt the ecosystem, it just resulted in more folks giving them a try using them in projects, and contributing back with libraries and code.

You can always release some things to the world like footprints, prototypes, etc piecemeal and not release the final product. Something to let folks go off and do their own thing or learn.

Just my two cents, but either way i'm very interested to see where this project goes!
Thank you for the kind words! And I also appreciate your suggestion about open-sourcing everything.

It's interesting you brought up Arduino, as that was the platform on which we crowdfunded our product--it was a mesh-networked Arduino-compatible microcontroller. Very cool little device that kicked off our company. I do disagree with you a bit on the automatic benefit of releasing everything as open-source. Massimo Banzi, founder of Arduino, has been pretty outspoken about how outright clones of Arduino have harmed the ecosystem. Of course, there are great actors in that group as well--Teensy being one of the best.

Bunny Huang may be the most prolific open-source hardware developer (I mean, who designs AN ENTIRE LAPTOP FROM SCRATCH OPEN SOURCE!??!) and he's struggled with the issues around how to combat outright copying by exploring what I think could be a pretty interesting solution.

It's important to note that for open-source projects to work well, you want people to be able to contribute fixes, better modules, and progress to the ecosystem. That's all wonderful and holds true to the spirit of that philosophy. It's when you get into outright knock-offs that can damage that same ecosystem, when someone new to your product buys what they think is authentic goods on Amazon or eBay, and they get it, and it doesn't really work correctly (or reliably), and they think your platform is shitty and not worth it--when in reality you did the hard work of designing it with quality and stability and built the brand. That's when open-source goes bad.

How to avoid? I'm unsure. Bunny's Bitmarks idea is pretty compelling. I think a type of certification program could be cool too (though a lot of work to maintain) to ensure that modules play nicely with each other. Keep in mind that a badly-acting module could saturate the control bus network and make the entire system laggy. That would suck.

Anyhow, just wanted to explore how it can be a little more nuanced than open-sourcing everything. I am a big believer in the open-source philosophy, and realize entire companies like Adafruit and SparkFun have built themselves up around this approach. But I just want to mitigate any potential damage to the effort.

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jul 2019

selig wrote:
22 Jul 2019
Bonkhead wrote:
19 Jul 2019
Not sure why I missed this whole thread but I'm pretty excited already !
I was looking at/reading on control surfaces this last week, all where meeeeh.
Only thing that looks ok was the nektar p1. Nice to see it integrated in the mockup.

First thing I thought, if it is modular, would it be possible to skip modules ?
I never use the masterbus and channel compressors for instance.
One idea being floated is to make the protocol open source, so in theory at least, anyone can make their own modules. Which would allow modules down to single knobs or fader or buttons, if anyone was so inclined.

Think more "eurorack for controllers" than specific all-in-one products. Maybe you like the EQ from one dev, and the faders from another, or you only want one channel strip, but you also want 24 faders. Ideally, any possible combination should be possible. :)
1000% this

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jul 2019

selig wrote:
23 Jul 2019
wendylou wrote:
23 Jul 2019


With the debut of Record – before Propellerhead integrated the SSL console into Reason – I started modeling it in 3D using Sketch-up and fancied a sleek enclosure, as seen in my animation, below. Clearly, I was mesmerized by the SSL and already yearning for a real, tactile controller!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mb6fXdy04Y
That looks absolutely STUNNING. I can only hope this project can approach anything close to that level of quality!
:)
Agree! I watched that and I'm like "I want that sitting on the desk in front of me right now." :)

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Bonkhead
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Post 28 Jul 2019

(except for maybe a few, like the input module--which is super small and rarely used)
I use INV and the gains 50% of the time, don't forget the inv <3

delineation
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Post 28 Jul 2019

Anyone know what the dB is to trigger the LEDs for the channel strip compressor, gate, etc. It would be nice to see those correspond from one to the other, and also has any though been given to this as an audio interface as well?

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amcjen
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Post 30 Jul 2019

Bonkhead wrote:
28 Jul 2019
(except for maybe a few, like the input module--which is super small and rarely used)
I use INV and the gains 50% of the time, don't forget the inv <3
Well see, there you go. That's what I get for assuming. :) Okay, Inv module is back in!

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amcjen
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Post 30 Jul 2019

delineation wrote:
28 Jul 2019
Anyone know what the dB is to trigger the LEDs for the channel strip compressor, gate, etc. It would be nice to see those correspond from one to the other
I do not. In the remote interface, I just get them as a value from 0 to 5, corresponding directly to the number of LEDs lit up. I bet Giles would know.
delineation wrote:
28 Jul 2019
and also has any though been given to this as an audio interface as well?
A lot! I'm squarely of the belief at this point in my journey that audio interfaces are best left to the experts at MOTU, Apogee, and the like. I will say, though, that with the massive reduction of cost for AVB/TSN digital audio over ethernet, along with the 802.1BA spec being wide open, that this could be a killer digital mixer platform for someone to build modules upon. IIRC 64 channels are available on standard AVB ethernet.

Could be extremely cool to let the experts build the ADC/DACs, and then slap those on either side of a future version of this platform for a full digital mixing solution. I'm not a digital audio expert, so it won't be on my project plan--but I could ensure the control mechanism is state-of-the-art with automation, recall, and full customization.

This setup, to me, is the future of mixing desks.

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wendylou
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Post 03 Aug 2019

From another thread, is this of any interest to the project?
Re8et wrote:
02 Aug 2019
Custom controller for Alpha Steppa (taken from fb page)
Shantea].jpg
This look so interesting... but I have no idea at what production is meant.
This looks like a double chained akai mix....
nice....

here is the software and hardwares where it is based from

https://shanteacontrols.com/
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selig
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Post 03 Aug 2019

amcjen wrote:
30 Jul 2019
delineation wrote:
28 Jul 2019
Anyone know what the dB is to trigger the LEDs for the channel strip compressor, gate, etc. It would be nice to see those correspond from one to the other
I do not. In the remote interface, I just get them as a value from 0 to 5, corresponding directly to the number of LEDs lit up. I bet Giles would know.
The LEDs correspond to the following amounts of gain reduction:
3 dB
6 dB
10 dB
14 dB
20 dB
Selig Audio, LLC

DiegoP
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Post 18 Dec 2019

Hi,

I'm new here. Interesting project. I'm an embedded software engineer. Do you need some help?

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amcjen
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Post 26 Dec 2019

DiegoP wrote:
18 Dec 2019
I'm new here. Interesting project. I'm an embedded software engineer. Do you need some help?
Hey there! Mayyyybe. Things are starting to shape up and there will be some pretty intense work to do as the first hardware modules are ready to integrate with various protocols (Mackie Control, HUI, stnd. MIDI). Interested?

DiegoP
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Joined: 18 Dec 2019

Post 27 Dec 2019

Give some more details, I would like to help, maybe you can send me the hardware schematics of one module and I could write the firmware. Is this still the idea to have one master module which receive and sends data to the modules via CAN and communicate via USB with PC?

Which micro-controller you want to use? stm32 is very good and cheap.

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sonicbyte
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Post 30 Dec 2019

Hi amcjen;

Maybe a bit too early for this...but I'm an experienced front-end web developer, if you need some future web design, web development to showcase this, documentation, etc... count me in..

Regards
Rodrigo

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amcjen
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Post 13 Jan 2020

DiegoP wrote:
27 Dec 2019
Give some more details, I would like to help, maybe you can send me the hardware schematics of one module and I could write the firmware. Is this still the idea to have one master module which receive and sends data to the modules via CAN and communicate via USB with PC?

Which micro-controller you want to use? stm32 is very good and cheap.
That's still the plan, though digging into the details of which CAN protocol to support (FD or not).

stm32 is indeed good and cheap--I am partial to Atmel chips b/c I've spent so much time with them in the past and I know their innards. Currently eyeballing the C21 which has built-in CAN controller that can run FD @ 10Mb/sec, so nice and high throughput.

I have some pretty significant news regarding this project, will add it to another post!

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amcjen
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Post 13 Jan 2020

sonicbyte wrote:
30 Dec 2019
Hi amcjen;

Maybe a bit too early for this...but I'm an experienced front-end web developer, if you need some future web design, web development to showcase this, documentation, etc... count me in..

Regards
Rodrigo
Thank you Rodrigo! I appreciate the help!

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amcjen
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Post 13 Jan 2020

Hi there!

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of this effort. Looking back over my notes over the holiday, and started seriously considering this back in October 2017! Time flies. :)

So in short, some of you know that I was the founder of a startup for the last several years, and that takes an incredible amount of time--and as much as I wanted to have this as a side project, I realized that a) I didn't have as much free time as I thought, and b) this project would be a lot more work than a side project would allow. So it sat and sat, as all of you are well-aware.

I've met with Selig twice for lunch (thanks Selig!) and have had several discussions--including an in-person chat with Holly, and it still seems clear to me that this would be a valid thing to have exist in the world. Especially with all these new controllers coming into the market, from Avid's S1/S4, and Presonus, and of course SSL's own Nucleus.

All good things, as they say, come to an end. And I know what you're probably thinking...

But no, I'm not closing down my effort on this. In fact, it's my day job that has finally come to a conclusion, and I'm no longer gainfully employed after a short wind-down period. My official last day of full-time work was last Friday. So, after much thought and talking through it with my husband--I've decided to go at this effort full-time for the next six months, culminating in a crowdfunding sale.

There is so much more to catch up on--what is the "thing" for sale? Will it still be modular? Will it only work with Reason, or support other DAWs? How will it be priced now that it's a commercial effort and not a side project? All good questions! I don't have all the answers to them yet, but you can be damned sure it's going to be my aim to get answers.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally have the time and the headspace to really focus on this effort. It holds so much potential, and I still feel will really help usher in a new way to bridge the in-the-box vs out-of-the-box dilemma when it comes to digital recording.

I'd like to get the conversation going again if any of you are still interested in discussing the details. I should probably start with another post that outlines the high-level goals and expectations I have for this thing, then open it back up for dialog with you all.

DiegoP
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Post 13 Jan 2020

Let me know how you want to continue. I'm still interested ;)

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amcjen
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Post 13 Jan 2020

DiegoP wrote:
13 Jan 2020
Let me know how you want to continue. I'm still interested ;)
Certainly!

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DParris
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Post 15 Jan 2020

amcjen wrote:
13 Jan 2020

There is so much more to catch up on--what is the "thing" for sale? Will it still be modular? Will it only work with Reason, or support other DAWs? How will it be priced now that it's a commercial effort and not a side project? All good questions! I don't have all the answers to them yet, but you can be damned sure it's going to be my aim to get answers.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally have the time and the headspace to really focus on this effort. It holds so much potential, and I still feel will really help usher in a new way to bridge the in-the-box vs out-of-the-box dilemma when it comes to digital recording.

I'd like to get the conversation going again if any of you are still interested in discussing the details. I should probably start with another post that outlines the high-level goals and expectations I have for this thing, then open it back up for dialog with you all.


This is so exciting Allison! I'm drooling at the thought of finally having one of these, and I'm so excited for you to be able to chase this dream.

My two cents on your third question: There are already generic console-style controllers that work with other DAWs. The magic of your idea is that it brings Reason's SSL specifically into physical reality. If your controller happens to transmit regular ol' midi or OSC data that other software can see, then I suppose there's nothing stopping folks from using it with other DAWs. But I think it would be a mistake to allow a concern for universality to water down any of the design features that make the SSL what it is. This thing should look and feel like an SSL, and should match what we see on the screen to the greatest degree possible (making allowances for the modular approach, of course).

Can't wait to read about your progress!

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amcjen
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Post 15 Jan 2020

DParris wrote:
15 Jan 2020
This is so exciting Allison! I'm drooling at the thought of finally having one of these, and I'm so excited for you to be able to chase this dream.
Thank you! ME TOOOOO.
DParris wrote:
15 Jan 2020
My two cents on your third question: There are already generic console-style controllers that work with other DAWs. The magic of your idea is that it brings Reason's SSL specifically into physical reality. If your controller happens to transmit regular ol' midi or OSC data that other software can see, then I suppose there's nothing stopping folks from using it with other DAWs. But I think it would be a mistake to allow a concern for universality to water down any of the design features that make the SSL what it is. This thing should look and feel like an SSL, and should match what we see on the screen to the greatest degree possible (making allowances for the modular approach, of course).
That's very good feedback. I couldn't agree more about the generic controllers that kinda don't look or feel like anything, because they're usually plastic and crammed really small and just kinda don't have any resemblance to anything actually used.

I do want to keep the SSL look and feel for sure, though other modules may come out a bit later that more closely resemble other DAWs perhaps. I have no idea yet. I think it'd be pretty cool to basically support the full SSL stack as described earlier in this thread, then those in other DAWs can just buy the Waves SSL G-Channel or something, and toss them on all their tracks.

But either way, I believe there's a reason (ha!) the SSL layout is so intuitive, because you get compression and eq and filters and sends all right there, on every channel. That's what I hope we can mimic in real life. :)

(Edit: decided to bite the bullet and attend NAMM this weekend, so will do lots of homework to see how this can fit within the various offerings this year.)

Yonatan
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Post 17 Jan 2020

Love this endevour! NAMM seem a good place to be with these ideas in mind.

botnotbot
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Post 17 Jan 2020

I'm truly hoping that MIDI 2.0 will finally allow for truly usable generic controllers. Once displays are more or less "auto wired" to instruments with bidirectional feedback, without sysex and Remote Scripts and Maps and all the garbage we deal with now, I think we might just arrive there...

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jan 2020

So made it back from NAMM last weekend, and wow, what an experience that was!

Saw quite a bit of really interesting gear--and likely missed a bunch more because we were on a mission to find and see the world of DAW control surfaces, so we focused mostly on that. Here are things I saw/learned, in no particular order:

  • The SSL Origin in real life is an absolute thing of beauty. And it can be yours @ $1,100/mo for 60 months
  • The Neve 88 console is also quite pretty
  • The API 2448 has a digital touchscreen down near the group faders. Interesting to see a $100k console that is legendarily analog finally start to adopt some DAW control via a TFT screen.
  • The smoothest, most quality-feeling rotary encoders I found on the entire NAMM floor belong to the Elektron devices, they're like butter.
  • Some of the worst rotary encoders and faders belonged to--believe it or not--the Avid S4. The wobble on them was shocking for a control surface of that notoriety.
  • The Soundcraft live mixer controller had great LEDs but terrible encoders as well, same with the Presonus Faderport, and the Icon controller.
  • I didn't find the Nektar booth as I already own a P1 and a P4, so I'm familiar with their quality.
  • We spent about 30 minutes at the Softube booth, and spoke at length with one of their very nice hosts. We walked through the entire thought process behind the Console 1 and the Console 1 Fader, from why they created it, to why it has 10 faders instead of 8, and a reminder that "it is not meant to be a controller, it is a hardware plugin". Its quality was very nice too, second only to the Elektron gear.
  • Universal Audio sure is making a big deal about the Luna launch--pretty gutsy to release a DAW in 2020.
  • I did not find the Behringer booth, but know I can see these devices at most Guitar Centers.
  • Elektron's booth was by appointment only, so no ability to talk to them about their component choices.
  • Probably more notable than anything else, was Propellerheads were not. at. the. show. at. all.

We came away with a very full head of all the items available out there, and after some Italian food, I spent the next day brainstorming how this effort could work as a commercial endeavor. When scanning the price points for a controller as described earlier in this thread, I found everything from a couple hundred dollar Korg controllers, all the way up to the Avid S4 for ~$50,000. So every pricepoint is already covered.

Most importantly, was that every vendor of note has software and hardware tightly coupled to each other. Softube with their channelstrips and Console 1, Avid with their S1/S3/S4, Waves with their Livechannel thing, Universal Audio with Luna, Ableton with Push, Native Instruments with Maschine, PreSonus with their FaderPort, the list goes on and on. This industry is fragmenting and becoming tiny fiefdoms. I mean, can you imagine, Universal Audio wants you to drop your DAW and use Luna? That's madness!

The one piece of software that does not have a specific tightly-bound control surface already is Reason.

Two things concern me about this. One, Propellerheads didn't even show up. That's a pretty big indicator about how they're doing in the industry. I mean, there were hundreds of Chinese manufacturers that attended, pickguards, mandolins, knock-off fender amps. If they could make it to NAMM, why not Propellerheads?

The second is--and I'm reading between the lines here a bit, but I think it's mostly correct--that with the Reason 11 move to support the rack as VST/AU plugins in other DAWs, that they're likely going to give up on the DAW market. Or at least stop trying to compete there. I've no firm facts backing this up, just reading the tea leaves here.

What that means to me as someone who absolutely loves Reason and used it from the Record 1.0 days? Nothing. It'll still be my DAW of choice. It works like my mind works, I love that. What that means as someone considering building a business focused specifically on this DAW? It's a non-starter. I just don't see the ability to make a viable, sustainable business focusing on only serving a small DAW company, that is likely moving away from the DAW part of it altogether and will possibly migrate over to being only a very rad plugin for other DAWs.

A final anecdote--guess how many employees Softube has total right now. 14! And they've been around since 2005. And they make some fantastic plugins for every major DAW. How big would they be if they only made Rack Extensions? A heck of a lot smaller I'm sure. If you can't get hard numbers on total sales or total userbase, you can definitely get an idea by the size of the team.

The DAW controller market is saturated, and becoming more tightly-bound to software every year. I don't see it getting more open--just more closed. If Reason were at the level of userbase of Ableton Live or Logic, it'd be a different story. But this product area just too saturated to move forward in any commercial way.

So after much thinking and talking with others, I think I'm going to move to another area of audio and try a product in a different space. It's back to the drawing board and trying to determine where exactly there are holes in this wild, wonderful world of music creation, and see if there's a product that could solve it.

Happy to still talk about what a cool Reason controller could do! I just won't be continuing on building it right now.

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Seckin
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Post 23 Jan 2020

amcjen wrote:
23 Jan 2020
So made it back from NAMM last weekend, and wow, what an experience that was!

Saw quite a bit of really interesting gear--and likely missed a bunch more because we were on a mission to find and see the world of DAW control surfaces, so we focused mostly on that. Here are things I saw/learned, in no particular order:

  • The SSL Origin in real life is an absolute thing of beauty. And it can be yours @ $1,100/mo for 60 months
  • The Neve 88 console is also quite pretty
  • The API 2448 has a digital touchscreen down near the group faders. Interesting to see a $100k console that is legendarily analog finally start to adopt some DAW control via a TFT screen.
  • The smoothest, most quality-feeling rotary encoders I found on the entire NAMM floor belong to the Elektron devices, they're like butter.
  • Some of the worst rotary encoders and faders belonged to--believe it or not--the Avid S4. The wobble on them was shocking for a control surface of that notoriety.
  • The Soundcraft live mixer controller had great LEDs but terrible encoders as well, same with the Presonus Faderport, and the Icon controller.
  • I didn't find the Nektar booth as I already own a P1 and a P4, so I'm familiar with their quality.
  • We spent about 30 minutes at the Softube booth, and spoke at length with one of their very nice hosts. We walked through the entire thought process behind the Console 1 and the Console 1 Fader, from why they created it, to why it has 10 faders instead of 8, and a reminder that "it is not meant to be a controller, it is a hardware plugin". Its quality was very nice too, second only to the Elektron gear.
  • Universal Audio sure is making a big deal about the Luna launch--pretty gutsy to release a DAW in 2020.
  • I did not find the Behringer booth, but know I can see these devices at most Guitar Centers.
  • Elektron's booth was by appointment only, so no ability to talk to them about their component choices.
  • Probably more notable than anything else, was Propellerheads were not. at. the. show. at. all.

We came away with a very full head of all the items available out there, and after some Italian food, I spent the next day brainstorming how this effort could work as a commercial endeavor. When scanning the price points for a controller as described earlier in this thread, I found everything from a couple hundred dollar Korg controllers, all the way up to the Avid S4 for ~$50,000. So every pricepoint is already covered.

Most importantly, was that every vendor of note has software and hardware tightly coupled to each other. Softube with their channelstrips and Console 1, Avid with their S1/S3/S4, Waves with their Livechannel thing, Universal Audio with Luna, Ableton with Push, Native Instruments with Maschine, PreSonus with their FaderPort, the list goes on and on. This industry is fragmenting and becoming tiny fiefdoms. I mean, can you imagine, Universal Audio wants you to drop your DAW and use Luna? That's madness!

The one piece of software that does not have a specific tightly-bound control surface already is Reason.

Two things concern me about this. One, Propellerheads didn't even show up. That's a pretty big indicator about how they're doing in the industry. I mean, there were hundreds of Chinese manufacturers that attended, pickguards, mandolins, knock-off fender amps. If they could make it to NAMM, why not Propellerheads?

The second is--and I'm reading between the lines here a bit, but I think it's mostly correct--that with the Reason 11 move to support the rack as VST/AU plugins in other DAWs, that they're likely going to give up on the DAW market. Or at least stop trying to compete there. I've no firm facts backing this up, just reading the tea leaves here.

What that means to me as someone who absolutely loves Reason and used it from the Record 1.0 days? Nothing. It'll still be my DAW of choice. It works like my mind works, I love that. What that means as someone considering building a business focused specifically on this DAW? It's a non-starter. I just don't see the ability to make a viable, sustainable business focusing on only serving a small DAW company, that is likely moving away from the DAW part of it altogether and will possibly migrate over to being only a very rad plugin for other DAWs.

A final anecdote--guess how many employees Softube has total right now. 14! And they've been around since 2005. And they make some fantastic plugins for every major DAW. How big would they be if they only made Rack Extensions? A heck of a lot smaller I'm sure. If you can't get hard numbers on total sales or total userbase, you can definitely get an idea by the size of the team.

The DAW controller market is saturated, and becoming more tightly-bound to software every year. I don't see it getting more open--just more closed. If Reason were at the level of userbase of Ableton Live or Logic, it'd be a different story. But this product area just too saturated to move forward in any commercial way.

So after much thinking and talking with others, I think I'm going to move to another area of audio and try a product in a different space. It's back to the drawing board and trying to determine where exactly there are holes in this wild, wonderful world of music creation, and see if there's a product that could solve it.

Happy to still talk about what a cool Reason controller could do! I just won't be continuing on building it right now.
Sad news. But you're right and there's nothing you could do about it. It would be a financial suicide under the given circumstances. Well I guess I'll keep sticking to rsTouch.
If you can't make a hit with Malstrom, Subtractor and Redrum, you can't make a hit at all.

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Proboscis
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Post 23 Jan 2020

amcjen wrote:
23 Jan 2020
What that means as someone considering building a business focused specifically on this DAW? It's a non-starter. I just don't see the ability to make a viable, sustainable business focusing on only serving a small DAW company
I've enjoyed reading this thread, and have refrained from commenting, since you were so enthusiastic. But what you've stated, and the reasons given, are precisely how I've felt about this being a viable business idea from the outset. However, I felt that you would reach this conclusion eventually, and the decision you are making is for the best. There can be no profitability in hardware support exclusively for an obscure DAW like Reason.

There are no reliable marketshare data sets on DAW usage, but visit any general music forum, and discussions about Reason are few. Everyone I know in the industry still think of Reason as that cool old plugin that never recorded audio and wasn't VST, so they couldn't use it in their regular DAW with ease. And as for Reason's future - who knows ? It's in a state of transition between owners, an investment opportunity in which the current IP owners have absolutely no interest in this industry.

Rack Extension developers are dropping off, because they too see no viable future in coding for the platform. The company has never put any effort into supporting third party partnerships, their development rollouts are at a glacial pace, and their social media presence is underwhelming compared to other businesses in a similar marketplace. A quick look on Youtube between Reason's channel and Behringer's is a great example of their disinterest in creating a 'social buzz'. Whether this is by design or because those empowered to manage this have no idea how to grow hype in the 21st century (I suspect the latter), but Reason-As-VST just doesn't have the market universally excited.

However, that's not to say there isn't a market for a generic console controller. High quality sliding pots, and the basics that everyone would use, like pan, EQ and AUX FX. It actually wouldn't matter what the encoders were called, better they say nothing, to allow the end user to set their own control. Of course then you're in a new marketplace of 'yet another controller', albeit one that is laid out specifically for mixing only. Are there many on the market ? I looked a few years ago in the sub $1k price and there weren't any. I think Behringer have since released a couple, but I'm not sure if they are DAW controllers or actual mini consoles, I think they are the latter.

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