A long wobble

Published by Priscilla Haring-Kuipers on

Yes, here we are again! It has been a while.
We have been working on Wobbler2 for about 18 months now. We brought a sort-of working prototype to Superbooth21 and an even better prototype to Superbooth22. Now, we are usually not the fastest designers because we take our time to probe it until we really, really like it. There is also a lot of software development involved which is in part parallel to the hardware development but takes longer to go from functional to the AMAZING we are aiming for. But the Wobbler2 has also had a long personal delay… and we are still not ready.

The Wobbler2 is already a product redesign to get around the chip shortages. We changed our still-not-available chip to the marvellous RP2040 and had so much computation room left that we expanded the LFO with a whole drum synthesizer (and a surprise). There were many delays in the chain and then Stijn caught Covid in June. All things came to a grinding halt. Very slowly he got physically better and even slower he got mentally better. He is still not fully back to his former self.

Months of brain-fog with very limited mental energy and the tiniest of concentration spans meant that the almost ready hardware design of Wobbler2 just hung there. Slowly progress could be made on days when the fog lifted enough to think. With the help of friends double-checking routing and designs we got to what should be our hardware ‘golden prototype’. Turning this on for the first time was an exciting moment. We could finally move on to production (exhale). Our assembly house has done a lovely job and we have tested, assembled front/knobs and burnt in all our Wobbler2s. Now, they have to wait for the software to go from functional to amazing before they can be flashed, calibrated and packed. This magical software moment cannot be forced but it is close. Much like Stijn it is already fully functional but not at the amazing we are used to.

Meanwhile we also have BIG other plans that will take years to come together. It is all about the Big Fish, Stijn’s dream synthesizer. He has been working on parts of this, developing the idea for perhaps 20 years. To truly make this Big Fish synthesizer shine it would need to be in a box with a wonderfully responsive keyboard that is not available to us. So we plan to make them ourselves. We aim to make a keyboard that is particularly suited to synthesizers. We want to have playing features and interactions that make sense with synthesized sounds. To make this economically feasible and to share this fantastic keyboard as much as possible, we plan to sell them to other synth manufacturers so that they too can build their dream synths around it. For now, we have a very early one-octave prototype and we are still developing the mechanical design and sensoring involved. When we have a fully functional prototype, we can start on the challenge of designing the FACTORY FLOOR that it would take to produce our own keyboard: the Hammerhead.

We are ALSO a long way into designing another eurorack module that we intend to produce this year. One that is bigger than it should be. It is also time for Tuesday to come around again.

Let’s hope we can get ourselves together in 2023 and do some amazing things.


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