Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My progress

not going too well in short :-)

As you may remember, I'm still waiting for a few modules, a 300 VCO, a 510 wavewarper, and a 910 patch panel.

They haven't arrived yet, while they were ordered last Autumn during the sales. As said before, I'm not in a great hurry, but I am in particular hoping that the VCO will arrive soonish.
The VCO will enable me to create fatter patches, using slightly detuned oscillators you can create that warm big / wide sound. I also haven't yet tried the SYNC capability of the VCO, which I'd like to try. Also a duo phonic patch is something I would like to try out. In short, it has my preference.
The wavewarper will be a tool to create new sounds and distorted effects, and the patchpanel is a very practical panel that can split and distribute signals, creating more flexibility.

Anyway, one of the reasons is the below message from Paul.

I am a bit behind schedule in shipping orders 1-100 out and some MOTM 2.0 stuff

a) 250 3-pot Stooge brackets will arrive here June 15th
b) If the 248J pot sample looks OK, I will order 500 of them Monday, with an expected 14 week lead time
c) I am about done making up all of the back-ordered MOTM-510 kits!
d) I'm going to be tied up with 'real work' until June 18th, there will be time slots available for me to ship and work on my #1 issue: VCO kit backlog. I have also tried to ship ALL CEM IC orders, if I missed you drop me a line. I expect shipping to be about every 4 days or so.

Paul S.

So there you have it, but I have patched a little bit, and enjoy every minute of it.
I've now slowly started the construction of a short track, made with the MOTM exlusively, although I may decide to use a software plug in for drum sounds, but otherwise all parts will be the MOTM as it is right now. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

BIG post

Okay, a lot of text, but it's important for those of you still having orders outstanding, like myself.

Here is Paul's story:

Starting tomorrow (Saturday), I will do something that I have *never* done, andthat is start with the oldest orders in the backlog, kit OR assembled, and ship them out IN ORDER. This is more work for me, but it's time for me to do this. I have inventory, I don't need to generate lots of cash flow in order to buy parts (the #1 business issue with the kit business) to there really is no rational reason *not* to start at the beginning, and go through them 1 at a time until all the orders are shipped out.

The only orders not handled this way, for the most part, are MOTM 2.0 bits but those I will not place as top priority for several weeks.

First to ship will be orders entered pre-current order page, then orders on the database #100 and below. The vast majority are assembled/MOTM-650s, but there are 5 kits to make up.

Many people have found it odd that this is not the *normal and correct* way to do things (first in/first out) for me. However, as I have explained in the past, I have always had to "charge ahead" most of the time so that I could buy parts not using credit cards, and hence having not going into personal debt. At MOTM's peak, I was buying over $18,000 a MONTH in parts. And most of my customers have been VERY understanding in this regard.

However, that point is now past. I need to resolve the backlog in a fair manner.
And the fairest manner is now first in/first out.

A reasonable question is: just how long is this going to take? What if I am waiting on order #640?

I have not done a full backlog inventory. I have done old/up to #100. It will take me until mid next week to catch these up. So, as a rough starting, assume 1 week per #100 order number (ie if you are waiting for #595, it may take me 5 weeks to get there). But this is a GUESS. I will have weekly emails stating *exactly* where I am in shipping the backlog. Everyone can then judge my shipping rate. I will say, that initially I will ship a LOT because my "real job" will have limited travel for the next 2 weeks, but in early June I will be "back to normal" and having 2-3 days per week when I cannot ship.

Now, in many cases the backlog is a VCO or MOTM-510 kit. If this is your case, then you WILL get these sooner. I plan to make up many of these kits next weekend and ship by June 4th. I am also putting MOTM-900/950s ahead.

There is another issue I have to resolve, because eventually it will affect backorders: log pots. I have trying for *3 weeks* just to get a QUOTE from Vishay. This worries me a GREAT DEAL. On Monday, my #1 priority is to beat a
quote out of them. Then, in the past, they quote 12-14 WEEKS for delivery. As of right now, I have ~100 log pots. This means I can ship ~33 modules that use them (440/480/830/etc). Hopefully Vishay will respond and I can place the order. I have *plenty* MOTM-800 log pots.

Lastly: I have not verified this, but I did hear a rumor that the Evil Empire (aka Tyco) raised prices 5%-8% on May 1st. Which is the *THIRD TIME IN 5 YEARS* if true. Tyco supplies my knobs and the Power One power supplies. When I first started MOTM, the knobs were 48 cents each, the last time I bought them they were $1.09ea (and by this I mean buying 1500 or 2500 at once). I am also about to buy 1000 Switchcraft 112A jacks to finish out the backlog. Hopefully they have not gone up, too. And, if you have not been paying attention, so has postage (and Fed-Ex and DHL and UPS). The power supplies are 15% more today than when I started.

I WILL hold the old prices until my stock of knobs/jacks runs out (probably up to at least order #450 or so). But, if it does happen that prices went up, I will charge/ask for a small increase to cover (like a staggering $5/module). I'm not taking advantage of the increase, I just don't want to be thousands of dollars behind because of it. Yes, you can argue that it isn't *your fault* I didn't ship the backlog sooner, and therefore I should 'eat' the increase. OK, point taken, but rejected :)

I am 'eating' the postage increase, so it evens out. Just last Friday a heavy box shipped to NYC was $9 over what I billed. I am guessing orders to Europe could be $20-$30 over what was billed. So, no whining.

So to summarize:

a) MOTM 2.0 orders will still go out, just not as often as before. This will last ~5 weeks or so.
b) If you have pending orders with an Order # LESS than #475, you should see it by the end of June. The exception will be part stock issues.
c) If you have pending orders with an Order # GREATER than #475, chances are it will be late June/early July.
d) If you want to cancel an order, please email me the Order # and I will mail you a check *immediately*. This has always been my policy.

Paul S.

There, go have a cold beer now :-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More MOTM news

Here is the latest report from Paul Schreiber:


There will not be any MOTM shipments this week until Saturday. The following week, the focus will be on VCO and power supply kits. If there is time, I also want to ship some MOTM-510 kits and 4 or 5 MOTM-650s. I will have 4 days off from "real work" over Memorial Day so there is some time to catch up there (although wife wants to clean out garage & attic for yard sale). I know I've been slogging a bit this month MOTM-wise, but the good news is that the second half of the month is looking good.

Robert Rich is about to leave for his US tour, promoting a new DVD & CD soundtrack. A list of tour dates is at and the DVD will be at on Saturday. There are 4 all-new MOTM tracks (each about 7min long) and 4 'remixes' with snippets of prior CDs, some with added MOTM backing tracks. Please help support Robert and MOTM by attending if you can, and by also purchasing the DVD (he spent 15 months on it!).

I am somewhat saddened by having to sell off my Moog 55 last week (it's on it's way to the EU as we speak), as the desire to understand what the heck Wendy Carlos was playing is what inspired me to switch from chemistry to EE (and believe me, my early EE grades were far from stellar and I made perfect scores in chemistry). But it's going to a happy home and now the space is free for my MOTM system (HA! cough cough).

Paul S.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 2007, one year blogging

Another milestone, I have been blogging for one year this month. Hip hip hooray (party hat on, champagne pooring :-) )

The latest news on the MOTM front is this:

a) Things were a bit sluggish the past week as I wrapped up (literally) the sale of my Moog 55. It took a friend and I about 4 1/2 hours to pack it all up. In it's place is an empty Stooge Larry cabinet. Maybe one day it will have MOTM modules in it (ha!). I also have the top 2-row cabinet, but that won't fit unless I remove an wall existing shelf. It's always something......

b) As previously stated, the focus this week is on assembled backlog. I will ship between 15 and 20 MOTM 2.0 orders, though later in the week (Friday/Sat).
The weekend is reserved for a few repairs I have to ship out. The week of the 14th will be a very minimal MOTM week as I have a new local sales rep that I have to "babysit" and take him to all the local Dallas accounts. But the week of the 21st I will be back to my 'regular' schedule (whatever that means).

c) There are a few older power supply/rails types of orders that will ship this week. I ran out of MOTM-900 kits, I will make more up.

d) I am shipping 20 Frac modules to AH tomorrow, if you want one now is a good time to get them. I will have prototypes of the Frac VCO in late June.

e) I just spent $480 on a set of new development tools/eval boards for a future project that may be a 'dead end' but hopefully not (hardware is a bit 'oblique'). The eval board was a total P.O.S. (I have designed eval boards for TI, Maxim and Cirrus Logic so I'm pretty sure I can recognize a P.O.S. eval board). In fact I have to hack it just to make it useable but it does look promising. More details to follow. This is just to show that I am *always* on the look-out for new ICs/etc that can be used in MOTM. This particular IC is not just for MOTM, I hope to make something any modular family can use (it's not a module per se).

Paul S.

Further to this news from Paul, The synth tech website has seen a very minor update, and now has some new pictures.
(reload the home page a few times to see them all)

As for my own synth, I'll be reporting on that in the next few days, first I'm off having champagne :-)