The Official Sequential/DSI Forum

Firmware upgrade?

Re: Firmware upgrade?
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2021, 08:55:29 AM »

From someone who has been hands-on in the field software engineering for now approaching 40 years, I can tell you that the notion of "'bug free" software simply does not exist, and never has, on any platform, in any language.  There are only varying levels of robustness. 

At least these days, the ease of updates is (sometimes) the savior.  In the old days, software on chips that couldn't be updated without a manufacturing recall and physical replacement was, in effect, considered hardware.

I will say that, so far, the P10 appears to be vastly less buggy than my Rev2.  Then again, it is a simpler device.  Overall I'd say the launch of this product is outstanding, minus of course the early unit capacitor issue.  Compare that to the launch of the original P5 Rev1, a notoriously unstable product that was quickly replaced with the Rev 2.

Back in those days, software engineers had no choice but to produce "bug free" code, well as bug-free as possible, under penalty of suffering the consequences (like losing contracts or financial penalties). Thses days, since software updates are easy to do, they botch the job and wait for customers to act as beta testers.

At least they have computers to help them a lot for the hardware side. But even then, some capacitors are wrongfully installed.
Minimoog D (vintage), OB6 (Desktop), Oberheim Matrix-6 (MIDI Controller), Prophet REV2-16, DeepMind 12, VC340

LPF83

  • ***
  • 714
Re: Firmware upgrade?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2021, 09:16:52 AM »

Back in those days, software engineers had no choice but to produce "bug free" code, well as bug-free as possible, under penalty of suffering the consequences (like losing contracts or financial penalties). Thses days, since software updates are easy to do, they botch the job and wait for customers to act as beta testers.

At least they have computers to help them a lot for the hardware side. But even then, some capacitors are wrongfully installed.

Recalling hardware is no doubt more expensive and mistakes can put a small company out of business.  More modern advancements such as USB and internet connectivity mean that mistakes can be corrected at a far lower expense.  Maybe this is one reasons Dave's current company has thus far seen a more successful run than the 1970s SCI, and appears to be gaining steam rather than losing it.

This is just technological progress. 

I don't entirely disagree with what you're saying.  Agile software practices have encouraged a trend of early-release, and not spending 80% of the time refining 20% of the functionality that you aren't even sure if your customers will actually use or not, then iteratively improving the product based on feedback.  Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not.

I will say that I think that Dave doesn't place enough emphasis on quality assurance, as a general rule.  But he's still legendary and he's proven that he steps up to correct his errors.

As far as the capacitor thing -- I wouldn't believe everything you see at face value.  What happened could have been something as simple as someone e-mailing the wrong .pdf to manufacturing.  It is good leadership to publicly cover for someone else by taking responsibility for issues like that.  I doubt it had anything to do with his hearing.  I'm just glad to see it corrected...  all said and done the Rev 4 is an amazing product.
Prophet 10, Prophet 6, OB-6, Prophet 12m, Prophet Rev2-16, Toraiz AS-1, Moog SlimPhatty, Hydrasynth desktop, Korg Minilogue XDm, Roland SPD-30, Roland SPD-SX Special Edition, Roland KT-10, Maschine, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen + Octopre, Strymon Pedals, Cubase Pro 11.

Re: Firmware upgrade?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2021, 11:47:01 AM »
DSI/Sequential has been pretty good about issuing fixes for known bugs... though there have been a few lapses on certain products in the past.   I'm hoping that when we get a final Rev2 update, it really addresses the remaining known bugs... I'm not expecting any new feature developments.  Just fix the bugs is top priority... specifically the dual layer gated sequencer bug, which really hampers more advanced bi-timbral patch designs.   

As far as devoting company resources to developing out new features over an extended period, that's a philosophical choice, and each manufacturer is different.   I personally would like to see a strategy of 30% fewer new product releases, and more focus on developing out features and really maximizing the firmware/software potential of existing instruments over a period of several years after release. 

I know the instinct is probably:  more new products = more profits, but I honestly think the firmware update focus business model can be justified as well.   A great firmware update with addition of new features, with a press release and promo videos can generate a lot of new interest and sales for an existing instrument... all of the big magazines and internet gear sites are happy to write articles when there's substantial new feature development.   And users create more videos leading to further buzz.   I'm sure the recent update of Vintage Knob has led to a bunch of new sales of OB6 and P6.  Also, focusing on firmware advances/upgrades doesn't incur all the other product design costs with building out a completely new product.   If you spend the resources on significant firmware/software updates, and make true 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0 releases of firmware for instruments, I believe you can really extend the new sales longevity of existing instruments.  The Rev2 is a perfect example... It is such an incredible synth, and already very powerful, but with some additions and advanced nuances, it could reach new heights.  (there have been so many great feature requests over the past couple years)

I started working on this article about "Advanced Hardware Synth Features" a couple months ago.   My thought was to really dig deep into the features that are often overlooked on marketing release spec sheets, but are truly valuable options that make a difference for realizing the potential of synth sound design and versatility:

https://www.presetpatch.com/articles/Advanced-Synth-Features

If anyone has comments on the list or additional advanced features that you think should be listed, lemme know... it's a work in progress... but I'm wanting it to be a sort of glossary of advanced features that I hope all synth manufacturers might consider for their synth designs.   

There is so much that can be developed out on the firmware layer of instruments to make them sound even better, have more creative potential, more versatile sound capabilities, etc...    As an example on the Rev2:  I would love to see Mod Transforms added (similar to Moog One), more Mod Destinations added, plus more LFO and ENV shaping and triggering options on Rev2... not holding my breath, but that's the sort of stuff that could really merit new version releases (2.0, 3.0) with new marketing push and videos to extend new sales of the instrument.   

I look at what Fractal Audio has done over the past decade as a prime example of this business model.   They release a new major generation only once every 3-5 years, and then they spend years improving the firmware/software layer and adding new features.   Bugs are always prioritized and usually fixed within weeks or sometimes just a day or two.   They are completely disrupting the guitar amp/effect industry.  Their artists list is a whos-who of professional guitarists.  And their customer base loves them... every month or two we get substantial firmware updates that further improve the products capabilities and sound design options.  And their product sales are largely driven by this continuous pursuit for perfection of the firmware layer.   They don't have to release a new product every year, and instead just focus on continuous/ongoing buzz and excitement for existing products.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 12:27:33 PM by creativespiral »

Sequential Pro 3 and Rev 2, Deepmind, PolyBrute - Sound Sets, Patch Banks - Available on Sellfy: https://sellfy.com/sounddesign/

Re: Firmware upgrade?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2021, 12:33:57 PM »
The latest update I've been given is not good news.  I really have no idea, but I would guess it may be two or three months before we see this last update.  :(

Looks like they're finalizing a new product...
Having OB-6 and Pro 3, I'm still loving my REV2 so much and considering to go for a 16 voice version.

PS:
very agree with creativespiral thoughts on continuous improvements...


« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 12:38:27 PM by alexpen »

Re: Firmware upgrade?
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2021, 06:49:02 PM »
I definitely say yes to making LFO 4 switchable between mono and poly. if they can't give us a vintage knob, I would like to see a voice step option on the gated sequencer in addition to the key step mode. this would allow voice component modeling to work like a vintage knob in unison mode. I also wouldn't mind seeing full keyboard tracking on the LFO frequencies like the Moog One has, Which is currently impossible to do on the Rev 2 with note number modulation. I also agree on the gated sequencer key step bug. That really needs to be fixed. all the other bugs I can live with.