Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?

timboréale

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Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« on: February 28, 2023, 05:40:40 AM »
Prophet 5/10 desktop: 20.75" wide
Rev2 Desktop: 21.6" wide
Prophet 6 desktop: 21.25" wide
OB-6 desktop: 20.75" wide

Heights range from 7.4" to 7.9", or roughly 5U.

...

The available width of a 19" rack is about 17" +/-. I'm a little baffled as to why the desktops weren't designed around that dimension, but rather went "really damn wide" even for a desktop. Adding a U of height would have made for a much more usable tabletop package as well, IMO. 6U is a perfectly acceptable size for a rackmount synth (the venerable OB-Mx is 6U and that's a wonderful rack interface, IMO, so there's no argument against it from a "it just doesn't work" perspective that I could find valid). They change the layout already (in the case of the P12 it's changed utterly) from the keyboard version, so trying to keep "some" compatibility can't be used as an excuse either.

I get that "rack mount synth" is a genre, but they didn't have to advertise them as rackable. They could still be sold with wooden end cheeks and just maybe an optional "one-size-fits all pair of rack ears" to go with them.

For their dimensions they don't work at all for me, though, and so I can confidently say that I'd rather buy the keyboard version, which inherently limits the number of DSI synths I will own, flat out. If they were rackable I could easily see adding another ... perhaps several, really.

You lose a ton of flexibility for transport and mounting and gain.... wasted desk space. I don't get it. Enlighten me, please?

(P.S. I am not looking for "here are ways to franken-pseudo-rack them"... the 19" rack standard is a standard and like it or not it's useful, human-scale, and ubiquitous. Standards are always procrustean beds, that's just how it is.)
Prophet 6 keyboard, Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2023, 05:40:39 AM »
Part of the reason is probably that these desktop units sell better than rack units. People seem to want those knobs. There are a lot of people whos main reason to buy hardware are those damn knobs, not the sound quality. It's really stupid (in most situations). Also a lot of people seem to dislike external psus, an opinion I don't share either. You know, with external psus there would be more room to make desktop units fit into a rack. (maybe even with psu I don't remember exactly).

Another thing, although 80% off topic, are those damn keyboard-only versions. For studio synthesizers, this is soooo bad. 1 perfect sweet spot listening position + 1 midi master keyboard + 1 midi controller ( depending on master keyboard knobs) + Software Editors for the synthesizers (patch manager, nice recall etc.) = perfect for me.

This is so annoying by Moog but Sequential seem to be doing the same shit now, too, atleast to a certain extent. More than 10 years ago for sure.

timboréale

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2023, 04:28:45 PM »
Well my point is that if they made the *desktop* (yeah, with the knobs) version in a slightly different format they could have their cake and fit it into a rack too. I don't consider this a limitation. The Vermona Perfourmer has a frack-ton of knobs and it fits beautifully into a rack AND looks great on a desktop.

If a desktop can be 21" wide and ~7.5" tall, you get the same general real estate by making it ~17" wide to fit a rack and 9" tall which is a perfect 6U anyway. Which is what I was suggesting.
Prophet 6 keyboard, Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2023, 09:21:29 AM »
Well my point is ...

I know what your point is. My whole answer was written to support your point. I'm would get rid of all my synthesizers if I could replace them with rack versions.

timboréale

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2023, 09:55:15 AM »
Ah, I read your first three sentences as saying that you thought a desktop and a rack were somehow viewed as different because of knobs. Not sure what the knobs have to do with it, is all, since either are just different proportions of the same thing with the same knobs. Anyways, glad to hear we agree!

I wouldn't get rid of any of my keyboards, but I'd certainly add more synths than I have now if there were more and better rackmount options out there that weren't all laminated-buttons and menu-divey (OB Matrix 6R and Crumar, I'm looking at you) or just no-buttons-worth-speaking-of (OB Matrix-1000 I'm looking at you too). I want knobs AND a rack, TYVM! ;)
Prophet 6 keyboard, Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2023, 11:40:04 AM »
This is so annoying by Moog but Sequential seem to be doing the same shit now, too, atleast to a certain extent. More than 10 years ago for sure.

Which synths do you mean regarding Sequential? They had desktop versions of the PE, Mopho, P08, P12, P6, OB6, P5, P10, and I’m sure we’ll see one for the Trigon. The Evolver and Tetra were desktop only.

The only ones I can think of which are keyboard only are the PX and the Pro series. The PX probably didn’t sell that well, and was likely thought of as a ‘player’s’ keyboard (I don’t like that term tbh but hopefully you know what I mean), and I guess the feeling with the Pro series is that they were smaller footprints anyway.

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2023, 05:13:20 AM »
This is so annoying by Moog but Sequential seem to be doing the same shit now, too, atleast to a certain extent. More than 10 years ago for sure.

Which synths do you mean regarding Sequential? They had desktop versions of the PE, Mopho, P08, P12, P6, OB6, P5, P10, and I’m sure we’ll see one for the Trigon. The Evolver and Tetra were desktop only.

Pro 2, Pro 3, Prophet X, Trigon (I'm sure we will not see a module), Oberheim X8.

Mopho, P08 etc. are all DSI units no longer in production since a decade+ and  are exactly the reason why I said that "Sequential SEEMS to go into the same DIRECTION, alteast TO SOME EXTENT".
« Last Edit: March 05, 2023, 05:15:40 AM by Indigo V. »

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2023, 05:19:28 AM »
Ah, I read your first three sentences as saying that you thought a desktop and a rack were somehow viewed as different because of knobs.

Yes, that's exactly what I said. My impression is that people simply don't like rack versions because of the damn knobs and that is why companies don't build them anymore. I have my doubts that racks won't be profitable, because as you said, they are essientially the same so the research costs are low,  but I have no insider knowledge.

chysn

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2023, 10:16:45 AM »
Why dis a specific company for not doing something that nobody else does? Why doesn't Panasonic make VHS players anymore? Damn Panasonic, it would be so easy to just retool a factory to make a few.

But seriously, the ergonomics of rackmount synths were atrocious, and it was probably an intractable problem.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2023, 10:18:33 AM by chysn »
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timboréale

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2023, 05:20:57 AM »
Why dis a specific company for not doing something that nobody else does?

Nobody? Every synth the fantastically successful Black Corporation currently makes is *designed* to fit in a rack. The desktop synths from Modal fit in a rack and even have rack kits. Moog made and likely will make again the Voyager and Slim Phatty in a rack and they're still going for serious money. Vermona's perfect perfourmer fits snugly in a rack. Shall I go on?

*digital* racks don't sell so well anymore, but analogue racks are alive and well and do just fine.

The reason I don't own more Sequential synths right now is that their desktops don't fit in a rack. And it's only a matter of changing the ratio of the rectangle they fit in. And I, for one, don't (agree? accept the validity of? find logical?) the argument that the rackmount format or ratio somehow hinders the interface, especially given all the examples to the contrary. 

That's really all I'm saying.

As an aside I think it would be super cool if *somebody* made a quality S-VHS mechanism so we could at least keep ADATs working... and I'd like to see a quality three-head tape deck with Dolby S and HX-Pro back on the market too, but one can dream. We used to say similar things about analogue, but now it's back and there's a good reason for it. Why be so negative about these mechanical, more human-scale technologies that have their own sonic and other quirks for which some of us find endearment?
Prophet 6 keyboard, Rev2-16, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Nords, etc...

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2023, 05:46:44 AM »
Why dis a specific company for not doing something that nobody else does? Why doesn't Panasonic make VHS players anymore? Damn Panasonic, it would be so easy to just retool a factory to make a few.


that comparison is so off that it annoys me. WTF.

First off also Moog was mentioned. Secondly VHS is a technology while rack units are a formfactor with technlogy inside that is the same as in the bigger casings. And thirdly the ergenomics are not atrocious for everyone. I get that people want knobs etc. All good. But I want atleast an alternative. Even desktop units are not made for every synth.

I personally don't give damn about knobs because I have this crazy thing in my studio which is called a computer and on it there is this magic voodoo stuff that some people call software and this is, well it's totally out of this world crazy, this thing let's me remote control all my synthesizers and best of it all I can recall all settings and edit them while sitting in perfect sweet spot of my audio monitors while playing on single midi master keyboard and control knobs for everything.

chysn

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2023, 10:16:34 AM »
Why dis a specific company for not doing something that nobody else does? Why doesn't Panasonic make VHS players anymore? Damn Panasonic, it would be so easy to just retool a factory to make a few.


that comparison is so off that it annoys me. WTF.

First off also Moog was mentioned. Secondly VHS is a technology while rack units are a formfactor with technlogy inside that is the same as in the bigger casings. And thirdly the ergenomics are not atrocious for everyone. I get that people want knobs etc. All good. But I want atleast an alternative. Even desktop units are not made for every synth.

I personally don't give damn about knobs because I have this crazy thing in my studio which is called a computer and on it there is this magic voodoo stuff that some people call software and this is, well it's totally out of this world crazy, this thing let's me remote control all my synthesizers and best of it all I can recall all settings and edit them while sitting in perfect sweet spot of my audio monitors while playing on single midi master keyboard and control knobs for everything.

You're right. "Let people like things" has always been one of my mantras, and I'm not living up to that here. I apologize. Certainly more rackmount synths would do me no harm at all.
Prophet 5 Rev 4 #2711

MPC One+ ∙ MuseScore 4

www.wav2pro3.comwww.soundcloud.com/beige-mazewww.github.com/chysnwww.beigemaze.com

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2023, 11:31:33 AM »
Why dis a specific company for not doing something that nobody else does? Why doesn't Panasonic make VHS players anymore? Damn Panasonic, it would be so easy to just retool a factory to make a few.


that comparison is so off that it annoys me. WTF.

First off also Moog was mentioned. Secondly VHS is a technology while rack units are a formfactor with technlogy inside that is the same as in the bigger casings. And thirdly the ergenomics are not atrocious for everyone. I get that people want knobs etc. All good. But I want atleast an alternative. Even desktop units are not made for every synth.

I personally don't give damn about knobs because I have this crazy thing in my studio which is called a computer and on it there is this magic voodoo stuff that some people call software and this is, well it's totally out of this world crazy, this thing let's me remote control all my synthesizers and best of it all I can recall all settings and edit them while sitting in perfect sweet spot of my audio monitors while playing on single midi master keyboard and control knobs for everything.

Yes but you can do that anyway from the ‘perfect sweet spot’ and ‘remote control’ from the computer. You can do that with desktops, even with the ones with the knobs. And you can even do that with the keyboard versions. So actually now you’re mixing technology with form factor.

But anyway, it sounds like your issue is not that, but rather that not all synths these days have versions which conform to the industry standard rack units. I understand frustration about that, but there are solutions for this. You can get a media stand to house such units, or a simple shelving unit - two cheap and practical solutions. Or something custom built. Or you can get something like this: https://www.thomann.de/gb/jaspers_150_6b.htm
Or something like this: https://www.thomann.de/gb/roadworx_synthesizer_stand_extension.htm
There are lots of ways round it depending on the space you’re in, and that’s from spending less than two minutes on internet searches, so there must be other options too!

g3o2

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2023, 04:29:29 AM »
But seriously, the ergonomics of rackmount synths were atrocious, and it was probably an intractable problem.

Back in the day, the ergonomics of the corresponding keyboard versions were often as atrocious. Lazy interfaces with a screen, four buttons and a wheel were simply considered modern. Imagine how sought after ROMplers would be today if they had the Prophet X’s interface or just a glimpse of it. Today, the Prophet 12 module is a great way to demonstrate what a minimal but useful interface looks like - the Hydrasynth appears to have been inspired by it.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2023, 04:34:34 AM by g3o2 »

g3o2

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2023, 04:40:38 AM »
[…] I’m sure we’ll see one for the Trigon.[…]

[…] Trigon (I'm sure we will not see a module) […]

It would be a crazy decision not to release a Trigon desktop version. I don’t know about the success of the keyboard version but a “Memorymoog” in desktop format would be a world first.

Sacred Synthesis

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2023, 06:15:27 PM »
It's a question of the post-Dave Smith Sequential.  Will they or won't they continue Dave's outstanding tradition of issuing both keyboard and module versions of the same instrument.  That single-handedly made the old DSI my favorite synthesizer company, and it's been disappointing to see this tradition slowly fade away in the cases of new designs (Trigon [?], Take 5, Pro3, Prophet X).
« Last Edit: May 30, 2023, 07:19:53 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

LPF83

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2023, 03:36:06 PM »
It's a question of the post-Dave Smith Sequential.  Will they or won't they continue Dave's outstanding tradition of issuing both keyboard and module versions of the same instrument.  That single-handedly made the old DSI my favorite synthesizer company, and it's been disappointing to see this tradition slowly fade away in the cases of new designs (Trigon [?], Take 5, Pro3, Prophet X).

I confess to having had thoughts about how a Prophet X desktop might get my money. 

As far as the tradition though, it's probably one of those things where if they demand is there it will happen.  I'm not sure the PX was a great seller, and Take 5 and Pro 3 are already at an approachable price point even with keyboard, so if that's the case the Trigon 6 might be a better candidate for a desktop release.  But, if they aren't happy with the sales numbers  of the keyboard version they decide against it.
Prophet 10, OB-X8m, Prophet 6, OB-6, 3rd Wave, Prophet 12m, Prophet Rev2-16, Toraiz AS-1, Pro 2, Korg Polysix, Roland JP-8080, Roland System-8, Virus TI2, Moog SlimPhatty, Hydrasynth desktop, Roland SPD-SX SE / Octapad, Maschine, Cubase/Ableton/Akai MPC

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2023, 07:16:24 PM »
It's a question of the post-Dave Smith Sequential.  Will they or won't they continue Dave's outstanding tradition of issuing both keyboard and module versions of the same instrument.  That single-handedly made the old DSI my favorite synthesizer company, and it's been disappointing to see this tradition slowly fade away in the cases of new designs (Trigon [?], Take 5, Pro3, Prophet X).

I confess to having had thoughts about how a Prophet X desktop might get my money. 

As far as the tradition though, it's probably one of those things where if they demand is there it will happen.  I'm not sure the PX was a great seller, and Take 5 and Pro 3 are already at an approachable price point even with keyboard, so if that's the case the Trigon 6 might be a better candidate for a desktop release.  But, if they aren't happy with the sales numbers  of the keyboard version they decide against it.

I think since the Focusrite purchase any non VCO only analog synths are pretty much abandonware. The PX is being phased out (although both Essen Kraft And Starky Carr seems to have done videos on it recently and highly praised it as a sleeper so who knows) and the Pro 3 doesn’t seem to be getting much follow up in terms updates. I still think Sequential and Oberheim have now been delegated to doing analog only...no wavetables,no  samples, no drum machines....that will all be left to Novation.

Sacred Synthesis

Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2023, 08:54:28 PM »
It's a question of the post-Dave Smith Sequential.  Will they or won't they continue Dave's outstanding tradition of issuing both keyboard and module versions of the same instrument.  That single-handedly made the old DSI my favorite synthesizer company, and it's been disappointing to see this tradition slowly fade away in the cases of new designs (Trigon [?], Take 5, Pro3, Prophet X).

I confess to having had thoughts about how a Prophet X desktop might get my money. 

As far as the tradition though, it's probably one of those things where if they demand is there it will happen.  I'm not sure the PX was a great seller, and Take 5 and Pro 3 are already at an approachable price point even with keyboard, so if that's the case the Trigon 6 might be a better candidate for a desktop release.  But, if they aren't happy with the sales numbers  of the keyboard version they decide against it.

In the past, there wasn't a question about it.  There simply would be a module or rack version, and you could count on it.  Even the early modules resulted in keyboard versions (Tetra, Mopho).  I thought of it then as the character of the company, this pairing.  If this will no longer be the case, then an outstanding feature of the company has been lost.  And that would be very sad indeed.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2023, 09:01:07 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

LPF83

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Re: Why aren't DSI desktops also designed to fit in a rack?
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2023, 07:11:41 AM »
I think since the Focusrite purchase any non VCO only analog synths are pretty much abandonware. The PX is being phased out (although both Essen Kraft And Starky Carr seems to have done videos on it recently and highly praised it as a sleeper so who knows) and the Pro 3 doesn’t seem to be getting much follow up in terms updates. I still think Sequential and Oberheim have now been delegated to doing analog only...no wavetables,no  samples, no drum machines....that will all be left to Novation.


In the past, there wasn't a question about it.  There simply would be a module or rack version, and you could count on it.  Even the early modules resulted in keyboard versions (Tetra, Mopho).  I thought of it then as the character of the company, this pairing.  If this will no longer be the case, then an outstanding feature of the company has been lost.  And that would be very sad indeed.

That the OB-X8 desktop module was created might be a good omen; a module version wasn't really a staple of the Oberheim brand historically, but it seems in this case the market demand for it was heard and accomodated.

Personally I believe that perceived demand will be the primary driver for any new products we see emerge from Sequential, Oberheim and even Novation from this point on.  From what I've observed, producing synthesizers is a relatively slim-margin business where a lot of folks are in the game because it's a labor of love, much moreso than the option with the highest financial return. 

So in smaller companies (like the original DSI) or even the one-man-show companies, we tend to see products that are manifestations of what the owner wants to create.  But once a company grows (through acquisition or otherwise), the products that created are more heavily influenced by financial projections and strategic decisions about how to keep the company afloat.  If that is the case here, it's very different than how Dave used to say he designed new products -- according to interviews, it was all 100% driven by what he wanted to work on, without regard to market demand. 

To me this says there could definitely be changes to past patterns.  But as someone who was hoping for a module version of the OB-X8, I'm happy with what I'm seeing so far and very much looking forward to receiving mine.
Prophet 10, OB-X8m, Prophet 6, OB-6, 3rd Wave, Prophet 12m, Prophet Rev2-16, Toraiz AS-1, Pro 2, Korg Polysix, Roland JP-8080, Roland System-8, Virus TI2, Moog SlimPhatty, Hydrasynth desktop, Roland SPD-SX SE / Octapad, Maschine, Cubase/Ableton/Akai MPC