I get feedback from various sources (mostly online) about the OD modules. Some of it is positive, some of it is negative. Some of it even helps me understand my own goals better. I’m going to talk about a particular kind of feedback that pops up every once in awhile. It basically boils down to “I’m a busy person. Your stuff is too complicated and requires me to remember too much. When I finally have a moment to sit down to play on my synth, I don’t want waste time on relearning how to use it.”
I can definitely appreciate that my stuff is not great for long spans of disuse punctuated by the occasional short bouts of usage. However, I have an excuse. It never even occurred to me to consider this situation, let alone design for it! I think I just subconsciously assumed that such a user would run screaming away from the chaotic and arcane world of modular synthesizers. This is obviously not the case though.
However, after much thought, it has become to quite clear to me that designing for this kind of usage scenario is not interesting to me at all! I know. It’s a horrible thing to say
I think I’m not wired for it. And just to be clear, I don’t think a manual will solve it because I get the same feedback on the ER-101/102, a closed system which has a very complete manual paired with firmware that hasn’t changed in years. Besides, even my manuals are complicated.
So how do I help the time-crunched musician to avoid falling into the trap of purchasing one of my complicated monstrosities?
Perhaps I should put a warning on each product page?
Beware of complexity. Not recommended for the time-crunched musician.
I’m not joking!
Anyway, I generally rely on word-of-mouth for advertisement. I can see that for some people, my designs “just make sense” and this allows them to just turn it on and hit the ground running without much hassle. However, I have never intentionally designed for this to happen. If and when it happens is just a lucky alignment of cognitive styles. These “aligned” users then naturally report to the world: “The ER-XXX is totally easy to use. I didn’t need to look anything up.” I suspect this is how the majority of the unsuspecting time-crunched musicians get duped because I’m pretty sure I’ve never claimed that my modules are simple.
So let’s be clear, they are not simple designs. My modules are not specifically designed for casual or occasional use. Although some might successfully use them that way, that was never a design goal.
Apologies to those expecting otherwise!